Picking Nature

Due to cancellations and changes in plans, I decided to create a video different from what I had told you all last week. Instead of a video of Bishop’s Peak and paddle boarding, I created a video about two places on the Cal Poly SLO campus that involve nature and students in a unique way.

But I have not forgotten about Bishop’s Peak and paddle boarding, a new post in the follow weeks will be covering the locations so stay tuned.

What will be of Visit SLO?

Bishop's Peak taken by Ilianna Salas

Bishop’s Peak taken by Ilianna Salas

For those who don’t know, this blog was created as an assignment for a college Journalism class. And unfortunately, this quarter will be coming to a close in a week and with it, this class.

But this blog will carry on!

Although at points blogging can be time-consuming and balancing a college workload and budget while still traveling can be difficult at times. The reward of sharing my opinions and stories makes it worth while. I enjoy traveling and telling others about my experiences.

I plan to continue blogging, sharing my travels, and including more reviews of restaurants and attractions that I visit.

I will begin including a weekly restaurant review and at least one monthly trip documentation.

I will be expanding and covering not just San Luis Obispo County but Southern California, specifically the Los Angeles area during the summer, as well.

Visit SLO’s twitter will continue to be active and I will share upcoming events as well as “live-tweet” from a variety of places.

I look forward to continuing interacting with you all and as always I am open to suggestions.

Thank you for following me on this journey.

Here are some reviews of my blog from peers in my class with the links to their blogs.

“I like your background, it’s light. I enjoyed the pictures from the San Francisco post.” – joelescarenowine.wordpress.com

$20 Outdoor Activities – SLO

If pictures are worth a thousand words, then a video is worth infinity times that.

I’ve told you all about how much beauty San Luis Obispo has to offer and I’ve offered a few pictures here and there but realistically these don’t do SLO much justice.

Next week, Visit SLO will be releasing a short video about outdoor activities in SLO for less than $20.

The video will be showcasing all the ins an outs of stand-up paddle boarding on the Central Coast as well as hiking trails in San Luis Obispo.

About a 15 minute drive from SLO, Morro Bay is one of the most popular destinations for paddle boarding, locally.

What is paddle boarding? In simple terms, you stand on a surfboard and use a paddle to push yourself through the water.

This will be my first time paddle-boarding so I will be on the same boat as any first-time visitor.

I will be hiking another popular destination, Bishop’s Peak.

Hikespeak describes Bishop’s peak as “The most sought after summit in San Luis Obispo.The iconic mountain has a rocky crown shaped like a bishop’s miter, which provides panoramic views over the city and nearby peaks.”

The video will include visitor information, expert sources, local restaurant options, a sunset time lapse from the top of Bishop’s Peak, and scenic views of both Morro Bay and SLO.

Copyright free image of stand up paddle boarding courtesy of Flickr.

If you have any tips or suggestions for my trip, kindly leave a comment.

Stay tuned!

Surf, California

About a one hour drive south from San Luis Obispo, Surf Beach offers clear-blue waters and clean, sandy beaches.

But don’t let its beauty fool you! Surf Beach is known as one of the worst beaches for shark attacks in the U.S., the most recent in 2012.

The waters are turbulent and swimming is discouraged, but the scenery can still be enjoyed.

Be aware that parts of the beach are closed from March to late September during the nesting of the Western Snowy Plower.

Here is a vine from the the Amtrak train looking out onto Surf beach.

Follow Visit SLO on Vine to enjoy short videos of scenery in and around SLO county.

SLO Film Festival

The 21st annual San Luis Obispo Film Festival will be this March from the 10th through the 15th. Every year close to a hundred films are shown in various locations in San Luis Obispo.

Below is an interview with Nancy Ross Joynt, Assistant to the Director of the SLO Film Festival as well as feedback from a Cal Poly student. Ross will be explaining how the festival works and what to expect.

Stay tuned for more posts on this blog and on the VisitSLO twitter for more information on this event.

You can also visit the SLO International Film Festival web page.

5 Reasons Why You’ll Love Roadtrippers

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One of the best ways to explore California is by car. And as easy as it may seem, going on a road trip can be difficult to plan. There are endless possibilities of stops along the way.

