Pie Shopping on the Road to Tahoe; Don’t You Love New Traditions?

NOTE: We’re sorry to report that shortly after posting this story we discovered that Z Pie had closed several weeks earlier. But there are still plenty of fruit pie options on the road to Tahoe. Enjoy!   

Lots of travelers enjoy stopping for a sweet slice of fruit pie at an Apple Hill orchard on the road to Lake Tahoe. But the most unique pies in the region just may be the savory variety available at a tiny pot pie restaurant not far away in Placerville.

Who knew? Continue reading “Pie Shopping on the Road to Tahoe; Don’t You Love New Traditions?”

Sea otter at Moss Landing. Dawn Page / CoastsideSlacking

Quest for California Sea Otters Ends with Shenanigans and Groupies Downstream from the Power Plant

Marine mammals stir the hearts of even the most jaded Coastsiders. Slackers, too. We’ve seen dolphins cruising, whales spouting, harbor seals lolling, and elephant seals … well, um… it was mating season. But sadly, not a single sea otter. Where the heck are the sea otters? Continue reading “Quest for California Sea Otters Ends with Shenanigans and Groupies Downstream from the Power Plant”

Waterfall at Garrapata State Beach. Dawn Page/CoastsideSlacking

Visit the Beach and Bluffs at Garrapata; With a Name Like “Tick State Park,” it’s Gotta be Good

The Coastside founding fathers stumbled upon a sweet brand when they came up with “Half Moon Bay.” Who can resist, right? But 100 miles to the south, the bureaucrats who named Garrapata State Park and Beach missed the mark badly if they were trying to evoke seaside romance.

Garrapata — that’s “tick” in Spanish, as in the eight-legged blood-suckers — deserves better. Continue reading “Visit the Beach and Bluffs at Garrapata; With a Name Like “Tick State Park,” it’s Gotta be Good”

Hall Wines, St.Helena. Dawn Page/Coastside Slacking

The Slackers Pair Sonoma Cheesy Grits with Rock ‘n’ Roll in Napa; Oops, We Skipped the Wine Again

How do you impress your British friends on their first visit to California’s wine country? Take them out for cheesy grits at the Fremont Diner and pair it with a helping of Los Lonely Boys a la Uptown Theatre. Duh. Continue reading “The Slackers Pair Sonoma Cheesy Grits with Rock ‘n’ Roll in Napa; Oops, We Skipped the Wine Again”

Cold Day Coastside? Break out the Flannel and Chill at the Moss Beach Bluffs, Beach and Tide Pools

If you enjoy Coastside sand and surf but a water temperature of 55 degrees is not on your “to do” list, then consider visiting the beaches, bluffs and tide pools of the James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach. Continue reading “Cold Day Coastside? Break out the Flannel and Chill at the Moss Beach Bluffs, Beach and Tide Pools”

We Battle Rain and Phlegm to Find Fun in Napa; Would You Like Wine With That?

“It’s spring. Let’s go to Napa!” we said. “Let’s taste some wine, take a hike, pack a picnic, book a balloon flight! It’ll be great!”

But GeekSlacker caught a nasty cold. And then it began to rain – again. And the deadline for canceling our reservation at the charming El Bonita Motel in St. Helena had passed. What were two Coastside Slackers to do? Particularly with a blog to feed. Continue reading “We Battle Rain and Phlegm to Find Fun in Napa; Would You Like Wine With That?”

Lake Berryessa "Morning Glory" spillway.

Dark Bathtub Anxieties Revisited at Lake Berryessa’s ‘Morning Glory’ Spillway; Stare if you Dare

Did you ever have a hint of anxiety as a child watching your bath water swirl down the drain at the deep end of the tub? Could the drain capture a toe or perhaps a foot? What might crawl or reach from the from the soapy vortex? Alone in the steamy confines of the bathroom, would anyone hear you scream?

Continue reading “Dark Bathtub Anxieties Revisited at Lake Berryessa’s ‘Morning Glory’ Spillway; Stare if you Dare”

Super Bloom Part 3 — The Carrizo Plain Blows our Minds; Please Don’t Tell

Our spring wildflower sojourn had yielded a brilliant carpet of color at the Poppy Reserve, and dazzling individual blooms interwoven into intricate floral tapestries at Anza-Borrego. We really didn’t know what to expect at Carrizo Plain National Monument – the road less traveled on the super bloom trail. I suppose we expected more of the same.

Wrong again! What we found was was a floral cascade of brilliant yellow California goldfields, accented by purple lupine, yellow-orange fiddlenecks and occasional patches of baby blue eyes, flowing from the mountain tops and pooling into the Carrizo grasslands across miles of the rugged Temblor Range. Continue reading “Super Bloom Part 3 — The Carrizo Plain Blows our Minds; Please Don’t Tell”

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve/Dawn Page/CoastsideSlacking

Super Bloom Part 2 – We Cope with Urban Anthophiles at the California Poppy Reserve; the Flowers are Quite Orange

Part 2 of 3

We lived 90 minutes from the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve for 21 years and never visited. We thought about it, but we always had an excuse.

“We’re too busy.”

“It’s too crowded.”

“It’s a bad bloom.”

So since we were passing by on our way back from admiring the wildflower super bloom at Anzo-Borrego Desert State Park, we decided it was time to stop and smell the poppies. We even spent the night in nearby Lancaster so we could do it right. Continue reading “Super Bloom Part 2 – We Cope with Urban Anthophiles at the California Poppy Reserve; the Flowers are Quite Orange”

Gray Whale Cove [photo: Dawn Page]

Trail with a View Joins Two Spectacular Coastside Beaches

The mountainside trail between Gray Whale Cove and Montara state beaches is a middling means to two rather spectacular ends. It’s about the beaches, not the journey. Featuring a moderate descent to and ascent from the beach into McNee Ranch State Park on each end, the bulk of the winding Gray Whale Cove Trail is carved into the side of Montara Mountain and roughly parallels Highway 1, whose sights and sounds detract from some otherwise spectacular views of the ocean meeting the shore. Continue reading “Trail with a View Joins Two Spectacular Coastside Beaches”

Ano Nuevo elephant seals [photo: Dawn Page]

Birth, Death and Debauchery on the Beach – Must be Elephant Seal Breeding Season at Año Nuevo

Dawn and I slipped down the coast on a misty, windswept afternoon last week to check out breeding season and the resulting offspring at Año Nuevo State Park. The coastal park is home base to as many as 10,000 elephant seals who return twice a year to alternately breed and molt between sea voyages of up to 12,000 miles. Continue reading “Birth, Death and Debauchery on the Beach – Must be Elephant Seal Breeding Season at Año Nuevo”

Tips for winter travel at Yosemite – Don’t forget those chains!

Even slackers should consider a bit of preparation before heading to Yosemite National Park  to enjoy the gushing waterfalls, glistening snow, misty meadows and dramatic lighting that are hallmarks of a wintertime visit. In addition to the unique scenery, winter travel to the park means less traffic and more rooms available in neighboring communities at cheaper rates. But it also means fewer services in the park and, at times, treacherous driving.

Continue reading “Tips for winter travel at Yosemite – Don’t forget those chains!”