Discover the beautiful province of Valencia for your Walking and Hiking Holidays in Spain.
Here, there is space…..and lot’s of it! Rugged mountain walks, gentle strolls through the hilly countryside and historical towns, such as Xativa, overlooked by it’s imposing castle.This is an incredibly green region of Spain, where oranges, lemons and olives grow in abundance. Where the sun shines for over 300 days a year and where the terrain supports superb fauna and flora, which,in the delicate cycle of life, also sustains the varied array of wildlife. Whether it be the African bee eater or the wild boar or even the insects and lizards, the whole area is an enormous nature reserve.
The people of the region of Valencia are keen nature lovers and many of the local ranges have their own recognized walking trails, with literature and maps available.
Options for groups range from single travelers wishing to join a larger group, to team building exercises – all tailor made to suit particular needs.
Accommodation in the region ranges from budget pensions, log cabins, private villas to luxury hotels where you can soak away the rigors of the day.
Don’t forget that on days off, there is so much to explore away from nature – Valencia is the 3rd largest city in Spain, and has a wealth of historical and modern sights to see whilst visiting. The City of Arts & Sciences, The ancient Carmen District, the many museums and theatres, the superb nightlife….. the list is endless.
Those of us who live in the States are lucky. We have one of the best National Park systems in the world. We also have fast, efficient Interstates that will take you close enough to most of them that you don’t have to worry about off-roading in your RV!
But what makes those parks so great is really the breathtaking natural beauty that is preserved there. Every place in the world has its unique sights to see, but you just can’t beat standing on the south rim of the Grand Canyon watching the sun go down.
Here is a brief introduction to 3 of America’s oldest and still best national parks, Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Great Smoky Mountains.
Yellowstone National Park – Southern Montana and Northern Wyoming
Yellowstone is the first, and many consider the greatest National Park in the United States. It’s a wonderland of spouting geysers, unique rock formations and other leftover evidence of a massive volcanic explosion over 600,000 years ago.
Don’t worry, it’s all cooled off now. At Yellowstone, you can see the world’s most famous geyser, Old Faithful. Early settlers thought it was a noxious spew from hell itself, but nowadays we know it’s just a geothermal process, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting.
Yellowstone has a reputation for being crowded, and it’s true that it’s a popular destination. If you really want to see the park, park your motor home and hike off the beaten path. Yellowstone has lots of great hiking trails, more than enough for everybody to enjoy without crowding each other. There are plenty of day hikes with spectacular views.
Yellowstone has at least 12 different campgrounds, and they’re all first come, first served. Before you go, you’ll want to call ahead and see about fire restrictions. If you’re with the family and you want to stick to some luxurious digs, there are KOA’s and other commercial campgrounds just outside the park with more modern conveniences where you can park your motor home or RV.
Yosemite National Park- Eastern California
Yosemite is another one of the oldest national parks in the United States. The wilderness of Yosemite represents all kinds of terrain, including meadows, valleys, mountains and great forests, and it’s not too far from San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Probably the most amazing thing about Yosemite is the waterfalls. It has more waterfalls than any other single place on earth. Steep cliffs of granite abound, and from certain points in the valley you can see seven or eight big ones at once. It may be tempting, but don’t try swimming in the pools, because the force of the water can knock you senseless.
Yosemite also boasts one of the biggest forests of sequoias in the world. These ancient trees stand tall, their tips pushing way up into the sky, like the California Redwoods.
There are 13 campgrounds in Yosemite National Park, and some of them accept camping cars, trailers, motor homes and RV’s. If you plan on heading to Yosemite, it’s best to call ahead and make a reservation. In the summer months, the campgrounds fill up quick.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – The North Carolina and Tennessee Border
If you like the outdoors, Great Smoky has it all. There are more hiking trails than probably any other area in the US, as well as great fishing and camping. Compared to the parks out west, you’ll see lots more wildlife and plants. Also unlike the west, the weather is mild and there’s plenty of humidity to keep you from dehydrating.
Another reason to head for the Smokies is to experience real, authentic Appalachian mountain culture. There’s mountain music, storytellers, and all kinds of family fun.
Great Smoky is also a great place for RV drivers, because there are lots of auto tours. The park boasts roads where you can see great views, old historic buildings and vast forests as far as the eye can see.
Of course, this is just a basic introduction. You have to see these parks to believe them. These are definitely three places you want to hit at least sometime in your life.
See the States coast to coast in your home on wheels. Your family motor home lets you travel in style. Visit Bankston Motor Homes, http://www.bankstonmotorhomes.com/, to search for your next motor home or come by and visit with us at any of our five locations.
For a location known primarily for best of class skiing Lake Tahoe offers an amazing choice of activities. Even though outdoor activities are the most most familiar ways to have fun there are so many indoor activities that everyone is sure to find something to please.
Let’s start with the casinos. Most of the Nevada side casinos, including MontBleu Casino, offer a full range of activities besides gambling. Also featured are top live shows, truly fine dining and every kind of shopping.
Hiking has always been among the favorite activities at Tahoe in the warmer months. The Mount Tallac/Glen Alpine trail offers a six mile hike to a breathtaking vista of Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake and the High Sierra. For the truly adventurous there is the Tahoe Rim Trail which, at 152 miles, completely circles the lake and provides some of the most jaw dropping landscapes to be seen anywhere in the world.
For a glimpse into the heritage of the Lake Tahoe area try the Thunderbird Lodge, begun in 1936, which started out to be a vacation resort, but as the building went on the eccentric owner found himself more and more interested in the indigenous history, the flora and fauna of Tahoe. The site was eventually sold to the US Forest Service and the mansion remains as the last and best example of a great individual residence in the area.
