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CONTENTS TRAVEL CALIFORNIA & THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST 6. Magical Steveston, British Coulmbia 12. San Juan Island: Savor the Salish Sea 20. Winter in Pinnacles National Park 24. Locals Insider: California’s Sequoia Country

EXPLORE THE HISTORIC SOUTHWEST 28. A “Spirited” Overnight at La Posada 36. Colorado River State Historic Park

VISIT THE SOUTH & SOUTHEAST 42. Historic Springfield, Central Kentucky 44. Locals Insider: Louisiana’s Oldest City 46. Good Times in Lafayette, Louisiana

TRAILS, ROUTES & ROAD TRIPS 56. A Solar Eclipse Adventure 60. My Walk Across America 64. Free Land! Gold! Adventure! 70. Pilgrim Routes of Britain & Europe

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CONTENTS Continued… HISTORY, CULTURE & THE ARTS 72. Captain John Smith 76. Following the Path of Success 82. Totem Poles of the Pacific Northwest 84. Hollywood History of Southern Arizona 86. Artist Patricia Cummins at Fort Union 88. Return from Dry Tortugas 90. Coko Brown: Under Western Skies

BOOKS, GIFTS & GEAR 94. Atlas of Untamed Places 95. All Fish Faces 96. On the Road with The Cooking Ladies! 98. Gear, Gifts & Games

TOURISM & HOSPITALITY 100. Linda Kissam: Travel Writer Success 102. The World of Travel Writing & Blogging 108. Calling All Food, Wine & Travel Writers!


EDITORS BLOCK From the magical fishing village of Steveston, British Columbia to the ancient pilgrim routes of England and Europe, this winter issue of Parks & Travel Magazine takes you on a diverse travel adventure through beautiful California and the Pacific Northwest, across the historic and dramatic southwest, and into culturally rich Louisiana and Kentucky. Stories range from a retired teacher’s walk across America to a family road trip to experience the solar eclipse; a writer’s overnight stay in a haunted hotel room to artists evacuating Dry Tortugas National Park during Hurricane Irma; and from citizen scientists documenting tropical fish to notable leaders who followed the rocky road to success. Planning a trip or park adventure? Visit our site to read articles, listen to interviews, and watch videos about parks and their gateway destinations. Many of the stories come from our travels on the Big Blend Spirit of America Tour, our quest to visit and cover all 417 national park units and their gateway communities. From radio shows to new articles and videos, one of the best ways to keep up with all things Big Blend is to subscribe to our weekly Big Blend e-Newsletter. That’s also the best way to get your free copies of our digital, bi-monthly Big Blend Radio & TV Magazine and Parks & Travel Magazine. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, with safe and fun travels! Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith Big Blend’s mother-daughter publishing, radio and travel team; along with Priscilla, the pink sock monkey travel mascot for the Big Blend Spirit of America Tour!

Front Cover Photo by Hilarie Larson: View from the Gardens of Friday Harbor House, San Juan Island, WA. See her story on page 12. BIG BLEND MISSION STATEMENT: Big Blend is a company based on the belief that education is the most formidable weapon that can be waged against fear, ignorance and prejudice. It is our belief that education starts at home and branches outward. Education leads to travel, and travel leads to understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of cultures and customs different to our own, and ultimately to world peace. Our company is further based on the principle that networking, communication, and helping others to promote and market themselves leads to financial stability; thus paving the way to better education, travel, and the spirit of giving back to the community. This magazine is developed by Big Blend Magazine™, copyrighted since 1997. No part of it may be reproduced for any reason, without written permission from Big Blend Magazine. Although every effort is made to be accurate, we cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies or plagiarized copy submitted to us by advertisers or contributors.


Steveston Park PAGE 6

Steveston Wharf It’s been said that Steveston is to Vancouver, Canada what Sausalito and Fisherman's Wharf are to San Francisco. It is located at the southwest corner of Richmond, a suburb to Vancouver on Canada’s west coast. In recent years it has established its own unique cultural and pop port identity. Historical buildings, boutique stores, distinctive restaurants, working fishing docks, walking paths and two walk-friendly parks give this destination a special sense of place. Visitors can purchase freshly-caught fish of all kinds dockside off working boats. In the 1940s, it was the home to Vancouver's Japanese, the place where they first settled in the late 1800s and early 1900s - until they were evacuated during the Second World War. Steveston is now a working port and home to the largest fleet of commercial fishing vessels on Canada's west coast. It may be a working port but today's Steveston is more than its past. I suggest spending a relaxing few days surrounded by the beauty and serenity of this very special fishing village.

Big Blend Radio: Linda Kissam discusses Steveston, B.C. Tea shops, antique stores and arts and crafts outlets flourish in the small village. Tourists will find a destination conceived by unrestrained imagination, thoughtful stewardship and invigorating entrepreneurship. Locals as well as tourists flock to Steveston to buy fresh seafood, sample fish and chips, browse the eclectic shops, and experience the picturesque small-town feel.


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The Diva's boat "Jubilant" docked at Steveston, Canada dock

Steveston Wharf

Steveston Continued… Steveston is very flat which means everyone of any ability can enjoy its beauty. The roads surrounding Steveston provide miles and miles of effortless riding and walking. A #onehourwalk is as painless as it is beautiful. The scenery is remarkable, featuring panoramic views of the ocean. It is not uncommon to see wildlife such as geese, herons, and turtles along the walking/biking trails.

There are a variety of tasty and wellness reasons to tour Steveston. Thankfully, tourist traps are outnumbered by local seaside offerings for sale on Moncton Street and the area has enough variety in the way of attractions to fill up a spring, summer or fall day. Here are a few of my favorite stops that define the Steveston experience.

Fresh Fish Excursion: Reserve a spot in your Coleman cooler or refrigerator for some authentic B.C. seafood, acquired directly from the people who actually haul it in for a living. Stroll the main wharf for a variety of fish. Boats from Prince Rupert to Nanaimo dock here regularly, most often Fridays for weekend sales, with fresh and frozen sea delights from as far away as Haida Gwaii. What's it like? Imagine a Foremost a working fishing port, it does offer, for seaside market with salmon, tuna, urchins, and a charge, a number of its side tie moorings on its the odd squid. Prices aren't cheap, but you'll new horseshoe wharf for pleasure boats and know exactly what you're getting by sight, smell whale watching boats. Water and electricity is and taste. available. It is quite convenient to walk to all Historic Cannery Tour: The informative tour of attractions, but be aware…the crowds mill the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic around until dark snapping photos, buying fish and taking in the water sights. The excitement of Site is just steps from the wharf. Built in 1894, it is one of B.C.'s few historically intact canneries. the wharf activities and easy access into town outweighs the noise and crowds. Continued on Next Page… There are several ways to get to Steveston. I’ve taken a taxi from the airport. I’ve driven my car there. I have also sailed on our family 42 foot Grand Banks boat there. The Fraser River that leads to the port can be a challenge for pleasure crafts. Winds and swift currents are quite normal, as are dangerous floating logs and debris.


Steveston Wharf Fish Market

Adorabelle Tea House

Steveston Continued… Finally, don’t miss Country Bread. The Romanian baker/owner Nicu is quite a character. If you have time, engage him in a conversation. My one question led to a 45 minute marathon on bread making, tourists, locals, politics and European roots. He makes one product: bread. That’s it. Oh, but what a bread it is. It sells out every day … at $10 a loaf! You won’t see other Village Shopping: Probably the second best items in this bread shop. The baker pulls plump, reason to visit this area is the fine shopping. I wholesome loaves directly from the wood-fired was lured by the window displays to pick up oven. The bread is dense and chewy with a bit of specialized tea, fine wool sweaters, cookware, a sourdough tang. It’s very good with brie cheese flowers, marine related gifts and exceptional or a bowl of spaghetti. 3680 Moncton Street. bread. Try Heringers Meats (190-12251 No. 1 Continued on Next Page… Road) for premium meats, sides of garlic mashed potatoes, veggie salads, and Terra breads, as Whale Watching Boat well as assorted gourmet treats. Pick up some antipasto, olive, and cheese. Once you're stocked, stroll over to Garry Point Park to stake out a picnic table. The 121 year old cannery is home to a museum commemorating the history of Canada's West Coast fishing industry from the 1870's to the present. Learn about the unique local history through interactive exhibits and activities for visitors of all ages. There is an entrance fee.

Adorabelle is an adorable tea house just a couple of blocks from the Wharf. The Tea House is in a small heritage home where “pretty in pink” is the main theme. The sandwiches, scones and desserts are all delicious as is the tea. You’ll like the service too. PAGE 9

Heringers Olde Fashioned Quality Meats

Storybrooke Country Style Bread

Steveston Continued … Restaurant Hopping: Steveston's signature dish is fish and chips, and is a simple alternative to the wild tower of stacked coruscations at the more upscale haunts. Funky joints cater to all appetites and tastes but the battered holy trinity of cod, halibut, and salmon is king any way you look at it. Dave's Fish & Chips (3460 Moncton Street) is a good choice. The locals head to Net Shed Café (3820 Moncton Street). It's long on diner atmosphere and has the kind of Chinese/Canadian menu that combines crispy spring rolls with lightly battered halibut and chips. PaJo's at the Wharf (at the foot of 3rd Avenue and Garry Point) remains a popular draw since it fired up the deep fryer in 1985.

#OneHourWalks: Steveston features two very different parks. The first, Garry Point Park is a notable scenic spot for kite-flying due to the prevailing winds at the mouth of the Fraser River. It opened as a park in 1989, and was previously a native fishing camp in the 1700's and the site of salmon canneries in the 20th century. Its wind swept rock garden has an inspiring Asian theme. Run, bike, or bring the dog out for a walk. The Fisherman's Needle Monument, erected in 1990, commemorates local fishermen who died at sea. The second is Steveston Park. This lush green walk takes visitors through green natural gardens, secret bays and gorgeous Northwest style floral displays.

Outlet Mall: Opened in July 2015, McArthurGlen Whale Watching: If you want to explore the Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport is the city’s outdoors, you can set sail from Steveston for discount fashion destination for label lovers and whale watching and eco-tours. You might spot style hunters. It has a comfortable but sea lions, herons, eagles, a pod of black-andcontemporary trendy look and feel. “Slick” comes white orcas, or even majestic humpback whales. to mind. Find Ralph Lauren, Armani, Guess, It’s wet, wild and deservedly popular. Hugo Boss and many more for up to 70% less all Story book Exploration: Fans of the TV show year round, plus enticing cafés and restaurants. Once Upon a Time will love exploring the historic Busy, busy, busy! You’ll need a taxi or car to explore this fun spot. It’s about 20 minutes from buildings and enchanted settings featured on the show. the wharf. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 10

Garry Point Park

Timmy Kitchen

Steveston Continued … Come and see why this magical village is one of Steveston actually plays a starring role as the magical town of Storybrooke. Visitors can pick up British Columbia's most popular destinations. See a free Once Upon a Time walking map from the Visitor Centre and go on a self-guided tour of the some of the places seen on the show. Drink Local: Grab a cup of local Joe at the spacious Wave Coffee House waterfront location located in the heart of Steveston. Stop in for one of the famous Waves Signature treats – locally sourced - especially a Nanaimo Bar. A wide variety of specialty coffees – try the killer café mocha’s- or caffeine free Rooibos tea.

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer based out of Southern California, who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit

Come in and relax in one of the comfortable leather lounge chairs. Take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. Whether it’s fairy tale charm, seafood noshing or a walk in the park that you’re looking for, head off to the picturesque seaside village of Steveston.


Historic San Juan Island By Hilarie Larson


Friday Harbor rises from the Salish Sea.

Nestled in the far northwestern corner of Washington State is a little slice of paradise. It’s a destination with no stoplights, where foodies forage and create memorable cuisine that defines farm to table and orchard to glass. Here, you can smell the Salish Sea, wander through wildflower-strewn prairies or a fanciful sculpture garden. This is where a pig led the way to diplomacy and a Hawaiian shepherd takes credit for naming the only town on the island. Welcome to San Juan Island, Washington. Whether one arrives by air or via Washington State Ferry, the journey through the many islands that comprise the San Juan Islands archipelago is a breathtaking one. The waters brim with life – jellyfish and squid, seals, otters, porpoises and, of course, the majestic Orca whales. Each island – there are 172 named islands in all – seems to have its own character. At a grand total of 55.3 square miles, San Juan Island is the county seat and host to the only incorporated town, Friday Harbor. It seems that, back in the 1860’s, a British gunboat arrived in the harbor. The captain and crew could only locate one person, a shepherd who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company. When they asked him where they were, the native Hawaiian, Joseph Poalie Friday, thought they had asked his name so he replied ‘Friday’, the moniker that eventually appeared on the first British charts of the area.

Big Blend Radio: Hilarie Larson discusses San Juan Island. Today’s Friday Harbor is a welcome sight as the ferry pulls up to the dock at the foot of the town. Quaint wood structures meld with more modern architecture along the flower-strewn streets the rise from the harbor. It’s a stroller’s heaven, with shops, restaurants, galleries and museums to explore. The harbor, which once hosted steamships eager to carry the island’s bounty of tree-fruits, berries, seafood and dairy products to the mainland, is now a pictureperfect marina filled with both fishing and pleasure boats. Nothing is too far away from Friday Harbor, making it the perfect base for discovery. If you didn’t bring your car on the ferry, you can choose from bikes (either manual or electric), mopeds, or popular, three-wheeled ‘ScootCoupes’. This is island life where nobody’s in a rush, the roads are easy to navigate and it’s OK to slow down and soak it all in. Continued on Next Page…


San Juan Continued…

The weekly Farmers' Market is held in the old brickworks in Friday Harbor.

San Juan Island’s tranquility belies its somewhat turbulent past. In the 1790’s, explorers from Great Britain, Spain and the United States, all laid claim to the island. By 1800, the Spanish bowed out, leaving the remaining two nations in joint occupation. The British thought that early treaties and the presence of the Hudson’s Bay Trading Company solidified their claim, while the Americans considered the region part of the Oregon Territory. The treaty of Oregon, signed in London, England in 1846, divided the territories west of the Rocky Mountains to the Straight of Juan de Fuca in the Pacific, along the 49th parallel. One problem: the San Juan Islands fell smack in the midst of this new boundary. The Hudson’s Bay Company made a move and set up a sheep farm on fertile grazing land at the southern end of the island. Word spread of the quality farmland and by 1859, eighteen Americans had moved from the mainland, claiming the land for the United States.

On a warm June day of that year, a pig wandered off the Hudson’s Bay farm and began digging away in the gardens of American Lyman Cutler. In his fury (at the pig or the British is up for debate) he shot the poor swine. Events unfolded swiftly. The British called for Cutler’s arrest and wanted all the Americans evicted from the island. The Americans called for protection and the Army sent sixty-four men, led by Captain George Pickett (who later led the illfated ‘Pickett’s Charge’ during the Battle of Gettysburg). The British countered with 3 warships, 62 guns, 400 Royal Marines and 15 Royal Engineers, all with the orders to remove Pickett but avoid armed conflict. Despite this show of force, Pickett stayed and 461 more soldiers were soon on their way to the island. As things began to reach a climax, both sides agreed to a brokered peace: the US would have a presence of 100 soldiers and the British one warship. The southern area of the island would remain in US control and America Camp was established. The Brits moved 13 miles to the northwest, building English Camp on the shores of Garrison Bay. Continued on Next Page…


The gardens of Friday Harbor House enjoy an enviable view.

