Amid COVID Reopening, Take Northern California Road Trip

By Rachel Schnalzer
Design and illustrations by Jade Cuevas

Hello, dear escapees. We are officially in an almost complete phase reopened California, with masks now optional in many public places.

While the reopening is good news for many travelers, others may be alarmed. That’s why, in this edition of Escapes, you’ll find outdoor adventures to consider if you’re planning a road trip north through San Luis Obispo or even as far as Shasta County. You’ll also see Alaska cruises and museum tours to consider if you feel comfortable embarking on pre-pandemic travel.

Where are you traveling this summer? Like always, leave me a note and I will include your destination in an edition of Escapes.

🏞️ Go on a waterfall road trip in Northern California

After moving west, I was dismayed when I walked to my first Southern California waterfall, which was just a trickle during the 2015 drought. Those feelings disappeared, at least temporarily, a few months later when I first laid eyes on the mighty Burney Falls in Northern California.

Travel writer Christopher Reynolds included McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park on his list of 40 best outdoor experiences in California. The 129-foot falls are 65 miles northeast of Redding and are a short walk from a nearby parking lot. If you’re looking to scratch your waterfall itch more, Reynolds recommends walking 45 miles northwest to McCloud Falls, a series of three waterfalls in Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Bring your walking shoes – it’s a seven mile round trip hike to see these falls.

Burney Falls is one of the best outdoor experiences in California.

(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

🚢 Cruise season is back in Alaska

A few weeks ago, I included a story from Times contributor David Swanson explaining that the Alaskan cruise season appeared to be canceled for a second summer. But good news for all those who like cruises: new legislation signed at the end of May allows large ships to navigate the Alaska Inside Passage.

Swanson reports that seven cruise lines say they will be making the round trip from Seattle this summer. Celebrity Cruises will begin the season on July 23, offering nine seven-day crossings to Ketchikan, Juneau, Endicott Arm and Skagway or Icy Strait Point.

As we noted in a previous edition of Escapes, there are plenty of non-cruise Alaskan adventures to be experienced. From exploring Denali National Park to riding the rails around Alaska, here’s how to experience the state without boarding a cruise ship.

Two glacier hikers stand on the Mendenhall Glacier in Southeast Alaska.

Glacier hike on the Mendenhall Glacier in Southeast Alaska.

(David Swanson)

💌 Read the “love notes” in SLO

If you’re passing through San Luis Obispo on your next road trip, take a minute to explore the city‘s Plaza Pop-Ups, next to the mission. Each month a different pop-up will be installed, intended to “create happiness, hope and love for San Luis Obispo on the part of residents and visitors,” according to the city’s website.

Over 150 community members created the June “Love Notes” in coordination with the Pride and Diversity Center Gala. Visitors can browse the installation’s series of wooden frames containing messages from the community.

You can find more information about the monthly art installations of San Luis Obispo on the website. And while you’re in the square, take a short walk to spot one of the “Trees of the moon”.

illustration of love letters in sealed envelopes with a heart.

(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

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🏛️ The new goal of the USC Pacific Asia Museum: decolonization

Last fall, the USC Asia Pacific Museum in Pasadena announced a new initiative to “deconstruct Orientalism through the management of collections, exhibitions and programming”, according to the director of the Bethany Montagano museum.

Montagano recently spoke to Times contributor Scarlet Cheng about the recently reopened museum’s efforts to rethink and reprogram its collections. Academics and community advisers are working alongside curator Rebecca Hall to examine whether inherent biases have had an impact on how the museum’s collection of 15,000 objects is classified.

The museum also studies the history of the origin of its objects and how they were acquired. As Cheng reports, many Asian antiques were either stolen from original sites or taken before antiques laws were enacted or enforced.

The Pacific Asia Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets cost $ 10; $ 7 for students with a valid ID and people aged 65 and over. Admission is free for children 17 and under.

A worker removes plywood from the front windows of USC's Pacific Asia Museum.

The recently reopened USC Pacific Asia Museum is working to examine whether inherent biases have had an impact on how the museum’s collection of 15,000 objects is classified.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

What i read

  • Should we be worried about ticks on southern California beaches? Travel writer Christopher Reynolds and travel editor assistant Mary Forgione offer advice.
  • Redwoods meet lesser-known California vineyards Anderson Valley Wine Region, writes Annie Fitzsimmons in Afar.
  • Las Vegas is betting on the return of players and tourists. But will jobs come back? Times national correspondent Kurtis Lee reports on hospitality workers wondering if they will ever make up for their losses.
  • Want to free hosting when we travel? Try to keep the house, suggests Kathy Kristof of in The Times.
  • the The Caribbean is calling, writes Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon in Travel + Leisure. It offers inspiration and information to travelers who aspire to vacation on the island.
  • Flying for the first time in a long time? Times contributor and former travel editor Catharine Hamm reports on some traps to know.
  • the tallest railway in the United States reopened, reports Chadner Navarro in Condé Nast Traveler.
Photo illustration of ticks on a beach ball and a bottle of sunscreen, with palm trees.

(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

Can’t venture to IRL? Here’s a way to broaden your horizons

Ride the tracks of Norway’s famous (and steep) Flam train line with this virtual experience created by Expedia.

By using your mouse to rotate the experience 360 ​​degrees, you will enjoy stunning views of Hardangervidda National Park, Flamsdalen Valley and Rjoandefossen Waterfall.

Photo of the week

A surfer coming out of the water and a dog on the beach at dusk.

A surfer ends a day in the water as a dog wanders the beach.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Song of the road

“Take the boys and girls to the beaches.”

A summer of splashing in the waves and dancing in the sand is upon us, thanks to Lorde’s new single, “Solar energy.” Hope you also have a beach adventure in your future.

Illustration of the sun and sun rays

Listen to Lorde’s “Solar Power” to energize yourself this reopening week.

(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

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