The Fish Camp-based rail excursion might even persuade you to let down your guard and have some fun.

We’re in California. Does it ever get cold enough that the tubes connecting to our hydration packs freeze?

All right, Mr. DeMille, the Sphinx is ready for her close-up.

Get a glimpse into how the turn-of-the-century swells lived in a swanky “cottage” at Empire Mine State Park’s living history days.

Moment Smartphone Lens

We engage in a “scientific” experiment: Which has the most magnetic appeal: Santa Cruz’s Mystery House or the Oregon Vortex?

Few know that Angel Island played a role in World War II, but docents make the period come alive.

When you’re on the road and a call comes in, how many times have you fumbled to put an ear bud in place or sync the phone with your Bluetooth, almost resulting in a swerving freeway accident?

Behind the walls at San Quentin State Prison is a museum that details the storied history — including the executions — of the facility.

Was the Gold Country burg of Columbia a lawless town in the 1850s? A re-enactment of an infamous shooting yields telling clues.

Comic-Con may be over for 2014, but it lives on in an Oakland Museum of California exhibition.

See the San Francisco Bay and the Delta in miniature in Sausalito.

Hey, what’s the deal with that Big Red Barn off Highway 101 south of Gilroy?

Fill ’er up? Return to the glory days of gas stations at this junkyard-turned-museum in Buellton.

You can go to a strip mall in Novato and find a fascinating science museum near the dry cleaners and nail salon.

More edifying than macabre, the San Francisco-based Academy’s “Skulls”exhibit is food for thought.

Step into North America’s first foray into “histortainment” and back into San Francisco’s legacy.

Not much remains from the Tule Lake Segregation Center, used to incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II, but plans to upgrade are in the offing.

A San Francisco hotel offers a Google Glass experience – if you’re game, say “OK, Glass.”

In the sleepy little city of Brisbane, south of San Francisco, the fire hydrants come alive.

In this case, pounding the travel beat means getting pounded with tree branches at a Russian banya.

You can experience the Burning Man lifestyle — and sleep amid cool art — at the one-time flophouse in Reno.

California’s diversity makes it so a traveler can sample an array of experiences without leaving the state.

You’ll be groovin’ at the Oakland Museum of California’s exhibit celebrating old-school vinyl records.

Turlock Rocks? It will with a new exhibit of 1970s and ’80s glam metal memorabilia.

Seasoned travelers, from Sacramento and beyond, share tips and secrets on how to survive the rigors of the road.

The Cold War lives at the Wende Museum in suburban Los Angeles, where artifacts detail a half-century of Communist rule in Eastern Europe.

The only problem with stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), is the dilemma of what to do with your stuff.

You see the weirdest things in L.A., such as a museum that attacks psychiatrists.

Greater Los Angeles County is blessed with wild and scenic trails.

Mount Burdell in the Marin County town of Novato offers a pretty five-mile trail loop and some quality time with cows.

At Reno’s Wilbur D. May Museum, an adventurer’s wild times come to life.

On a sleepy street in suburban Southern California, The Bunny Museum keeps tourists hopping.

You’ve got to hand it to an L.A. prop shop well armed to flesh out Hollywood horror films.

There’s more shaking in Coalinga than just the remembrance of the devastating 1983 earthquake; the R.C. Baker Museum shows that.

Laugh all you want at paintings on black velvet, but you’ve never seen anything like the Velveteria in Los Angeles.

Want to be part of a sitcom’s live studio audience? It’s not for the faint of heart. Here’s a primer.

At the Computer Science Museum in Mountain View, you can match wits against “Jeopardy!” champ, Watson.

A tour makes you wonder how scientists lived for two years in this ecosystem.

Elvis lives at a truck stop and casino off the freeway in suburban Reno.

Take a day to unearth the Bay Area’s hidden gem — Benicia. Bring your dog, too.

You don’t have to be a kid to be entranced by an impressive model railroad layout in Walnut Creek, but it helps.

What the heck is Hitler’s car doing at an aviation museum in Orange County?

Palm Springs’ annual Modernism Week is a good excuse for gawking at the erstwhile homes of stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Cuddle up to a giraffe, zebra or antelope in an African preserve near the Pacific Ocean.

An enduring folk art installation draws people deep into the desert.

Let’s get small and visit a “metropolis in miniature” in Carmel.

Amid the Spanish-dominated Central Coast Foothills, the Danish enclave Solvang is a quirky and curious change of pace.

Air Force One touches down in Atwater at the Castle Air Museum; take a peek where Reagan and Clinton sat.

You can literally make a run for the border at Border Field State Park.

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