Friday Harbor side streets - hanging baskets are everywhere! San Juan Continued… For the next twelve years, all was peaceful. Holidays became joint celebrations and horse races became the new ’competition’. As the Civil War drew to a close, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany was appointed arbitrator and, in 1871, ruled in favor of the United States. The British were gone soon after with the Americans following suit a few years later. In 1966, the two camps were joined together as San Juan Islands National Historic Park, to preserve and honor these historic events and the example of peaceful negotiation between nations. The beauty of the area combined with its history, makes this a ‘must see’ for island visitors. America Park features some of the last remaining prairies in the Pacific Northwest, is home to the nation’s largest nesting colony of Bald Eagles and the only habitat of the Island Marble Butterfly. Walking trails cross the grasslands and line the beaches of Haro Strait, home to three resident pods of Orca whales.

The Visitors Center features artifacts from the Native fishing grounds and a short trail through the pine trees leads to the remaining buildings of America Camp. You can hike or drive to British Camp. Although no buildings remain, you’ll find the terrain vastly different from the southern part of the park. Here, you’ll find open woodland with Garry Oaks and Pacific Madrone trees, wildflower prairie and cool, moist forests of Douglas Fir, Hemlock, and Cedar. Nearby Roche Harbor has an intriguing history of its own. The Hudson’s Bay Company built a trading post on the shores of the natural harbor in 1845, but it was the massive limestone deposits that developed the town. Tacoma lawyer, John S. McMillin, purchased the land in 1881, and developed Roche Harbor into the ‘largest lime-works east of the Mississippi’. The Hotel de Haro is still a focal point as it was when constructed in 1886 to house visiting customers. Continued on Next Page…


San Juan Continued…

America Camp - a peaceful spot where all you hear is the wind.

With only 20 rooms, the structure has, despite At Cask & Schooner locally sourced ingredients renovation, retained its original character, just as blend with Latino flair in this charming it was when President Theodore Roosevelt northwest take on the classic British Pub. stayed there in 1906 and 1907. Dine amid the lush urban gardens of Backdoor Pick up a copy of the Historic Town Walk, which Kitchen. Everything made from scratch results in will take you past the original company houses, a unique mix of international cuisines including Lime quarry, kilns, the Mausoleum and the some fantastic vegetarian offerings. Open for charming rose gardens planted by Mrs. McMillin. dinner and late night drinks. Where to Stay: Friday Harbor House: Northwest laid back elegance. Built onto a bluff overlooking the marina, this relaxing hotel offers picture window views, gas fireplaces and jetted tubs. Island Inn: Eclectic, modern comfort with fabulous hospitality and an eye on the environment. Created from an old fuel storage facility, the rooms are accessed from exterior terraced steps, many with incredible views of the marina and ferry.

San Juan Island Distillery, near Roche Harbor, crafts an array of classic ciders, apple brandy and gin using fruit from nearby orchards. Sample their liqueurs made with unique ingredients like thimbleberry, lavender, wild rose and nasturtium. Picturesque San Juan Island Vineyards features wines made from two French grape varieties that have found a new home in the Pacific Northwest – Siegerrebe and Madeleine Angevine. And if you happen to spot a camel in the field across the road, don’t worry it’s not the wine it’s local celebrity, Mona. She even has a wine named in her honor, Mona Vino.

Eat and Drink: Friday Harbor House offers creative brunch selections and fresh dinner options thanks to Chef Jason Aldous. Sipping a house cocktail in the garden perched above the harbor is a ‘must do’. PAGE 16

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The historic Hotel de Haro in Roche Harbor, San Juan Islands. San Juan Continued…

Suzie Pingree of San Juan Island Distillery is a fountain of information.

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Hawk Pingree shares the art of cider making and the delicious results at San Juan Island. PAGE 17

The Quarryman Hall is now a hotel. Roche Harbor.

San Juan Continued… More to do: Take a sunset cruise on the schooner ‘Spike Africa’, go ocean kayaking or look for some of the local Orcas on a whale watching cruise. Pay a visit to the Whale Museum to learn more about these majestic creatures. Breath deeply at Pelindaba Lavender Farm or visit their fragrant shop in Friday Harbor. Saturday morning means the Farmer’s Market at the Brickworks Plaza and then lunch at one of the many nearby coffee shops and restaurants.

San Juan Island Distillery uses local fruits to flavor their delicious liqueurs.


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San Juan Vineyards uses an old school house for the tasting room. San Juan Continued… Hilarie was a guest of the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau but all opinions, observations, and comments are strictly her own. Hilarie Larson’s passion for wine began in the 1970’s while in the European hospitality industry. In 2003 she began her wine career in earnest in her native British Columbia, Canada, working at several Okanagan Valley wineries. Along the way, she acquired her certificate from the Court of Master Sommelier, worked for an international wine broker and as ‘Resident Sommelier’ for wineries in Washington State and California. Hilarie’s greatest joy is spreading the gospel of wine, food and travel. In addition to her own blogs at, she contributes articles to a number of online publications. She was honored to be awarded the 2013 Emerging Writer Scholarship from the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association, for whom she is now the Administrative Director.

San Juan Vineyards grows Madeline Angevine, a French variety that love the island terroir. PAGE 19

A Magical Wonderland of Hiking & Rock Climbing, Bird & Wildlife Watching, Star Gazing, Caves and Waterfalls! Compiled by Nancy J. Reid & Lisa D. Smith Like other monuments he created, Theodore Roosevelt included Pinnacles in his list of “must save” regions in 1908. Although his main reason was to preserve and protect this unique landscape and its wildlife, his visionary action also protected the economy of the gateway communities, who now benefit from the tourism. Pinnacles National Park, our 59th and newest National Park, was elevated from a National Monument to its new status on January 10, 2013. Located in central California, Pinnacles National Park is known as the “Park on the Move” because the park itself moves about 3-6 centimeters a year. In fact the park is now 195 miles north of its original location. The earth’s crust is divided into huge puzzle-like plates that are always moving around each other. Twenty-three million years ago, a part of the Farralon plate moved itself under part of the North American plate, causing the mountains along the California coast to emerge, along with some volcanic activity.

Big Blend Radio: Park Ranger Elizabeth Hudick discusses winter activities in Pinnacles National Park. Part of the Pacific plate then collided with the North American plate creating the San Andreas Fault Zone and the Pinnacles volcano. The Pacific plate kept moving north, splitting the new volcanic field but taking volcanic formations with it. The heavy mass sank but wind, rain and ice eventually exposed the old volcanic field, which we see today. The park has since traveled long the San Andreas Fault which is part of the Ring of Fire, a string of volcanoes and earthquake sites positioned around the edges of the Pacific Ocean. Almost 90% of all earthquakes and 75% of all active volcanoes, occur along the Ring of Fire. Continued on Next Page…


Video: 60 Second Spotlight on Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles Continued‌ All this fire and jostling of earth plates has left us with one of the most fascinating and stunning natural areas boasting spectacular rock spires and monolithic boulders, cool caves, rolling hills and lush meadows, meandering creeks, seasonal springs and waterfalls, as well as beautiful Bear Gulch Reservoir. Pinnacles is home to diverse habitats that range from spectacular spring wildflowers to oak woodlands and chaparral scrub, caves and rock spires. These habitats are home to over 140 birds species of birds, 49 mammals, 22 reptiles, 8 amphibians, 71 butterflies, 41 dragonflies and damselflies, more than 400 bee species! There are plenty of hiking trails, (over 32 miles of them), and you can go caving, rock-climbing, star gazing, bird watching, picnicking and camping. You can also explore the Bacon Ranch built in the early 1900’s. Keep your eyes open for a lucky glimpse of a California condor, as this park also manages a release site for captive bred California condors.


Do the Online Jigsaw Puzzle of Bear Gulch Reservoir in Pinnacles National Park!

Boasting a Mediterranean climate, Pinnacles enjoys mild winters with chilly misty mornings, and some moderate precipitation that helps to create a little waterfall activity. Between the cooler temperatures and less number of visitors, winter is a fantastic season to explore this extraordinary park. Just wear warm layers and take a light rain repellent jacket to help you stay warm and dry from any rain showers. Pinnacles is about 50 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean and 140 miles south of the San Francisco Bay area. It has two entrances, the East Entrance on CA 146 coming from Hollister or King City, and the West Entrance on CA 146 coming from Soledad. Note, CA 146 does not run through the park, so you cannot drive through the park from one entrance to the other. For up-to-date park and trail information, visit


DISCOVER SAN BENITO COUNTY Eastern Gateway to Pinnacles National Park Located east of Monterey and Salinas, San Benito County in central California, is the eastern gateway destination of Pinnacles National Park and part of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.

This picturesque region is made up of the historic communities of Hollister, Tres Pinos, San Juan Bautista, Aromas, Paicines and New Idria. Less than 2 hours from San Francisco and 5 hours from Los Angeles, San Benito County makes for an ideal travel destination with outdoor activities such as bird watching and hiking, golf and tennis, as well as a wine tasting trail, a delectable selection of dining options, boutique shopping, historic parks and museums, and a fun calendar of events! For up-to-date event information and to plan your San Benito County adventure, please contact the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau at (831) 637-5315 or visit or

Big Blend Radio: Juli Vieira, CEO of the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, discusses winter activities in San Benito County, as well as the Chamber’s group trip to China.

DON’T MISS THESE WINTER EVENTS Living History Days: Every 1st Saturday of the month, from 11am-4pm, at San Juan Bautista State Historic Park. Tel: (831) 623-4881

Dec. 2: Santa Clara Valley Producers Rabbit Show: Bolado Park Event Center in Tres Pinos. (831) 628-3421

San Benito Oriana Chorale Christmas Concert: A Christmas concert featuring carols, motets, spirituals, and Handel's famous Hallelujah. Dec. 10: Christ Fellowship Church; Dec. 12: Mission San Juan Bautista; Dec. 15: St. Benedict's Parish. Tel: (831) 6375315

Dec. 15: Holiday Bonfire & Santa: 5pm-10pm, San Juan Bautista Community Center.

Dec. 2: 12th Annual Holiday of Lights Celebration & Parade: Merchants Open House, Living History Day, Park Decorating, Cowboy Christmas Songs, Saloon Dancing, Cider & Cookies, Parade, Pictures with Santa, Caroling. 11am-7pm, San Juan Bautista.

Dec. 21: Winter Solstice Observation: 6am-7pm, Old Mission San Juan Bautista Jan. 13: Gold Coast Poultry Fanciers Show: Bolado Park Event Center in Tres Pinos. (831) 628-3421 Jan. 27: Sacred Heart Annual Ranch Dance & Auction: Bolado Park Event Center in Tres Pinos. (831) 628-3421



Locals Insider Spotlight on Tulare County Along with being a major agricultural hub that feeds America, Tulare County is also home to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the Giant Sequoia National Monument and Sequoia National Forest. Dubbed California’s Sequoia Country, the region makes for a fabulous destination offering a variety of outdoor activities, a calendar full of art events and seasonal festivals, and an eclectic selection of shopping and dining opportunities in the park gateway communities of Three Rivers, Exeter, Visalia, Porterville, Tulare, Lindsay, Woodlake and Dinuba. Winter is a beautiful time of year to visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to enjoy a scenic drive or peaceful hike through the big trees, as well as snow play activities like skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and more! Home to the world’s largest trees (by volume) Sequoia National Park is the nation's second national park, and is connected to Kings Canyon National Park, which is home to the Nation’s Christmas Tree, a national shrine in memory of the men and women of the Armed Forces.

Big Blend Radio ‘Locals Insider’: Hear what it’s like to live, work and play in Tulare County, with Sequoia Tourism Council representatives (left) Donnette Silva Carter – CEO of Tulare Chamber of Commerce, and (right) Sandy Blankenship – Executive Director of Exeter Chamber of Commerce. Plus, Steve Schneickert recalls the Hollywood History of the historic Barn Theatre in Porterville. Continued on Next Page…


Sequoias Continued For full details and for up-to-date event and winter travel news (especially for snow chain alerts and winter road closures), visit and

Featuring 33 groves of Giant Sequoia Trees, the Sequoia National Forest is home to the biggest concentration of giant sequoia groves. These groves are protected within the Giant Sequoia National Monument, and managed by the US Forest Service. Encompassing over 353,000 acres of diverse landscape that includes two wild and scenic rivers, lakes, and six wilderness areas, the activities are endless and include hiking and camping, mountain biking, horse riding, bird and wildlife watching, downhill snow skiing and snow shoeing. For more information, especially for snow chain alerts and winter road closures, call (559) 784-1500 or visit Events on Next Page‌ PAGE 25

Sequoias Continued

DON’T MISS THESE WINTER EVENTS East of Fresno, Tulare County is an easy 4-5 hour drive from the San Francisco Bay Area and 3-4 hours from Los Angeles. For more about the area, including upcoming events, visit ON-GOING EVENTS 1st Saturday Three Rivers Art Day: Enjoy a day of food, fun, and fabulous art. Featuring a different theme each time, it is held on the 1st Saturday of every month, and specials are promoted throughout the town. Watch artist demonstrations, eat good food and listen to local musicians or entertainers.

Big Blend Radio: Leah Launey, innkeeper at Three Rivers B&B, discusses winter events and activities in Three Rivers and Sequoia National Park.

Dec. 2: Community Caroling: Sing traditional carols around a huge bonfire and enjoy hot chocolate and s’mores. Three Rivers Historical Dec. 7, 14 & 21: Exeter Christmas Open House: Society Museum. Tel: (559) 561-2707 Dec. 2: Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting: Holiday shopping, Santa, free old fashioned fire Downtown Dinuba. Tel: (559) 591-2707 truck rides, carriage rides, refreshments and Dec. 7: Christmas Parade: Downtown Tulare, family holiday spirit until 8pm, in downtown 6pm. Tel: (559) 686-1547 Exeter. Tel: (559) 592-2919. Dec. 8: Exeter Woman's Club 7th Annual Christmas Home Tour: 4-8pm, Exeter. Tel: (559) Jan. 1-March 31: 12th Annual Three Rivers 592-2919. Hero Appreciation Months Program: A thank you to those who’ve served as a First Responder Dec. 10: 92nd Annual Trek to the Nation's Christmas Tree: Annual trek to the world’s only or in the Armed Forces, this program includes living shrine, the General Grant Tree in Grant discounts or gifts offered by local Three Rivers business participants, with monthly celebrations Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. Call (559) 875-4575 for details. that are free and open to the public honoring Dec. 21: Tulare Community Band Holiday those who’ve served as Firefighters/EMS Concert: 7pm-8pm, Tulare Community personnel (Jan. 26), Law Enforcement/Peace Auditorium on the TUHS campus. Info: Bill Officers (Feb. 23), and the Armed Forces (Mar. 30); and the hilarious Bathtub Race for Charity at Ingram, (559) 901-3773. Dec. 31: Exeter New Year's Eve Doo-Dah Lake Kaweah (Mar. 31). For more information, Parade & Fireworks Show: Parade in downtown call Leah Launey or Peter Sodhy at (559) 561Exeter at 6:30 pm, plus, RC Cars, food, bounce 4270 or Click Here for Schedule. houses, beer garden, and DJ dancing from 59pm. Fireworks show at 9pm. Hosted by the SPECIAL EVENTS: Exeter Lions Club. Tel: (559) 679-8906. Dec. 1: Exeter Christmas Parade "Christmas in Paradise": 6:30pm, Downtown Exeter on Pine Jan. 1: Polar Dip: 12 Noon, at the Gateway Street. Tel: (559) 592-5262 Restaurant & Lodge in Three Rivers. Tel: 559-561Dec. 2: Kiwanis Spirit of the Holidays: Premier 4133 wine tasting event. Enjoy premium wine, hors Jan. 20: Holst: The Planets: Ravel: Piano d'oeurves, raffle, silent auction, live auction, and Concerto in G major (Steven Lin, piano). Visalia whiskey tasting. 5-8pm, Exeter. Fox Theatre. Tel: (559) 625-1369 Tel: (599) 592-2919. Jan. 25: 3 Doors Down: Acoustic Back Porch Jam Dec. 2: An Irish Christmas: Visalia Fox Theatre. Tour. Visalia Fox Theatre. Tel: (559) 625-1369 Tel: (559) 625-1369 PAGE 26

by Debbie Stone An overactive imagination can really play a number on you, especially when it concerns ghosts. I confess I’m not one who believes in the paranormal world, as I’m a skeptic at heart. I rely on science to explain the unexplained, choosing to go the rational route when in doubt. Hearing accounts from others who have seen spectral images or felt otherworldly presences around them typically elicits a raised eyebrow or hearty guffaw from me. I had no problem then accepting an assignment to spend a night in Julia’s Suite at La Posada de Santa Fe. This acclaimed resort, one of New Mexico’s finest luxury properties, has a colorful history and is purported to be haunted by the spirit of Julia Staab. Julia and her husband Abraham built their dream home, which is now part of La Posada, back in 1882.