For those interested in the natural wildlife of Tahoe no stay could be complete without a stop at Eagle Lake, famous for the wild Eagles often spotted at the lake. It can get very busy on weekends so plan to arrive early.
Additional leading hiking trails typically include Echo Lakes offering an easy to moderate trail past both the lower and upper Echo Lakes and many other smaller lakes along the way. An even easier choice is the Rainbow Trail which is a handicapped-accessible, paved trail and features many signs by the walkway creating a self-guided tour.
Another great view point that isn’t well known is the Stateline Fire Lookout just a 45 minute hike off the road. The lookout area is cleared so nothing obstructs the alluring views that are worth the easy walk.
A beautiful way to enjoy the lake if you enjoy biking is the Ring Around the Lake bike trail. At 72 miles you will probably just select one portion to do.
While we’re talking about the lake we must mention the Dixie Queen paddlewheel boat providing daytime and dinner cruises. The Dixie Queen offers a fun and memorable bring out of any trip to the Lake.
If you want the ultimate in views with very little effort then check out the Squaw Valley Tram. The tram runs year round from Squaw Village up to the observation facility, restaurant and swimming pool build for the 1960 Winter Olympics. Heavenly also offers an thrilling Tram ride operating all year.
This list should not be considered close to complete. I haven’t even touched on many of the other popular adventures such as hot air balloon rides and, of course, the main winter attraction of downhill skiing and boarding.
With so many fun adventures awaiting you why are you sitting there reading this article? Go have some fun. Go find some Tahoe fun!
Located somewhere between Shangri-La and La-La-Land, Sedona, Arizona is a truly beautiful place. It is surrounded by stunning red rock formations and miles of malarkey. This year, as in years past, about four million tourists are expected to visit the area. Many of them will be on the lookout not only for gorgeous scenery but for beautiful people as well.
These days Sedona is more famous than ever, its natural beauty and quirkiness the subject of endless articles and TV features. One would think that a place as beautiful and famous as Sedona would be teeming with celebrities, right? That visitors can expect to rub shoulders with the rich, famous and infamous at local coffee shops and bistros? Wrong. Very wrong.
Because of the presumed gullibility of the typical tourist, and some local tour guides’ quest for quick and easy sound bites (and bigger tips), a kind of local mythology has been created around a fantasy Sedona inhabited by A-list movie and TV stars, athletes and politicians. “That’s Madonna’s house over there,” says a lady Jeep tour driver with a straight face. “Sharon Stone lives on the next block. Al Pacino’s mansion is just down this street and to the left.”
The truth: A lady named Sharon Stone sells real estate in Sedona. So does a gentleman named Randy Moss (who never played tight end for the Raiders). At the moment, there are no celebrities living in Sedona. Actress Diane Lane keeps a second home in the city, population about 8,000. A certain Republican senator named John McCain sometimes stays at his ranch in Page Springs, about 10 miles from Sedona’s western outskirts.
And that’s it. Only a couple of celebrities lived here full-time in recent years — the beloved actor and song-and-dance man Donald O’Connor and actress Sean Young. O’Connor died in 2003 at the age of 78, and is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood. Ms. Young, who has appeared in many films including “Blade Runner” and “No Way Out,” her two most famous roles, moved back to Los Angeles a few years ago.
Ann Miller, the raven-haired, leggy dancer whose tap-dancing skills won her stardom during the golden age of movie musicals, kept a second home in Sedona. She was often seen at local restaurants, although her main residence was in Beverly Hills. She died there in 2004.
Actor Nicolas Cage loves Sedona and often came here with his (now) ex-wife, Lisa Marie Presley, a few years ago. He wanted to have a home here and was even in escrow for a place in an exclusive subdivision near the town’s tiny airport. He dropped out of escrow, so the story goes, because he wanted to own the airspace above his home and it wasn’t for sale.
But because there is usually a high BSQ (B.S. Quotient) in tourist towns, not only to lure the tourists but to make them think they might bump into somebody famous while sipping a $5 cup of coffee at Starbucks, the nonsense continues unabated. It’s true that many famous folks pass through Sedona because they, like us ordinary humans, love looking at jaw-dropping scenery.
At the beautiful Enchantment Resort, employees must sign an agreement that they will never reveal the names of famous people who stay at this posh retreat (its Mii Amo Spa costs around $1,000 a day). So…don’t ask, and I won’t tell!
Actress Jane Russell used to live in Sedona and ran a nightclub called Dude’s. Orson Welles rented a house here for his wife and daughter and often visited, once had to be rescued during a major flood in the Seventies. Lucille Ball never lived in Sedona, nor did Walt Disney despite persistent rumors. Bob Dylan has passed through, and Johnny Depp, and Mike Tyson, and Muhammad Ali, and Regis Philbin, and Martha Stewart, and…and…
And, yes, Oprah! In the summer of ’06 she visited our local health food store during one of her cross-country tours, told a friend of mine, “There’s nowhere to eat in this town!” and bought a bunch of fresh organic vegetables.
And that’s the truth. If you really want to find truth in Sedona, take a hike. It has some of the best hiking trails on the planet. You might even meet me on a trail someday. I’ll be happy to give you an autograph.
About the Author
Learn more about beautiful Sedona, Arizona and its lively cultural, artistic and political scene at our blog. Also enjoy some unique insights on important issues of the day by Liberty and Marv Lincoln. Marv’s writings have been published in many national periodicals, including Newsweek and more. Visit www.sedonapr.com for details.