Freelance Portfolio: Travel

A Dazzling Invitation to Johnnie Walker Whiskeys Opens in Edinburgh

The Johnnie Walker folks have built in Edinburgh what can only be described as a whisky temple: eight stories of history, tastings, consultations and drams. Many drams. Published in November 2021 on the fine spirits blog known as Flaviar.

On the Things You Carry and the Things You Leave

The objects and objectives of travel are subject to mysterious forces — and sometimes cosmic jokes. Published in October 2021 in the Bold Italic.

A Caravan to the Castle

Airstreaming in the UK has some parallels to road-tripping in the US, but it’s not nearly as easy to go castle-hopping here. Published in the Fall 2021 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2021 Airstream Life, published with permission.

Big Sur: Beauty and Bliss in My Own Backyard

I’ve stayed in a number of striking places overseas, but my neighbor just down the street, Big Sur, is second to none for captivation and beauty. Published in October 2021 in the Bold Italic.

Hawaii: 7 spectacular waterfalls turn the Big Island misty

No travel out of California for me for a year and a half, so Hawaii seemed like heaven. Which it pretty much is. Eight days in the Hilo surrounds on the Big Island, including a lot of tramping about beguiling waterfalls. Published in August 2021 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Five Ways to Get Splashy in Santa Cruz

It’s no secret: Santa Cruz CA sits preening on the big, blue Pacific. There is lots to do on top of, in and under those waters. Published in June 2021 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Bay Area hikes: Devil’s Slide Trail, near Pacifica

The landslides lost are our gain: After many closings of Highway 1 over many years, the old highway was turned into a hiking trail with dazzling ocean views. And then you can go to the Louvre of Taco Bells. Published in March 2021 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Scuba Volunteers Still There for Monterey Bay Aquarium Animals Amid COVID

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a long history of dedicated volunteerism. The COVID crisis has closed it to the public since last March, but the multitude of animals still need care. See how the dive staff and volunteers keep the lights on. Published in February 2021 by Scuba Diving magazine.

Trail Mix: San Juan Bautista hike and lunch — distanced but delightful

Goldurnit, traveling is tough these days—lucky there are some places nearby that still hold intrigue. My piece on a hike on a historic trail and lunch and street-hopping in the equally historic Mission town of San Juan Bautista. Published in January 2021 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Pet Sitting Disasters: Read This Before You Apply for Your Next Pet-Sitting Gig.

My account of lunatic, scary, and bewildering experiences house-sitting crazed pets in many parts of the world. Published in September 2020 on The Professional Hobo. (Originally published on the now-defunct Bluntly Magazine.)

Big Blue Bliss, A Timeless Hawaiian Moment

A moment of clarity and witness at—and—in the wonder of the natural world. Published by An Idea on Medium, December 2020.

Kayaking Elkhorn Slough is a wildlife and otter lover’s delight

My piece on a lovely day amidst the wildlife (among them my girlfriend) of diverse and diverting Elkhorn Slough in central California. Published in August 2020 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Hands-on Ecuadorian Artisans Are Hands-Down Amazing

My belatedly published piece on a pre-pandemic trip to Ecuador, where my sweetheart and I saw the appealing handiwork of impressively talented artists across many disciplines. Published in August 2020 on Dave’s Travel Corner.

A Treehouse for Adults

The next best thing to flying in your Airstream: glamping in one that’s 25 feet up off the ground. Published in the Summer 2020 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2020 Airstream Life, published with permission.

Amazing Grace, the Trailer that Makes Memories (and Holds Them, Too)

The inspiring life and early death of a beloved daughter prompted her parents to start foundations in her honor, and name their Airstream after her too. Published in the Summer 2020 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2020 Airstream Life, published with permission.

The Shakespeare Society of America struggles to preserve its historic collection

My piece on a deep, eclectic collection of Shakespeareana (including some fabulously illustrated ancient books) in a tiny CA town. Published in the Summer, 2020 edition of Fine Books and Collections magazine.

Make Main Street SHINE: Add 101 Airstreams

Want to boost middle-America commercial and social prospects? Put 101 gleaming Airstream trailers on Main Street. Published in the Spring 2020 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2020 Airstream Life, published with permission.