Big Blend Radio: Debbie Stone shares her La Posada experience. The site, however, dates back centuries before the voyage of Columbus. Native Americans cultivated the area, as it was near the Santa Fe River and had a fresh water spring. After the Spaniards came in 1610, the land remained a prime agricultural spot for the new inhabitants.


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La Posada Continued… By the early 19th century, the La Posada property was owned by the Baca family, one of the four original settlers of Santa Fe. Eventually, portions of it were sold off and in 1876, Abraham Staab purchased a parcel. Staab, together with three of his older brothers, emigrated to Santa Fe from Germany in the mid-1800s and proceeded to establish a mercantile business. The firm, which was a major supply contractor for U.S. Army posts in the Southwest, prospered during the Civil War and Staab amassed a fortune. He returned to Germany and married Julia Schuster, who then traveled back with him to Santa Fe.

She and Abraham were what we would call a “power couple” today as they were wealthy, cultured, and held a position of civic importance. They often entertained dignitaries, governors, justices, visiting notables and military officers at their home.

The home that Abraham promised his bride was an elegant mansion and the first brick structure in town. It was designed in a style identified with the French Second Empire, noted for its mansard roof and classical floor plan. The materials of brick, mahogany and marble, as well as the furnishings and artwork, were all imported and came from the east via steamer and then wagon train.

Over the years, Julia bore eight children, though the eighth died in infancy of an illness, a tragedy that is said to have turned her hair prematurely white almost overnight. She also had numerous unsuccessful pregnancies and complications, and was often sad and sickly, remaining in her room for long periods of time. Doctors today would most likely diagnose her with severe postpartum depression.

Physical and emotional issues probably contributed to Julia’s early demise in 1896 at the age of 52, but the exact reason for her death remains a mystery. One rumor had it that she went crazy and committed suicide with an overdose of laudanum. And then there were those who painted Abraham as a brute, even going as far as to speculate that he murdered her. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 29

The residence was filled with antique French furniture and tapestries, Italian paintings and statuary, and English traditional pieces. The Staab Mansion became well-known in town, as it played a prominent role in Santa Fe high society. Julia was the consummate hostess, receiving afternoon callers in her drawing room and holding gala parties in the third story ballroom.

La Posada Continued…

Shortly after the turn of the century, a fire destroyed the third story of the Staab Mansion. It was never rebuilt; thus, any drawings or photographs of the house beyond this point show it sans the distinguishing mansard roof. In 1936, the property was acquired by R.H. and Eualia Nason, who proceeded to construct a series of adobe casitas around the place. They were built in the traditional manner with local clay and straw, without plans or formal design. Eventually, a Pueblo-style inn was created on the site and the Nasons called it “La Posada,” meaning lodging or resting place in Spanish. In the thirties and forties, when Santa Fe’s reputation as a flourishing art colony grew, La Posada catered mostly to long term visitors, typically artists or art students. The place eventually underwent an ownership change and with it a new goal was set to elevate the property’s role as a prominent and distinctive hotel in Santa Fe. Today, La Posada is a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa, known for its impeccable service, fine dining, unique accommodations, rich history and art collection…and of course its resident spirit! Guests and staff at the hotel began taking notice of Julia in the 1970s. They spotted her ghostly image at the top of the grand staircase in the central building of the property or in her second floor suite, always depicted as having translucent skin and wearing a dark flowing gown and hood.

She has also been seen in the Nason Room, a small alcove off the main dining hall that was built on the site of Julia’s garden. People note that she seems to have an aura of sadness about her. Some postulate that her spirit restlessly roams La Posada because the circumstances of her death were unsettling. Other theories point to her possible distress over the changes made to the property over the years. Or perhaps she is simply keeping watch over her house to ensure that its inhabitants are comfortable. It seems apropos that her home is now a hotel, considering her reputation for being such a gracious hostess in her day. The tales abound regarding Julia’s spirit manifesting itself in the halls of La Posada. In addition to the spectral images described, people also say they can feel her presence in a draft of cool, stale air. A saleswoman at the property, who was unaware of Julia’s story, had a breakfast meeting in the Rose Room. She went to check out the space prior to her guests’ arrival and found the room freezing cold.


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La Posada Continued… When she called the hotel’s maintenance department to report the problem, she was told it was Julia who was responsible for the extreme temperature since it was in the Rose Room. The maintenance man didn’t even hesitate in his response, and then instructed the saleswoman to return to the room and say aloud, “Julia, it’s cold in here and I have a meeting soon.” Story has it that in minutes after making this announcement, the room warmed up.

My overnight at La Posada began with a luxurious treatment at the property’s Spa Sage. The spa prides itself on the art of relaxation and offers high-quality treatments guaranteed to melt away stress. With its charming historic adobe-style architecture and stylish décor, this restorative sanctuary reflects the tranquility of the Land of Enchantment and honors Santa Fe’s rich healing heritage. It’s a full-service spa, complete with salon, fitness center, heated saline outdoor pool and whirlpool, and even weekend yoga and Pilates classes.

There have been other accounts of employees hearing a woman’s voice coming from Julia’s Suite when it is purportedly locked and no guests Many of the treatments integrate locally-inspired practices and indigenous products. I had the are registered in the room. Those who have Spirit of Santa Fe, an eighty minute session of stayed in her quarters have told of hearing the bliss that began with a gentle blue corn bathtub running in the middle of the night (Julia reportedly loved baths). One couple commented exfoliation, leaving my skin smooth and radiant. that they heard heavy breathing at about 4:00 a.m. There are also times when the water and/or Continued on Next Page… furnace goes on and off in the hotel with no logical explanation. PAGE 31

Photo courtesy La Posada de Santa Fe La Posada Continued… Then came a full body massage infused with desert sage essential oil that did wonders for my knots of tension, followed by a moist heat towel wrap. Donna, the massage therapist, also incorporated some great stretches for my neck, shoulders and arms. It was the total package and the utmost in body, mind and spirit renewal. Other popular treatments include the Santa Fe Chocolate Chile Wrap, Adobe Mud Wrap and Julia Staab’s Historic Rose Garden. The latter was developed in honor of Julia’s historic fondness for roses and “taking the waters.” It involves a rose oil scrub and a rose hydrotherapy soak, followed by a rose oil massage. There’s also the Altitude Adjustment Massage, created especially for those visitors coming from sea level who might feel a tad out of sorts upon arrival to the “City Different.” It starts with a chlorophyll elixir and a fifteen minute oxygen therapy to help oxygenate the blood on a cellular level. A dry brush exfoliation increases lymphatic circulation, while a massage using special essential oils helps ease headaches, shortness of breath and other symptoms associated with changes in altitude.

Start with some fire roasted olives or charred cream corn soup, while sampling the cornbread with green chile and agave butter. Try the Christmas tamales (filled with pork and New Mexico’s finest red and green chile) for a twist on a traditional dish. Entrees include such specialties as wild sockeye salmon with buttered lentils, coffee rubbed Native American New York strip, pan-seared day boat scallops and fried Alamosa striped bass. Daily vegan and vegetarian selections are also available. And for those interested in lighter fare, there’s an assortment of tasty tapas. At the cozy Staab House Bar, make sure to order one of the signature cocktails, perhaps the Juliarita, the margarita named after Julia. It’s a “taste made of history,” using apricots that still grow on a tree planted in the 1880’s by Julia and her friend, Archbishop Lamy, founder of the Santa Fe Cathedral. The drink is one of several dozen unique tequila concoctions featured on the Santa Fe Margarita Trail, where you can mosey around some of the town’s most eclectic watering holes sampling the special house made margaritas. Continued on Next Page…

In addition to its renowned spa, La Posada also has a reputation for its enticing food and libations. Head to Julia, A Spirited Restaurant & Bar or to the Staab House Bar to enjoy innovative dishes and creative cocktails. Or, dine al fresco as I did on the lovely patio surrounded by fountains and art installations. Executive Chef Jon Jerman’s regionally-inspired menu is refined, yet adventurous, with a myriad of southwestern flavors and locally sourced ingredients. PAGE 32

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La Posada Continued… La Posada has the distinction of being the only resort in downtown Santa Fe. Located just steps from the historic Plaza and Canyon Road, the property is nestled on six acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. Accommodations are in authentic casita style guest rooms and suites, featuring fireplaces and patios. There are also a few rooms in the main building, the most historic section of the hotel, which is where I stayed. The place is a veritable art gallery; in fact, it has gained a reputation over the years as the “Art Hotel of New Mexico.” The concept of having artwork for sale in the hotel originated with the Nasens back in the 1940s and it has continued through present time. There’s even an art curator on site, who selects the pieces, rotates and changes the displays and gives tours. The work is everywhere throughout the property, enlivening the walls and surfaces with an explosion of colors and textures, while providing a sensory treat for guests and visitors. PAGE 33

La Posada Continued… La Posada takes pride in its many amenities, among which include its designated daily resort activities. There’s everything from wine, craft beer and artisanal cheese tasting to memoir writing, art gallery tours and evening s’mores fireside on the patio. And of course, once you step outside, all of Santa Fe is ready and waiting for you to explore. The options are endless in a town that boasts more than a dozen state and private museums, numerous historic sites and over 250 art galleries. It’s also a shopper’s paradise, where you’ll find unique southwest handmade items and treasures from around the world. And if you’re an adrenaline junkie, know that plenty of outdoor adventures abound in the nearby mountains. As for Julia, I personally didn’t have any encounter with her alleged spirit during my stay, though there were some things that went “bump in the night” as I attempted to sleep. Knowing Julia’s history and the fact that her purported spirit has been featured on national television and in many ghost tours, I was perfectly primed to have my imagination play tricks on me.

The scene was set as I lay in the four poster bed surrounded by old photographs and period furniture, reading the book “American Ghost,” written by Julia’s great-great-granddaughter, Hannah Nordhaus. Shadows came and went, as did drafts of cold air, creating an eerie atmosphere in the room. I also woke up with a start in the middle of the night, causing me to feel somewhat disoriented. Of course, I reminded myself there were rational explanations for all of these occurrences, as I don’t believe in ghosts. But, I do believe that the essence of Julia’s spirit embodies the fabric of La Posada, and she will forever be an integral part of its history. For more information visit

Deborah Stone is a travel and lifestyle writer, who explores the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers. She’s an avid adventurer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for travel and cross-cultural connections. Her travels have taken her to all seven continents, over 65 countries. PAGE 34

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The first inhabitants in the greater Yuma area were the Quechans, Cocopahs and Mohaves, who gathered along the banks of the lower Colorado River. They used the river as a focal point for farming and trade and the Yuma Crossing became a central point for all trade routes. At that time the wild and untamed river cut a deep path through the Grand Canyon, swiftly flowing south until the unique geological formation of two granite outcroppings channeled the river to just 400 yards-making Yuma Crossing the only safe place to cross.

Yuma’s fascinating past runs the gamut, from brothels and saloons to the building of the Territorial Prison that housed some of the most notorious and dangerous criminals of those times, along with incredible attempts to tame the river, as well as steamboat and railroading history. With amazing engineering feats like the Yuma Siphon, Laguna Dam and The Yuma Project, agriculture flourished and forever changed the nature and make-up of Yuma.

In the early 1800s Yuma was under Spanish and Mexican rule until it became a territorial possession of the United States. Fort Yuma was founded in 1949 and with it came steamboats from California traveling up the river from the Gulf of California. With gold being discovered in California in the mid 1800s, Yuma grew as the only viable southern route for those seeking riches. In the late 1800s the first railroad bridge was completed allowing, for the first time, trains to enter from the west. The highway system followed soon after, and in 1915 the Ocean-toOcean Bridge was finished, linking San Francisco to New York. Thousands of people looking for a better life, migrated west through Yuma. PAGE 36

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Historic Coronado Motor Hotel Yuma's Destination Hotel Celebrating Over 75 Years of Tradition Where The Past Makes History

Ideal Location Close to Shopping, Restaurants, Attractions & Activities Over 120 Clean & Comfortable Guest Rooms Full Cooked Breakfast at Yuma Landing Bar & Grill Free Hi-Speed Internet & WiFi ~ Work Desk Flat Screen TV & DVD Player Fridge ~ Microwave ~ Coffee Maker Iron & Ironing Board ~ Hair Dryer ~ In-Room Safe Two Swimming Pools ~ 1 Fitness Center 2 Business Centers ~ Guest Laundry Facilities Free Parking for Cars, Boats, Buses, RVs & Trucks Group Rates & Government Per Diem Rates

233 4th Avenue, Yuma, AZ 85364 Toll Free: (877) 234-5567 Local: (928) 783-4453 Subscribe to our Captain’s log e-Newsletter for specials!

State Park Continued… The Colorado River State Historic Park showcases history of the Crossing from prehistoric times until the present, set in the backdrop of the old Quartermaster's Depot. Through the eyes of the Native Americans, entrepreneurs, steamboat captains, fortune seekers and the military, it answers the questions of how the early emigrants survived or failed, living in one of the most rugged and isolated places in the world. From 1864 to 1883, the Yuma Quartermaster Depot was used by the US Army to store and distribute supplies for all the military posts in Arizona, and posts in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas.

Five of the original depot buildings remain on the park grounds, and four of these buildings contain exhibits which cover both the military history of the site and the history of the Bureau of Reclamation’s construction of major irrigation works in the Yuma area during the early 1900s. Here you can tour five of Arizona’s oldest adobe buildings that have been fully restored, view the Siphon Exhibit that tells the history of Yuma’s underground water tunnel, and learn about the Yuma Wetlands restoration project. Along with serving as a Visitor Center offering regional information for visitors and travelers, the Colorado River State Historic Park also features a gift shop, and a 10 acre grassy park with shaded picnic spots. DON’T MISS CIVIL WAR DAYS Held January 20-21, 2018, Civil War Days brings history to life with two reenactment battles each day of the event. Re-enactment groups from around the West converge for an old-school encampment and mock battles on the grassy grounds of the Colorado River State Historic Park. (Note: no Civil War battles were waged in Yuma) For hours and event information visit or call (928) 783-0071. Continued on Next Page…


Sunshine & Winter Fun in Yuma, AZ

Located along the lower Colorado River in southwest Arizona, Yuma borders Mexico and is halfway between Tucson and San Diego. It’s a historic, cultural and outdoor adventure destination with attractions that include the Colorado River, Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Yuma Territorial Prison, Colorado River State Park (formerly the Quartermaster Depot), Yuma Art Center & Historic Yuma Theatre, and a charming historic downtown district that bustles with an eclectic array of shops and restaurants. Yuma is also listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘Sunniest Place on Earth’, making it a popular destination for sun-seekers, especially during the winter months.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR For up-to-date event information call City of Yuma Parks & Rec. (928) 373-5200, Yuma Art Center & Historic Theatre (928) 373-5202, or Yuma Civic Center (928) 373-5040, or visit and see our Yuma Events Calendar on

Big Blend Radio: Destination Yuma show featuring Yvonne Peach - Coronado Motor Hotel, Yuma Hollywood History with Steve Schneickert; AV Fuel Margarita cocktail with Tyler Johnston Yuma Landing Bar & Grill, Donna George - The Peanut Patch, and Drew Smith Desert Hills Golf Course.

