Text by Diane Slocum


ast year was the year for vicarious travel. This year, we may have the opportunity for the real thing. Plenty of books are out there to help us find just the right adventure.

Michael Luis Medrano is a native Fresnan and the author of “Born in the Cavity of Sunsets.” His poems of anger and humor, frustration and hope are praised by Juan Felipe Herrera, former U.S. poet laureate. He has hosted a literary radio show called Pakateles and started the Random Writers Workshop in Fresno. He graduated from Fresno State and received his MFA from the University of Minnesota. Among others, he has been published in Bombay Gin, North American Review and Rattle. Some of his poems are titled Villanelle, Poem for My Tio One Week After His Release, The City Outside My Ear.

“Unique America — Strange, Unusual, and Just Plain Fun: A Trip Through America” (Publications International, 2016) showcases such sights as the two-story dog house in Idaho (Airbnb shaped like a giant beagle), the floating bridge in Vermont, the Watts Towers and giant artichoke in California, to name a few. Another is the giant milk bottle snack bar in Boston. (To read about Visalia’s own giant milk bottle, see Terry L. Ommen’s article in the May 2021 Lifestyle.)

“100 Parks, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do” (February 2019) by Joe Yogerst shares ideas on national, state and city parks of North America. Produced by National Geographic, it includes their usual magnificent photos. The book also gives detailed travel advice about hiking, biking and exploring.

“Where Should We Camp Next? A 50-State Guide to Amazing Campgrounds and Other Unique Outdoor Accommodations” (Sourcebooks, March 2021) by Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi includes more than 300 of the best camping and glamping spots in the country. While it’s not helpful for local camping (Sequoia National Park is not even listed, although Yosemite is), it can guide travelers to places of interest at more distant locales. One of the California sites listed is the Thornhill Broome Campground at Point Mugu, which features tent camping on the sand.

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” — James A. Michener (1907-1997), author of “Tales of the South Pacific,” “Hawaii,” “Texas,” “Caribbean,” “Poland” and many other novels celebrating specific locales and histories.