Thursday, October 9, 2008


Brokeoff Moon
Originally uploaded by leapin26
When you have enough time to blog, you are not living. You are not outdoors experiencing the weather. You are inside looking at a box.

Just because DanaMite does not write weekly, doesn't mean she has nothing to share. Maybe she will have lots to tell, when she finally sits down to write it.

For those of you who choose to travel mostly thru cyberland only, be patient.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

North Lake Road

North Lake Road #2
Originally uploaded by VerPen
This is the kinda day I am talking about. Outdoors, this autumn. Now, before the snow hits. This is the kinda beauty -t hat only shows up for a few days in the back country - that you are missing. Get in the car, get outta town & explore the Eastern Sierra. BISHOP CA

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Motorhome Campers

It's not everyday I get to write about the other side of camping. RVing makes up a huge portion of outdoor travelers in the US, especially in the baby-boomers age group. Many want all the creature comforts & hi-speed connections, while others prefer to rough it every now & then. Part timers or full time residents of the road, these motorized homes often serve as a new lifestyle for adventure seekers who are physically less mobile. I photograph the county parks, the secluded camps, the primitive sites, and the city trailer courts. Total Escape can show you the freebie spots, the lake side Campground, the small RV parks & the big luxury RV Resorts. All of it, on one web site.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rock the Earth

William (Will), who I met in Baja in 2005, relocated to Tahoe CA from the east coast recently. He admits California is awesome, especially the Sierra Nevada. This summer he is traveling & volunteering w/ the Rock the Earth crew. Check out their voice via the web site.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lowest Gas Prices in CA

Lowest Gas Prices in California

California Gas Prices provided by

Paid $4.39 @ Flying J on the Grapevine yesterday. Only $75 to fill up the old Isuzu Amigo. Maybe this tank full can last most of the summer if I am a good girl & walk or bike to the post office daily.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

How often do you camp?

A question you might not hear often. But as a professional camper I get it all the time. When I was in the midst of my stressful city career, I would escape Los Angeles every chance I got, which was usually every weekend.

Several times per month I would be off exploring some Sierra dirt roads, playing in the Wilderness, waiting until the last possible moment to return home (SUNDAY night 10pm).

Many choose their addictions carelessly. I consider myself a camp-o-holic, as my love for outdoors is so strong, that I created an entire business around it. At the peak of my adventure days I was camping about 20 trips per year. Deserts in the winters, mountains in the summer.

Total Escape Adventures, the guided trips division, has lead up to 280 people per year out camping Baja or California. We took a break in 2007, but now we are offering road trips again.

Monday, May 19, 2008

How do you find these places?

This is one of the top questions I get when discussing my travels.

That rare secluded beach camp with whole sand dollars at the shore; the private wildflower meadow at the end of the dirt road in the High Sierra; the fern lined, boulder creek camp with swimming hole & a perfect hammock spot.

For the past decade I have driven around the state of California (& some Baja) researching & visiting unheard of destinations, taking notes, taking photos, way pointing my GPS, and serving it up to you, my loyal Escapers. My passion is outdoors and I want you to experience the best way possible.

You need to understand a few things about me, DanaMite.
I have more free time to browse photos and study topo maps than your average American, due to the fact that I:
a.) am not a mother
b.) am not someones wife
c.) do not own a television
d.) am obsessed w/ outdoors

While the first 2 items amaze common folk, the third really sends them into a frenzy. No T.V. yes, you heard right! The boob tube will kill any critical thinking skills, if you had them in the first place.

No commuting and shopping addiction, I choose to spend plenty of time to work on my home biz, study books, gaze at travel brochures, millions of photos, internet web sites and most importantly MAPS.

Topo and back road maps are the key to finding the best places to vacation in the Wilderness areas of California. If you wanna stay well away from the tourists this summer, you can start with the Total Escape photos on flickr, check out the back road page & then order some maps online.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pine Mountain Lilac Festival

Mountain Lilac in White
Originally uploaded by danamight
Looking for something to do - close to L.A., next weekend?

It's springtime in the mountains of California. Hike, bike, picnic.

California Wilderness Festivals are few & far in between. The warmth of May brings new energy as the growth cycle continues. Pine Mountain Club host yet another mountain festival, the popular Lilac Festival will be next weekend.

SAT/SUN - MAY 17th & 18th

Live music, arts, crafts, food & greasy fair food outdoors. Car clubs always welcomed. 4x4 trail run on Quatal Canyon Sunday @ Sundown. Meet: Toad Springs Camp.

Drive Los Padres back roads: Cerro Noroeste Road, Hwy 33, Highway 166 & beyond

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sequoia Map


If you are searching for maps on the mighty Sequoia region of California, we may be able to help here at Total Escape. First, decide what park or forest. There are up more than 6 'agencies' managing our Giant Sequoia Trees in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. See the list below w/ maps.

