(Diversions, a new feature on Aquarium Drunkard, catches up with our favorite artists as they wax on subjects other than recording and performing.)
With a new record, Romaninan Names, and a new label home, Dead Oceans, John Vanderslice is never one to sit still. If he’s not writing, recording or performing, you can most likely find JV at his SF based studio Tiny Telephone. Oh, and did we mention he also has a nice slpit EP out — a vinyl-only piece entitled Moon Colony Bloodbath with his friend John Darnielle. Truly a renaissance man, JV discusses Bay Area side-trips below.
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“Bay Area Day Trips For Those Restless Souls That Mostly Work At Home In Front Of A 19″ Monitor (And Must Sometimes Escape)”
1. Pinnacles National Monument (East of the Salinas Valley) :: This mountainous park gets its name from the eroded leftovers of an extinct volcano. Do not visit in the summer as you may die as Isabelle and I almost did last year (okay it was only me that got worried when we ran out of water in the 100 degree heat). This place is RIDICULOUSLY beautiful and profound.
2. Big Basin Redwoods State Park (Boulder Creek, CA) :: This massive redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains, with over 80 miles of highly entertaining trails, is about an hour south of San Francisco. Big Basin has several waterfalls and comprises many different habitats, the Berry Creek Falls Route (via Skyline to the Sea and Sunset Trails) is a four-hour hike through the heart of this wonderful park. A few miles to the north is the underrated Butano State Park.
3. Point Lobos State Reserve (3 miles south of Carmel on the Pacific) :: A heightened, CinemaScope version of the California Coast. The water has a turquoise glow I’ve only ever seen off the eastern shores of Maui in Hana Bay. Make sure you hit the North Shore and Sea Lion Trails.
4. Lopez Restaurante Y Cantina :: While you’re in the area, you might as well go to Lopez Restaurante Y Cantina in Monterey. I live deep in Taqueria-land (San Francisco) and can dish on any Taco Truck or salsa verde you like. But I still CRAVE this place. They have delicious refried white beans and excellent salsa.
5. Point Reyes National Seashore :: Okay, this is kind of a no-brainer, but it’s easy to take for granted your surroundings (I’ve never been to Alcatraz, which is by all accounts, amazing). The Tomales Point Trail (which passes through an elk reserve!) is a five-hour roundtrip hike that takes you to the tip of the Point Reyes Peninsula. You end up (usually) in the fog, hovering over the water, with the opening of Tomales Bay to the right and the endless Pacific on your left.