Theatre & The Arts Dec. 7: Thursdays at The Theatre “The Teacher” Dec. 9: Holiday Art Bazaar Dec. 10: An Irish Christmas Dec. 12: Christmas with the Rat Pack Jan. 6: Diamond Rocks Jan. 9: Good Rockin’ Live Jan. 10: Female Country All Stars Jan. 12-13: Annual Wood Carving Expo Jan. 13: Art in the Park Jan. 16: Man in Black Jan. 19: Adventures in Parrotdise Jan. 24: Wayne Newton Tribute Show Jan. 25: Scottish Burns Supper Jan. 26-28: Anderson’s Americana Indian Art & Jewelry Sale Jan. 31: Piano Men

Sports & Outdoor Adventures

Special Events, Festivals & Parades Dec. 1: Annual Kammann Sausage Fry Dec. 2: City of Yuma’s Military Appreciation Day Dec. 9: 15th Annual Dorothy Young Memorial Electric Light Parade Dec. 16: Somerton Tamale Festival Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Family Fun Night Jan. 19-20: Yuma Home & Garden Show Jan. 20-21: Civil War Days Jan. 27: Yuma Medjool Date Festival

Dec. 2: December “Discover” Canoe Trip Dec. 2: El Toro Bowl at Veterans Memorial Stadium Dec. 9-10: 2017 Wooden Bat Tournament at PAAC Dec. 16: Reindeer Roundup 5K / 10K Fun Run & Walk Jan. 6: New Year Canoe Trip Jan. 27: 9th Annual Territorial Marathon & Half


Yuma Landing Bar & Grill Come Eat, Drink & Be Merry where the First Airplane Landed in Arizona!

Hangar Sports Bar 24 Beers on Tap ~ Daily Drink Specials Appetizers & Entrees Televised Sports Events Live Music & Entertainment

Captain’s Lounge Top-shelf Cocktails ~ Fine Wines Specialty Coffees

Yuma Landing Restaurant American & South-of-the-Border Cuisine Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Win! Win! Win! Sign up for our Captain’s Log e-Newsletter and you will be entered into our monthly drawing for a $25 Yuma Landing Gift Certificate, plus you'll get news on other great giveaways, specials, Yuma Landing recipes, events news & more! Located on the same property as the Historic Coronado Motor Hotel, the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill is the site where the first airplane landed in Arizona, and features a state monument, historic photos and memorabilia. Groups of 15 or more diners get a 15% discount on breakfast, lunch and dinner. All Military Personnel Receive a 20% Discount on Meals!

195 S. 4th Avenue, Yuma, Arizona Tel: (928) 782-7427

Photo: Mark Nally Located in the heart of Central Kentucky, the “Land of Bourbon, Horses and History,” the historic city of Springfield is in Washington County, which is the first county created in the state, and is home to the oldest active courthouse. Springfield is known for being where Abraham Lincoln’s legacy began.

Big Blend Radio: Historic Sites of Springfield with Stephanie McMillin – Executive Director of Springfield Tourism Commission, and Nell R. Haydon – Director Springfield Main Street Program.

The sixteenth president’s family lived near Springfield for almost thirty years. The 1816 Courthouse on Main Street preserves the original marriage certificate of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, Abraham Lincoln’s parents. Spanning over 120 acres, Lincoln Homestead State Park features both historic buildings and reconstructions associated with Thomas Lincoln, as well as the original two-story Francis Berry Springfield is just 45 minutes from Abraham House where Nancy Hanks lived and worked as Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park, the a seamstress, while being courted by Thomas. country’s first memorial to President Abraham The buildings are open between May and Lincoln. Listed on the National Register of September. Along with picnic sites and a lake Historic Places, the park has two separate sites where visitors can go fishing, the park includes where Abraham Lincoln was born and lived early an 18-hole golf course on the land Mordecai in his childhood. Lincoln once farmed. On the other side of the road from the golf course is the Mordecai Continued on Next Page… Lincoln House, built by Mordecai as an adult. PAGE 42

Springfield Continued… The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Unit features a Visitors Center, the Memorial Building with a symbolic cabin, Sinking Spring that was a water source for the Lincoln Family, and the site of Boundary Oak Tree that was used for a survey marker, two hiking trails, and a picnic area. The Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home Unit has a Ranger Station (open in summer only), Knob Creek that was a water source for the Lincoln family, a hiking trail and picnic area. Visits are self-guided from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Springfield is also on the Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway that exhibits significant historic and cultural resources featuring Abraham Lincoln, US history and the Civil War, bourbon heritage, and religious heritage. Springfield’s Holy Land Tour encompasses historic churches and sites that are frequented for their architectural value, as well as for family history and genealogical information. Springfield is part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, the Barn Quilt Trail and Kentucky Fiber Trail. The region boasts numerous outdoor activities including golf, hiking and bicycling, birding and wildlife watching, along with fishing and canoeing. The charming historic downtown features museums and historic buildings, restaurants and shops. Lodging choices range from historic inns to vacation rentals, and RV camping. For more information, contact the Springfield Tourism Commission at (859) 336-5412 x1 or Watch this Video “Where the Abraham Lincoln Legacy Began” by Michael Breeding.

Click Here to do our Lincoln Legacy Online Jigsaw Puzzle! PAGE 43

St. Rose Church: Mark Nally

What It’s Like to Live, Work & Play in Louisiana’s Oldest City! Founded in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, Natchitoches is the original French Colony and oldest city in Louisiana, and celebrates a vibrant blend of French, Spanish, African, Native American and Creole cultures. Natchitoches is home to the Cane River Creole National Historical Park, is part of the Cane River National Heritage Area, and is the final destination on the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail that runs up from Mexico and Texas. The Cane River National Heritage Trail, a Louisiana Scenic Byway that runs along Cane River Lake, links to the Isle Brevelle Trail and El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail, with Longleaf Trail and Kisatchie National Forest on the outskirts. Along with Cane River National Historical Park, another popular historic site to visit is Melrose Plantation. Built in 1796, Melrose Plantation is a National Historic Landmark, and shares the story of slave Marie Thérèse Coincoin and her ten Franco-African children with Thomas Pierre Metoyer, as well as the Isle Brevelle Creole community, the Civil War, plantation history, and Louisiana folk art.

The downtown National Historic Landmark District area runs along the banks of Cane River Lake, and features historic sites and buildings, museums, art galleries, specialty boutique shops, restaurants and Bed & Breakfast Inns. Of movie history interest, Robert Harling grew up in Natchitoches, and lost his sister to diabetes in 1985. He turned that experience into the iconic stage play ‘Steel Magnolias’. The 1989 film adaption directed by Herbert Ross was filmed in and around Natchitoches. Centrally located, Natchitoches is just 275 miles from New Orleans, 255 miles from Dallas, Texas, and 290 miles from Little Rock, Arkansas. To learn more about the area’s attractions and events, lodging establishments, shops and restaurants, visit


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Arlene Gould

Randy Ziegler

Corey Poole

Ed Huey

Big Blend Radio Locals Insider on Natchitoches, featuring Arlene Gould - Executive Director of Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau, Randy Ziegler - The Landing Restaurant & Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission, Corey Poole – Editor of Natchitoches Parish Journal, and musician Ed Huey. Plus, Steve Schneickert recalls Hollywood History of northwest and central Louisiana!

Nachitoches Continued‌

Click Here to do the Online Jigsaw Puzzle of Christmas in Natchitoches!


“Laissez les bon temps rouler!” is an expression you’ll hear often throughout the parishes in southern Louisiana. More than a sentiment, it’s a true representation of the joie de vivre spirit that is Cajun culture. Lafayette, the state’s fourth largest city, is considered the center of Acadiana, the heart of Cajun Country. With its colorful heritage, rich culinary influences and infectious music, this town is all about showing visitors a “two-steppin’, toe-tappin’, taste-temptin’ good time!”

Big Blend Radio: Debbie Stone discusses Lafayette.

I have always had a fascination with Cajun culture and decided that a trip to Lafayette would give me an opportunity to find my “inner Cajun.” According to the locals, there are three ways to become a bona fide Cajun: by blood, via a ring or through the backdoor. The latter involves living the Cajun way of life and celebrating all things Cajun.

To emphasize the importance of this beloved Cajun staple, Lafayette holds the Annual Boudin Cook-off each fall with boudin eating contests and a people’s choice award for the best boudin. The event also features several unique boudin dishes made with a more creative flair, including boudin burgers, boudin pie, boudin-stuffed Cornish game hens and even boudin egg rolls.

Learning about the region’s cuisine is a must for First and foremost, you are required to have a visitors, as food plays such a significant role in favorite boudin. A unique regional specialty, boudin consists of a combination of cooked rice, Cajun culture. Few things in this area garner the amount of attention as food preparation and pork, onions, green peppers and seasonings, mealtime. Meals are shared as a means of which is pulverized in a meat grinder before bonding and celebration. And recipes are passed being stuffed in a casing. It’s then steamed and down with traditional dishes held in high consumed, typically on-the-go due to its esteem. Through food, families maintain a sense convenient portability factor. Once you have of generational continuation. committed to your favorite boudin, you must defend it to the world, wear the t-shirt, put the Continued on Next Page… bumper sticker on your car and basically treat it in the same manner that a rabid fan does with his/her football team. PAGE 46

Gumbo and rice at the Blue Dog Lafayette Continued…

Boudin stuffed kolaches and melt-in-your mouth donuts from Cajun Donut Co.

For a culinary tutelage where you can experience the flavor of Louisiana, check out Cajun Food Tours. Owner/guide Marie Ducote will introduce you to Cajun treasures like boudin, crawfish, gumbo, cracklin’ and more, while regaling you with information about the history and culture of this special part of the country. Her rallying cry of “Allons manger!” or “Let’s go eat!” primes your taste buds to sample another delight at one of the six stops along the tour. Sample plate of po’boys at BJ’s At Cajun Market Donuts, for example, you’ll taste boudin stuffed kolaches, a pig-in-a-blanket type concoction, along with the company’s melt-inyour-mouth glaze and cake donuts. For homemade court bouillon, a seasoned type gravy with crawfish, catfish, shrimp, rice, tomatoes and roux, you’ll dine at T-Coons, a wellknown establishment under the helm of founder David Billeaud, a sixth generation Billeaud from Broussard, Louisiana. Billeaud’s Acadian family is of French ancestry, one of many who were sent from France to colonize the Maritime Provinces. There the colonists created an almost mythical paradise called “Acadia,” and flourished until the mid1700s when the British expelled and exiled them from Canada. Families were separated in cruel fashion, with tens of thousands of people forced onto boats and set out to sea. Nearly half perished before getting to land. Fast forward to the Louisiana Territory now under Spain’s rule. To attract farmers, Spain offered free land, which lured the Acadian men to the area.

Chargrilled oysters at Randol’s

They sent word of a “new Acadia” and others came to settle along the coast of what eventually became South Louisiana. The migration formed a melting pot of cultural groups, each with its own practices and influences. As time passed, the name “Acadian” became “Cajun.”


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Lafayette Continued… Cajuns did and still do cook hearty dishes like gumbo, jambalaya and other one pot meals containing an abundance of seafood, veggies, rice and spices. They use whatever is available locally ---anything that swims, flies, walks or grows in the vicinity is fair game for being thrown into the mix. It’s said that a true Cajun cook adds “everything but the kitchen sink” when it comes to creating a good meal. “Creole” is another term you’ll come across regarding the cuisine in southern Louisiana. It’s used to describe the French colonists who settled in the area and introduced traditional French foods like breads, sweets and sauces. Common Creole dishes that evolved over time include etoufee, sauce piquant, bisque and beignets. Cajun and Creole food share many commonalities and it’s often difficult to clearly sort out the specifics of one cuisine from the other. Know that whatever you eat is guaranteed to have plenty of flavor!

Nunu’s special Cajun seasoning is a well-kept secret.

For the best po’boys in town, head to BJ’s

For more boudin, as well as some cracklin, you’ll stop in at Nunu’s, a specialty meat market, boasting twenty-seven different varieties of sausages. To the uninitiated, cracklin, also known as crackling, cracklins or gratons, is a popular snack consisting of seasoned pork skin, fat and/or meat that has been fried, cooled and then refried until “popped.” Nunu’s is also known for its own brand of Cajun seasoning (a recipe that’s a long held secret), which is available for purchase. It’s a staple in many southern Louisiana kitchens. At Fezzo’s, chargrilled oysters and fried alligator bites are on the tasting menu. Most folks liken the latter’s taste to that of a mix of chicken and fish, with a chewier consistency. You’ll find gator nuggets on the menu in a number of eateries, as this is a dish that definitely has its devoted groupies. Fezzo’s is a Cajun tradition in Lafayette and also serves up gumbos, bisques, fried and grilled fish platters, flame grilled steaks and pasta dishes. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 48

A stop at Fezzo’s on the food tour features chargrilled oysters and fried alligator bites

Lafayette Continued…

Get a history lesson at the Acadian Cultural Center, a part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

The po’boy is another beloved regional specialty and BJ’s reputedly has the best in town. Those sold at this shop are actually made by Old Tyme Grocery and include either fried seafood or some type of meat with tomatoes, mayo and lettuce, which is then stuffed inside homemade bread and served on butcher paper. The roots of this sandwich date can be traced to the late 1920s when transit workers went on strike in New Orleans. The picketers would ask the Martin brothers, who were local restauranteurs, if they could “spare a poor boy a meal?” The brothers took pity on the workers and gave them a sandwich of yesterday’s bread containing some meat and veggies. These became known as po’boys and the name stuck.

Though you may want to spend all of the time eating your way through this foodie town, know there are plenty of other activities you may want to participate in during your stay. To get a dose of history, check out the Acadian Cultural Center, one of six sites of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve which represent a treasure trove of south Louisiana’s historical and cultural riches. The center in Lafayette tells stories of the origins, migration, settlement and contemporary culture of the Acadians and other area groups. It offers ranger programs, films, exhibits and events including music, story-telling and dance, while exploring the mysteries of the Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana’s wildest place.

