Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Responsive: 18 years

Responding to the width of any device. The phrase 'responsive web design' did not exist a decade ago because bigger was better and the large 1500 mega pixel wide flat displays were all the rage back then. Wider photographs, crystal clear imagery, streaming videos and playing movies on your home computer. Gone were the days of ugly web 1.0, w/ limited screen space and 800 width, as advertising banners and text ads filled any blank space. Fast forward to today and web sites now need to look good on all computers, from desktop to palm sized.

for the content site of Total Escape. Map store sales are on the way out!


Total Escape is celebrating 18 years online this month and it continues to be the independent travel guide to California Outdoors and Off the Beaten Path.

Friday, September 12, 2014

New Eastern Sierra Map

Eastern Sierra Camping - Bridgeport, CA

bridgeport map

Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest

USDA recently updated most of their National Forests maps to a new plastic waterproof versions, with El Dorado being the very last of the paper maps (that which is now outta print and outta stock).

Front cover design takes a twist with the new retro-looking map featured here - Toiyabe's Bridgeport Ranger District. It was updated and printed in 2014,  on plastic (polypropalene) just like all the other forest maps for California.

This particular map covers places like:
Mono Lake, Lee Vining, Conway Summit, Bridgeport, Buckeye Hot Springs, Travertine Hot Springs, East Walker River, Lundy Lake, Twin Lakes, Virginia Lakes, Bodie Ghost Town, Green Creek, Upper Summers Meadow, Dunderberg Meadow, and Hoover Wilderness.

This rural Eastern California region is located on US Highway 395 (north of Mammoth and south of Lake Tahoe).

Autumn aspen groves draw tourist sightseers every year as fall colors peak in October and are complete by November (with the first snow fall). Quite popular amongst all outdoor enthusiasts - hunters, fishermen, RV campers, backpackers, day hikers, car campers, horse packers, mountain bikers, dirt bikers, motorcyclist, boaters, kayakers, canoers, antique shoppers, cattle ranchers, snow skiers, cross country folks, and the most relaxed of all, hot springs soakers.

Friday, August 1, 2014

California Fire Map

California Wildfires & Fire Information

Extreme drought conditions means super high wildfire dangers for all of California. As of August 1st, nearly 60% of the golden state is under EXCEPTIONAL drought, one level up from the 'extreme' classification. We are more than one years worth of water overdue.

Wildfires in California are quiet common and occur annually in the later part of the year (summer - autumn)  when the natural vegetation, brush and forests are the driest. Drought.gov will show just how bad the drought conditions are currently in the Western U.S.


Southern California as well as Northern California experience wildland fires, and since Central California is backed by the Sierra Nevadas, you should expect forest fires at high elevations and lower river canyons too.

California is currently experiencing extreme fire dangers, so many parks and forest areas have higher than normal restrictions. The new normal is becoming extreme, as you can imagine. Campfires are allowed only inside developed campgrounds and in some severe dry brush regions -  no campfires at all are allowed at all (even inside metal ring in a campground).

Numerous agencies handle wildland fires inside California: National Forest Service, California Dept of Fire (also known as Cal Fire), Individual County Fire Crews and the BLM. Below listed are some helpful links to various web sites on California Wild Fires

Inciweb -
Fire Incident Web Site is a national database, which covers almost all current wildfires and their containment.

Cal Fire Map -
Wildfire Incidents by California Department of Forestry & Fires covers fires being fought by the Calfire team.

California County Fire Districts & Volunteer Fire Departments

rural mountain living
has a price

Private property brush clearance, forest homes and cabin owners should visit fire safety web site
California Fire Safe Council

But what about my camping destination?
Is that affected by the fire restrictions too?
Yes, most likely. Call the local rangers to find out more up to date info on your specific camp or trailhead.

Many state and federal agencies manage of the wild lands and parks around California, so find general destinations below by agency. Call or check local ranger station closest to the campground in the region where you plan to stay.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Where'd She Go?

It often seems as if I have forgotten about this long standing blogger blog, leaving it for months at a time without a post (maybe while traveling for weeks or working other more pressing projects).

Over this past winter, I spent much time rebuilding older pages to a new format (WordPress) Outside Blog and I will continue this throughout the year.

Covering the back roads like no other! I, DanaMite, am dedicated to the whole of Total Escape, my 8000 page web site on California travel destinations, off the beaten path. Established way back in 1996, in the web 1.0 days, on a 33k modem.

First and foremost that I can offer is real world content, real experiences, travel logs, photos, GPS data and research I gather while exploring the golden state. Sleeping on the ground, tent camping outside of developed campgrounds, way back there "out in the field".

Lakes, Rivers, Wilderness, Outdoor Recreation, Small Towns & Unique Lodging

Managing databases on California destinations, info and topographic maps; Thousands of photos, plus topo map store and gear shop - Total Escape is my day job! My commute is walking to the local post office to mail out your map orders. Snail mail or USPS Priority, cheap and reliable. Imus, NatGeo, Tom Harrison, USDA, Wilderness Press, stocking plenty West Coast maps. Yep, this is how I make my living.

One big, old web site and the ecommerce store is what I primarily concentrate on. But let us not forgot the massive amount of outgoing links, small business listings, system updates, web code, advertising, blogs and social media that constantly need attention. It's a one woman show here at Total Escape and it's going on 18 years this coming autumn.

Total Escape is a huge, old, rich web site, chock full of camping and outdoor recreation ideas. Spring thru Summer 2014 - both the map store and web site are being upgraded to read better on mobile devices.

In my free time.... organic gardens. I recently began growing my own food!

California A to Z

search California photographs by tag

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waterproof Maps


Paper maps are fading fast. Literally, disappearing into landfills, campfires or into the archives of map collectors. Digital maps have totally taken over our lives and you'll be hard pressed to find a decent printed local area hiking map when traveling small towns inside California.

Keep in mind that many of the middle-of-nowhere, back road destinations we feature on Total Escape do not receive adequate cell phone service, much less a wireless, high speed, digital network. So plan accordingly.

Old timers, frequent travelers and experienced outdoor folks still want the hard copy - a real map!

Waterproof and tear resistant plastic maps are now common.

Tom Harrison was one if the first to offer quality plastic hiking maps. All the NatGeo map titles are 2-sided, full color and plastic. USDA has slowly been transitioning their National Forests maps to plastic maps over the past few years. California Wilderness area maps are only about half available. Polypropylene / recyclable is the main emblem on the back side.

new release 2014:
Both Plumas and Tahoe National Forest are now available in plastic.

tahoe maps

The only California National Forest map left in paper is Eldorado, which is now outta stock for 2014.

NOTE: With recent economic cut backs from government, some map titles that may have been available in plastic in the recent past are now being printed in a paper version.