Sunday, May 6, 2012

Well, Yeah.....We Got That!

In recent years, I have found myself having to answer that same tiresome question over and over again: "Why do you stay in California? What is so special about a place that has endured more than it's fair share of natural disasters and lunatic politicians that seem bent on turning The Golden State into the next socialist frontier? And why do you want to stay in a place that always seem to make headlines for all the wrong reasons?"  Yes, it's true that California has a unique set of problems that other parts of country, in some cases, don't have to deal with or at least not as regularly as those of us in California do.

Wildfires, earthquakes, drought, and floods?  Yep! We got that!

Celebrities who are arrogant enough to think that world really is sitting on the edge of it's collective seat just waiting for their next big cause or political rant?  Well, yeah.....of course we have that!

Illegal immigration, arguably the worst unemployment in the nation, and politicans who have taken the state from the seventh largest economy in the world right up to the edge of an abyss that would take decades to recover from?  Yes! Yes! Yes! We have all of that!  Truth be told, there's all that and probably a few other things that would certainly make any member of the state tourism board or local chamber of commerce cringe at the mere thought of.

But you know what.......

Those things pale in comparison to the enormity of the positives that can be found in every part of the Golden State.

Big Bear -- During the winter, Big Bear is one of the world's premiere ski resorts with something for every visitor! At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, many of the animals live cage free, for the most part, inside a large secure compound. Millions of people have visited in amazement and enjoyed the wonders of a park that is second to none in the world. Palomar Mountain in Southern California boasts the world famous Palomar Observatory where the night time views are spectacular and the self guided  daytime tours are free for everyone. Julian, California is one of  if not the world's coolest small town. Famous for their apple orchards and homemade pies. The hospitality here is amazing and unless your own mother has made it, you haven't had a real apple pie until you visit Julian

   California also boasts over 800 miles of accessible coastline with warm sandy beaches to the south, steep rocky shoreline to the north and  everything in between.  Near Monterey, within mere minutes of      each other are of the homes of world class golf at Pebble Beach, the storybook village of Carmel where Clint Eastwood was once mayor, and Cannery Row....the adopted home of literary genius John Steinbeck. The history, culture, and beauty of this part of California is beyond belief. Beyond that and a couple of  hours to the north, is the city of San Francisco and a whole new world of treasures to explore. Then there's Lake Tahoe, which is amazing not just for it's winter skiing, but it's summer lifestyle as well. If  you love the water but can't be near the ocean....Lake Tahoe is the perfect alternative. Let's not forget Yosemite National Park either.  The farther north you go, the more you realize California isn't just about beaches, freeways, and the touristy stuff.  Northern California is an outdoor sportsman's very own heaven.  Whether you're in the valley or the mountains of Northern California, you'll find hundreds of miles of waterways for boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Across the Golden State, you'll also find some of America's most famous streets and roads too including the scenic north-south coastal drive on CA 1, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Cannery Row on the central coast and the world famous Route 66 through the deserts of Southern California.

   And as if all that weren't enough,  The state of California is also the home of both the highest and lowest elevation points in the lower 48 states.  Mt. Whitney, at 14,505 feet, is the highest point in the 48 contiguous United States, and Death Valley, at 282 feet below sea level, is the lowest point in the United States. And the crazy part? They lie only 85 miles apart and less than two hours from each other by car. 

    Finally the people.  While it's true that the state itself is governed by what many refer to sarcastically as a  group of gypsies, tramps, and thieves, the people of California, for the most part, are some of the most
normal, down to earth people you would ever want to meet. Yes we have the politicians, the Hollywood
elite, and all the 60's hippie type Berkley throwaways that love to "Occupy" everything that they can, but they by no means represent what California is as a whole or what it has to offer it's citizens and guests.  Yes, things could always be better. Just name me one place where that isn't true. Despite the negatives you and read about in the press, California (especially Southern California) is still a great place to work, play, and call home.

   At the end of the day.....When I tell people of my love for California, this is how I usually describe it:  There's not another place in the world where you can get up in the morning, eat breakfast, then go play comfortably at the beach. Come home for lunch and change clothes. Then head out for an afternoon in the snow and still make it home in time for dinner. All in the month of January. A pretty decent life you ask?

Well, Yeah! We Got That!!!

...............til next time