Camp Roberts Military Museum

The Camp Roberts Military Museum is the largest military museum in California – or so they told me – this is a great museum for military historians and also for everyone to get a picture and feeling of many historical events that are not covered in a movie based history about the battle of so and so. This base has been training hundreds of thousands of men for many decades. 

The museum has a very limited schedule as to when you can enter. So check carefully, and have ID, Registration and insurance ready. Remember the only days are Thursday and Saturday 9 to 4 Only.

Once through the gate you are greeted by the museum annex. It has a display of choppers and tanks in many configurations.  Inside the Annex there are displays from many different battle fields and displays of what conditions were like in the past. It can get quite warm on the base in the summer, however it  gets a great deal warmer inside a tank or in the fields of the deserts where many of the men portrayed were deployed. The base has trained many movie and stage stars, and created a legacy that is worthy of investigation. The barracks of Red Skelton are displayed and the story of his service is one that was almost all done at Camp Roberts.

Camp Roberts Military Museum – Main Building

Proceeding up the road to the main museum, upon entering one is greeted by most welcome air conditioning. It may be a swamp cooler, but whatever it is it was most welcome! There is a 35 minute movie of the history of the camp and I always find these documentaries to reveal so many stories about goings on in the past. The museums entry way will tell the story of the naming of the base. This one was not named for a general! The docents are very helpful and will talk your ears off with stories given the slightest openings. So be ready to be guided through a big piece of California History. This seemingly desolate site hold many secrets. How many can you find?

Crater Lake National Park – Oregon

Crater Lake National Park is on of the finest, prettiest lakes  I have ever seen. It is breathtaking, jaw dropping, and a few more synonyms of incredible. The deep deep blue, and the contrasting beauty surrounding the lake makes for a scene that is etched into my brain. The volcano inside the volcano combines to add up to lasting images.

The volcano in the volcano is the  little island that’s in the middle of the lake. It would be easy to wordsmith with superlatives and drone on and on about this wonderful  park.  It is best to leave part of the wow factor to the visitor. I always recommend stopping at every turn out to enjoy each vista’s particular light, color and terrain. Most of the turnouts require a bit of a walk that is uphill to view the lake and capture those precious digital images.

Crater Lake is a Caldera

As a volcanic creation there are rock formations around the edge in tall spires in some places. There are views of the island and forest that contrast beautifully. There are reflections of the lake on the blue water that can be so clear as to be a beautiful picture upside down or right side up. I enjoy these types of photos and often hang them upside down to see who really looks in detail at the art. 

Crater Lake Lodge

The thrill of the Lodge awaits your visit. As the altitude of the lake is 6,178 foot, the rim around the lake is between 7,000 and 8,000 foot. Note also that the lodge on the lake is booked far in advance, so plan ahead to enjoy one of the planet’s beautiful jewels. It is so beautiful that if I lived closer by I’d be coming a lot more often and just gazing into Crater Lake.  Awesome.

Be aware that the roads close seasonally when there is significant snowfall.

General Sherman Tree

The General Sherman Tree, listed as the largest living thing on earth, makes it a must see on everyone’s bucket list. Well it is impressive, and the tree definitely has pull for visitors. It is Located in Sequoia National Park above Visailia and east of Fresno, it is easy to find. A winding road is definitely worth the drive. To visit the tree there are two options.

General Sherman - World's Largest

General Sherman – Just Ahead

I like to think of the options as the easy way and the harder way. As the elevation is nearing 7,000 foot, oxygen is short, and for city dwellers, even short walks can be difficult. For those who are sedentary, pay attention, and you will be happier on your trip.

General Sherman – The Harder Way

General Sherman Tree - Largest Living Organism

World’s Largest Living Tree – General Sherman

– For the walkers – The longer way is to go to the Sherman Tree main trail and parking. Sounds like
the right thing to do doesn’t it? This will lead you to a what they say is a half mile trail to the Sherman Tree. It is down hill to the tree, and I think it is a lot longer than a half mile down to the tree. It is then about 3 miles back up the exact same trail to the parking lot. Up hill with lots of steps and at over 6,000 foot elevation, this will be very difficult for those unaccustomed to altitude. For the Hikers, it will be a short jaunt.