California’s literary landscapes unfold in 9 — no, 12! — great books

I went through my library for capsule reviews on some selections where California is the setting (and sometimes a character). Published in May 2020 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Steinbeck’s ‘Travels with Charley’ revisited (with a detour for COVID-19)

My piece about a writer on his quashed quest to recreate Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley”. Gone viral in the worst of ways. Published in May 2020 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Redwood Hikes and a Whimsical General Store

A hike in the redwoods should be part of the prescription to cure whatever ails you (let’s ignore the coronavirus context part of that). But you have to follow that redeeming stroll with a visit to the odd and unusual San Gregorio General Store. Mom and Pop’s it ain’t. Part of my Trail Mix series. Published in March 2020 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Getting Steamed Has Never Been So Cool

Oh sure, sure, you can have a fancy TV in your Airstream, or a sink that rules them all, but a steam room? That’s cool. Or hot. Published in the Winter 2020 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2020 Airstream Life, published with permission.

Walking on the Wild(er) Side in Santa Cruz—Plus Beer!

Taking a stroll above the dramatic cliffside ocean-wave carvings at historic Wilder Ranch State Park and heading north to a brewpub with great grub and beer. Part of my Trail Mix series. Published in January 2020 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Tropic of Big Sur

Big Sur has many charms, not least of which is the Henry Miller Library, which is neither a library, nor a bookstore, but more of a cultural experience. Weirdos encouraged, as Mr. Miller encouraged them long ago. Published in January 2020 in Discovery magazine, the in-flight mag for Cathay Pacific airlines.

Boxing Up the Best of Homemade Nashville

Another script I wrote for Chris Guillebeau’s Side Hustle podcast, where he discusses people who have started successful and often fascinating side jobs. This one profiles who started a business selling subscriptions to homemade and small-production goods (coffee, bed and bath, popcorn, hand towels) made by 300 local vendors. They went from $100 startup costs to $2 million a year. That’s a lot of popcorn. Published in December 2019 on the Side Hustle School.

Adding Aluminum to a Garden of Glass

Dale Chihuly is a glass sculptor of world fame, with roots in Washington state. He established the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition near Seattle’s Space Needle a while back, which includes a glass-blowing studio housed in a vintage Airstream. Local students check out their mind- (and glass-) blowing classes for free. Published in the Fall 2019 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2019 Airstream Life, published with permission.

East Bay family’s 10-year sailing adventure to the Southern Hemisphere

A family spent 10 years on a sailing adventure that covered 6,000 nautical miles and seven countries. And wrote a book about it. Published in September 2019 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Pet-sitting On the Road: Do I Need a Vet or a Shrink?

My account of lunatic, scary, and bewildering experiences house-sitting crazed pets in many parts of the world. Published in September 2019 in Bluntly Magazine.

Shifting Creative Gears in a Timeless Trailer

The makers of the SHIFT workflow collaboration software transformed a Flying Cloud Airstream into a mobile studio for film and creative arts production. And then gave filmmakers and creative artists a bunch of dough to work on their creations. Nice. Published in the Summer 2019 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2019 Airstream Life, published with permission.

Why the SP 4449 Is Such a Badass Train

A legendary steam train—famed for being the 1976 Bicentennial Freedom Train—refuses to die. Published in July 2019 on Popular Mechanics magazine.

The Things You Carry, the Things You Leave Behind

Travelers often carry unnecessary or odd things in their travels, and sometimes return with even more peculiar or unexpected items. I’ve had my share. Published in July 2019 on Dave’s Travel Corner.

Why the Big Boy 4014 Is Such a Badass Train

A legendary steam train comes back to life after 50 years of slumber. Published in June 2019 on Popular Mechanics magazine.

Your Custom-Printed Plastic Trailer Is Ready for Pickup

Sure, you’ve heard that 3D printing is making headway in many channels, from obscure auto parts to medical devices. But print a 13-foot trailer entirely from a single piece of plastic? Yowzah! Published in the Spring 2019 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2019 Airstream Life, published with permission.

San Francisco’s Beat hangouts haven’t skipped a beat

My piece on S.F.’s Beat hangouts, which are still thriving, long after Kerouac and Cassady took their last road trip. Published in May 2019 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Trail Mix: A Historical Long Beach Hike—Plus Steel Pizza

Long Beach has some old neighborhoods. When you talk about its Native American days, very old. This trail mix takes us from there to a Spanish land grant that influenced the founding of the city, to its historic old homes. We move from history to a group of ultra-mod eateries made from converted shipping containers. Published in January 2019 in the San Jose Mercury News.

A Tailor-made Airstream Toured for the Tweed

An oh-so-British Airstream, decked out in the same tweeds worn by Gregory Peck and other luminaries. The rig includes historical Savile Row tailors on the move. Published in the Winter 2018 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2018 Airstream Life, published with permission.