Your final stop on the tour will be for something Your next stop should be at Vermilionville, sweet at Papa T’s Café, where you’ll sample the restaurant’s famed bread pudding. If you’re not a where you can learn about the Acadian, Native American and Creole cultures within a hands-on, fan of this dessert, I dare you to try it anyway living history format. because this is bread pudding like you’ve never tasted before! Papa T’s uses French bread and Continued on Next Page… his sauce is made of dark brown praline. It’s love at first bite when it comes to this decadent creation! PAGE 49

Taste different TABASCO sauces at the general store. Lafayette Continued… This unique folklife park sits on a picturesque 23-acre site next to the banks of the Bayou Vermilion. It boasts nineteen attractions, including seven restored original homes with more than thirteen local artisans who provide demonstrations of several essential crafts performed by the early settlers. You’ll have opportunities to interact with the artisans as they spin, weave, carve, make corn husk dolls and play music with traditional instruments. The Avery Island experience is another popular excursion for visitors, especially those who are aficionados of hot sauce. The site, which is actually a salt dome that extends some eight miles beneath the earth’s surface, is the home of the world-famous TABASCO pepper sauce. Manufactured by the Mcllhenny Company since its invention in 1868 by Edmund Mcllhenny, the sauce has legions of dedicated fans from all parts of the globe. It has been featured in pop culture and film, and has been a staple in military mess kits for years. PAGE 50

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Pepper plants inside the greenhouse. Taste to your heart’s content!

Lafayette Continued… Today, the business continues to be owned and operated by Mcllhenny’s descendants. A selfguided tour of the place allows you to view artifacts from the founding family and learn how Edmund created the sauce to give the bland food of the Reconstruction South some pizzazz and excitement; witness the growing process of the pepper plants from seedlings to mature plants; visit the mash warehouse for a peak at the TABASCO aging process; view and smell the aromas of the stirring vats; and learn about the company’s bottling and shipping process around the world.

Jungle Gardens is a nature lover’s paradise. It was here that Edmund Mcllhenny’s son Edward ensured that future generations would have a place to enjoy and study the wonders of nature. Of note is the large collection of camellias and azaleas. Acres upon acres of colorful varieties carpet the landscape, while English hollies line the hedges of the roads and groves of evergreens and massive live oak trees create an Eden like environment.

Then there’s the wildlife, with alligators, whitetailed deer and snowy egrets commonly sighted. Not surprisingly, Jungle Gardens is a birder’s paradise with hundreds of species of resident For actual tastings, head to the general store and and migratory creatures. And there’s even a giant Buddha statue dating back hundreds of try the various TABASCO flavors, which run the years – a gift to Edmund. It’s the centerpiece of gamut from Buffalo style and Habanero to the Chinese Gardens, a tranquil spot that evokes Sriracha and Raspberry Chipotle. serenity and peace. The island is also the site of Jungle Gardens, one Continued on Next Page… of the world’s most beautifully preserved nature sanctuaries. PAGE 51

Junior Martin and grandson Joel performing during a tour at Martin Accordions. Lafayette Continued… Music is the heartbeat of Cajun culture and it is tightly woven within the fabric of Lafayette. The area’s music scene is vibrant and eclectic with a host of live music venues, dancehalls, jam sessions, concert series and music festivals. On any given night, you can find live music in town at restaurants, cafes, bars and lounges, and if you’d like to strut your stuff on the dance floor, numerous opportunities abound. Don’t fret though if you don’t know how to do the 2-step or jitterbug Cajun style, as you can always pick up the fundamentals at one of the free dance lesson sessions offered around the city. If you’re interested in the instruments themselves, particularly those used in Cajun and zydeco music, make sure you visit Martin Accordions. For over thirty years, this family-run company has built handmade, single row, diatonic accordions for musicians worldwide. The shop tour and Cajun music presentation, which is available for groups of fifteen or more, is not only educational, but loads of fun.

During the tour, you’ll go on a musical journey through the years with an emphasis on the timeline of accordions, as well as learn the differences between Cajun and zydeco styles and their influences. You’ll come away with more knowledge than you can use with regards to accordions. Junior Martin, the patriarch of the family, is joined by his daughter Penny and grandson Joel, who each contribute to this fascinating presentation. An hour of Cajun and zydeco music is included, along with time to explore the factory and the different custom accordions on display. The Martins play a variety of instruments in addition to the accordion, such as the pedal steel guitar and the scrub or washboard. The latter serves as a percussion instrument, which is played with spoons, whisks and other metal kitchen utensils to create different sounds.


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Lafayette Continued…

Take an airboat tour to explore the unique beauty of the Atchafalaya Basin.

Southern Louisiana is known for its natural beauty. To explore this unique environment, take an airboat tour with Basin Landing. You’ll get up close and personal with ancient mossy cypress trees, majestic bodies of water and of course, the infamous gators of the Atchafalaya Basin. This basin is the nation’s largest river swamp, containing almost one million acres of the country’s most significant bottomland hardwoods, swamps, bayous and backwater lakes. Established in 1984, the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge has helped to improve plant communities for endangered and declining species of wildlife, waterfowl, migratory birds and alligators.

The black willow was known for its medicinal purposes, particularly as an antiseptic and antiinflammatory homeopathic treatment. One minute you’ll be mesmerized by the gentle swaying of the leaves in the wind; the next, you’ll be startled by an Asian Carp doing flips in the water boat side. You’ll slowly mosey into nooks and crannies, while spying snowy egrets and herons standing motionless in the reeds. And in the open sections of the basin, Captain Craig will put the pedal to the metal and race at exhilarating speeds for a stretch.

The area has an aura of mystery and eerie beauty to it that enchants visitors unaccustomed to such a special landscape. Spanish moss hangs low to the water, presenting a backdrop of lace drapery, while black willow trees stand as silent sentinels. The moss was a big industry at one time; collected and used for insulation in homes and to stuff mattresses and pillows. PAGE 53

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Sans Souci is the home of the Louisiana Crafts Guild in downtown Lafayette.

Local artisans demonstrate essential crafts performed by early settlers at Vermilionville.

Lafayette Continued… The experience is more than a boat ride, as you’ll get a commentary from your captain about the area and the creatures that inhabit it. The gators, of course, take center stage and at times, they’re well camouflaged and difficult to locate, as they lurk beneath the surface of the water. But, Captain Craig knows where to find them and soon, they’ll magically appear in all their medieval glory. Most folks are fascinated by gators, as they have such a spooky quality to them. Their eyes, in particular, are most unnerving, as they have a cold, predatory glint that convey a “take no prisoners” attitude. These creatures can get up to eight feet in length in the basin, though most of the ones we saw were four or five feet long – plenty big for me!

Take note of the outdoor gallery of public art, where you’ll find sculptures and murals from local and internationally renowned artists that enhance the cultural experience in the district. For a look at the work of some of the state’s most talented artisans, step inside Sans Souci Fine Grafts Gallery, the home of the Louisiana Crafts Guild. You’ll find one-of-a-kind traditional and contemporary Louisiana crafts in a variety of media, such as pottery, jewelry, glass, textiles, metal and wood. The gallery is housed in one of Lafayette’s oldest structures – a quaint, 1880s building.

If you haven’t had your fill of gators, head to nearby University of Louisiana, Lafayette. In the middle of the campus is Cypress Lake. Originally a grove of trees, the area was flooded during WWII as a water reserve that could be used to Stretch your legs with a walk around pedestrian- extinguish possible fires from air attacks. Today, friendly, downtown Lafayette upon your return. it’s a beautiful lake containing alligators, If you notice a lot of people with smiles on their bullfrogs, turtles and an abundance of fish, birds faces, it’s not some charade they’re playing to and cypress trees. UL Lafayette has the convince you they’re happy. It’s the real deal. Just distinction of being the only university in the U.S. a few years ago, a Harvard study determined with a managed wetland on its campus. Lafayette to be the “Happiest City in America.” Continued on Next Page… Folks in this Louisiana town genuinely like where they live and enjoy life with gusto. They also Life size Lafayette sign where visitors create welcome visitors with open arms, eager to share the “Y” in Lafayette. some of their warm Cajun style hospitality. The city’s central core is full of shops, galleries, museums and eateries, and contains parks and open spaces for concerts, performances and festivals celebrating the Acadiana of yesterday, today and tomorrow. PAGE 54

Lafayette Continued… When it comes to accommodations, Lafayette has a number of options, from chain hotels to inns and boutique properties such as the toprated Louisiana Cajun Mansion Bed & Breakfast. Nestled in the heart of Cajun Country in the picturesque town of Youngsville, just minutes from Lafayette, this five-acre estate has a lush park like setting. It’s exquisitely decorated for comfort, elegance and relaxation with a large living room, spacious sunroom, quaint sitting areas, romantic wine room, infinity pool and patio with a grilling kitchen.

The Cajun Inn

Each of the rooms are well-appointed with plush beds and sumptuous linens. You’ll wake up to a homemade Cajun breakfast each morning that’s guaranteed to be delicious and hearty. And innkeeper/owner Sandra Booher is a wealth of information about all things Cajun, as well as a great resource about the sights and attractions in the area. She will regale you with stories of her youth, speaking French with her grandparents and cooking with her grandma. The recipes passed down to her are the subject of a soon-tobe-completed cookbook that Booher plans to give to each of her guests.

The Cajun Inn

As to finding my “inner Cajun,” you’ll be delighted to learn that I was officially declared an “Honorary Cajun” after visiting Lafayette. This designation entitles me to “have boudin for breakfast, go dancing to Cajun and Zydeco music every night, eat as many crawfish as I can peel and celebrate life every day through the music, food, festivals and people of South Louisiana.” Mission accomplished! If you go, visit: and

Sleep well at The Cajun Inn Video: 60 Second Spotlight: Lafayette, LA!

Deborah Stone is a travel and lifestyle writer, who explores the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers. She’s an avid adventurer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for travel and cross-cultural connections. Her travels have taken her to all seven continents, over 65 countries and 45 U.S. states. PAGE 55

Confucius once said that roads were made for journeys, not destinations, but on our summer road trip from Arizona to Oregon for the solar eclipse, the journey and the destination were equally incredible. Our route through California and Oregon led us from the heart of the desert to some of the most beautiful coastline and mountains in the United States. Our travels took us to Big Blend Radio: Julie Cohn shares her iconic landmarks and national parks and Solar Eclipse Adventure. eventually led us to a small botanical garden in Silverton, Oregon to camp and experience a once-in-a-life time celestial event. My son and I started our trip a week before the eclipse, driving from Phoenix to Los Angeles the For my astronomy-loving family, a trip to Oregon first day, with an overnight stay in Pasadena. for the solar eclipse made perfect sense. We’ve Determined to relish indoor plumbing and a made similar trips to Joshua Tree National Park comfy bed for as long as possible, we “camped” to see meteor showers, and Moab to see the out at the Westin Pasadena, enjoying dinner and Milky Way. Still, a 1600-mile drive (each way) to a stroll through historic downtown Pasadena rough it in the Oregon countryside was a whole with a family friend. Did you know new adventure for us. I’m more of a five-star cheeseburgers were invented in Pasadena? Our resort kind of gal, but with every hotel, motel, dining choice for the evening, Russell’s, boasted Airbnb, and RV booked in Oregon at least sixthe best burgers and pie in town, and our months in advance, camping was our only mouths were too full to argue this claim. choice. We found a camping spot for rent at Oregon Garden, bulk shopped camping gear on Continued on Next Page… Amazon, and never looked back. PAGE 56

Auto Camp Russian River

Totality Continued… The second day of travel was longer, an eighthour drive from southern California to north of San Francisco. Our destination for the night was the Auto Camp Russian River in Guerneville, California. Nestled in gigantic redwood trees, near wineries and white-water rafting, the Auto Camp is a unique lodging experience in airstream campers and canvas tents. As inexperienced campers, I thought a night glamping in the redwoods would the perfect way to get used to camping for the eclipse, but with amenities such as electricity, lighting, plush king size beds in the tents, fluffy towels, luxury toiletries, and gourmet coffee in the group clubhouse, we weren’t exactly “roughing it”. After a quick campfire of s’mores, we settled into cozy beds (with electric blankets) to sleep under a canopy of a million twinkling stars.

An active volcano, Mt. Shasta towers at 14,149 feet above the pines in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Temperatures hovered around 95 degrees at ground level, but Mt. Shasta, the second highest peak in the Cascades, was still snow-capped. Another five hours in the car and we finally arrived in Portland, where we spent two days getting ready for our big campout. It was in Portland that we met my husband at the airport. While in Portland, we made sure to visit some of our favorite spots. Powell’s Books, one of the largest independent book stores in the country was top of our list. We also made stops to Stumptown Coffee, Mother’s Bistro, and Blue Star donuts for a special edition Eclipse donut strawberry custard filled with dark chocolate icing and edible gold.

Our journey the next day took us through Northern California and the Southern Cascade Mountains, past Mt. Shasta. PAGE 57

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Crater Lake Totality Continued…

Oregon Garden, an 80-acre botanical garden northwest of Salem (and in the line of totality for Oregon news warned of long traffic delays and the solar eclipse) boasts one of the largest gas shortages on the days leading up to the solar collections of dwarf conifers in the United States, eclipse, so the morning of our camp check-in we as well as rose, serenity, sensory, and children’s woke early, filled the gas tank, and took back gardens. With access to all the gardens during roads from Portland to Silverton. Fortunately, we our stay, we could not ask for a more beautiful avoided most of the traffic and made it to our place to witness the solar eclipse. We set up our campsite at Oregon Garden in 45 minutes. campsite, then explored the gardens, including The Gordon House, the only Frank Lloyd Wrightdesigned house in Oregon. The morning of the solar eclipse was sunny and warm, with a light breeze. A bumblebee flitted from clover blossom to blossom, unaware of the day’s festivities. An anxious excitement buzzed through the campground, as campers set up their telescopes and camera equipment to capture the main event. At about 9:05 a.m., the moon began its journey across the sun, and everyone put on their solar eclipse glasses. Oregon Garden PAGE 58

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Oregon Garden Oregon Coast

Totality Continued… Being in the center of totality was a unique experience and it is difficult to put into words what we experienced that morning. The sky began to turn reddish-orange, and just before the moment of totality, the red blossomed into a dark hazy purple. Shadows got longer, the air grew noticeably colder, and the birds grew quiet. At the first moment of totality, a hush fell over the entire campground, everyone stood in awe of the sight above them.

Haystack Rock

The stars started to twinkle in the purple sky and we could see Mercury and Jupiter. Think about that a moment…. we could see stars during the day! As the moment of totality ended, beams of light peeked around the edges of the moon. This phenomenon, known as the “Baily’s beads” was the proverbial icing on the cake. A cheer arose from the crowd as I wiped tears from my eyes. This was truly one of the most unique and incredible experiences of our life! After the solar eclipse, we packed up our campsite and worked our way along the coast of Oregon, stopping in Cannon Beach to see the famed Haystack Rock, Tillamook to sample cheese, Yachats to walk among the craggy tide pools, and Heceta Head to see an authentic lighthouse. It was time to head back to Arizona, but we made one last side trip to Crater Lake National Park. Summer wildfires made the air hazy, but we still enjoyed gorgeous views of the dark blue lake. A caldera lake formed in the remains of a volcano, Crater Lake, at 1,949 feet deep is considered the deepest lake in the United States.