The Roadtrippers app is an easy, user-friendly planner that takes care of all the difficulty of planning a road trip.

Here is a video from Roadtrippers to give you a brief explanation of the app.

 

1. No More Clutter!

The app combines all components of road trip planning into one place. The apps will create a route with all the must-see attractions along the way.

Using your location, you can find visitor information for each attraction. I would describe this app as a compilation of Yelp and Google Maps. The other perk of the reviews on this app is that they have not been tainted by paid reviewers.

Here is an example of what you can find using my location of San Luis Obispo, CA.image

2. Easy to Use

Unlike other apps, Roadtrippers IS user friendly. There are only two toolbars, one to see your saved road trip plans and the other to chose what you would like to see in your area (history, restaurants, hotels etc.) Under the attractions toolbar, there are options for hotels, history, restaurants etc. All the tabs have straightforward labels and large buttons.

3. Detailed

As I briefly explained earlier, this app gives you possible visitor sites using your current location. The attraction information under each site includes everything you need to know such as hours of operation, pictures, reviews, and a brief description.

Pictured is the visitor information for the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.image

4. It’s Online too!

While phones are extremely handy on the road, for some it may not always be the best medium for planning a trip. This app allows you to save a road trip plan online that is places you’d like to visit, directions, or hotel reservations etc. After creating a trip online, you just need to sign onto the app on your phone to retrieve it on mobile. But do not be mistaken, this app works just as great on mobile.

roadtrippers.com/map

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5. No Ads!

This app has not yet been ruined by cluttering ads. There is no need to have to wait for a short video to play before proceeding to the next screen.

Weekend Escape – San Francisco

I’ve decided to create a new series for this blog called Weekend Escape. These posts will be highlights of trips that I have taken and will give recommendations and key points of attraction.

For a Pre-Valentine’s day celebration, a companion and I traveled to San Francisco to spend the night of the 13th. For a short trip to San Francisco, I recommend visiting the following places.

Fisherman’s Wharf

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The day started out at the FIsherman’s Wharf, a must-see in San Francisco. What was supposed to be a 20 minute trolley ride from Union Square to became an almost 40 minute ride because of extra detours that weekend because of President Obama’s visit. Google Maps was handy when figuring out the local trolley stops.

Fisherman’s Wharf is crawling with seafood vendors selling crab, lobster, shrimp, tuna; basically anything that swims. But be warned that they are by no means cheap but definitely worth the extra bucks. A small plate of about 7-10 shrimp can cost you between $10-15.

From the wharf you can see Alcatraz Island. The old Musee Mecanique is open to the public to play some old fashioned coin-operated arcade games. Games range from mechanical metal bullet shooting games to fortune telling machines. Here’s a video to give you a better glimpse from the website. Most games cost 25 to 50 cents but can reach up to a dollar.

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Hotel

We stayed at the Steinhardt Hotel and Apartments, about a 10 minute walk from Union Square.

The hotel captured the vintage, romantic feel of San Francisco with it’s cage elevator, red carpeting, wallpaper walls, and long dimly lit hallways.

We stayed in a deluxe studio that included a small kitchen which was fully furnished, a living room that converted into a bedroom when the bed was pulled down from the wall, a small office, a restroom with a bathtub and a view out into the bustling city of San Fran.

The staff was polite and helpful. The location was a seven minute walk from the trolley and there were various nearby parking structures within a one block radius.

For the price of $163, we truly got the most bang for our buck.

Chinatown

The streets of China town are interestingly narrow, filled to the brim with small apartments, downstairs shops, and interesting stores selling everything from samurai swords to live lobster.

During the month long celebration until Chinese New Year a large street market takes place in Chinatown. Valentine’s weekend was the Flower festival and while we didn’t see much flowers there were other spectacles to see.

The decorated streets were lined with booths and at some points the streets were so packed with people that it almost felt like a night club. More than 40,000 were expected that weekend.

Vendors sold various exotic fruits and vegetables, popular in Asian countries. Apples the size of a small melon and grapes were half as big as a tangerine.

In the windows of the butcher shops you can see skinned ducks and chickens hanging from the ceiling.

if you’re looking for unique souvenir, this is the place to purchase it. Stores there sell selfie sticks, exotic tea costing more than a hundred dollars per pound, and hand swords like Wolverine from X-Men.

