Category: Destination Updates

In Oregon: On the Trail of Ale

In Oregon: On the Trail of Ale

The first evening in our new hometown of Eugene, Oregon, my wife and I walked to a grocery store across the street from our temporary lodgings to purchase some take-out food for dinner.

While my wife searched in vain for an already-chilled bottle of white wine—that store provides a “quick-chilling” vat of liquid so customers can cool a bottle of wine to the temperature they desire rather than picking it out of a refrigeration case—she suddenly exclaimed “They must sell at least 500 different beers!”

(Pond Skipper Flickr Photo)

Welcome to Oregon, where “Beer” is one of the state’s unofficial “Four Food Groups,” along with “Coffee,” “Wine,” and “Everything Else.”

And while there are over five hundred wineries in the Willamette Valley, don’t ask me how many places make beer.

But there are “a lot,” or at least “plenty” to keep you tasting and drinking your life away, at least for a good while.

And an excellent way to find and drink beer is to take a trek, long or short, along the “Eugene Ale Trail.”

Read More Read More

Did Trump Change How Americans Travel to Cuba?

Did Trump Change How Americans Travel to Cuba?

(Updated August 8, 2017, 12:30 p.m. PDT)

On Friday, June 16, 2017, Donald Trump made a major policy announcement that could markedly affect the ability of Americans to visit Cuba or do business there.

(Bryan Ledgard Flickr Photo)

Initially, Trump appeared set to totally scrap the steps President Obama took to discard over a half-century of failed “isolationist” policy toward Cuba and engage the Cuban people and government in a new era of mutually beneficial relations.

The Website, The Hill, said that the Trump administration had considered severing diplomatic ties to Cuba entirely, but backed away from such a drastic move in favor of a partial reverse of Obama’s policies since it would “be ‘less likely to elicit pushback’ from the business community and regional partners.”

NPR reported that two-thirds of Cuban Americans living in South Florida and that some members of Congress, including at least one Republican, were not in favor of Trump’s announced policy.

And in this Associated Press story, the Cuban government said that Trump’s new policy “would not achieve [its] objective of weakening the [Cuban] government.”

But what will Trump’s policy, if implemented, actually do and what effect will it have on both Cubans and Americans?

Read More Read More

Big Sur’s “Heartbreak Road”

Big Sur’s “Heartbreak Road”

(Originally published June 7, 2017; last update on July 19, 2018.)

A half-century ago, in 1967, San Francisco experienced the “Summer of Love.”

A year later, I lived through a personal “summer of love” when on nearly every weekend from June through August I drove California’s scenic and fabled Highway from Monterey, through Big Sur, and down to Pacific Valley to see my girlfriend who was working as a summer hire for the U.S. Forest Service.

While you’ll be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “Summer of Love” this year in San Francisco, mud and rock slides and damage to a bridge on coastal Highway 1 means that you won’t be able to “do” the drive down the entire Big Sur coast south from Monterey as in years past.

(Davide D’Amico Flickr Photo)

But the good news is that enough of the road is open at its northern and southern ends to provide ample things to see and do in this part of California.

(Update, October 14, 2017: The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the rebuilding of a bridge over Pfeiffer Canyon on Highway 1 near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has been completed so residents and tourist can now drive south from Carmel to Lucia at the Monterey-San Luis Obispo County line. Unfortunately, the highway south of that point remains closed due to mudslide earlier this year and is not expected to reopen until late in the summer of 2018 at the earliest. So “doing” experiencing the scenic drive up that entire stretch of California’s Central Coast is still not possible.

Update, May 1, 2018: The San Francisco Chronicle now reports that the highway south of the Monterey-San Luis Obispo County Line will probably not re-open until mid-to-late September of 2018, effectively precluding summer visitors from traveling the entire length of the “Big Sur Coast.”

Update, June 14, 2018: The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports that the section of Highway 1 south of Ragged Point is now expected to re-open by the end of July, much earlier that originally anticipated, and allowing Big Sur Coast visitors to drive the length of the famous coast highway at least during the last weeks of summer.)

Update, July 19 2018: As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Highway 1 is now fully open, end-to-end. View this video of cars driving the newly-reopened road. But will the news of the reopening of the highway flood it was cars, making the scenic drive a trip from Hell? It may be best to wait until September, when weather along this stretch of coast is more likely to be fog-free, with fewer cars traveling it after school-age kids have returned to their studies instead of counting “99 Bottles of Beer on The Road” with their parents behind the wheel.

Read More Read More