A Slice of Russia in Northern California


Located on the Northern California Coast, Fort Ross offers good access for wheelchair-users and slow walkers

Located on scenic Highway 1, Fort Ross was once the site of the southernmost Russian settlement in America. Over the years it transitioned from a fort to a ranch, until the state of California purchased the abandoned site in 1903. Today, the refurbished fort is open to the public; and although access is somewhat marginal at many historic attractions, I’m happy to report that thanks to some substantial access upgrades, Fort Ross is now accessible to everyone.

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A Kitschy Baker Attraction

The Baker Thermometer -- an icon along Interstate 15

On our way back from Las Vegas, I mentioned to Charles that I’d like to stop at the Baker thermometer to get some photos. Granted we did stop there on the way out for gas, but I was recovering from a painful dental visit and I had forgotten about the needed photos. Charles of course remembered that and promptly replied, “We were just there last week in the heat of the afternoon when the thermometer read an impressive 103. That would have been the good shot. It’s only 10 in the morning and it’s not even going to be 100 degrees when we get there.” Continue reading

Marfa Detour

Marfa Prada store, near Valentine, Texas

Part of the fun of a road trip is stopping at quirky roadside attractions along the way; which is why we made it a point to seek out the Marfa Prada store yesterday, while we were traveling through west Texas. To be clear, this eclectic attraction is located some 35 miles from Marfa, about a mile or so north of Valentine, on Highway 90. Trust me, you can’t miss it, as it’s the only building for miles. Continue reading

It’s Duckmaster Time!

That’s me – Honorary Duckmaster

I simply love Memphis, so it doesn’t take much to get me to visit the birthplace of rock and roll. And although my latest stopover had little to do with music, it had everything to do with the famous Peabody ducks. Quite frankly, when I was invited to be Honorary Duckmaster at this Memphis institution, I just couldn’t resist. Continue reading

Off the Beaten Path in Kansas

Hot and Cold Water Towers in Pratt, Kansas

One of the great things about a road trip is that you can hop off the interstate at a moment’s notice and explore the road less traveled. And that’s exactly what we did yesterday when we drove from Dodge City to Wichita. Instead of taking Interstate 50 most of the way, we planned a little detour with a stop in Pratt, Kansas. And I have to admit, it wasn’t the day we planned, but in this case, that was a very good thing. Continue reading

Temecula Wine Tasting

Temecula vineyards

Although I’m a native Californian, I’ve never been to Temecula – that was until yesterday. Since we had an early morning call to check out a wheelchair-accessible balloon on Monday, we decided to come in a day early and enjoy a little Sunday afternoon vino tasting. Since all the wineries charge for their tastings I chose very carefully, and in the end ended up at Bel Vino Winery. And I wasn’t disappointed — with the access or the quality of their wine.

First things first – the access at Bel Vino is top-drawer. Although the parking area is pretty expansive (and crowded on weekends) there was plenty of accessible parking available right next to the tasting room. And if you don’t have a placard, but can’t do the slight hill up to the tasting room, there’s a shuttle available. There is level access to the tasting room, gift shop and bistro, and a large level grassy area with tables outside. Accessible restrooms are also available in the tasting room.

Bel Vino gets top marks all the way around!

As for the tasting, well we opted for the “signature” tasting which was a selection of six one-ounce pours of their premium wines. The price is $15.95 on the weekends or $12.95 on weekdays. I also have to add that Charles and I shared a tasting, which was a good idea because their pours are quite generous. They also have a budget tasting option for $6.95, but I figured we may as well go for the good stuff.

We started with a Chardonnay which was nice, and then followed it with a Viognier which was sweeter than we’re used to, so we decided to pass on the Riesling and move on to the reds. And boy were they ever a treat. The Sangiovese was very well done, but the Tempranillo was excellent. I liked their Merlot, but my absolute favorite was their Long Valley Red. This Bordeaux blend is apparently their first attempt at a varietal, and boy did they ever hit a home run. It’s largely Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with just the right combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot mixed in. I liked it so much that I went home with a bottle. I also couldn’t resist the Tempranillo.

As an added bonus, they also have musical entertainment out on the lawn on weekends. And in my book, that’s the icing on an already tasty – and very accessible – cake.

Road Trip Ups and Downs

After almost six weeks on the road it’s good to be home. We traveled 10,387  miles through 23 states and discovered tons of cool accessible lodgings, sites and activities, that I look forward to sharing with my readers. It was a very successful road trip. That said, as with any adventure, it was dotted with highs and lows. With that in mind, here are a few of my ups and downs from our Summer 2014 cross country road trip. Continue reading

Wild Center Revisited

The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY

The last time I visited the Wild Center, it was on a hard-hat tour. Granted that was some time ago, but I don’t get back to Tupper Lake, NY that often, so I was thrilled when I was able to visit the finished facility last week. Continue reading