Ojai’s Caravan Outpost: an Airstream Garden

Eleven spiffy Airstreams for rent, set in a lush garden setting in the hip SoCal town of Ojai. There’s a lot to like. Published in the Fall 2018 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2018 Airstream Life, published with permission.

Nothing But Net: The Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame Is a Sweet Three-Pointer

Touring this three-story hall of basketball memory and accomplishment was a huge pleasure, because I’ve been a basketball fan since I was a kid. I even got to shoot hoops on its full-size center court! You’ll see all the greats here, in engaging interactive exhibits and displays. I need to go back. Published in November 2018 on the Wandering Educators travel site.

MGM Springfield: The Fresh—and Fun—Face of History

Other than the first hangover I’ve had in 15 years (man, were those Old Fashioneds good!), this was a stellar press trip to a cranny of the country I’ve never experienced—Massachusetts. In particular, Springfield, called the “City of Firsts” because so many historical firsts took place there. And this new MGM celebrates them all. Published in November 2018 on Dave’s Travel Corner.

Trail Mix: From Aptos redwood trails to fancy frittatas

A good brunch is an art. Especially when I’m not the cook. But it’s still nice to do some work, so walk with me on my ripping redwoods hike in a beautiful state park before getting down—in one of my favorite restaurants—to the serious business of brunch . Published in September 2018 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Big Sur unfurls the (flower-strewn) carpet once again

Big Sur: even its scars are pretty. Well, after they’ve been touched up a bit. A sweet hike in Garrapata State Park (bright canyons to cool redwoods) and a tabletop respite at the beautiful outdoors terrace at Ventana Big Sur. Published in June 2018 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Check Your Globe: There’s a Trailer for Rent

From single trailers in remote places, to vintage trailer collections with individual names (like Zelda and Dot), to Airstream-only parks, there are a lot of places—all over the world—to rent an Airstream and temporarily call it home. Published in the Spring 2018 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2018 Airstream Life, published with permission.

Fort Ross: The Russians Were Here! (And It’s OK)

I go after those pestiferous Russians hiding on the Sonoma coast. I’m only 180 years or so late. Published in April 2018 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Wining and Dining My Way Through the Mandalay Bay

Well, next time I’ll bring a wheelbarrow to cart away all the good things I didn’t have time to eat. When you’re on a media trip, you have barely time to chew before you’re off to the next table that’s groaning with delights. Here I am at the lovely Mandalay Bay in Vegas, mouth wide. Published in March 2018 on Dave’s Travel Corner.

Ships of Pearl

Some cool (if not downright cold) research being done at the Monterey Aquarium on the mysterious chambered nautilus, a creature millions of years old, yet still reluctant to give up its secrets. Published in the Spring 2018 edition of The American Scholar magazine.

Cirque du Soleil’s “O” – A Wondrous Water World

Oh man. These dazzlers make water look like material from outer space, dancing and prancing on it, moving through it like fish, plunging into it like meteors, leaping out of it like crazed beasts. And that’s in the first five minutes of the performance. Published in February 2018 on Dave’s Travel Corner.

12 coolest Bay Area things you didn’t know you could do

Well, I only wrote three of these, but they are still cool. Guess which! Published in December 2017 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Hey Trailer, I’m Busy. Mind Backing in Yourself?

The glories of Airstreaming don’t come to mind for most people when they are trying to wrestle the thing backwards into a parking spot. Never fear: now the dang things do it themselves. Published in the Fall 2017 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2017 Airstream Life, published with permission.

Design and Speed: Stuttgart’s Exquisite Mercedes and Porsche Museums

These museums will push the accelerator of the heart to pulsing levels. Captivating automotive histories and sizzling chariots will make any car lovers into grinning fools. Published in October 2017 on Dave’s Travel Corner.

Big Island Getaway: Hanging in Hilo

There are a lot of things to do on the Big Island, but hanging in Hilo, with its many attractions and funky charm, is reward enough. Published in September 2017 in the San Jose Mercury News.

A Big Sur electric bike road trip yields big fun, big buzz

An incredible ride on electric bikes through one of Big Sur’s temporarily closed-to-tourist-traffic areas, plus a lunchtime idyll at fabled Nepenthe. Published in September 2017 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Trail Mix: Carmel, Point Lobos and a hundred wows

My piece on a eye-boggling hike through Pt. Lobos State Reserve, followed by more spectacular views (and spicy Manhattans) at the splendid Hiatt Carmel Highlands hotel. Published in July 2017 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Just Wild Enough at Wilder Ranch

A quickie article on a big-eyed bike ride atop the stunning cliffs (affording even more stunning views) at Santa Cruz’s Wilder Ranch State Park. Teamed up with other “Big West” rides. Published in April 2017 in a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.

