Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How Do You Find Hiking Vacations in the USA?

This weeks travel tip ~ hiking. 

Hiking vacations are more popular than ever now with travelers.  My favorite places for hiking are the Swiss Alps and our own trails right here in the USA. 

Swiss Treks, Courtesy of Rubicon Outdoors, AZ

How do you find hiking trails and trustworthy companies who organize these trips?  

One of my favorite interviews that I had the chance to do a couple of years ago was with Matt Brown, an Adventure Guide and owner of an outdoor adventure company in Arizona ~ he does all of the planning, will provide your equipment and food, plus ensure you will have an Adventure Guide to go with you.  Most groups are small in size under ten people.

I also found American Discovery Trails in USA as one source to find trails which makes it easier for hikers, bike riders, and horse riders to plan trips on trails across the entire USA discovering diverse geography.

ADT Logo Courtesy of ADT Society
 Use American Discovery Trail for Hikes, Bikes, Horse Riding Trips

Did you know a person may travel 6,800 miles on non-motorized trails across 15 states in the USA; from Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware, to Pt. Reyes National Seashore, California, because of American Discovery Trails (ADT)?

These total miles include two major routes through central United States, north through Iowa and south through Missouri between Colorado and Ohio.

USA Hiking Trails from ADT website

American Discovery Trails Society is not just about hiking trips, this is an organization where you may contact and get acquainted with local people of communities. Two ways to use these trails are either by individuals hiking on day trips in local communities and by people who hike on long, coast-to-coast adventure vacations.

Examples of American Discovery Trails Trips

From local day trips to long adventures across USA, the trails are accessible for people to see all different types of geography.  I enjoyed reading the hiking accounts of Jim Hopson, from his article at Poynter.org on Oct. 9, 2007, when he hiked through select portions of the trails like "Katy Trail" in Missouri, from St Louis to Kansas City.  

The popular Katy Trail is a “rail to trails” project of 225 miles which follows Lewis and Clark’s path up the Missouri River. The trails are flat and scenic with organized bike rides and kid friendly. 

Other examples published from the American Discovery Trail Journal blog on April 5, 2006, are when hikers Ken and Marcia Powers completed the first Atlantic to Pacific trail in 231 days. And you will be able to read about Matt Parker as the first horse rider to cross 4,000 miles beginning in May 2003 to November 2005 on the American Discovery Trails Society website. 


Ken & Marcia Powers, Image courtesy of ADT Society

 How Did American Discovery Trails Begin?

American Discovery Trails Society is a non-profit organization formed to connect trails in local communities crossing the USA. The funding is supported by three entities:
  • Members of the American Discovery Trail Society with affordable donation dues
  • American Hiking Society
  • Corporate financial and promotional support
American Hiking Society (AHS) and Backpacker Magazine created this idea of a coast to coast trail in 1989 to implement the National Trail System (NTS). NTS was created through the NTS Federal Legislation Act established in 1968 to provide ways for people to enjoy outdoor recreation with different types of trails. 

Today, United States has (as stated on the NTS website):
  • 8 National Scenic Trails, which are protected scenic corridors for outdoor recreation located primarily in the backcountry
  • 12 National Historic Trails, which recognize prominent routes of exploration, migration, commerce, and military actions
  • Over 800 National Recreational Trails
These trails are planned and maintained by local communities which are coordinated through American Discovery Trail Society. The trails are open for hikers, bike riding, and horse riding trips. Hikers may contact the local community trail authorities for specifics because some trails go through urban regions, and are not always accessible to some users, like horse riders. It is the separate unique experience of each of these local trails which people find alluring.

Insider Information about American Discovery Trails
  • Equipment is the same as backpackers use and information may be found at websites like American Hiking Society. ADT allows postings of upcoming trips from users to plan their trips before and afterwards. 
  • Rules and procedures such as which trails are dog-friendly are specific and people should inquire with the local community, contact information is available at the ADT website. 
  • Registration is not necessary to use the trails, however, on longer treks it is advisable to keep in contact in case of emergency.
There are 6,800 trails across USA for people to discover the unique geography, local towns and communities, and stories through hiking, bike and horse riding on short day trips, one or two month vacations, and longer coast to coast trips with the assistance of American Discovery Trails.

