Saturday, October 9, 2010


If you have ever wanted to go to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, and like me will probably never get there, you can have the next-best thing by viewing our friend’s blog. Go to the list of Blogs we follow in the right margin of our Blog. Click on Dancing Dottie.
Dottie and Larry had a first hand experience at the Balloon Festival by serving as crew members for a friend of theirs. They have posted some fabulous pictures.

Even if I were there I’d never get this up close and personal. Thanks, Dottie, for sharing a fabulous adventure!!

Friday, October 8, 2010


Friends Philip and Catherine provided the following website for more insight about the Mission Bells we saw along California Hwy 101:

California Bell website

In 1769 The El Camino Real (Kings Highway) was just a footpath. As California Missions were established from San Diego to Sonoma, the footpath became a roadway. In 1823 the little pathway became a real route.

The first Mission Bell was designed by Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes in 1906. On August 15, 1906 that first El Camino Real Bell was installed at the Pueblo De Los Angeles Mission Church in Los Angeles. It still stands today!

The picturesque Mission Bells that we saw along Hwy 101 as we drove south from Morgan Hill to Los Angeles were installed as guideposts which gave distances between the principal towns and directions to the Missions. The Bells were inscribed “El Camino Real 1769-1906”. The dates reflect the founding of the first Mission and the dedication of the first Mission Bell in Los Angeles. By 1913, 450 bells were in place; however, since that time many bells were lost to road reconstruction and theft. Through the efforts of California Bell Company, a total of 555 original El Camino Real Bells are now in place along Hwy 101.

In fact, you can have your own Bell!! Go to the California Bell website the entire interesting story.

[Note: Above information is from the California Bell websites.]

Thursday, October 7, 2010


October 07 – We drove into TT Wilderness Lakes, Hemet, CA on Thursday afternoon and were greeted at the gate by our friend Al who has been a ranger here for years!! He seemed as excited to see us as we were to see him after all these years!

Al told us that our friends Carolyn and John had come into the Preserve about an hour before us. When we were settled we invited them over for a glass of wine and conversation. We felt like we were home again!!

Our neighborhood mallards joined the party!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


September 30 – October 07 – One of our favorite Thousand Trails preserves is Rancho Oso. It’s a beautiful preserve located in the middle of the San Padres National Forest. No Pickleball players here either!! But, we always enjoyed the horses, deer, and other animals around the park. This year they must have been more than 100 horses, some belong to the park for trail rides by Thousand Trails members and the public, others are boarded by private owners. They were beautiful out in the pastures!

(I missed the wild Turkeys and Goats.)

We took a drive to view the beautiful scenery the Forest has to offer.

We really didn’t have to leave the park at all. This is the view from our dining room window!!

We love the town of Santa Barbara, only about 15 miles south. We drove in on Saturday to shop the Farmers Market. We thought we did well with out purchases. The main thing I wanted was Sour Dough Bread. Only one vendor was selling breads at $4 a loaf!!

Our GPS arrived at last!!! So we were safe again to drive around!! Our first trip was back into Santa Barbara to pick up mail. After that, we went to the Santa Ynez Valley and came upon these workers gathering Organic vegetables at an Organic farm.

On our way home we stopped at Andersen’s in the Bavarian town of Buellton to have their world famous Split Pea Soup. UUMMM!!

Monday, October 4, 2010


October 04 – One of our favorite things to do is to go to the Flag Is Up Farm, owned by famous horse trainer, Monty Roberts. The farm is open to visitors – just drive in and make yourself at home.

So we made ourselves at home.

A young lady exercising her beautiful horse!

Ken tamed the frisky colt!!

It was a delightful afternoon!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


October 03 – Ken’s granddaughter, Niki, lives Culver City, CA, about two hours south of Rancho Oso. She works for a movie studio, coordinating special effects. In fact, Niki is currently working on the soon-to-be-released Country Strong starring Tim McGraw and Gwyneth Paltrow. Watch for Niki Hillier’s name in the Credits when you see the movie!!

Niki drove up to visit with us on Sunday. We showed her around the preserve, especially the horses.

After a late lunch, we decided to drive into Santa Barbara and take a Sun Set Cruise on the Double Dolphin, a 50-foot catamaran.
It was a beautiful day up in the mountains, but as we approached Santa Barbara, the fog rolled in and ultimately our Cruise was cancelled.
We were not ready to eat again so we took a scenic drive up to the Santa Barbara Mission that Niki had not seen.

I took a picture of this bell at the Mission because we had seen this type bell all along Hwy 101 as we headed south. I think the bells designated historic sites.

It was beginning to get late so we took Niki to her car, planning to get together again soon. It was great to see her!!

This was our drive back to Rancho Oso a little later.