Picture This: White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument
Talk about social distancing!

White Sands National Monument in New Mexico is a blinding alien landscape with giant shifting dunes of pure white gypsum… CONTINUE READING >>

Talk about social distancing!

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument in New Mexico is a blinding alien landscape with giant shifting dunes of pure white gypsum sand.

A unique dry lake bed forms a never ending supply of the snowy mineral that blows across the barren landscape.

White Sands National Monument

Normally the gypsum would dissolve in the rain, but rain nearly never falls in this desert, so the giant sandbox continues to grow and grow.

Lone tree at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico
We loved this lone tree; we’re always amazed when life finds a way to flourish.

See more about this area of New Mexico

White Sands National Monument

A shocking situation at White Sands National Park
They weren’t kidding, it was quite the shocking situation!

Funny sign at White Sands National Monument

Most of the wildlife — lizards, mice, rabbits and foxes — that inhabit this peculiar environment have adapted, becoming white to blend in with the surrounding sand for protection.

However, according to one of the park signs, these little guys still end up as tasty little dishes of fast food. Call us wacky, but that seems like the sign might be just a tad disturbing to the kiddies.

Good thing ours are all grown up.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

See more about this area of New Mexico

Our Favorite Great American Road Trips

All of these extraordinary expeditions offer the opportunity to see the USA while still maintaining safe social distancing. Looks like that will be the way to travel in 2020.
We all recall those glorious days of yesteryear with the station wagon packed to the gills, miles of billboard bingo, and endless Are we there yet?s.
Whether we were the kids, or when we had the kids, those memories are an indelible part of our American summers. Guess what? Those intrepid explorations don’t have to end just because the offspring have moved out… CONTINUE READING >>

All of these extraordinary expeditions offer the opportunity to see the USA while still maintaining safe social distancing. Looks like that will be the way to travel in 2020.

David at the helm of BAMF! GypsyNester.com
Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime.

We all recall those glorious days of yesteryear with the station wagon packed to the gills, miles and miles of billboard bingo, and endless asking Are we there yet?

Whether we are thinking back to when we were the kids, or when we had the kids, those memories are an indelible part of our American summer traditions.

Guess what? Those intrepid explorations don’t have to end just because the offspring have moved out.

The road trip can be accomplished in a two seater just as well as a minivan! Or, for the truly daring, we could strap the grandkids in their car seats and set out for some high adventure.

Here are our favorite ways to see USA in your Chevrolet:

Driving through the Redwood Forest in California… and the Pacific Coast Highway

Hiking through the Redwood Forest of California! GypsyNester.com
Giant raindrops and David the Tree Model

Highway 101 through Northern California is known as the Redwood Highway.

Bucket list item: The Great American Road Trip! Here's our eight fave to choose from!

The road feels like a trip through time as it connects all of the state and national parks that have groves of the humongous trees.

Mature coastal redwoods average over five hundred years old, and a few are documented to have lived over two thousand years.

They are among the longest-living organisms on earth and the forests have a dreamlike prehistoric feel.

Inside Humboldt Redwoods State Park the road divides, with the old highway, known as The Avenue of The Giants, meandering into the woods.

This is a road like no other, where bright sunny days turn to twilight as the trees envelope the road. Once a stagecoach road to Oregon, later a US highway, now a national treasure, the narrow blacktop winds through the trees where the trunks sometime stand just inches from the pavement.

Check out the Redwood Highway

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur – Check out our full drive down Big Sur – spectacular!

See all of our adventures along the California Coast!

Alaska’s Seward Highway is unbelievably beautiful – and the wildlife…

Glaciers at the top of the Alyeska Aerial Tram in Girdwood, Alaska

It is no wonder that the 127 miles of blacktop of the Seward Highway from Anchorage to Resurrection Bay along the incredibly picturesque Kenai Peninsula has been named a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road.

A bull moose swims at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Wait. Moose can swim?

Beginning along the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, where some of the largest tides in the world provide ever changing vistas of ocean and mud flats, and continuing through mountains, glaciers, rivers, that define the Last Frontier, the Seward Highway captures Alaska in a nutshell.

This is a scenic wonderland where the deer and the antelope play, or we should say the moose and the mountain goats… and the bears, and eagles, and rams, and seahawks, and dolphins, and… wait, those are all football teams, but they do actually live there too.

Check out the Seward Highway

A bear at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

See all of our adventures in Alaska!

There’s nothing more American than Route 66!

Route 66 ends at the Santa Monica Pier
Route 66 ends at the Santa Monica Pier

From the pier in Santa Monica to the Windy City, America’s favorite cross country highway has become the stuff of legends.

It’s a journey where simply standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona can be immortalized.

Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona
The Petrified Forest in Arizona

Veronica bikes the Grand Canyon! GypsyNester.com
We did the Grand Canyon three ways – by mule, helicopter & bike!

Natural wonders abound, with ancient, petrified forests and massive canyons just around the bend.

Or, if you love the goofy stuff as much as we’d do, the unnatural attractions of Route 66 have a lot to offer.

Sites like the World’s Largest Rocking Chair and a giant oil rig worker known as the Golden Driller abound, and there’s a good chance there’s a stretch of 66 near your hometown!

Check out all of our sightings on Route 66

For roadtrips, it’s hard to beat tooling around the American Southwest!

History and music fans dream trip – the Mississippi Blues Trail!

Gateway to the Blues

The blues had a baby and they named it Rock & Roll.

That kid had cousins in The Magnolia State, with names like Country, Pop, Rap, R&B and Soul.

The delta region of Mississippi was the cradle for all of those babies.

Why not take a little trip down the Mississippi Blues Trail, to see what rocked that cradle?

The Shack Up Inn, Clarksdale Mississippi

The “Trail” is not an actual path or route, but a collection of about 120 markers, like those historical marker signs we see in most every state, that highlight significant places and people in the history of the Blues.

Along the way, stay in at an inn created from sharecropper shacks and visit the last of the authentic Juke Joints.

While discovering the roots of American music down home food is easy to find at almost any crossroads too, no deals with the devil required.

Check out the Mississippi Blues Trail

See all of our adventures in Mississippi!

The Great River Road in Illinois is a blast!

Biking along the Mississippi River in Quincy

The John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

The Great River Road National Scenic Byway follows the banks of the Mississippi River from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

The scenic route stretches over 3,000 miles across ten states, but we chose to focus on the section through Illinois where we found the home of John Deere tractors, Ulysses S. Grant, Illinois’ Biggest Biker Bar (you’ll never believe what it’s called!), the oldest vineyard in the Land of Lincoln, and the self proclaimed “Nutroll Nazi” of Quincy.

Check out the Great River Road

See all of our adventures in Illinois!

Traveling the route of the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery was a very emotional experience for us

Foot Soldier Tribute

While Birmingham was not part of this particular protest, it makes a perfect starting point.

The Civil Rights Institute, the 16th Street Baptist Church, and Kelly Ingram Park’s Freedom Walk are all on different sides of the intersection of 6th Avenue and 16th Street.

Moving on to Montgomery, we visited The Rosa Parks Library and Museum, The Southern Poverty Law Center, and The Civil Rights Memorial Center before retracing the path along Highway 80 of the March from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights.

The Civil Rights Memorial

When Dr. King led the marchers in 1965 it took four days to travel the fifty miles, the road trip can be covered in a about an hour, but the impact could last a lifetime.

See more about our Civil Rights road trip

See all of our adventures in Alabama!

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the Summertime? Bliss…

Known us the U. P., the Upper Peninsula of the Wolverine State is truly one of a kind.

The two peninsulas of the Wolverine State are linked by the magnificent Mackinac Bridge

The individualist inhabitants are known as Yoopers and are scattered from the Porcupine Mountains near the Wisconsin border to the magnificent Mackinac (pronounced Mack-in-naw) Bridge that crosses over the straits between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Along Michigan 185 on Mackinac Island, the only the highway that doesn't allow cars

Folks rely on horse drawn carriages to get around on Mackinac Island in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!

Follow the coast of Lake Superior to Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, then on to Tahquamenon Falls, Whitefish Bay and the rushing rapids of Sault Ste. Marie.

