Lake Tahoe, Nevada: Recalibrate your idea of what the color blue looks like.

My wife’s mother came to town recently, and we stupidly drove the four hours up to Lake Tahoe. It’s only about 200 miles northeast of SF, but it took us 4 hours to drive through the damn mountains due to traffic—several times, we were passed on the road by glaciers. Located 6,000 feet above sea…

Gilroy, CA: Garlic capital of the world and most vampire-free city in America.

Do you like garlic? I mean, really like garlic? I mean, like it so much you don’t mind people gagging at your mere scent? Would you bathe in the stuff if you could? Then you’ve got to go to Gilroy, California. It is in the middle of nowhere (southeast of San Jose) and home of America’s premier and darn near ONLY garlic resources. And guess what? They have a festival. Yeah! A garlic festival! And we went! (Don’t ask why. We were bored.)

Palm Springs, California: Now we can say we went there.

We’d gone to Palm Springs for its warm, desert climate, but stayed for its Mid-Century Modern vibe.

Los Angeles, CA: The Mondrian, aka “Our trip to Pretentiousville”

On a recent trip to LA to do some television editing and sound design, I had the opportunity to stay at the famed Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles. The Mondrian Hotel is a part of a chain of trendy hotels in hip American cities (The Delano in Miami is another one).

Jamaica: Land of sun, fun and Cohibas.

We flew out of Miami directly over Communist Cuba, playground of that fashion-plate, Fidel "Fatigues are always in style" Castro. Evidently there’s a strip of air space that commercial airlines are allowed to fly through without being shot out of the sky by overzealous anti-aircraft gunners.

Oahu, Hawai‘i: “All expenses paid trip” turns out to be Advertising Club ruse.

As many readers know, Amy and I are fans of the toasty warm places: Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean, etc. So when the chance for a free trip to Oahu presented itself, I pounced like a hungry cheetah on a weakened caribou. For some unfathomable reason, my name appeared on the Waikiki Ad Club’s wish list of judges for the Pele Awards (kind of like the Addy’s…except THEY’RE IN HAWAII! Yeah, baby!).

Miami and Key West, Florida: Our virgin visit

Miami isn’t nearly as dangerous as most people had led me to believe. Oh, sure, on a recent trip I took a wrong turn and ended up in an area that would’ve given Chuck Norris bad dreams. But the South Beach area with its Art Deco architecture was inspiring. I felt like Michael J. Fox in one of those Back To The Future sequels. The nightlife was exciting–including activities I haven’t taken part in since college (due to stricter indecent exposure laws).

San Francisco, CA: I’m now totally bi (coastal, that is).

I just flew back from a wild weekend in California. And boy, are my arms tired.

Orlando, Florida: We pay homage to The Rat.

The year was 1975. I was but a small boy—eyes wide in amazement at the huge structure in front of me loomed larger than life. Its wide girth spiraling towards a single gleaming spire pointed at the stars. This was my raison d’etre. This was why we had traveled seemingly endless miles stuffed into the back of the largest passenger automobile ever made by General Motors — the Chevrolet Impala Stationwagon.