Bluestar Donuts - Eclipse Three days later, we pulled into our driveway, exhausted from traveling. Twelve days, 3,499 miles, 2200 photos, and countless memories to last a life time. The road trip was a journey to witness the splendor of nature’s wonders, on earth and in the sky, to marvel at the gifts of the universe. What an incredible adventure it was! A member of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association, Julie has over 20 years of travel experience as a former travel agent and meeting planner, writer, photographer, and as publisher of


Reflections from My Walk Across America By Jim Ostdick, author of ‘Palomino Nation: My 2016 Crazyass Walk Across America’ More than a year has passed since I completed my coast-to-coast walking tour of the United States from Lewes, Delaware to Point Reyes, California. The memories are still sharp. What lessons did I learn? What can I share with other travelers? First lesson? Self-reliance and self-care. When I was younger, I played basketball, beach volleyball, and I ran nearly every day, but at 66, I can no longer do those things well enough to enjoy them. Hiking and bicycle touring have become my go-to sports in the latter part of my life. As long as I maintain a base level of fitness with walking, riding, stretching, and a little strength training, I can still ramp up enough to perform well in long-distance, “project-level” endeavors. Age is a limiting factor, there is no doubt about it, but with careful pacing and a wily bit of mindfulness, I can still make my miles. Ironically, I have learned NOT to give 100%. I always save a little bit of fuel in the bottom of the tank for when I really need it and I never compare myself to others. As the saying goes, hike your own hike. “You become mature when you become the authority for your own life.” – Joseph Campbell

Big Blend Radio: Jim Ostdick discusses his walk across America! Second lesson? No discussion of long distance walking is complete without addressing the twin concepts of trail magic and trail angels. My walk across America took me past lots and lots of rural towns and through more than a few big cities. Unquestionably, the best part of the experience was meeting the people along the way. Everywhere I went, I ran into the nicest, kindest, most supportive and generous folks imaginable. This part was truly magical. How else can I explain the haphazard, chance meetings I stumbled into with perfect strangers who just happened to be willing and able to provide the exact thing I needed at that precise moment – a drink of water, an apple, a ride past a barrier, a meal, a hug, a place to pitch my tent, a simple word of encouragement?


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Jim Continued… These trail angels enriched my soul and made me appreciate and trust being human. In an election year, when argument and division filled the air waves and dominated the internet, I had daily face-to-face encounters with the kindest men and women all the way from the nation’s capital to the Golden Gate. I felt like somehow I was being led from place to place just to meet the next incredibly inspirational person. I may never see them again in my life, but there is something perfect about the bonds I made in those special, random, coincidental meetings. I loved it. For me, life doesn’t get any better than that.


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Jim Continued… Third lesson? History, history, history. I saw, at three miles per hour, the close connection between Earth history and civilization. From the coal deposits in the Appalachians to the Midwest iron formations and glacial till to the gold and silver mines and fertile valleys of the West, I correlated the tectonic forces that forged the continent to the building of its cities of industry. I saw clearly the consequences, both good and bad, of the choices our people and their government have made over time. The battle fields at Antietam, the memorials to war heroes and freedom fighters, the sad, fatal reminders of the nearly total devastation of indigenous cultures – all this history is still being made. Last lesson? Continuation. I made it on foot from coast-to-coast by taking it one step, one breath, and one moment at a time. I know I cannot change the past and I cannot control the future. What I can do is to accept my responsibility to make things better – to treat every person I meet with honor and respect and to send out hope in every direction, from sea to shining sea. That is Palomino Nation. San Juan Bautista, CA resident Jim Ostdick walked east-to-west across the United States in 2016 as a fundraiser to raise awareness for a regional parkway in San Benito County. His new book about the hike, “Palomino Nation: My 2016 Crazyass Walk Across America,” was recently released in both paperback and e-book formats on Amazon. A 66-year old retired high school science teacher, Ostdick walked more than 3,300 miles from Cape Henlopen, Delaware to Point Reyes, California before finishing his hike at Mission San Juan Bautista last October. His book describes the geologic history of the continent and pays respect to the indigenous tribes of the land, as well as detailing his encounters with many generous and helpful “trail angels” of modern America. Keep up with Jim at PAGE 62

The trails that were blazed to settle this vast country provide an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of those who were willing to take huge risks to better their lives, in the “pursuit of happiness.” Free Land! Gold! Adventure! The promise of rich farmland, escape from crowded cities in the east, and gold, lured from 350,000 to 500,000 emigrants from the eastern United States to the west between the 1840s and 1870s. These adventuresome people crossed over mountains and plains, following rivers on foot, horseback, or in ox-drawn, covered wagons. They traveled over 2000 miles, taking months to get from Kansas or Missouri to California, running into all kinds of obstacles, from floods, wagons breaking down, illness, and losing their way, to conflicts with Native Americans. This is the greatest migration of people in American history. The California National Historic Trail takes you across ten states (California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming) where over 1,000 miles of trail ruts and traces of this great journey can still be seen.

Big Blend Radio: Park Ranger Kristen Sanderson talks about Fort Churchill and Buckland Station.

In Nevada, you can visit Fort Churchill and Buckland Station, just about half an hour North of Yerington on US Route 95 ALT. Both the fort and the station are stops on the Pony Express National Historic Trail and the California National Historic Trail. Fort Churchill is also a Nevada State Park, which includes Buckland Station. Buckland Station was a way station for the Overland Stage Company on the Overland Route.


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Buckland Station Free Land Continued‌ Fort Churchill This mass migration of peoples was encouraged by the United States government, so it follows that the government would help protect its people, as well as make sure they had the services they needed. The time was ripe for entrepreneurs, one of such was Samuel S. Buckland. Buckland settled at what is now known as Buckland Station in 1859. He started a ranch, but his main objective was to establish a station for the Overland Stage Company. He operated a tent hotel, but also built the first bridge across the Carson River downstream from Genoa, which he operated as a toll bridge. A wagon train came through Buckland Station with two sisters, part of a weary group. Eliza and Margaret Prentice had walked all the way from the east, doing the camp work, cooking, and washing to pay their way. In 1860 Samuel Buckland built a large log cabin and married Miss Eliza Prentice. Continued on Next Page‌


Inside Buckland Station

Free Land Continued‌ That same year, trouble brewed with the Paiutes. Three men from Williams Station, a Carson River outpost 30 miles east of Carson City, kidnapped two Paiute girls, and refused to release them. The Paiutes retaliated by killing the three men, burning down the station, and rescuing the girls. Rumors were rife and Buckland Station became the assembly point where 105 volunteers gathered with plans to avenge the deaths of the Williams Station men. This skirmish is known as the Pyramid Lake War. The volunteers attacked the Paiutes and suffered a major defeat. Hostilities were at an all time high and regular troops were called in. Captain Joseph Stewart and his Carson River Expedition were ordered to establish Fort Churchill with the duty to protect the Carson River settlers and Buckland Station, that had become a remount station on the Pony Express Route. Eventually Buckland Station opened a store to supply travelers, settlers and the soldiers serving at Fort Churchill.

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The Bakery Gallery

Popular destination offering a delicious variety of cakes, pies, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, Danish pastries, coffee cakes, biscotti, chocolate truffles, desserts, and breads. They serve coffee and espresso and pre-fixe to-go dinners.

As you visit Buckland Station and Fort Churchill, you can get a feel for the lifestyle of the settlers and soldiers as they worked to bring civility and normalcy to an unsettled territory. PAGE 66

215 W. Goldfield Ave., Yerington, NV 89447 Tel: (775) 463-4070

Free Land Continued‌ Even though Fort Churchill was built mainly as a show of force, and there were never any battles fought there, it was built as a permanent installation. It was an important supply depot for the Nevada Military District (especially during the Civil War), a Pony Express stop, and a base for troops tasked with patrolling the overland routes. The adobe buildings were built on stone foundations in the form of a square facing a central parade ground. The fort had barracks for 200 men, a guardhouse, officers quarters, and a cemetery. As the railroad and telegraph came in, the need for the fort and the Pony Express declined. The fort was dismantled and Samuel Buckland salvaged materials from the buildings to build the two-story house you can visit today. One of the biggest problems for the pioneer families was the lack of timely letters and news from their families back east. The Pony Express, though short-lived, met that need for 19 months (from April 3, 1860 to November 20, 1861).


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Fort Churchill State Historic Park

Free Land Continued‌ Riders started out from San Francisco, riding east to St. Joseph, Missouri while other riders started out from the east, traveling the same route going west.

While there, make sure to visit nearby Yerington, a quaint town that is full of fun! For more information visit:

There were stops along the way, where it is said, the riders were greeted with a waiting fresh mount and mail pouch. They dismounted, switched horses in a flash, and galloped off. They would ride for 75-100 miles, swapping horses 8-10 times before trading off with another rider, and having a chance to rest at a station. The service eventually ran twice a week, delivering mail every ten days. Over the life of the Pony Express the service delivered over 33,000 pieces of mail traveling over 600,000 miles - 300 runs each way. ton-nevada/

Today you can tour Buckland Station, see the insides of the Buckland house, as well as walk through Fort Churchill and see exhibits at the Visitor Center. You can picnic next to the Carson River in shaded areas, or hike, camp, and watch the bird and wildlife in the area. This is a superb place to let history come alive for you. PAGE 68

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Video: Fort Churchill State Historic Park & Buckland Station

Free Land Continued…


Pilgrimages in Europe are thriving on a massive scale. This century the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela alone has seen 40 times the number of pilgrim visits. Author Derry Brabbs’ previous book, Roads to Santiago, focused exclusively on the 'camino' through France and Spain to Santiago de Compostela. PILGRIMAGE: The Great Pilgrim Routes of Britain and Europe revisits this classic route, and nine other inspirational journeys across Europe. Whether you’re truly making a pilgrimage, exploring the world, or simply hiking, Pilgrimage will lead you along deeply historical routes like the 'Jakobsweg' in Germany, between Cologne and Trier. You’ll find great walks in Britain and France, like St. Cuthbert's Way which winds around the Scottish Borders to the holy island of Lindisfarne, and the World Heritage Site of Mont-St-Michel built on the tiny island off the coast of Normandy. Continued on Next Page…

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Derry Brabbs, who discusses his new photographic essay on the ten great pilgrim routes of Western Europe, an inspiration for today's long-distance walker.


Photo Above: The hilltop village of Cirauqui. Photo Top Right: The chapel encasing St Winefride’s Well. Photo Top Opposite page: Saint-Privat-d’Allier is a small village set high above the dramatic Allier gorges. All photos courtesy Derry Brabbs © Pilgrimage Continued… The most notable addition to the rejuvenated era of pilgrimage is the Via Francigena, now a very well-established path through Switzerland and Italy. The Italian section begins on the bleak summit of the Great St Bernard Pass where a hospice still caters to the needs of passing pilgrims before heading down to Rome through some of Italy’s most beguiling countryside interspersed with medieval hilltop towns and villages. Astounding photographs combine with an absorbing text that describes the history and key features of each route, as well as brief details of the distances and the number of days it takes to walk, and a list of websites to help plan your journey.

Derry Brabbs is regarded as one of England's finest photographers within the sphere of heritage and landscape, with over 20 illustrated books to his credit. His stunning colour photographs for the worldwide best-seller James Herriot's Yorkshire contributed to its success. He is the author of several beautifully photographed titles celebrating England's landscape and architectural legacy. Derry lives in Harrogate. PAGE 71

CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH Historic Ties Between England and America By Glynn Burrows

Big Blend Radio: Glynn Burrows discusses Captain John Smith. Thomas Sendall was one of the richest merchants in the town and had even entertained Sir Walter Raleigh at his home. After his father died, in 1596, John became a mercenary, travelling all over Europe and the Mediterranean.

For someone born in the C16th, Captain John Smith has a lot of books written about him and any Hollywood star would be proud of his web presence too!

He was back in England in time to join a voyage to America in 1607, but that trip was not without its problems. It appears that some of the others didn’t like Smith and they were ready to hang him, when others on the journey stepped in and calmed the situation. Arriving in Chesapeake, it was discovered that Smith had been chosen as one of the seven councillors by The Virginia Council in London and this met with not a little anger.

He was eventually allowed to take his place and, John Smith is thought to have been born around as one of the very few with experience in combat, he was able to help get the settlement 1579 and one candidate, the one which most people say is correct, is the son of George Smyth established and protected. The story of Pocahontas has been told and retold millions of who was baptised on 9th January 1579 in times and fact has been embellished and altered Willoughby, Lincolnshire. His family must have over the centuries but I will add only that she been very affluent because, according to the became the wife of John Rolfe, a man from majority of his biographies, he was educated at Alford and Louth Grammar Schools before taking Heacham, only a few miles from King’s Lynn, where John Smith was apprenticed to Thomas an apprenticeship with King’s Lynn Merchant Thomas Sendall. Sendall. Continued on Next Page.. PAGE 72

Captain John Smith Continued… Yet another Norfolk connection for this story, is Henry Spelman, who went on an expedition with John Smith, up the River James, where he also met Pocahontas and Powhatan. Henry’s brother Thomas was also in Virginia and his will of 1627 mentions a daughter, Mary, in Virginia.

Smith returned to England and settled in London, where he died in 1631. His will mentions a sister in law and a cousin, Steven Smith, among other friends and acquaintances. Continued on Next Page…

John Smith doesn’t appear to have married or fathered any children and there is one story that an accident caused some major health problems.


Captain John Smith Continued‌ Editors Note: The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is a series of water routes in the United States extending approximately 3,000 miles along the Chesapeake Bay, the nation's largest estuary, and its tributaries in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and in the District of Columbia. The historic routes trace the 1607–1609 voyages of Captain John Smith to chart the land and waterways of the Chesapeake. Along with the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, it is one of two water trails designated as National Historic Trails. Watch the video about the historic trail or learn more at Glynn Burrows is the owner of Norfolk Tours in England. For help or advice about tracing your family history, or if you are thinking about taking a vacation to England visit PAGE 74


How Failure Leads to Success Compiled by Lisa D. Smith & Nancy J. Reid, proud ambassadors of the 8 Keys of Excellence character education program. “If it weren't for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song.’ Carl Perkins Whether an artist or a poet, an inventor, business magnate or a political activist, it’s important to view failures as feedback to gain the information needed to learn, grow, and succeed. Rather than viewing failure in a negative way, successful leaders in all walks of life tend to view failure as a valuable learning experience. They know that having a fear of failure can hold them back from trying something new and ingenious, something that could be successful. The only real failure in life is not learning from our mistakes. The key to success is to look carefully at what went wrong, change what we did the first time, and try again by applying what we learned.

Big Blend Radio: 8 Keys of Excellence panel discussion focusing on “Failure Leads to Success” with Bobbi DePorter – Co-Founder of SuperCamp & President of Quantum Learning Network, Steve Piacente - life coach and best-selling author of 'Bella' and 'Bootlicker', and Rob Ridgeway - creator of the award-winning and best-selling board game Spontuneous. This episode also features a Hollywood History segment as recalled by Steve Schneickert. Continued on Next Page…

Featured Success Quotes shared by panelists include: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky “There are two kinds of courage, physical and moral, and he who would be a true leader must have both. Both are the products of the character-forming process, of the development of self-control, selfdiscipline, physical endurance, of knowledge of one’s job and, therefore, of confidence. These qualities minimize fear and maximize sound judgement under pressure and – with some of that indispensable stuff called luck – often bring success from seemingly hopeless situations.” General Mathew B. Ridgway “It's not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” Zig Ziglar “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Napoleon Hill PAGE 77

8 Keys Continued…

Take a Virtual Walk in the Excellence Hall of Fame “Failure Leads to Success” is the second key in the 8 Keys of Excellence. Created by Bobbi DePorter, the 8 Keys of Excellence is a character education program that guides young people toward a positive future full of confidence, motivation, creativity, team work, leadership and valuable life principles. On our way to changing the lives of 50 million children, The Excellence Effect is a movement to build excellence in the lives of young people worldwide through the 8 Keys of Excellence family and school character programs. See As part of The Excellence Effect, we’re taking a virtual walk down the Excellence Hall of Fame to reflect upon some of the wise words written and spoken by eight historic leaders whose actions and words exemplify the “Failure Leads to Success” Key of Excellence. From an aviation pioneer and an inventor to presidential and political leaders, a business magnate to educators and authors, these inspiring and successful leaders have parks, museums and historic sites that we can visit to learn about and celebrate their life, work and heritage.