Make sure to stop off for a pasty – the meat, potato, and rutabaga turnovers that are a staple of the Yooper diet.

Head south from there and leave the car behind for a visit to quaint and quirky Mackinac Island, where folks rely on horse drawn carriages and bicycles to get from point A to point B, since motorized vehicles have been banned since 1898.

Check out the Upper Peninsula

See all of our adventures in Michigan!

Highway 1 through the Florida Keys – stunning!

US Highway 1 in Florida

One of the greatest drives in America has to be the trip down U.S. Highway 1 to Key West.

Originally built as The Overseas Railroad, a hurricane in 1935 trashed it so badly that it was sold to the state and refurbished as a highway.

The run can be done in a few hours, but we strongly suggest making the trip on island time and let the hours become days.

Start by searching for Skunk Ape in the amazing Everglades, or visiting the incredible Coral Castle in Homestead.

Edward Leedskalnin's Coral Castle

Then, after an encounter with Florida’s version of Bigfoot or some gravity defying stonework, mosey on down through Key Largo, Marathon, across the Seven Mile Bridge, and finally into Key West, the southernmost point of the fifty states and unofficial capital of the Conch Republic.

Check out US Highway 1

Key West

See all of our adventures in Florida!

Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime.

Here’s to a great one!

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

See all of our adventures in the USA!

YOUR TURN: Have we inspired you to take a road trip? Where do you want to go next? Did we miss any you’d like to share?

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Sir, Yes Sur! Driving the California Coast

Continuing with our look at destinations that can be visited while maintaining social distance as restrictions are being lifted around the country, we look back at one of the world’s most beautiful drives.
The images look unbelievable, but they are real and they are spectacular. This is Big Sur. Waves crashing against the craggy coast, mist drifting up mountains that rise abruptly from the sea, and bridges impossibly clinging to cliffs made for a perfect day trip ending with elephant seals… CONTINUE READING >> 

Continuing with our look at destinations that can be visited while maintaining social distance as restrictions are being lifted around the country, we look back at one of the world’s most beautiful drives.

Waves crashing against the craggy coast, mist drifting up mountains that rise abruptly from the sea, bridges impossibly clinging to cliffs — we’d seen the iconic photos of the California shore along the Pacific Coast Highway.

The images look unbelievable, but they are real and they are spectacular.

This is Big Sur.

The name Big Sur dates back to the Spanish explorers who dubbed this area El Sur Grande” meaning The Big South.

Sounds a little like a college football conference but really, this land IS big, sir.

This region has no official borders but is loosely considered the column of coast flanked by mountaintops and ocean that meanders between Carmel and San Simeon.

Running about ninety miles, it seems custom-made for a great day’s drive. Easy, even when including stops for sightseeing and sustenance.

For most of the trip we were within sight of the ocean and often looking straight down on it.

It can make a body queasy.

The Pacific Coast Highway, California State Highway 1, is a remarkable piece of road, and  it is a good idea to keep your vehicle in top condition.

Thirty-three bridges connect one wickedly winding section of cliff-clinging roadway to the next.

It’s slow going and imperative to keep the old eyeballs glued to the blacktop — hard to do considering the magnificent vista viewing opportunities.

More than once Veronica gave me a gentle reminder that certain death may be impending if I didn’t focus…

OK, some not so gentle, depending on how many wheels were hanging over the edge of the cliff.

Construction of the road through Big Sur was completed in 1937 after eighteen years of work. Prior to that this was one of America’s most inaccessible areas — even now only about a thousand people live in the region.

The surprising lack of development is due not only to the difficult terrain, but also the incessant efforts of the inhabitants fighting to preserve this pristine place.

Monterey County has banned billboards along Highway 1 and has adopted some of the strictest land use policies in America — disallowing any new construction within view of the highway.

Believe me, the unobstructed view makes a huge difference.

These policies have kept Big Sur remarkably rustic.

There are no high-rise hotels, no fast food franchises, no supermarkets — or even towns to speak of — and only three gas stations along the way.

Most of the few lodging and dining options available are in Big Sur River Valley, where the road leaves the coast and enters a redwood forest for a bit.