Big, Old, Huge, Tall Trees : overview page for the Redwoods on the California North Coast, the Sequoia of the Sierra Nevada mountains and the oldest trees, the Ancient Bristlecone Pines over on the east side.

Sierra Nevada SEQUOIA GROVES can be found in:

Sequoia National Forest
Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
Yosemite National Park
Mountain Home State Forest
Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Giant Sequoia National Monument

printed on polypropylene plastic, waterproof maps, tear-resistant, recyclable

Sequoia National Forest Map USDA

Sequoia National Park Map (NatGeo)
Sequoia / Kings Canyon Map (Tom Harrison)

Sierra National Forest Map USDA
Sierra Forest Map (Tom Harrison)
Yosemite National Park Map (Tom Harrison)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How does Total Escape make money online?

Total Escape receives income from a variety of sources online & off.

The web site has been live for 12 full years (come OCT 2008). DanaMite's first approach was to create a 'mobile web site design' service for small lodges within California. After a 1998 direct mailing to 800 California innkeepers, I soon realized that I was ahead of my time. Most inns did not even have a web site prior to 2000.

Neither did the government agencies - like the State Parks & National Forests. But Total Escape was there, way back when, with real California content, camping options & plenty photos.

Mainly, Total Escape sells California maps to get you inspired, off the couch & outta the house.

We list independent lodges & recreation businesses, so you can find out what to do & where to stay. Innkeepers can get lodges featured: standard links & photo deluxe.

Amazon sells tons of great camping gear. If you buy it thru our site we get a few cents on referral commissions, which helps keep us up late night hours programming the latest outdoorsy finds for you. Zillions of real photos for you await. Perfect outdoorsy weekends away will be yours for the choosing.

Total Escape also sells text ads to small businesses wishing to reach this back roads, niche California market.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Poppies are Peaking

Hey you, get off the couch. You're gonna miss it again this year. Take a drive from the smog lands of Los Angeles this week. This is a very good show, this time, out in the high deserts of Lancaster - Hwy 138, east of Intestate 5. The California Golden Poppies are at their prime, right now!

California wildflowers are in bloom, so don't wait too long, or you will miss the window of popportunity.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

California Pics

Loving the huge spike in web traffic. From the Manson cult ranch hitting the news, to the outdoorsy people getting restless... finally finding the best camping photos of California on my Flickr page. Daily photo views went from an average of 500 to over 1000. Yippeee!

Looking for beautiful California locations?
Out in nature, wild & free --- away from the freeways & malls.
see 'em all here

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Camping Photos

This one phrase is quite a popular search term. This could mean that people wanna see the places they are going to camp - before they leave the house. Now where is the surprise in that? We have the secluded Campgrounds in California listed, and plenty more advice on primitive camping on the back roads. Total Escape cannot guarantee that you will get that perfect shady stream side camp site this season, but we can make finding it more likely.

Love the VISUALS!

start here - California CAMPING PHOTOS

High Sierra Hiking
Originally uploaded by danamight
a decent wildflower season is ahead.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Poppy Fields Lancaster

If you're in search of wildflowers this Spring season, then you will not want to miss the California Poppies blooming out on Hwy 138. This high desert area is known for it brilliant display of colors, as thousands of poppy stompers make their way to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. This is expected to be a good bloom season in poppy land, so make a day to go check out the wildflowers between Gorman & Lancaster CA.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Barker Ranch Bodies

Mid-March, sunny Spring & the Total Escape web traffic is spiking like summertime highs. Spring breakers, Easter camping trips, Wilderness wildflowers, Nope. The visitors here are increasing - because of the content. One single (8 year old page) on Barker Ranch, otherwise known as the Manson Cabin. Way out in Death Valley National Park boundaries. DanaMite checked it out with some 4x4 club one time & put it out there. We love to feature the back roads.

Even if there are more dead bodies from the cult to be found...

Barker Ranch
Goler Wash
Ballarat California
Panamint Valley
Panamint Springs CA
Charcoal Kilns
Death Valley National Park

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lights for Camping

With technology comes better lights for camping and outdoor use. Lightweight LED headlamps to gel cell automotive batteries, Total Escape lists a selection of common outdoor batteries. We feature plenty rechargeable batteries.

Yet, once again I find myself redesigning the GEAR STORE for you, the outdoor enthusiast. Enjoy the light!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

total excape

Do you need a total escape from your daily routine? Total escapes call you from a rut, depression, or boredom. Learn somewhere new. Challenge your navigation skills. Visit often.

