Treacherous and beautiful… infamous and magnificent. These words describe the 8,000-foot, wind-swept, snow-covered summit of Donner’s Pass in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. Named after the ill-fated party of immigrants that lost over half of its number in their tragic attempt to cross it, Donner’s Pass was every bit as resistant to the Central Pacific Railroad’s efforts to build a transcontinental rail line back in 1863. It took six years and an army of almost 10,000 men using only hand tools to carve a safe passage through the mountains. Today, this 140-mile stretch of double-tracked mainline rail operations is still one of the most difficult climbs in American railroading. Steep grades, sharp curves, and cruel weather place staggering obstacles in the path of trains that have been making the difficult trek for the last 130 years.
Monterey, California is quite possibly the greatest meeting of land, sea, and sky on the entire planet. This visual feast encompasses breathtaking Pacific coastline, dramatic Big Sur, romantic Carmel, Pacific Grove, the world-famous 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, and Monterey’s very own wine country. Simon visits historic Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row, and tastes wine atWatch Now >>
Marvel at the vast natural wonderland that John Muir called home, Teddy Roosevelt fought to preserve, and Ansel Adams relished by capturing its bold essence. Yosemite is an apple in the pie of America, located in the heart of the great state of California.Watch Now >>
Sonoma County is one of the world’s top wine-growing regions. It is also a year-round haven for fine-dining, lodging, spas, and a flourishing arts community. Fifty-eight miles of Sonoma coast offer a magnificent display of natural beauty and wildlife. Stop in Bodega Bay, where Alfred Hitchcock filmed “The Birds,” and go behind the scenes ofWatch Now >>
One of California’s original twenty-seven counties, El Dorado is the undisputed home of the Gold Rush, and, possibly the home of the American vineyard too, with vines dating back to 1849. Simon visits a number of historic sites in the county, including Marshall Gold Discovery Park, and the actual location where gold was first found.Watch Now >>