BOOKER T. WASHINGTON Educator, Author, Orator, Presidential Advisor & African-American Community Leader “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” Learn More & Visit: Booker T. Washington National Monument in Hardy, Virginia; and the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Continued on Next Page…




Author, Political Activist & Lecturer

Former First Lady of the U.S., Politician, Diplomat & Activist

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Learn More & Visit: Ivy Green, Helen Keller’s Birthplace in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” Learn More & Visit: Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, New York. Continued on Next Page…


U. S. President, Statesman & Lawyer

“The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” Learn More & Visit: Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville, Kentucky; Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City, Indiana; Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois; and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. - Birthplace -Boyhood Home - Lincoln Home NHS - Lincoln Memorial PAGE 79



Inventor & Business Man

Poet & Novelist

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

“I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship.”

Learn More & Visit: Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey.

Learn More & Visit: The Wayside Home of Authors in Concord Massachusetts. re/thewayside.htm




Captain of Industry, Business Magnate & Founder of the Ford Motor Company

Aviation Pioneer & Author

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Learn More & Visit: MotorCities National Heritage Area in Detroit, Michigan.

“Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.” Learn More & Visit: Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison, Kansas.


By Victoria Chick, contemporary figurative artist and early 19th & 20th century print collector The owner of an art gallery in California told me an Indian lady had been in to see my paintings and stated the cat must be my totem. When I gave it some thought, I had to admit she was right about how they represented me. But, totems are usually defined as representing groups of people. Examples are found from Asia to Polynesia, with a strong tradition in the Northwest corner of the United States including Alaska, as well as the coastal area of British Columbia in Canada. Northwest Pacific Coast Indians are formed of numerous distinct tribes and developed separate nations with their own traditions and social customs. Clans that exist within tribes identify with an animal recognized as a nonhuman ancestor. The art that expresses clan identity most powerfully is the totem pole. Totem poles have also been used to tell moral stories and recall historic events.

Big Blend Radio: Victoria Chick discusses Totem Poles. These carved sculptures can be free standing, or attached to the front of houses, and even used as indoor posts. They are made of long-lasting red cedar and may be painted or left to weather in the elements. The largest can be 50-70 feet high. From early times, the rich natural resources of the geographical area along the coast of British Columbia, Washington State, and Oregon and Alaska, provided abundant food.


Continued on Next Page‌

Totem Poles Continued… The abundance of food left time for people to develop aesthetic skills. The area also has animals with distinct behavior characteristics that were seen as positive or negative by various tribes. Native animal images became symbols, or totems, that represented things such as the source of clan wealth, how a clan identified with the attributes of certain animals, animistic spiritual representations or sometimes social comment. Often seen on totem poles are eagles, ravens, beaver, bear, wolves, frogs, and fish, with occasional human figures. Totem poles are impossible to interpret without understanding the beliefs and history of the clan unit. Older scholars believed the stacking of figures one atop the other indicated a hierarchy of importance. Modern scholarship tends to discount this idea. Westerners’ past interpretation of the hierarchical theory gave rise to the expression, “Low man on the totem pole”, to describe someone without much status. It may be more rewarding for those who are not members of totem making tribes to simply appreciate the design, carving, color, scale, and community spirit that are intrinsic to the significance of each totem pole.

A potlatch is held when totem poles are erected. These are usually clan gatherings, but, if the totem pole commemorates some interaction with another clan, everyone takes part. In the late 1800’s, missionaries misunderstood the totem pole and thought it was being worshipped. Potlatches and the erecting of totem poles were outlawed in both Canada and the United States. This was when Native American artists began making small, model totem poles and began selling them to tourists. It was not until 1951 that From the Westerners’ standpoint, two of the most interesting totem poles are those depicting the anti-potlatch law was rescinded, and tribes began raising new poles to celebrate their interaction between tribes/clans and the U.S. government - with Abraham Lincoln used on one families, communities, and lands. and Secretary of the Interior, William Seward, on Since that time, some tribes other than another. In Seward’s case, the totem was a Northwest Pacific coast Indians have adopted separate genre of totem called a shame pole. the practice of making totem poles and even These were erected to dishonor a person or non-Indian groups have made totem poles as another clan that had dealt underhandedly or well. I think this is because the sheer size and whose word was not good. Seward had visited impressive images on totem poles capture the and promised many gifts which never imagination of nearly everyone. materialized. The totem, which had originally been a memorial of honor, was changed into a shame pole by adding red paint to the nose, ears Victoria Chick is the founder of the Cow Trail Art and lips of the effigy of Seward, indicating he did Studio in southwest New Mexico. She received a B.A. in Art from the University of Missouri at not speak the truth. Sometimes a shame pole Kansas City and awarded an M.F.A. in Painting has the offending person or a group’s totem from Kent State University in Ohio. Visit her shown upside down. website at PAGE 83

Hollywood History of Southern Arizona Steve Schneickert Shines the Spotlight on Tucson and Yuma

Hollywood History of Southern Arizona Tucson “The Old Pueblo” On and off for the past one hundred years, Hollywood has made Tucson its home, filming at least eighty-one movies there. People, for the most part, think of Tucson as a Cowboy town, and that the movies filmed there are only Westerns/Cowboys and Indians…….Not so true, as you will hear in this Steve Schneickert podcast, where he recalls the Hollywood History of Tucson from 1927’s “Wings” and 1963’s “Lilies of the Field” to 1976’s “A Star is Born” and 1995’s “Boys on the Side”!

Yuma “The Gateway to the Great Southwest” Hollywood has made Yuma its destination throughout the years, filming several movies and television projects there such as: ‘Beau Geste’, ‘The Getaway’, ‘Into the Wild’, ‘Jarhead’, ‘Star Wars IV: A New Hope’, ‘The Outlaw’, ‘Return of the Jedi’, and ‘Under Two Flags’. From the 1959 ABC television series, ‘The Rebel’ to the 1994 film ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, Steve Schneickert recalls the Hollywood History of Yuma, Arizona.

Hollywood History of Yuma PAGE 84

Hollywood History of Tucson


The National Parks Arts Foundation has partnered with Fort Union National Monument to create a unique artist-in-residence opportunity. The vistas in this location are incredible! Fort Union National Monument, located in Mora County near Watrous, New Mexico, was the hub of commerce, national defense, and migration at the final stretch of the Santa Fe Trail. The richly evocative traces of a post-civil war era adobe fort, it became a National Monument in 1954 under the Eisenhower administration. This location is close to historic Las Vegas, the great plains and local sights like Wagon Mound and Montezuma Castle, and only an hour and half away from Santa Fe, the art capital of the southwest. See

Big Blend Radio: Artist Patricia Cummins & Lorenzo Vigil, Fort Union National Monument Chief of Interpretation.

“The Artist in Residence program offers artists and visitors alike to view Fort Union in new and innovative ways,” said Park Superintendent Charles Strickfaden. "We are pleased to host artists who communicate complex and contemporary issues through their chosen Contemporary painter, environmental artist, and medium." As The National Parks Arts arts educator Patricia Cummins was the artist-in- Foundation’s third year offering the program, with the help of Fort Union National Monument, residence for October 2017. With twelve other National Park- based residencies under her belt, the program is already yielding an array of artwork from a diversity of artists that helps Cummins has a keen familiarity with using her work to perpetuate human-nature interaction. To facilitate the conservation and historic documentation of this renowned Monument. sweeten the pot, nature writer and Everglade specialist, Jeff Weber, accompanied Cummins Continued on Next Page… during the same residency period. PAGE 86

Patricia Continued‌

Fort Union National Monument Photos courtesy of NPS

The National Parks Arts Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to arts inspiration in our National Parks by creating dynamic opportunities for art programs based in these wild, significant and cultural places. NPAF National Park projects are supported entirely by NPS, park partners, donations and generous partnerships. All NPAF programs are made possible through the philanthropic support of donors ranging from corporate sponsors and small businesses, to art patrons and citizenslovers of the parks. NPAF is always seeking new partners and donors for its philanthropic programs. Visit


RETURN FROM DRY TORTUGAS A Hurricane Irma Artist-in-Residence Story

Listen to the follow-up Big Blend Radio interview with Tanya Ortega – Founder of the National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF), and Santa Fe based husband-wife artist team Julie and Matthew Chase-Daniel, who were NPAF artists-in-residence at Dry Tortugas National Park.

From watching turtle nests and walking a white sandy beach, to evacuating and returning as volunteers for clean-up, Julie and Matthew share their experience of being at remote Loggerhead Key in Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida in September 2017, when Hurricane Irma hit. Julie is an accomplished poet, and Matthew works in photography, sculpture, and drawing. View their art at

Click Here to Listen to the previous interview with Julie & Matthew Chase-Daniel and to do the Online Jigsaw Puzzle of Matthew’s photoassemblage artwork of Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman Island.


UNDER WESTERN SKIES Coko Brown Brings her Art & Music to San Diego’s Mountain & Back Country Artist and musician Coko Brown is a fourth generation native San Diegan. Born in Ocean Beach, she now resides in up in the San Diego mountain community of Wynola “Gateway to Julian,” with her husband Tim, dogs and chickens. Musically, Coko started on acoustic guitar, however she honed her chops in bands as a young bassist. After a few start up bands, she formed Nectarine, an all-girl rock band that had a 15-year run. Seven years ago she started playing music solo. She picked the guitar back up and was soon playing at Jeremy’s on Hill California Bistro on Monday nights, where she continues to perform solo as well as with EdRoCo, a 3-piece group with an eclectic playlist that runs from rock to folk to jazz. Her latest album is “Luca”. Painting was initially a cathartic experience for Coko, with soft pastels being the medium of choice. As her painting evolved, she began to explore different mediums that included watercolor, acrylic and oil. She often experimented with them in “non-traditional” ways, a favorite being the use of soft pastels and turpenoid (an odorless form of turpentine). Painting outdoors has become Coko’s preferred mode of craft. She says, “Living in the backcountry has offered me the chance to take my painting outdoors, and I have become addicted to Plein Air painting. I even go out at night on occasion, one of my new favorite times to paint.”

Big Blend Radio: Coko Brown discusses her art, music, gardening and living in San Diego’s mountain and back country region!

A certified Master Gardener and active member of the San Diego Master Gardeners, she is involved in their ongoing program at a Girls Rehabilitation Facility where they have installed a garden, and she also teaches. “I teach the girls Plein Air painting with a focus on “seeing” and how there are differences in all of our interpretations of what we are looking at. I find working with these girls extremely rewarding.” A true honor, this past September Coko had a solo art show at the Olaf Wieghorst Museum. The collection is called “Under Western Skies” and much of it is on display at Jeremy's on the Hill, where it will remain through February 2018. You can also view Coko’s permanent exhibit space at the Orchard Hill Country Inn, just up the road in Julian. Continued on Next Page…


Kanati Coko Continued…


For the past four years Coko has curated quarterly art shows at Jeremy’s called “The Lobby Artists”, featuring artists from all over the county. “I seek out painters with art that is a good fit for the restaurant so as to provide diners with a visual aspect that is complementary to the amazing dining experience. Most of the artwork is for sale and it is not uncommon for folks to take a painting home with them. On a personal note, I have to say that I enjoy my time with Jeremy, his wonderful family and staff and look forward to many more years with them. The foods not bad either!” Learn more about Coko’s art at and music at See her performance schedule and The Lobby Artists exhibition information at Almost Home


A Girl and Her Ponies Ocean Beach Bungalows

A Slice of Mountain Magic in San Diego, California! Palomar Mountain makes for a peaceful respite within a tranquil and natural setting. Enjoy nature walks at Palomar Mountain State Park, visit Palomar Observatory that’s world famous for housing the 200-inch Hale Telescope, or cozy up at historic Bailey’s Palomar Resort. Julian is a popular mountain hamlet known for its gold rush history, apple and pear orchards, wineries, and apple pie. The historic downtown district makes for a fun day of holiday shopping and dining, plus there is the California Wolf Center and Julian Pioneer Museum to visit. A free and fun show to watch, the Julian Doves & Desperados Historic Re-enactment Skits are held downtown on Sundays, weather permitting. Note: During late fall and winter, you may need snow chains to get up to Julian and Palomar Mt.



Located at the ‘Gateway to Julian’, San Diego’s Four-Season Mountain & Back-Country Destination! Fresh, Seasonal & Outstanding Farm-to-Table Cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Jeremy Manley Seasonal Menu & Favorites Steak, Seafood, Burgers, Salads, Sandwiches Desserts & After Dinner Beverages Vegetarian, Vegan & Gluten-Free Options Open Daily for Lunch & Dinner Indoor, Fireside & Patio Dining Live Music on Weekends Wine & Beer Pairing Dinners Private Banquet Rooms Catering & Group Events for all Occasions

Wine Bar featuring Local & Regional Wines & Champagne Micro-Brews & Specialty Beers

ATLAS OF UNTAMED PLACES An Extraordinary Journey Through Our Wild World

Embark on an intrepid journey through fearsome Big Blend Radio: landscapes, feral environments, and the Chris Fitch, author untouched and inhospitable wildernesses that of “Atlas of make up our unusual and wonderfully wild Untamed Places: An world. Travel through historic habitats, Extraordinary untouched lands and peculiar wild phenomena Journey Through in this voyage to the world's most weird and Our Wild World.� wonderful, captivating and curious wildernesses. Visit immensely diverse floral kingdoms, remote jungles abundant with exotic birds, and both freezing cold and scorching hot inhospitable With 45 unique and beautiful maps and stunning environments. photography, ATLAS OF UNTAMED PLACES is an intrepid journey through nature's most unusual, Then venture to the extreme and the incredible: wild, feral, and extraordinary places. Readers will lightening inducing lakes, acidic mud baths, and discover everything from ancient, protected man-eating tiger kingdoms, and to wildernesses zones, to the inhabitable and unimaginable. being reclaimed by nature, such as Chernobyl, that after being left abandoned for years has Author CHRIS FITCH is a senior staff writer for returned to a natural wild habitat, free from Geographical, the official magazine of the Royal human intervention. Geographical Society (with IBG). After growing up among the wild tropical rainforests of Guadalcanal, Not forgetting those most bizarre of destinations, Solomon Islands, he now lives in London. such as the tidal surges of the Qiantang River, the bridge to Modo Island that emerges from the sea, and the strange magnetic pull of Jubuka rock. This is a travel book like no other!


ALL FISH FACES Photos and Fun Facts about Tropical Reef Fish

Citizen science, also known as crowd-sourced science, is when the public engages in research endeavors on behalf of scientists. For those, like Tam Warner Minton, it’s an excellent opportunity to explore your scientific passions while tickling your travel bug at the same time. “Citizen science has allowed me to visit the seven continents of the world, assisting scientists, all while skipping a PhD,” says Minton, an empty-nester turned world traveler. Her travels have led her to cage dive with whale sharks in Mexico, scuba dive alongside endangered dwarf whales of the Great Barrier Reef, study a lion pride in the African Serengeti, and so much more. Through Minton’s travels, specifically those that involved oceanographic observation, she became acutely aware of the dangers of climate change. She made it her mission to educate others on the importance of protecting our oceans and the precious lifeforms that dwell in them. This is one reason she published her new book ALL FISH FACES: Photos and Fun Facts about Tropical Reef Fish. She noticed while many people are interested in conservatism, some aren’t sure how to specifically aid in finding answers. “Anyone with a passion and interest in protecting our Earth can make a difference,” Minton says.

Big Blend Radio: Tam Warner Minton, author of All Fish Faces.