When we stopped for a bite and a break we discovered that Big Sur is partially inhabited by a species I hadn’t encountered since my days in the Colorado Rockies back in the seventies.

Back woods, off the grid — part Grizzly Adams, part hippy, completely fascinating. Very friendly, very groovy and unafraid to train a wolf or half-wolf as a pet. Back in the day we called them mountain goats, not sure what they’re called in these parts, perhaps “Big Sirs.”

Whatever they go by, it was wonderful to make the reacquaintance.

About halfway down is Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

We parked next to McWay Creek and took the short hike to McWay Cove where the creek drops eighty feet over the edge into the ocean as McWay Falls.

We quickly learned why the trail to the falls was called Overlook Trail — the untouched little cove is wisely protected from large, clumsy tourist feet and we had to be satisfied with looking down upon it.

Nevertheless, this is a must-see spot along the McWay.

As we wound our way south, the scenery became slightly less spectacular and more and more surfer-dude-in-search-of-the-gnarly-wave.

Little did we know, we were in for a BIG surprise.

We rounded a corner and out of the blue were saw hundreds — if not thousands — of ginormous elephant seals lazily lounging in the afternoon sun.

Piles upon piles of blubbered bodies basking on the beach by Piedras Blancas.

We slammed on the brakes and wheeled off the highway into the parking area for a closer look.

The elephant seal had all but disappeared by the early 1900s due to excessive hunting.

Then, all of the sudden, in November of 1990 about twenty of the giants unexpectedly showed up in this small cove.

We’re ba-ack!

The population dramatically grew and by 1996 this beach became the birthing place, or rookery, for over a thousand new pups.

Through the efforts of The Friends of the Seals Central Coast, parking and viewing areas were constructed for the safety of both the seals and the spectators.

Members of The Friends man the viewing area to answer questions and make sure that nobody does anything profoundly stupid like go in for a close up look at a five thousand pound bull.

The elephant seal warning sign near Piedras Blancas, Big Sur, California

Different seasons bring different activities for the seals.

In the winter the females birth the pups, wean them and prepare themselves for breeding.

Meanwhile, the males stake out territory for their harems, defending or invading with extraordinary jousting battles.

It’s quite a spectacle, with a dose of gross.

Proboscises and slobber fly as the giant bulls bash their calloused necks against each other in an effort to drive away their rivals.

These bad boys really know how to throw their weight around. The winner gets the babes, the loser tries another foe or gives up and has to watch the procreation from afar.

Pretty strong motivation to win.

When springtime arrives, the adults skedaddle and the pups are left to fend for themselves.

No boomerang pups in elephant seal land. The pups seem quite adept at learning to swim on their own when the time comes to go off into the big wide world.

Watch: A one day-old baby seal hangs with his mommy, while the big boys fight for territory!

Over the summer, everybody returns to molt before heading back out to sea to stuff their faces and make more blubber.

The fall brings the juveniles, too young to breed, in for a rest before they have to clear the beach for the next round of birthing, battling and baby-making.

We were lucky enough on our visit to see the first pup of the season — just a few hours old.

Veronica’s mommy instinct kicked into high gear and proclaimed him “tiny and cute.” I suppose he was tiny compared to his blubbery beach mates, but he already weighed in at about seventy pounds.

Cute, I’ll give him — all babies are cute. It’s a survival mechanism, this way you love them even when they keep you up all night.

Have to say, it works like a charm.

As daylight waned, we completed our journey through Big Sur by making our way to Morro Bay, the nearest town of any size, in search of a place to sleep for the night.

The city is dominated by a 581-foot ginormous volcanic plug perched out in the bay… ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear it for the Gibraltar of the Pacific… Morro Rock!

Named and charted by the Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542, stories vary on whether he meant morro, a crown shaped rock or moro, a Moor’s head when he dubbed the protrusion.

Noggin or knob, it still made a bodacious backdrop for the sunset of an exhilarating day through Big Sur.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

See all of our adventures in California!

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Solemnly Cycling Along Omaha Beach

As a commemoration of the anniversary of D-Day we are honored to take look back at our visit to Omaha Beach last year.
There might be no better way to experience Omaha Beach in Normandy than to glide silently along the several miles of this unparalleled piece of history on two wheels…. CONTINUE READING >> 

As a commemoration of the anniversary of D-Day we are honored to take look back at our visit to Omaha Beach last year.