Trail Mix: A Quintessential Santa Cruz Hike

My piece on a sweet, sunny stroll on Santa Cruz’s West Cliff Drive, amid the surfers, stoners & skylarkers, plus lunch (organic, natch) too. Published in June 2017 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Where’s the Steering Wheel? Driving Off the Map

I’ve had some harrowing and heartening experiences driving in foreign countries—hey, why is this steering wheel on the right side? And watch out for those crabs! Published in May 2017 on Dave’s Travel Corner.

The best way to see the volcano on Hawaii Island

Hiking edge-to-edge on the sensationally desolate Kilauea Iki Crater trail, and then biking to see glowing lava vents and the molten stuff pour into the sea. Wow. (But gosh, Times, can you come up with a better headline than that? Mine was, “For Your Pleasure, the Big Island Is on Fire.”) Published in April 2017 in a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.

Trail Mix: An Oahu hike — plus margaritas

A hike along the stunning Oahu shoreline—but we forgot the water! Thank god for the margaritas later. Published in March 2017 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Trail Mix: A Long Beach Hike — with Beer

Strolling the busy and colorful Long Beach shoreline bicycle pedestrian path, with a goal in mind: craft beer. Published in February 2017 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Outside Interests Airstream Compilation

20 articles on unusual Airstream trailer transformations—from karaoke bars to museums to an Airstream plane—originally published in the now-defunct Outside Interests, an online Airstream magazine.

Endless Summer in the Volley Trolley

David Fischer spent more than 10 years on the pro volleyball circuit, zooming coast to coast in chase of professional volleyball tournaments—but that zooming wouldn’t have been possible without his Airstream motorhome. Published in the Winter 2016 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2016 Airstream Life, published with permission.

Trail Mix: Big Sur: A Hike and a Bite

A great mix: an invigorating day hike in one of big Sur’s beautiful—great views!—state parks, followed by a more-than-a-mouthful reward lunch. Published in December 2016 in the San Jose Mercury News.

MGM National Harbor—Local Flavors, International Appeal

My goodness, there’s a lot to do at these big resorts! But it all seems to start and end with eating. I spent three savory days on a press trip at the new MGM Grand National resort in Maryland, just across the Potomac from Washington DC. (Many calories and much congeniality ensued.) Published in February 2017 on Dave’s Travel Corner.

Artworks from the Wonderful to the Whimsical: The Heritage Collection at MGM National Harbor

A review of the varied and extensive Heritage Collection of artworks at the new MGM Grand National resort in Maryland. One of the gratifying visual treats on my recent media trip. Published in February 2017 on the Wandering Educators travel site.

Weekend Escape: Mellow San Juan Bautista has deep connections to its early California past

A weekend’s worth of history (and no, not the dull stuff) in the old California Mission town of San Juan Bautista. Published in October 2016 in a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.

Not Your Dad’s Rock and Roll. Oh Wait—It Is!

Two USA Today reporters with a love for rock and roll travel in a vintage Airstream to sample the sounds of SXSW, but not before stopping off at some of the most iconic spots in rock music history. Published in the Fall 2016 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2016 Airstream Life, published with permission.

Trail Mix: An Elkhorn Slough hike — with a Pisco chaser

A sweet stroll through the birdwatching bounty of Central California’s Elkhorn Slough, with a little tipple later. Hope to do some more of these for an intermittent “Trail Mix” column. Published in October 2016 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Digging Deeper into Hawaiian History on the Hawai’i Monarchs Tour

A nice “twofer” travel treat: A Honolulu-based tour of the Iolani Palace, the home of Hawaii’s monarchy (and the home of U.S. treachery), and then off to the nearby Bishop Museum, which houses a vast and compelling trove of Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts and history. Lunch too! Published in September 2016 on the Wandering Educators travel site.

Getaway weekend in Placerville and Coloma

Though I didn’t find any gold dust in my hair, there’s lots of shiny fun to gallop to in the Placerville area (just stay ahead of the noose). Published in September 2016 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Into the Onion

A quick look (though somewhat peeled) of the fabulous Onion House, on Hawaii’s Big Island, one of the early examples of “organic architecture” from famed architect Ken Kellogg. Published in the June/July 2016 issue of Hana Hou, the in-flight magazine of Hawaiian Airlines.