Over 11 years online totalescape. total excape

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wild Fires California

A transient was found guilty of starting the Day Fire that burned more than 162,000 acres

Steven Emory Butcher was found guilty of starting the Day Fire that burned more than 162,000 acres in the Los Padres and Angeles National Forests in 2006, and the Ellis Fire in 2002. Congratulations to Special Agent Heather Campbell and the other Los Padres National Forest personnel who worked very hard to bring this case forward to its successful conclusion.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lunar Eclipse this week!

As the sun sets on Wednesday, FEB 20th, a total eclipse of the Moon will occur from 5:43 to 9:09pm PST. This lunar eclipse will be visible from North & South America weather permitting. California has a weather system moving in that day, so we may not see it depending on our cloud cover. But go outside anyway, at 6PM WED & watch for it - just to say you tried. You may be in for a nice show if the clouds are cooperating.

[This great moon photo is from Lttlbddy Steve's collection.]

Saturday, February 2, 2008

keep it coming love

yeah. more snow, more, more.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mono Lake Winter Kayaking

Mono Lake Winter Kayaking1
Originally uploaded by Buck Forester
This amazing photographers work will make you want to BE THERE. Right there in the photo, in the boat. This one image of the Eastern Sierra literally took my breathe away. Not as good as being there, but the next best thing.

Mediate on Life.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Total Escape Adventures

For most of 2007 Total Escape Adventures has been taking a much needed break from leading our famous "guided road trips". This past year we worked at revamping the popular 3000 page web site - so we could get a better handle on the huge redesign process (learning new code, creating databases, & establishing the new blog @ Total Escape OUTSIDE); but now we are sick of the computer & itching to get back out there to travel again.

Do not let those gas prices get you down. Find a friend, carpool & join us!

Total Escape Adventures is back for 2008. DanaMite just posted the Spring line up which included Sierra Snowmobiling, Kern River Camping & Sequoia for Memorial Day weekend. Go check it out soon & join us for some back road excursions this season. We promise it will be cheaper to travel locally than you ever thought possible. And you might even learn a few new things!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Online Marketing

Many folks ask me HOW I make a living online? Most believe it cannot be done or I must be doing something illegal - or possibly a porn site - to be able to make my income off of the web. This post is an overview on what it took to get me where I am at today.... 11 & a half years ONLINE. Survived the dot com bust in the early 90's, the 9/11 travel slow down & yes, still here in the recession of today.

First, keep it simple & build what you know. Following my passion, I have created a popular independent travel site, just for my niche market.... California escapes.

I have multiple sources of revenue with Total Escape, which means when one thing slows down another one is sure to pick up. Seasonal strategies you might call it. Total Escape Adventures is the guided trips that I lead (camping, adventure tours) & they are great fun for new folks to get exposed to our style of travel. But it is by no means the big money maker. I also do freelance web site designs for a side job, but that is not as steady as you would think either. Ya know, everyone wants a bitchin' custom built web site, with all the bells & whistles - for under $1000 & it's not possible in my world. You'll just need to hire someone else for that task.

The Total Escape web site itself is the main bread & butter for income. Total Escape has been online almost a dozen years now & the real content is what keeps people coming back. Thousands of pages of weekend ideas, unique lodges, camp spots, outdoor recreation & reviews. The latest creation for our organization is here at OUTSIDE

We serve everything from Google Ads to Amazon books, independent lodging reservations, campground reservations, RV rental reservations, plus we offer great web exposure to the mom & pop style businesses in California with 10,000 visitors per day checking the site out, shopping around for their next weekend getaway.

We sell all kinds of California Maps - hiking maps, backpacker topos, biking trails & off road routes.

Total Escape sells banner advertising, lodge listings & recreation vendors listed & linked for a small annual fee.

Travel sites: People may be saving cash by not flying or not traveling far from home, but local travel will hold it's own. It's cheap to travel in state, you're very own back yard. It doesn't require months of planning or preparation, or cost hundreds of dollars. Now that the new SUV is scratched, you can finally take it off road without worrying too much. Back road travel is what I specialize in; showing you how to travel cheap in California.

Exposure: Total Escape on rare occasion advertises in print - in weekly rags such as San Francisco Weekly , San Diego Reader & OC Weekly. I believe heavily in organic search results, which means I do not pay much for online advertising. I create content & pages that people are actually searching for - the cool stuff & search terms that people seek, that search engines follow & constantly re-index. My web sites exposure online includes weekly site maps that are automatically submitted to the search engines, plus the oh-so-popular social networks & blogs that I maintain monthly.

Total Escape

Promote Your Page Too


Yes, yes, I know. I tend to work 50 hours a week, at home on the computer. I have no pets, no kids, no husband & no TV. This is the price I pay for being able to travel often & create my dream biz Total Escape. To me it is all worth it to have this flexibility & adventurous life. Seriously, who has time for social media?