We are fully convinced that bicycles are the best way to see most places up close while traveling. We can cover many times more ground than on foot, and those feet don’t hurt at the end of the day.

However, if we needed some reinforcement for that point of view, there might be none better than the day we spent riding along Omaha Beach in Normandy. For us there is simply no better way to have experienced this unparalleled piece of history than to glide silently along its several miles of waterfront on two wheels.

We began at one of the surviving German bunkers, where the Fifth Engineer Special Brigade Memorial stands overlooking the landing site of the Allied troops.

The feeling here is beyond profound. Gazing out over the English Channel, the power of that historic campaign was fully overwhelming. It was not difficult to picture the armada of ships dotting the horizon, but almost impossible to imagine the chaos and turmoil of the human onslaught while the liberators came onshore.

It took several minutes before anyone in our group was even able to speak.

When we went inside of the bunker and looked through the narrow slits designed to allow for outgoing gunfire, we could only think that the positioning of the bunkers made it hard to believe any allied forces ever made it off of the beach.

Just above the bunkers, the Monument to the First Infantry Division commemorates the six hundred and twenty seven members of the Big Red One’s that died freeing France in June of 1944.

From there we made our way back up to the top of the bluff where The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is located. Here the graves of 9,385 soldiers, almost all casualties of D-Day or soon after, spread out over one hundred and seventy acres.

If we thought that we were emotional before, this took us well beyond any feelings we had ever experienced. To gather ourselves we took a few minutes to meditate at the reflecting pool in front of the colonnade.

Along this columned walkway there are maps detailing the military operations, a bronze statue entitled Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves, and the Wall of the Missing. The wall, inscribed with over fifteen hundred names, serves as a solemn reminder of those who were lost in action.

Moving into the cemetery, we spent a while walking among and gazing across the seemingly endless rows of stark white markers, taking in as many of the names as we could, before finally deciding to move on for a look at the rest of the beach.

Mounting our bikes we rode off in silence. The pathway took us directly alongside the sand, with the sea on our right and bluffs dotted with overgrown pillboxes left from Germany’s Atlantic Wall looming above us on our left.

After a mile or so we spotted the sculpture Les Braves rising from the water’s edge. Dedicated in 2004 for the 60th anniversary of D-Day, the thirty foot center pillars called Rise, Freedom! stand majestically between The Wings of Fraternity and The Wings of Hope, all formed from gleaming stainless steel.

It is an awesome work of art, designed by Anilore Banon to move in and out of the water with the tide and her words describing it are much better than anything we could possibly say:

The Wings of Hope -So that the spirit which carried these men on 6th June 1944, continues to inspire us, reminding us that together it is always possible to change the future.

Rise Freedom! – So that the example of those who rose up against barbarity, helps us remain standing strong against all forms on inhumanity.

The Wings of Fraternity – So that the surge of brotherhood always reminds of our responsibility towards others as well as ourselves. On 6th June 1944, these men were more than soldiers, they were our brothers.” – Anilore Banon.

Slightly inland from Les Braves is another poignant piece of artwork. Yannec Tomada’s Ever Forward is a statue of a running soldier carrying a wounded comrade up from the water. The work conveys the human struggle of that fateful day with gripping realism.

Once again, the artist’s words serve to explain much better than we ever could:

“In commemoration of the determined effort by the soldiers of the 29th Division’s 116th Infantry Regimental Combat Team who landed the morning of June 6, 1944 on this section of Omaha Beach, known as Exit D-1, to open the Vierville Draw behind you to begin the liberation of Europe.”

This was another spot that held us for quite some time, unable to move away, but as we finally rode away from the sea it occurred to us that bicycles were a very good way to move about this countryside.

Later we learned that some of the Allied troops had used bicycles on D-Day.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

A big thank you to Backroads Travel  for providing this adventure, as always, all opinions are our own.

