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The Southern California Tour

Updated on March 5, 2017

When it comes to living in Southern California, I could not imagine being anywhere else. San Diego has beautiful beaches, and LA has the big city life, but when it come to where to live, I prefer the Inland Empire. There are some great communities around here such as Lake Arrowhead, Crestline, Big Bear, Redlands, Rancho Cucamonga, and Loma Linda just to name a few. I prefer the locations where there are still a few orange groves, beautiful Victorian architecture, and sidewalks for walking. Some of us are lifelong pedestrians and never plan on driving, so living in a community with great sidewalks is always a plus. People say it is impossible to get around without a car, but I am living proof of how people can travel to and fro without wheels. Take the bus for longer trips, and walk for the shorter ones! Even a three miles or so walk takes around an hour, which is a great way to save on a gym membership. The last time I even went to a gym was in college when the fees were taken out of our tuition. Personally, I just prefer to be outside where I can be taking pictures of scenery, and not worrying about the claustrophobia or using an inside treadmill. I love my little section of the Inland Empire, and from time to time I like to take pictures of some of my favorite places.

The Beauty of San Bernardino Valley

A flowering palm.
A flowering palm.

My three mile walk home is always enjoyable during daylight hours.  I love looking up at the San Bernardino Mountains and occasionally taking pictures of things I find interesting. 

I love the shiloutte of these trees by the freeway.  The mountains in the background add to the allure.
I love the shiloutte of these trees by the freeway. The mountains in the background add to the allure.

This slightly overcast afternoon made for some beautiful photographs.  I love the shapes of the trees, and the shadows they cast in the late afternoon.

Here is a classic image that is a throw back to 1930s California.
Here is a classic image that is a throw back to 1930s California.

One of my favorite photographs I have ever taken was simple, and captured with my cell phone. I live near orange fields and one day I just happened to see a 1930s car drive by. My cell phone in hand captured the image that reminds of California of yesteryear, and the Route 66 Car Show is a must see for those who enjoy these things. My hope is people will no longer cut down the orange fields because these are a true treasure. Every spring I love the heady scent of the orange blossoms, and there is actually a special Orange Blossom festival for these in Riverside. Walking past the orange fields is much more enjoyable than walking past industrial complexes, which is one reason I am glad the Inland Empire still has a rural charm in some places.

So You Think It Never Snows In Southern California?

Lucky dog running in the snow.  Yes, it does snow in Southern California, in the mountains that is!
Lucky dog running in the snow. Yes, it does snow in Southern California, in the mountains that is!

I always chuckle when people from the Midwest and the East Coast think that Southern California never gets snow. Admittedly we get much less snow than we used to up in the San Bernardino Mountains due to climate change, which has reeked havoc on our natural environment. The heavy snowfalls used to be essential for freezing the bark beetles and preventing droughts, but many winters there are only a few heavy snow days in the year. Kids still have snow days as they did when I was young, but I remember more frequent snow falls in those days. However, in the early 2000s I began to notice many of our evergreen trees were turning brown when I had been away from the mountain for awhile. The bark beetle and the drought weakened and killed many of the evergreen trees, which then had to be removed. Unfortunately the naturally occurring fire also used to clear out the brush, but today that no longer happens. Sadly the bark beetle ravaged trees and other overgrown brush have not helped the situation when it came to fighting forest fires. 

I am outraged to hear some people think Californians do not take care of our land.  However, the truth is our state happens to be ahead of the game when it comes implementing environmental standards, and to clearing brush for fire prevention. You truly have to admire the hard working men and women of the US Forest Service that are diligently trying to keep a balance between clearing the brush, and maintaining the balance of mother nature.

Many of these fires have been set by evil arsonists, but some of these fires are naturally occurring because of high winds sparking outages on power lines and trees. Fires during windy weather create firestorms with sparks jumping from one group of trees, and missing others. Many houses are nestled among the trees, which resulted in hundreds of structures being destroyed in the 2003 and 2007 fires. When fires are raging they do not burn everything in a clear path like a bulldozer, and the flames jump from location to location. Thus, many people were surprised to discover after the evacuation how a few houses could be perfectly standing when just a few feet a way a several homes burned to the ground. I commend the fire fighters and the Forest Service for helping to save as many homes as they could, and fire fighters literally have one of the hardest jobs in the world.

I love the mountains, but it is a very scary place to live with the continuous fire danger. On the front and mid-side of the mountain you can still see many beautiful evergreen trees, and I took a picture of Grass Valley Lake nearby. I used to love walking down to this little lake and just admiring the reflection of the trees and sky within.  Southern California is filled with many beautiful treasures, and back during the economic boom in the eighties and nineties some tourists came all the way from Japan just to spend time in the San Bernardino Mountains.

On the back side of the mountain going down Highway 173 we have fewer trees and more brush, which is actually very beautiful. The Pinnacles are a group of rocky hills with large boulders surrounded by many types of bushes and other desert like plants. In the spring it is beautiful to see the yucca and the other desert flowers blooming on the back side of the mountain.  I will always love the San Bernardino Mountains and many of the other beautiful spots in Southern California.  Here are a few videos I have made of the scenery in Southern California.

Grass Valley Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains.
Grass Valley Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains.