“You don’t need a PhD to find answers. You can become a self-study expert! My scientific findings are a testament to the effects of crowd-sourced science, and how anyone with an interest in the sciences can do far more than they ever dreamed possible.” Getting to know our underwater world is a fascinating journey into the unknown! It is so important to introduce children, kids, and adults to our ocean and its animals so we can protect it for future generations. 10% of profits from the sale of ALL FISH FACES will go to the Marine Megafauna Foundation so they can continue their scientific research to protect our oceans and ocean giants. Tam Warner Minton is the travel blogger, writer, and photographer behind the adventure travel blog,



Big Blend Radio: Phyllis Hinz and Lamont Mackay ‘The Cooking Ladies’, authors of “On the Road with The Cooking Ladies, Let’s Get Grilling!” Phyllis Hinz and Lamont Mackay are two university friends who embarked on a lifelong journey of food and exploration. For more than 9 years they have travelled the highways of North America, covering thousands of miles in their 40foot motor home while sampling, learning and sharing the best of North American cuisine and culture. Together they have been restaurant owners, food columnists, caterers, TV personalities, event speakers and recipe consultants.

On the Road with The Cooking Ladies is a go-to guide for getting the best from your grill. Keep up with The Cooking Ladies at See their GRILLING TIPS and APPLE PIE Recipe on our sister site,

On the Road with The Cooking Ladies is a collection of grilling recipes and travel anecdotes from Boston to San Diego. Having surveyed a wide world of grilling ideas, The Cooking Ladies encourage readers to traverse new horizons with recipes for Peachy Country-Style Pork Ribs, Chicken Breasts with North Alabama White BBQ Sauce and West Coast Cedar Plank Salmon. Presented alongside fascinating food histories and an inspiring narrative of their life on the road. PAGE 96

GEAR, GIFTS & GAMES Three Must-Haves to Take Your Party, Game Night or Holiday Gathering On-The-Road! STUBBYSTRIP – No game night, barbecue, picnic, campfire, bonfire, tailgating party, road trip or holiday gathering is complete without your favorite snacks and beverages. From martini shakers to wine, beer, soda, juice and water, StubbyStrip features three innovative essentials for taking your drinks on-the-go, and keeping them cold. They’re super cool and affordable gifts too! Going beyond your typical cozy, the awardwinning Flexicooler not only fits like a glove over 12oz to 25oz bottles or cans, it also has an inner pocket to stash credit cards, and other sundries. Plus, it features a comfy handle and shoulder strap, a convenient carabiner clip, and a hook and loop system to connect extra drinks. Acting as your personal portable minibar, the StubbyStrip Premium and StubbyStrip Vino are both crafted from thick neoprene and feature finished edged stitching and a hands-free shoulder strap.

The Premium carries up to 7 botttles or cans, and the Vino carries up to four wine or liquor bottles. Simply said, StubbyStrip is "How Smart People Carry Drinks”. Available on Amazon or at


DRY DECKS – From fishing trips to campfire gatherings and poker night parties, these highquality waterproof playing cards from NOD Products make a perfect stocking stuffer for travelers and anyone who loves to play cards. The cards are 100% plastic so they repel liquid and won’t stick together. Packs include two sets of cards, each with a fun and different design that ranges from dogs and cats to flamingos and feathers. Available at

SPONTUNEOUS “THE SONG GAME” Have you ever heard a word that “triggered” you to sing a song? If so, then YOU are Spontuneous®! Perfect for holiday family vacations, Spontuneous is a multiple awardwinning and Amazon bestselling, fun family board game where everyone participates by singing – though talent is not required. One player says a word and the race is on for the others to sing a song containing that word. The last player to sing their song that contains that word before time runs out wins the point. Available on Amazon or


TRAVEL WRITER SUCCESS STORY An Interview with Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva”

Known as the ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’, travel writer Linda Kissam is a longtime Big Blend Radio guest and contributor sharing stories about her food, wine and travel adventures across the country and around the world. A seasoned writer with a background in publicity and tourism management, Linda is also the President of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association. ‘The Diva’ specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. As she sips with the winemaker, dines with the chef, or shops with the gift concierge, she dishes out insights on the fabulous, the famous and the unforgettable. Whether riding the rails in Europe, hot air ballooning in Temecula, cruising on the Douro River, or being pampered at luxurious spas and resort, she’s investigating the local buzz to provide her readers with tips on what to buy and what to try.

Big Blend Radio: Linda Kissam discusses her Travel Writing Career.

So what does it take to be a successful in the world of travel writing? Listen to our Big Blend Radio discussion with Linda Kissam and read her answers to our 10 Travel Writing Industry Insider Questions about her career, including the challenges she faces, as well as her inspirations.

1. What led you to a career in the travel writing industry? I had a public relations company that supported the wine and hospitality industry. I used to bring the media in to write stories about my clients. When the big money crash came in 2008, magazines stopped paying for their writers to Linda resides in Southern California for most of visit my clients. The magazines asked me to just the year, and spends her summers sailing the send in turn-key articles to them. cool waters of Washington State. Keep up with Continued on Next Page… her adventures at PAGE 100

Linda Continued‌ I did that, and when I was ready to try something new, I switched over from supporting the press, to becoming one of them. I already had all the contacts, so it was an easy way to sort of back my way in. 2. What attributes do you have that make you a good fit for being a successful travel writer? Besides being able to write well: social media skills, the freedom to travel at will, the ability to pitch stories to outlets, focus, and when you first start -- a second source of income to keep you going. 3. Who or what inspires you? I love to write and I love to travel.

6. What personal changes have you had to make in order to build your career? Give up my PR business and create a relationship with my family that balances their need to have me home, and "protect" me from going places they find silly, inappropriate or scary; with my drive to see and do it all outside of the home. 7. What do you consider your biggest challenge? Not over-scheduling myself. 8. If you could invite any three people (alive or passed on) for a dinner party who would they be? My Mom, my Dad and my daughter.

4. Describe your ideal audience. Anyone who loves to travel and finds my articles something they can relate to.

9. If you could switch careers for a day, what would you choose? Head of nursing.

5. What is your pet peeve in regards to the travel writing? With the advent of social media, EVERYONE thinks they are a writer.

10. What is the most important tip you would pass on to another person just getting started in the world of travel writing? Network constantly and smartly. PAGE 101

The World of Travel Writing & Blogging

So what does it take to be successful in the world of travel writing? Listen to our Big Blend Radio discussion with IFWTWA travel writers Dr. Cacinda Maloney, Mary Lansing-Farah and Lara Dunning, and read their answers to our 10 Travel Writing Industry Insider Questions about their careers, including the challenges they face, as well as their inspirations.

Dr. Cacinda Maloney

Mary Lansing-Farah

Lara Dunning

Listen to the Big Blend Radio Travel Writer & Blogger Panel Discussion featuring International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) Members: - Dr. Cacinda Maloney – Publisher of, travel writer and blogger, photographer, social media influencer, travel expert and brand ambassador. - Mary Lansing-Farah - Editor in Chief and creator of the popular Los Angeles based lifestyle and travel blog,, and IFWTWA Board Director. - Lara Dunning – Freelance travel writer and writer for, editorial and social media manager for, creative nonfiction writer and author of young adult novels. PAGE 102

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Travel Continued… 1. What led you to a career in the travel writing industry? - Cacinda: I was a Chiropractic Physician in Phoenix, AZ for 22 years and during that time I made a lifestyle choice to travel every 6 weeks of my life. So naturally, I wanted to document it through my storytelling and photographs. This eventually led me from a scrapbook to an online medium to produce my work. I have now been blogging travel online for 5 years.

- Mary: When I travel, I love to find the local spots, not just the tourist attractions. I feel my interest in learning a culture helps me in my writing. - Lara: I have very thick skin and don’t take criticism personally. And, my goal is to always strive to become a better writer. Continued on Next Page…

Calling all Travelers…

- Mary: It was all on a fantastic whim when a friend showed me the ropes to become a blogger, in April of 2012. - Lara: During my MFA program, I took a nonfiction course and fell in love with the genre, so much so, that I decided to get a dual focus degree for young adult writing and nonfiction. The blog came about after I had been freelancing for about two years, and I decided I wanted to expand my love of small town traveling. 2. What attributes do you have that make you a good fit for being a successful travel writer? - Cacinda: Attention to detail is the main thing that makes me a good fit. As a physician, I had to pay attention to details and that translated into my creative work on the ground with my photography and then ultimately with my storytelling. Also, I have the ability to write great amount of details on the sly --- ie in airports, buses, etc, as well as great research skills.

From Wine Tasting in the South of France to Sipping Margaritas in Mexico, Come Explore New Destinations in Big Blend’s Online VACATION STATION Travel Department!

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Travel Continued‌ 3. Who or what inspires you? - Cacinda: The first person to inspire me to learn every detail about a place was an old business trainer I hired for the clinic. He was also a Chiropractor who traveled extensively and eventually turned his passion of Chiropractic into a location independent coaching business so that he could travel. His name is Dr. Mark Radermacher. I once called him on the phone to ask him some questions about Vienna, and he gave me a 30-minute dissertation of what to do and where to go and he knew it like the back of his hand! That was my inspiration to learn more about travel. He also taught me the concept of traveling every 6 weeks of my life, which I was able to implement and did for 22 years while practicing as a Chiropractor. I now travel more than that and went to 47 countries in 2016, with 72 countries as my life long total. - Mary: I've had such terrific opportunities happen from a previous post. I publish one article on something (or, somewhere) great, and then, if an opportunity presents itself thanks to that article I shared, more adventures happen. Nothing is more exciting than when one adventure turns into another! - Lara: My father is a constant source of inspiration. At a young age, he knew he wanted to be a scientist and even though he had some setbacks in his late teen years, he always made career choices to guide him to his dream job.

4. Describe your ideal audience. - Cacinda: It consists of myself and my long time friends: 30-65 educated females married to affluent men who love to travel and want adventure in their lives. They typically have tweens, teenage kids, or adult children in college and plan the family vacations. They speak English and are from North America or Europe. - Mary: Fellow Millenials trying to find their place in this crazy world! - Lara: My ideal audience would be someone who is a small town enthusiast, likes slower paced travel and is curious about history, and enjoys culinary travel and local adventures. 5. What is your pet peeve in regards to the travel writing? - Cacinda: Basically my pet peeve is that everybody travels differently and there is no one correct way to do it. Some people love the great outdoors, others culture, others daring adventures. There are so many places to go in this world and so many different ways to do it. So just find your niche and be the best one writing about that. There is room for everybody and no need to bash others in the process. - Mary: It definitely can be competitive, like anything else. It's important to remember, there are enough opportunities to go around.

- Lara: It never ceases to amaze me how undervalued writing is. Every week I see postings for jobs that want writing for very little pay. Writing is a craft and hard work and should be treated as such. Continued on Next Page‌ PAGE 104

Travel Continued‌ 6. What personal changes have you had to make in order to build your career? - Cacinda: Pretty much everything! I chose to quit my job as a Chiropractor and work full time in the travel world after about a year and half of doing it part time. Then I had to learn to make it into a business, as in the beginning it was just a hobby. I also had to learn who all the players were by attending conferences and then trying to figure out what my place was in this world. It has definitely been a process of growing and learning. I knew nothing about SEO and traffic building, as I had always just focused on the travel itself, so there is a great learning curve in technology as well.

7. What do you consider your biggest challenge? - Cacinda: Technology is one – learning the ins and outs of an online business using Wordpress and SEO techniques. Also, in a weird way, travel has become my biggest challenge in order to make my travel website grow! I had always just done this for the travel aspect of it, but if I want to get my stories out to the masses then I have to stay home more (ie NOT travel) and learn how to blog better!

- Mary: Learn how to speak cleverly in 140 characters or less!

- Lara: There never seems to be enough time and I have a backlog of stories to write. That in itself is a good thing, but it can also feel very overwhelming. My goal this year is to better manage my freelance life and blogging demands.

- Lara: Since I am a one woman show, maintaining Small Town Washington & Beyond has taken over my personal and social time.

- Mary: Lately, it's finding a balance of managing my day jobs with my travels, and writing about it all.

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Travel Continued… 8. If you could invite any three people (alive or passed on) for a dinner party who would they be? - Cacinda: Tony Robbins, the Dalai Lama, and Jesus. - Mary: Dorothy Parker, Joseph Campbell and Marilyn Monroe. - Lara: Edward Abby, David Wade, and Laura Hillenbrand. 9. If you could switch careers for a day, what would you choose? - Cacinda: Own a small resort or be a B&B caretaker on an island. Scuba Diver Instructor in Fiji. Travel PR, to see what they do from the other side of the coin, working in advertising/marketing.

10. What is the most important tip you would pass on to another person just getting started in the world of travel writing? - Cacinda: Learn SEO from the beginning! That way what you write has a bigger chance to see more eyes. I wish I would have learned that a long time ago. Learn what drives traffic to your site. Learn who your audience is and carve out a niche within the travel world. - Mary: In this day and age, social media and promotion is vital. As a great friend told me: It's 40% writing, 60% promoting. - Lara: Learn your craft. Take classes, read books, write and rewrite. Don’t be afraid to slash and cut and rearrange. Every word penned will get you closer to your dream.

- Mary: I would want to be Madonna for a day, as long as I inherit her performance talents. - Lara: I’ve always been fascinated by those who live an isolated monastic lifestyle, so I would have to say I’d like to be a monk for a day, or maybe two. PAGE 106

Calling All Food, Wine & Travel Writers! The 2018 International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) Conference is May 5-8, at Whidbey Island, in Washington

Winter Sunset at Robinson Beach Whidbey & Camano Islands Tourism “Farms, mussels and whales, oh my!” Whidbey Island is a traveler’s dream. Anchored in the Salish Sea, only about 45 minutes from Seattle, the island is nestled between the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. Visitors find a vibrant farm-to-table culinary scene with hundreds of independent farmers and skilled chefs who source from the island. Top that off with a lively arts community, rich heritage, charming seaside villages, plenty of stunning scenery, exciting outdoor adventure and friendly islanders, and you have the perfect location for the IFWTWA 2018 Conference. Not to mention, spring is an active whale-spotting season when migrating whales often feed offshore. Attendees at the 2018 IFWTWA Conference on Whidbey Island can expect something a little different. Instead of a hotel conference center, the conference will be held at Camp Casey, a historic army base turned conference center. Don’t worry, attendees won’t have to drop and give us 20; instead, the islanders are very excited to host IFWTWA and are rolling out the welcome mat. Attendees will enjoy a rich professional development program, a Tourism Marketplace, excellent food and drink showcasing the island’s bounty, and a grand tour of Whidbey Island. For full details and registration, visit

Big Blend Radio: Allen Cox - Editor-in-Chief of Northwest Travel & Life Magazine and VP of IFWTWA, along with Sherrye Wyatt - PR & Marketing Manager at Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism, discuss the 2018 IFWTWA Conference.

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Orchard Kitchen Dinner by Kim Tinuvial

Conference Continued‌

Formed in 1981, the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) is a premiere global network of food, wine and travel journalists and the people who promote them. These professional writers, bloggers and photographers focus on sense of taste and place. Their niches include food, wine, travel and destination activities, as well as the culture and history. See Camp Casey Deer - Whidbey & Camano Islands Tourism

Whidbey and Camano Islands are located in the middle of Puget Sound and an easy drive from Seattle. A great antidote for big city pressures, these rural islands feature wide-open beaches, scenic vistas, outdoor adventures, great art, fine dining, and more. See

Steaming Mussels by Jack Penland

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