Road Trippin Adventure Part VI: San Diego

Warning: if you’re going to drive from Yosemite to San Diego in one day it is a looong drive! (around 8 hours). Part of the fun of this drive though was discovering small places along the way, such as the Sun Maid headquarters in Kingsbury -an ideal stop for road trip snacks!

Outdoor Adventure Travel - Road Trip

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Road Trippin Adventure Part V: Yosemite National Park

On the road again, and the first thing I have to note about the drive from Tahoe to Yosemite is; wow! what a ride! The fall scenery was a riot of reds, oranges and yellows and we couldn’t resist stopping a few times to get the camera out.

If outdoor adventure travel is your scene, then you’re in the right area. Lakes and national forests dot the landscape so you are sure to find something to keep you occupied.

Outdoor Adventure Travel - Road to Yosemite

On the road again...

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Road Trippin Adventure Part IV: South Lake Tahoe

We arrive in Tahoe in the late afternoon, it’s a hot day for October so we decide to hit the lake right away. This place, I decide, is the ideal location for outdoor adventure travel.

Sth Lake Tahoe: An Outdoor Adventure Travel destination

Tahoe is an outdoorsy kind of place; lake activities, camping and trails to hike in the summer and a ski-resort town in the winter. The scenery is beautiful and the town is very laid back.

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Road Trippin Travel Adventure Part 3; Sacramento

So, here we are on the great California road trip, a state rich with sites for outdoor adventure travel.

Having finally escaped the rush hour San Francisco traffic, we headed for our next destination; Sacramento.

Outdoor Adventure Travel - Sacramento

Capitol Building Sacramento

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Road Trippin Adventure Part II: San Francisco

Alright; budget sorted, car collected and we have ignition. The great California girls’ road trip is officially underway and we’re gearing up for some great outdoor adventure travel.

First stop (and a great place to start our trip); San Francisco. Staying at the HI Hostel Fisherman’s Wharf was interesting – it’s located in the old barracks at Fort Mason and overlooks the harbor for stunning  views of Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and of course the wharf.

If you’re into fitness, this is a great area to stay. You can run along the waterfront and there are stations with exercise equipment for public use (hey, you’ve got to make up for that time sitting in the car!).

Outdoor Adventure Travel - Road Trip Highlights

Palace of Fine Arts - Getting in a good walk from Fort Mason!

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Road Trippin Travel Adventure Part I: The Budget

Road trip! Outdoor adventure travel can have that added touch of excitement when you have to drive over miles of unfamiliar territory to get there.

A friend and I decided to do as much of California as we could in ten days by road. While suffering the Thelma and Louise jokes of some of our friends, we started on a journey that would take us from San Francisco to Sacramento, to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, San Diego and finally to Los Angeles.

Outdoor Adventure Travel - Golden Gate

Sunset in San Francisco

So, challenge #1; driving on the right hand-side of the road when we come from a left-hand driving country! (and who gets to go at a four way stop?!). Short of drawing a big ‘R’ on our right hands, not driving while too tired and repeating the mantra ‘stay right’ seems to work…

Challenge #2; navigating! We opted not to pay a daily hire charge on a GPS unit as we wanted to do the whole trip as low-cost as possible. Getting a local SIM card and making sure you’re on a plan with data did the trick in terms of being able to use map apps on the smartphone.

Challenge #3; did I mention we were doing this on the cheap? We set an ambitious budget prior to the trip that we didn’t want to spend any more than $30 each per day on accommodation and no more than $15 each per day on food. We managed to get a good deal on a rental car (about $36 per day including insurance – and yes, it was a 2012 model), and the car was economical on gas – it cost us about $70 to fill the tank and we only had to do this 3 1/2 times over the whole trip.

In terms of our food and accommodation budgets, we actually did well, managing to come in under or on budget for every night’s accommodation (we’re talking hostels, a motel and a tent cabin). With our powers combined, $30 on food actually went quite far. Buy groceries, including road trip snacks and you don’t need to eat out so much. And, where we had saved on accommodation, we could spend a little more on food (farmer’s markets are also great for good, fresh food at decent prices).

Outdoor Adventure Travel - Tent Cabin

Tent Cabin in Yosemite - Tidy on the budget!

Do you travel on a budget? What tips do you have for the outdoor adventure traveler living on the cheap?

 

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Remember the Days of School Camp? Relive the Adventure!

I’m writing this as I sit in a hotel lobby in Kuala Lumpur, having recently returned from some great outdoor adventure travel experiences near Pangkor, about 4 1/2 hours drive north of KL.

We stayed at Swiss Gardens Resort and, being a lover of adventure activities, this place was gold. One of the aspects that I really enjoyed about this place was that it offered activities that took me back to the days of going on school camp. (Hey, it wasn’t everybody’s thing but I loved camp!).

