Archives for category: – Hotels/Lodges
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All photos: Mimi Haddon

My friend Mimi, a talented, LA-based photographer, and her husband, Reynald, recently returned from Japan, where they walked the Nakasendo Way, a historic route connecting Kyoto and Tokyo. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sharing some images from their trip on WCXC and she graciously agreed.

What follows is Mimi’s description of the trip in an email. Below that is a gallery of her images.

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Photo: Nik Schulz

After leaving the deserts of Arizona we crossed over into the deserts of California. We’d initially planned to camp at Joshua Tree’s south entrance off of the 10 freeway, but we completely missed the exit and ended up in Indio (in the Palm Springs/Coachella area). By the time we got there it was well past sundown and the wind was blowing an absolute gale. We shelved our camping plan and headed to a hotel.

After a hot shower and a good night of sleep we ready to head into Joshua Tree and found what was probably a more interesting way in.

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The first assistant lighthouse keeper’s house at Point Cabrillo

Photo: Nik Schulz

Another spot we visited for a sense of Mendocino’s seafaring past was Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, which was established to ensure the safety of lumber schooners plying the coast. It seems to have arrived a little late on the scene, however, since it wasn’t built until 1909.

In 2004, the former lighthouse keepers’ residences were treated to period-sensitive renovations and repainted in the official U.S. Lighthouse Service colors. Yes, apparently there was an official U. S. Lighthouse Service color scheme, and it was a nice one too.

Not only do the residences look fantastic, you can actually stay in them. The main lighthouse keeper’s house and a couple of cottages can be rented by the night or two. The 4 bdrm/4 bath Main House currently runs about $400–$500/night. The 1 bdrm cottages (East Cottage and West Cottage) can be had for a moderate $144/night. Read the rest of this entry »


View Larger Map

Whether you’re coming up to West County for the weekend or moving here for good, here’s a map of some of my favorite spots.

Click “View Larger Map” below the map to the left to read all of the descriptions. Enjoy!

If Koh Phi Phi is a gorgeous, late-night-partying supermodel, Koh Lanta is her cool, super-chill cousin, perhaps not as magazine-cover gorgeous but still quite pretty and charming to boot. Instead of dodging paparazzi and partying until 4am, she just wants to hang out, grab breakfast, and maybe check out some cool shops on the way to the beach. Koh Lanta, with its super-relaxed Thai-beach-town vibe, turned out to be the perfect spot to end our vacation. Read the rest of this entry »

After a couple of flights and a brief overnight at the very nice Phuket Backpacker Hostel, we boarded a boat for Koh Phi Phi, Thailand’s stunning tropical beauty in the Andaman Sea. Of course, the word about Phi Phi had long since gotten out. As we disembarked into the heat from the air conditioned deck, we joined throngs of people streaming down the pier and were immediately absorbed into a sea of backpacks, luggage, and Thai men hawking hotel rooms.

Tonsai Village, the heart of Koh Phi Phi Don (the main island) is a dense area of small shops, bars, and restaurants served by streets no wider than a city sidewalk. There’s not a car or scooter in sight. When the boats come in, they turn into rivers of tourists. It was all a little overwhelming, so the first thing we did was sit down and have a pizza.

With lunch finished and the crowds cleared, we felt fortified enough to look for a place to stay, so we slung on our backpacks, and headed out to see what we could find.
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After leaving the Perhentian Islands we found ourselves back in Kuala Besut near what we thought was a bus station. I went to check our options for getting to Kota Bharu, about 30 miles away, from where we would fly to Phuket. There were some taxi drivers out front trying to solicit our business but I waved them aside, walked in, and started writing down bus numbers. A few moments later a short, heavy-set man with a few missing teeth walked up and stood right next to me, at which point there was an odd silence. He asked me in broken English what was I was doing. “Writing down buses to Kota Bharu,” I said without paying much attention. Another uncomfortable silence… “Those taxi,” he said finally. I had been standing in a taxi company office writing down taxi numbers. Derp…

I checked the bus station. It was closed, so we got a taxi instead (about RM60, I think ($20)). We were off to Kota Bharu. Read the rest of this entry »

From Bangkok we hopped on a Royal Jordanian flight and about an hour later descended into Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s main airport. Sure, the name’s a mouthful but you do get a pang and two bangs for your buck.

The airport, seemingly cut right out of the jungle, lies about 25 miles outside the city—but right next door to Malaysia’s Formula 1 track, in case you’re ever on layover and want to get in a few hot laps.

Instead, we raced to get a train to Kuala Lumpur (KL, as it’s known) and by the time we arrived in its hot, sweaty, jackhammering heart, it was late. We were anxious to square away our hotel given our lack of a reservation and headed for an area called “Golden Triangle” via the KL Monorail (Bukit Bintang stop). The area looked like any other modern city: a mall, a shopping center, restaurants with themes. A street called Jln Alor was the neighborhood’s saving grace. It was lined with lights, tons of people, food carts, and (non-themed) restaurants that spilled out onto the pavement. We’ve read that you can find a bite to eat here until 4am.

But a hotel, not food, was our priority. The first place we checked was full. The second was at the intersection of plain and ugly. Weird vibes were a no-cost extra. Somehow I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be our night but then we walked around the corner and discovered a nice looking place. The owner’s kid played in the lobby. We thought, “Great!” and checked in.

The room was a little dingy and barely bigger than the bed but whatever—it was for one night. I jumped into the bathroom/shower (one little space, multiple functions) and things started going downhill before I hit the rinse cycle. Read the rest of this entry »


We just got back from Southeast Asia. Our entry and exit point was Bangkok—what a city. Old, new, fashionable, and traditional, all mix together in this city on the move. Street vendors can be found everywhere selling anything from pad Thai and grilled chicken skewers to knock-off, Spongebob Squarepants carry-on luggage. Whole restaurants pop-up, makeshift-style, down random alleys. We even saw women at sewing machines, doing tailoring, right there on the sidewalk. Throw in some grit, a few stray dogs, boats speeding up and down canals in a black fog of diesel fumes, and you’ll have a pretty good picture of Bangkok.

Oh, don’t forget the heat. It’s hot, hot, hot, and humid. We averaged three to four showers a day and—I’m sorry to say—my deodorant still couldn’t keep up. That said, I think Bangkok is fantastic. It’s one of the most vibrant, engaging cities I’ve ever seen. Here are a few tips, if you go.

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This is the last post about our trip to Idaho in early October.

Pausing by the shores of the Payette River

By the time we left Burgdorf Hot Springs we were pretty impressed with Idaho. The place is beautiful. And as we headed into our last couple of nights, it got even better.

We were traveling south again, down from McCall and then making our way east on Highway 21 towards the town of Stanley and on to Redfish Lake Lodge in the Sawtooth Mountains. I had booked online and squeaked us in to one of their last cabins, in the last week of their season. We drove through the Boise National Forest, gaining in elevation. The scenery was standard stuff until I saw the bear. “Where!!?” piped Natalie, keen for the lookout. It was just a little guy hanging out by the side of the road. I stepped on the brakes, backed up, and it ran up the hill and hid behind a tree. Maybe that was all standard stuff too but it was pretty cute. Read the rest of this entry »