Weekend getaway: Pinnacles’ fantastical spires and trails

I can’t believe an otherworldly place like Pinnacles is less than rio hours—and millions of geologic years, away from me. I love this place. Published in May 2016 in the San Jose Mercury News.

The Call of the Wild

Drinking deep of Big Sur, one of my favorite places in the world. That old cliché of a bad day in Big Sur being better than a good day anywhere else is so true. Published in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of Carmel Magazine.

Five Ways Travel Helps Your Writing

Travel opens up your mind—and sometimes takes it out, dribbles it like a basketball and shoots it to the rings of Saturn. Travel puts many more colors in your writer’s ink. Published in April 2016 on Dave’s Travel Corner.

Hawaii: Kava Conquers All

Spending time at a kava bar (and a bunch of other sweet spots) at the tip of the Big Island. Published in April 2016 in a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.

Wild Hawaii: Temples, shrines and sacrificial altars

Visits to some of the Big Island’s many heiaus, sacred places and temples from Hawaii’s tribal times. Some beautiful, and some, with their sacrificial history, plain scary. Published in March 2016 in the San Jose Mercury News.

LA’s art deco Broadway theater district is the (cool) cat’s pajamas

A stroll through the remarkable old (and new) theater district in LA, made all the more crazy colorful with lunch at the eye-popping Clifton’s Cafeteria. Wow. Published in February 2016 in the San Jose Mercury News.

Romping on the Fertile Waters: The Bounties of Inle Lake, Myanmar

“Lively” doesn’t begin to describe all that’s happening in, on and around this lovely lake in central Myanmar. (Here are some livelier words that do describe it.) Published in November 2015 on the Wandering Educators travel site.

Travels in Myanmar, with Buddha Behind the Wheel

The magnificence of the spiritual expression of the Buddhists in Burma—centuries of stunning pagodas, shrines and temples. And me wandering, golden-eyed. Published in November 2015 on Dave’s Travel Corner.

Three Big Island Coffee Tours Are Must-stop, Must-sips

Drinking killer Kona coffee on the Big Island—be still my beating heart!, published in the San Jose Mercury News, September, 2015.

Winding the Watch of Island Time

Been 10 years since I spent a year on a tiny Micronesian island. It was splendid, depressing, dazzling, perplexing and odd. A reminiscence on a little-visited splash in the universe. Published in May 2015 on Dave’s Travel Corner.

Good Cheer and Glints of Gold in Placerville, CA

A wedding weekend in Placerville that got a little cheesy. (Hey, it wasn’t my wedding.) Published in March 2015 in a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.

From No Water to Wine, on Pinnacles Time

A profile of intrepid innkeepers Jan and Jon Brosseau, who transformed an arid, inhospitable chunk of California landscape into a thriving vineyard and luxurious bed and breakfast. Published in the Winter 2015 issue in Carmel Magazine.

Holman Ranch: An Angle of Absolute Repose

A sweet stay at the historic Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, California. Release your inner cowboy (or at least drink good wine). Published in December 2014 on the Wandering Educators travel site.

Big Sur, California: Beauty and Bliss in My Own Backyard

My song of praise and wonder for Big Sur, a place that always touches me for its beauty and odd charms—it’s one of my favorite places on the planet. My entry in the We Said Go late 2014 Gratitude travel writing contest.

A retro getaway to Long Beach

How to get sloshed, retro-style: Drinking at the historic Sky Room in Long Beach, and bedding down in the even-more-historic Queen Mary, published in the San Jose Mercury News, November, 2014.

Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana—Wild, Wondrous and Body-Boggling

On the media trip mentioned below, I attended a performance of Zarkana, produced by Cirque du Soleil. No big deal: they merely re-wired my brain, short-circuited it, and gave it back to me as 1,000 AAA batteries. Published in November 2014 on Dave’s Travel Corner.

ARIA Las Vegas: A Thousand Ways to Say “Wow!”

Vegas. I lived there a zillion years ago, left broke and dazzled, and still like the place—it’s as improbable as ever. Here’s my account of a recent media trip, staying in the impossibly lavish ARIA hotel. Published in October 2014 on Dave’s Travel Corner.

The Charms of Carmel

A piece on a welcome and not-too-pricy weekend in charming—but sometimes costly—Carmel. (I get the feeling Carmel must get tired of being called “charming.” Let’s just call it “pleasing” instead.) Published in September 2014 in a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.