Like any attraction in San Francisco, the streets are very congested and parking is difficult to find especially during the festivals. I recommend parking in the Financial District which is a short 10-15 minute walk,

Chinatown is a definite Must-see of San Francisco.

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Golden Gate Bridge

Arguably one of the most beloved emblems of California, the Golden Gate sits atop the Pacific Ocean spanning almost 3,000 meters. Because of the bust weekend, the bridge took nearly forty minutes to drive through, allowing for pictures.The structure is belittling and a seriously beautiful artwork.

If you want to get pictures of the bridge, I reccommend driving to the far right end of Chrissy Field. Be warned that the path to this location can be easily missed and you may end up en route to the bridge and have to wait for the next detour.

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Easy & Free Traveling Apps

With a smart phone, traveling is easier than ever. But the thousands of apps can become overwhelming especially when you have to weed through the good and bad.

For the tech- savvy traveler and even those that are just getting started, here are some apps that I have found useful in my travels.These apps are easy to use, actually work, and FREE.

With the help of Travel Weekly. I have created a list of some of the most helpful apps for travelers.

Google Maps

What many people don’t realize is that Google Maps isn’t only for driving directions. In many traffic congested places like San Francisco, public transportation or walking are the best ways to move around. When using the bus or public transportation setting, Google maps gives you exact locations of bus stops and bus numbers. I’ve used this app in Europe and it still works just as well. This is available for iPhone and Android devices.

Here’s a video of a step-by-step tutorial of Google Maps

Evernote Food

If you’re like me and getting tired of the paid reviewers on Yelp, Evernote is the perfect substitute. This app allows you to search for new recipes, add your own recipes, and discover nearby restaurants.

In the words of Evernote,”Let Evernote Food remember the long list of restaurants you want to try. Search nearby (or anywhere in the world) for restaurants you want to check out and add them to your list in Evernote Food. The app gives you a location-based list and map search feature to find the next hot restaurant on your list.”

This is available for iPhone and Android devices.

Here is a video tutorial to help get you started.

Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers combines all your planning, booking and navigation into one engaging road trip planner. Using your location, this map gives you options for attractions, history, shopping, and food. The app is very easy to navigate and you can also plan your trip beforehand on their website and then import your saved spots to your phone. The app also gives you the option to meet up with and chat with other roadtrippers as you go. It is, however, exclusive to the US.

This is available for iPhone and Android devices.

Here is a video to guide you through the app.

Valentine’s Day

Because it is named the Happiest town in America, SLO is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway for the blossoming relationship or for those who want to rekindle that spark. To make it easy on you, Valentine’s Day has been broken down for you into three sections: the hotels, activities, and restaurants. All you need to do is chose and book.Untitled Infographic (1)

Bigger, better visit SLO

Picture courtesy of Flickr of SLO from Bishop's Peak.

Picture courtesy of Flickr of SLO from Bishop’s Peak.

One of the most important aspects of writing this blog is that I enjoy doing it. I love traveling and exploring new places so I take pride in finding the best places and activities for my readers and followers as best I can.

All of my viewers have been from the United States, which is what I have strived for as locals would be more likely to actually visit SLO. I have received 65 views, 35 visitors, 9 likes, and 2 followers but no comments. I would appreciate feedback from my viewers and followers in the comments so that I could find out exactly what you all like and dislike.

I’ve tried to create a website where visitor information about San Luis Obispo is centralized, simplified, and insightful. Here is how I am going to fully achieve this goal:

1. Better writing.

While my posts have improved from week to week, I still have a lot of room for improvement. I will create work that has writing with more depth and insight to better engage and inform my readers.

2. Better layout.

I have a simple blog layout that is generally easy to follow but its (what seems to be) endless scrolling can discourage viewers from scrolling through the end of the blog. I will find a layout that makes pictures the center of attention and not the endless writing.

3. Bigger, better pictures.

Because San Luis Obispo has such beautiful, natural beauty, merely describing it in words does not do it much justice. I will make it a point of adding more vibrant pictures to my blog posts so that my viewers can get a real feel for SLO.