Within the first day, here are some of the activities I partook of;

Getting my ‘Hunger Games’ on with some archery (may have been a bit off-target at times but absolutely killed the wall!).

The adventurous life - archery

That wall sure was dead!

Channeling Pocahontas with some kayaking (the sea here was very calm and warm, but there are a lot of jellyfish around at the moment).

The Adventurous Life - kayaking

Two-person sea kayak

 And, (having run out of movie-themed similes) swimming and hiking.

Hey, you don’t really have to travel far from home to try these kind of activities. Did you enjoy your school camp days? Are you looking for more adventure in life? Check out what you have available locally and give a new activity a go or relive the adventures you enjoyed in school.

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Mosquitoes – A hazard of Outdoor Adventure Travel

Living the adventure life to me means getting outdoors as frequently as possible and outdoor adventure travel in many different regions of the world. However, one part of the outdoors I’m not so fond of is the tendency to be attacked by ravenous mosquitoes.

I’m not sure if I’m particularly tasty to them, but mosquitoes seem to view me as fresh meat and if I’m not careful, I end up covered in bites. To make it worse, my skin reacts badly to bites and I am overly sensitive to many of the repellent products out there.

Because of this, I have spent a bit of time looking into what kind of natural remedies are out there that may be a bit gentler on the skin.

Here are a few suggestions (some stinkier that others!);

  1. Various essential oils such as citronella, geranium and clove oil are said to protect against mosquitoes. It is not recommended to put these undiluted directly onto your skin.
  2. Vitamin B consumption had been thought to help, although there are varying studies on this – some agree, some do not.
  3. Garlic consumption has been associated with mosquito protection. Studies found that subjects would need to consume a fair amount of garlic to be effective however – optional if you want that on your breath!
  4. Wear shirts with long sleeves and long trousers (avoid dark clothing as it is known to attract mosquitoes).
  5. Light a candle or fire; mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide so if you have something nearby giving off more carbon dioxide than you, they are less able to detect you.
  6. Avoid wearing floral or fruity fragrances.
  7. Consider mosquito nets while sleeping (or keep one of the Para’Kito clips mentioned below nearby).
  8.  Para’Kito mosquito protection bands and clips work with a combination of 7 different essential oils and don’t touch the skin. The combination of oils confuses the mosquito so that they have difficulty detecting the presence of humans.

I tried the Para’Kito product while in the Amazon last year (combined with a small amount of insect repellent, not taking any chances with Amazon mosquitoes!). I (and my skin) loved the bands and I have recently got them on the store of this site. Another great thing about them is they are waterproof so you can wear swimming or in the rain.

Check out this video and my store page if you want to know more information;

Disclaimer: Obviously I do have an interest in telling you about the Para’Kito products although I do highly recommend them from personal use. I suggest figuring out what works for you and not taking any risks with regard to protection in areas of infectious disease.

Do you have any tips or suggestions for mosquito protection that have worked for you? Please comment below…

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Vegas Extreme Part III: The Artist

You may already have an adventurous life but have you ever considered donating all you have to charity then trying to make a living on the road?

One of the things I love about being a traveler is the interesting people you meet along the way. Joel Cocciolone is a fairly unassuming guy and a very interesting character. We met him on the Strip as we spotted him sitting away to the side painting and Susie wanted to buy some unique art.

As Joel worked on Susie’s picture, we got talking. It turns out that, a small while ago, Joel owned a busy restaurant in Florida. Growing tired of the restaurant business, he decided to sell up, donating all proceeds to charity (bar a small amount for supplies), and hit the road, traveling across the US to see whether he could fund his travel and living costs with art.

Outdoor Adventure Travel; The Artist

Joel; painting on Las Vegas Strip

Joel described it as a bit of a social experiment really, but he says that so far he’s met a lot of great people. There are the not-so great as well, and we saw one or two as we spoke. People who pay so little attention to what is happening around them that they don’t seem to realize when they are trampling over his artwork. A reminder to tread a bit more gently on this earth as you go?

Joel’s experiences are being filmed for a documentary to be released in the near future. If you want to follow his journey, check out his blog at artandhotdogs.blogs.com.

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Vegas Exteme Part II; X Scream!

If you’re looking for an adrenalin activity to spice up your day in Las Vegas, check out the Stratosphere tower.

On the roof area they have some of the world’s highest amusement rides including the one I tried, X Scream. Check it out… (cue the dramatic music).

While this is an urban form of outdoor adventure travel, it will spike your adrenalin and hey, you get to hang over a 900ft drop! X Scream hurtles over the side of the building at speeds of up to 30mph, giving the sensation that you are about to plummet from the edge.

Admittedly, I had done the Skyjump (seen in my last post) before hitting this ride so it wasn’t as great a buzz as the jump. That’s me sitting in the back, right in the video – I think for maximum effect on this try to get a seat up front!

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