American Discovery Trails Society is currently developing high quality digital maps of the trails for people to use. Additional information may be found ADT website or by calling (800) 663-2387 or (703) 753-0149

Please use our new website to reserve your own (DIY) hotels across USA. 

Hiking across the USA, remember to hug a tree! ~ The Fun Tour Guru

When Hiking, Stop and Hug a Tree! - Image from DW




Thursday, August 16, 2012

Oracle Headquarters on San Francisco Peninsula

To continue my fun explorations of some of these significant technology players, I head north to mid-peninsula, to find this one.

Where am I?
  
Visitors will find a few large and familiar icons along Highway 101, the inner freeway around the San Francisco bay. It is because of the shape of the bay, your directions may be confusing when you first start driving. You find roads going east, west, north and south – yes, they are the same road.
   
The region between Redwood City and San Carlos, and north of Palo Alto ~ an area we still include as a part of Silicon Valley lies the famous Oracle Headquarters next to the bay. As you drive by, you will see six cylindrical glass buildings with the Oracle name at the top. The buildings are visible for people to see from the air and land. I have heard some stories where people nicknamed the headquarters, Emerald City, to describe this campus.

 
I visited the campus recently and found a relaxing place next to the “Oracle” lake which is centered between these buildings.  You may drive around the perimeter (outer road) of this corporate campus. There is a walking, running trail, with exercise equipment to work out on next to this road. I found people in this area quite active. I watched many people walking between buildings around this lake – to lunch or their meetings. They have their own conference center, cafeterias, and utilities – a city within a city.



 Oracle’s original name was Software Development Laboratory, and located in the city of Santa Clara, when the company was created in 1977.  The Oracle founders are: the often talked about, flamboyant, Larry Ellison, along with Bob Miner and Ed Oates. It was in 1989 the new headquarters were created and became a familiar showcase as we know today. This location is a short helicopter ride from Woodside, CA, where you will find one of Mr. Ellison's residences.

     
For facts and figures, please see press releases at Oracle.com.  Fun stories of these growing years of the people with this Software (and now hardware) giant may be discovered in The Silicon Boys and their Valley of Dreams by David A. Kaplan. I also recently read some fun stories about working at Oracle in the book, Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.  

Sharing the fun side of Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco 
~ The Fun Tour Guru
 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tourism Cares for Old Sacramento, CA: September 2012

Those of us who work in the Travel and Tour Industry have a way to give back and help save cultural and historic sites we are so passionate about through a non-profit organization, Tourism Cares, with the leadership of Bruce Beckham, Executive Director. These historic sites are important to all travelers to be able to see at all times.

Tourism Cares is not a new organization, there have been more than 2,000 volunteers donating over 20,000 hours across North America since 2003. This is our chance to 'unite and work together' from all local regions across USA; through volunteering ~ to support one region in the USA.

Old Sacramento 
Photography by Tom Myers
Courtesy of Sacramento CVB

Volunteers working from all different types of job interests including sales, marketing, administration, accounting, product managers, drivers, event coordinators, guides, event and meeting planners, IT professionals, customer service and tour directors for a variety of Travel Industry companies will convene in Old Sacramento and Fort Sutter on September 27 and 28 to help paint, landscape, and rebuild areas throughout this National Historic Landmark District and State Historic Park located along the Sacramento River.  

Old Sacramento Waterfront, Courtesy of Sacramento CVB


Sacramento is an important influence in USA history and expansion of which each one of us can help support today. I am drawn to the words from the Tourism Cares website, “Restoring the Past, Preserving the Future” as the best description for the mission.

Stories that connects us across USA:
  • Discovery of gold at brought the greatest human migration in history
  • Pony Express trails, begins in Missouri and ends in California
  • The "Big Four" of western railroading (Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, Collis P. Huntington, and Charles Crocker) connects USA

The are many ways people in the Travel Industry might give back through this organization to support our national and state treasures:
  • Volunteer
  • Support the future education in the Tourism Industry through scholarships, grants, and internships
  • Donate
  • Be a sponsor

Meet you in Sacramento in September ~ The Fun Tour Guru

Please visit Tourism Cares website for more information about how you may help.