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    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Hi VacationAustralia,

      I am not surprised you knew we had snow, but I find it hillarious when some people living her in Southern California do not even know it snows in the mountains. Once I had to suggest someone look at the nearby mountains, and then they finally realized there was snow there. Also, some relatives from the Midwest though California was all beach, surf, and sand, but back then they were teens, so maybe that is why :). I appreciate your comments as always.

    • VacationAustralia profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      I enjoyed this hub a lot SweetiePie, you may be surprised that this Australian knew you had snow, I love the country down there.

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Hi Pirate Girl. I am online now :).


      Pacoima sounds like a nice town.

    • Godslittlechild profile image


      9 years ago

      I was born in Pacoima (many moons ago). Love the pictures, they bring back memories!

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Hi Lita,

      I have been through the mountains in Arizona when I was younger, but those ranges definitely remind me of the San Bernardino Mountains and San Jacinto Mountains here. There are many really scenic places here in the Inland Valley, so hopefully one day you can see a few of these places. I hope you can also go back up the San Francisco because I know you enjoyed that area too. I myself would love to visit up there again too :).

    • profile image

      Leta S 

      9 years ago

      Hi, SP... Hey, mountainous CA kinda looks like mountainous AZ, with the lakes and pines! Yes, I really like California for all the variety when I was there, too. I will have to make a trip to the inland area next time I visit. :)

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Southern California, USA


      Your dog is really cute, but I of course have a thing for dogs :). Glad to hear you and your family are okay though!


      I love to read the Images of America books of what Southern California looked like before the bigger population explosions. Of course it was even more pristine before the Europeans came, but even in the 1930's there were still orange fields everywhere. Of course these were planted by settlers to the region, but I just love the backdrop of the orange fields against pictures of the snow capped mountains. Orange County was named after the large number of fields in the area actually.


      We actually have several really nice ski resorts up in the San Bernardino Mountains. I am not much of a skier myself, but people I know who love to ski appreciate how they make snow year around. Even when we do not get snow in the mountains people can go skiing because they make it.

    • awsydney profile image


      9 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Great pictures and great place! Is there a ski resort in Mount San Bernardino? It kinda reminds me a little of Sydney as our ski fields are about 6 hours drive in Perisher Valley.

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 

      9 years ago

      How I love California---It is our favorite vacation destination! My favorite areas are San Diego (the perfect climate), Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, San Simeon, Cayucos, and Santa Maria, Solvang, Morro Bay and north! Can you imagine what it was like before the population explosion?

      Great article and pictures!

    • emievil profile image


      9 years ago from Philippines

      Hi SP, thanks, we're okay. Maybe someday i can go back to the US for a short visit. My doggy says thanks =).

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Hi emievil,

      I hope you are okay over there with all of the flooding I have been hearing about on the news. Maybe you can visit with your friend in California one day soon. Love your new doggy picture by the way!

    • emievil profile image


      9 years ago from Philippines

      Wow. Great pictures SP. When I stayed in California for 3 months, I only went to LA. Now I wish I went to San Diego as well. I have a friend who lives there, a Filipina also who married an American. She was inviting me to visit her but I just didn't have the time to do that. Now I wish I did. Thanks for the hub SP.

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Southern California, USA


      Glad you liked it.


      I think you would enjoy Hawaii too, which has beautiful beaches.


      Some people I know from the east coast actually decided to move to the mountains because of the four seasons. Some of our trees have been destroyed by the bark beetle, but the mountains still have a great deal of greenery. When it snows it is very beautiful, but a little dangerous as our roads are more windy than the average mountain road. Thanks for stopping by :).


      The mountains are really beautiful here. I do not live in the mountains anymore, but I love to visit. It is also pretty near the orange fields, especially in spring when the trees are blossoming!


      Thanks for stopping by and reading!


      Most people are surprised to hear there is snow here. My mom was from the Midwest originally, and she did not even realize there were mountains here until her friend pointed it out one day. The reason they moved to the mountains was so we could experience the four seasons.

    • VioletSun profile image


      9 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      It is beautiful in California, enjoyed looking at the photos. It seems so clean with beautiful skies. And... I admit I am a former New Yorker who had no idea there is snow in Southern California until I read this hub. :)

    • agusfanani profile image


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      Very beautiful pictures ! You're lucky living in such a wonderful country, SweetiePie.

    • jiberish profile image


      9 years ago from florida

      sorry double!

    • jiberish profile image


      9 years ago from florida

      You certanily live in a beautiful place. Nice pixs!

    • Paradise7 profile image


      9 years ago from Upstate New York

      I'm used to a green landscape during the rest of the year and snow during the winter. Sunny California isn't that much different than where I live, after all (depending on the elevation, of course). Lovely pics, thank you!

    • shamelabboush profile image


      9 years ago

      This is really wonderful without doubt!!! i wish i can get there someday! Florida, Miami, California... Lovely places. Thanks sweetiepie :)

    • magdielqr profile image


      9 years ago

      This is great advice. Thank you for this Hub.

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Hi Pellrider,

      Yes in the San Bernardino Mountains and other mountain ranges in Southern California we get snow in the winter time. In years past it even snowed as late as June. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • pellrider profile image


      9 years ago

      A good article. Nice pictures. Hope to see more from you.I didn't know you have snow.


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