Bring on Balboa Island

With restrictions being lifted around the country we have decided to take a look back at some destinations that can be reached easily without needing to get on an airplane. I’m sure quite a few of us are not ready to make that jump just yet. Our first stop is Balboa Island in Southern California… CONTINUE READING >> 

It’s not often that we stumble upon a place that we have never heard of, but that was the case a few weeks ago when we met up with our son in Orange County California.

When seeking something to while away an afternoon we spotted a dot on the map in the middle of Newport Bay and, on closer inspection, we discovered the little landmass had a name, Balboa Island.

With our curiosity piqued, we headed over and began with an introduction at the Museum and Historical Society where we got the full scoop on the island’s origins and a peek at the inside of one of its famous cottages.

Balboa sprung forth from the minds of a pair of brothers, James and Bob McFadden, and a good bit of dredging. Back in the late 1860s the boys began to dig out the bay to facilitate shipping that they hoped would lead to a fortune. In the process, they piled all of the dredged up silt into a new parcel of terra firma.

In 1902 McFadden sold the Newport property to William S. Collins and C. A. Hanson and, not being ones to miss an opportunity, they immediately began to partition and sell lots. Little did they know that one day those parcels would be as valuable as almost anywhere in the world.

In fact, Balboa Island is now considered the most expensive real estate in America outside of Manhattan, with a modest two-bedroom house often going for around three million dollars. Yikes! Yes it’s all about the houses on the island.

That quickly became apparent as we walked around the quaint neighborhoods, but there is one other claim to fame here, the Balboa Bar.

While the origin is shrouded in mystery, there is no doubt that these ice cream squares coated with chocolate and dipped in sprinkles or crushed candy are the signature sweet of the island…

…unless they’re not, in which case a banana treated to the same process would be.

Either way, the treats are best procured at Dad’s Donuts or Sugar N Spice, where a long standing rivalry has raged as to who has the original and the best.

We tried both, and our opinion, not that it is expert in any way, shape, or form, is that it’s a toss-up. We found both to be A-OK.

Having had our dessert (and eaten it too) we decided to pop into Crocker’s “The Well Dressed Frank” for a main course. Backwards yes, but it felt right in keeping with our afternoon island escape. The Crocker name goes back quite a ways on the island, all the way to 1927 when grandpa was the first paid fire chief.

We must say, these were no ordinary dogs. Our Chicago Frank and Balboa Bratwurst sausages had it going on. Plump, snappy to the teeth, and deliciously piled high with toppings, we were glad we didn’t try to take them walking with us.

At the end of Marine Avenue, which serves as the main drag, we hit the bay, hung a right, and found the real top end real estate. These waterfront properties are the crème de la crème and along this stretch we found two of Balboa’s best known residences.

The first caught our attention not so much for the structure, but for the fact that a life sized likenesses of President Ronald Reagan was out front saying howdy. We soon noticed that the bronze Gipper wasn’t the only figure gazing out over the bay from the porch.

The President was flanked across the patio by an African woman sitting cross-legged in the shrubbery. We didn’t see any resemblance to the Eastern mystic, but for some reason she has become known as the Balboa Buddha.

Both are the work of the home’s resident, Miriam Baker, who has also portrayed Abraham Lincoln, Mozart, Ella Fitzgerald, and Cecile B. DeMille with stunning realism and to some acclaim. Her works are shown in the Smithsonian, several universities, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in Hollywood.

Just a few steps away we were intrigued again, this time by a house that itself is a work of art. Designed by renowned architect John Edward Lautner, this is one eye catching casa. The islanders call it the Jaws house, for the jaw-like appearance of the balcony.

Lautner’s fame as an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright helped to earn the home a spot on the National Register of Historic Places and Newport Beach’s list of historical landmarks, as well as upping the ante on the price into the 4 to 5 million range. Ouch!

High as that price tag is, there is one thing on the island that remains a real bargain, the ferry. To get the full island feel we took a little trip across the sea, well, maybe a half a mile or so, for only a buck.

The little boat can carry three cars and a dozen or so people to the mainland on Balboa Peninsula, where we were greeted by a small, and somewhat cheesy, amusement park.

But judging by the signs, what the rides lacked in size they made up for in length, as the Ferris Wheel claimed to be the world’s longest.

We didn’t stick around to find out. After all, we only had the afternoon.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com