Strange and Unexpected
Backpack on the Road
Volume Two: California



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"…given a bit of slack, I’ll wander all over the place when telling a story..."

That's from the introduction to Strange and Unexpected: Backpack on the Road -- and in this volume, Bob and Terry share the journey with Jay and Justin in 2005... Ellen, Richard, Mike and Louise in 2007.

In southern California the boys went with Terry and Bob to Los Angeles and San Diego, along with places all around and in between. They visit Disneyland and Universal Studios, and spend a tremendous day at the Johsua Tree National Park.

Northern California was set up mainly for Napa and Sonoma -- legendary California wine country -- and the gang of six made every day count for vineyards and much, much more. A limo day of wine tastings... a drive to Muir Woods... picnics with breathtaking views... the grand tour of Yosemite... and that just provides the basics of a tremendous journey.

So what did they find on their trips? Well...

"California is… perhaps quite easily so, and without question at least debatably so… the most diverse state in America.

The simple beauty of places like San Diego… the richness (in so many interpretations of the word) of Napa, Sonoma, and the northern California wine country… Yosemite and Joshua Tree and other national parks… the Pacific Coast Highway… Hollywood… Disneyland… and the list simply does not end.

By any measure… any standard… California is a study of contrasts and similarities, separation and unity, aggravation and comfort.

It is gorgeous… it is rugged… it is laid back… and, in places, it is none of this (and so much more).

There are places within its borders that you feel almost embraced by the strongest of hugs on your very first visit.

And there are places where you may never feel like anything but an outsider.

It is a wonderful and amazing and simply brilliant state."

The group is thrilled to have you join as they explore Californiatop to bottom... side to sideon two trips of opposites, in every possible sense of the word.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail