Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, California

A lot of us still don’t get what it was that gave Ronald Reagan such a broad appeal to the American electorate, to say nothing of the adulation accorded to him by one part of that electorate. (OK, I at least don’t get it.) Maybe that means we especially need a visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. The complex houses the usual collection of presidential and official records and exhibits of Reagan memorabilia. The Ronald Reagan Library is part of the presidential libraries system administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

From Los Angeles and points south, take the 405 North to the 118 West. Exit at Madera Road South. Turn right on Madera. Proceed 3 miles to Presidential Drive. From Santa Barbara and points north, take the 101 South to the 23 North, Exit at Olsen Road. Turn right on Olsen. Proceed 2 miles to Presidential Drive. Follow Presidential Drive up the hill to the Library, follow signs for parking.

Yosemite National Park, California

According to CNN, “A massive northern California wildfire that’s threatening Yosemite National Park and San Francisco’s key water and power sources continues to grow, becoming the 13th largest in state history…”

“The Rim Fire, which has devoured 160,980 acres, has scorched an area about the size of the city of Chicago while more than 3,600 firefighters try to rein it in.”

Yosemite National Park may be the most spectacular of the national parks that preserve part of the landscape that existed before European settlement and development of theyosemite_national_park_half_dome_travel_poster-rd25974b6fb7e428daaed9f491987df40_6ik_8byvr_512 continent. As a natural preserve and natural history park, Yosemite has several major attractions: alpine wilderness, three groves of Giant Sequoias, and the glacially carved Yosemite Valley with impressive waterfalls, cliffs and unusual rock formations. Yosemite also has a living history exhibit on Native American life, the Indian Village of Ahwahnee. The Indian Museum has displays baskets, clothing, tools and jewelry along with demonstrations of beading and crafts. The Pioneer History Center (located in Wawona, 10 miles from the South Entrance Station) has historic buildings of many kinds collected from throughout the park and furnished with authentic period pieces. Let’s hope the fire is extinguished soon.

There are four entrances to the park: the south entrance on Highway 41 north from Fresno, the Arch Rock entrance on Highway 140 west from Merced, the Big Oak Flat entrance on Highway 120 west from Modesto and Manteca and the Tioga Pass entrance on Highway 120 east from Lee Vining and Highway 395. The Tioga Pass entrance is closed from the first major snowstorm in November until approximately early June due to snow. The roads entering the park on its west side are kept open all year, but may require tire chains because of snow anytime between November and April. Visitors may experience traffic delays or periods of restricted access on Highway 140 inside the park due to road construction. For this and other reasons, you might want to consider visiting Yosemite without your car. Visitors can ride YARTS buses from gateway communities outside the Park into Yosemite Valley. YARTS run buses on Highway 140, Highway 120 East, Highway 120 West, and between Wawona and Yosemite Valley.

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz is one of the most popular tourist sites of any kind in the
country. For purposes of “traveling the past,” Alcatraz is a “three-fer.”
Alcatraz was initially intended to be a fortified stronghold in San Francisco
Bay. It was, however, never very functional as a military facility. It was too
far out in the bay to be resupplied easily, and some of its military buildings
were obsolete even before they were finished. Still, Alcatraz served as a
military prison before it was a civilian one. For 34 years of course, Alcatraz
was the civilian “mother of prisons,” the maximum-security penitentiary el
supremo, theā€¦ , well, you get the point. Alcatraz may not have been too far from
land for some very strong swimmers, but currents, tides, and water temperature
of the bay made it the safest place to put the “worst of the worst.” Finally,
Alcatraz was the scene of a controversial 19-month action by an organized group
of Native Americans, who occupied the island to claim it and call attention to
the historical wrongs against their people. Oh, there’s also a fine lighthouse,
and the view alone is well worth the ferry ride.

Location Map and Directions: Click Here

Links: Alcatraz Island