General Sherman – The Easy Way

Go to the Giant Forest Museum and park across the street. Enjoy the museum for a bit and then Continue reading

Rios Caledonia Adobe – Templeton CA

The Rios Caledonia Adobe was built in 1846. It was a stage stop and a hotel on the route from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Rios Caledonia Adobe - San Miguel

1968 – Before Restoration

Over time things changed, the trains came and finally of course the roads. In 1968 the building was almost totally dissolved by weather.

Today, due to some hard work and steady efforts by the Friends of The Adobes. Rios Caledonia is well maintained and now a restored piece of history for San Luis Obispo County.

Rios Caledonia Adobe - San Miguel - Calofirnia

Caledonia Days Every September

Over the decades the the Rios Caledonia Adobe has been a residence for various families, a stagecoach stop, a tavern, a hotel, a mattress factory, and a tailor shop. 

After sliding into grave disrepair in the 1960’s the building was purchased by the County of San Luis Obispo.  The Friends of the Adobe  was formed to protect, repair and restore Rios Caledonia. Major restoration was completed in 1972 and the Adobe was opened to the public for tours in 1978.  A gift shop is also in the Adobe. Continue reading

Wardholme Torrey Pine - Carpinteria CA

Wardholme Torrey Pine

The Wardholme Torrey pine tree is the most amazing pine I have ever seen. Now I have been to Wardholme torrey Pine - Carpinteria CaliforniaCarpinteria many times and driven past Carpinteria on US 101 hundreds of times, but who would have guesses you could find the Largest Torrey Pine in existence? Really in Carpinteria?

Anet wants coffee and the car wants gas, so we made the standard stop for rest room, coffee and gas. I gassed the car and she found a coffee place across the street. The Lucky Llama. It was just across the street and down a few doors down. She calls me and Continue reading

Meteor Crater – Winslow Arizona

It seems that Tourists and Explorers have a penchant for large holes in the ground and Meteor Crater qualifies. Just 26 miles outside of Winslow, Arizona if you are traveling west on Interstate 40, or 44 miles out of Flagstaff if you are traveling east on Interstate 40, Meteor Crater is a natural phenomena that is not to be missed.

Meteor Crater Panorama - by Charley Carlin - For Stupid Vacations

Meteor Crater Panorama

Meteor Crater – Formerly Canyon Diablo Crater

Whether you are interested in astronomical events and ancient history, or even US History, Meteor Crater has a bit of each in the Visitor Center. The perspective on how a large rock can cause such a change to the landscape is worth some thought.

<center>Meteor Crater by Charles Carlin for Stupid Vacations</center>

Meteor Crater over a mile across

No amount of brochures, pictures or videos can give the perspective that looking over the Meteor Crater edge can give. The magnitude and force of a meteor to make a crater of this size is truly mind boggling. Yes it is a drive off the interstate, but not that far. Yes there is a charge, and its worth it. The view from the observation deck is expansive and for me breathtaking to think about the time between impact and the formation of a crater that has lasted tens of thousands of years. Truly incredible. Yes in summer it is hot as hades to be outside.  One does not have a choice where the meteor fell 50,000 years ago. The place sat undiscovered and misunderstood for so long. The history inside and the movie explain the current understanding and are eye openers for most. This is a must do one kind of a trip.
Enjoy, I did, and more than I might have speculated beforehand.

P.S. For a full lowdown on the history and the elongated arguments about whether it was a volcanic or impact creation is in Wikipedia for those who desire a deeper story revealing the claims made by scientists over the decades concerning the creation of meteor crater.

P.P.S. Be sure to see Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff  for an astronomical good time.