Friday, May 11, 2018

Return to Freedom

To see wild horses roaming free across the rolling green hills of California makes me smile. There is a long standing battle taking place to save the herds of wild horses emblematic of the American west from the slaughter house. Presently, fifty-thousand horses are being held in Bureau of land Management holding pens awaiting their futures. Sadly, they will most likely be destroyed if an answer to their dilemma does not come soon.
The Return to Freedom organization with two central California locations, one in Lompoc and one on a 300 acre ranch in San Luis Obispo give safe harbor to 400 wild horses. You can see from this video that they have a good life, are fit and roaming free in this bucolic setting.

The plight of the wild mustangs in America is not new. The cattlemen want the range land owned by the government for their stock. The Bureau of Land Management contend that the wild herds are over-grazing federal lands and must be culled. They continue to use helicopters to round up thousands of horses each year. Only 32,000 wild horses out of the 2 million that once roamed the west remain.  Meanwhile, the battle in congress to pass a bill that would protect the herds and provide a budget to handle the situation humanely continues.

Return to Freedom is a non-profit organization provides some fun and informative ways for you to support the cause.  They offer a docent guided walking tour of the sanctuary with some time for quiet observation of the herd. You will meet some of the mustangs that live there and learn about the horses as a native species with it’s origins in American history.




They also offer a photo safari on the San Luis Obispo property
On 2,000 acres of horse heaven in Central Coastal California, 70 wild horses and 16 burros roam free. Safaris last 3 hours and can be scheduled for early morning or late afternoon. Picnic basket with healthy snacks and light meal provided – end your Photo Safari with a pre-arranged picnic lunch or dinner in the hills with mountain top views to the sea! 
On the Return to Freedom site under “Issues” tab you can sign a petition to let your representatives know that you care about the future of the wild herds, or you can simply donate funds to this very worthy cause.
Photo Credit: Tony Stromberg 

 Visit the www.returntofreedom for more information.
Linda Ballou is the author of the Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Bringing Home the Gold-Travelers Tales Solas Award

Rocky Mountain Nat. Park and Yours truly

My story “On the Road with the Lady of Rockies” received “Gold” for the best Destination piece in the Travelers Tales 12th Annual Solas Awards!  It is being honored as the “Editor’s Choice on the home page of the largest publisher of travel literature. I have long admired the great travel writers represented in the pages of the Traveler's Tales anthologies, and I am very proud to be included in their ranks. My story will continue to appear on the The Best Travel Writing page on the Traveler,s Tales site. 
Isabella Bird-Lady of the Rockies

Recently, my friend James Michael Dorsey’s book Baboons for Lunch was published by Traveler's Tales. I love a man with a sense of humor and James has me laughing out loud at the ridiculous situations he finds himself in by choice! It is hard to imagine this distinguished gentleman lobbing monkeys with dung balls, but strange things happen to people’s personalities when they hit the road.


You may enjoy my many outdoor travel adventures in my book LostAngel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales.Lost Angel Unleashed. What do you think?
Presently, I am collecting stories for the sequel
Remember “All who wander are not lost.”
Cheers,
Linda

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Earthiest's Creed

In the words of Edward Abbey…I am not an atheist, I am an Earthiest!

Earthiests are people who literally need to plug into the planet to recharge. Whether sitting on a rock warmed by the sun,
or face planted down on the sand at the beach, standing on a mountain top arms spread with palms up to gather energy, or resting against a tree, I am gathering energy from the earth.


 Some people think nothing is happening when they are sitting still because their minds are too busy to feel anything. But, they are receiving nature’s gift just the same.  An earthiest consciously makes themselves more receptive to the bounty by quieting their minds and will not miss an opportunity to plug into the universal gas pump! 
 Adventure-travel writer, Linda Ballou, has a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, her historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i and her latest action-adventure novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.  


 Subscribe to her blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com and receive updates on her books, and travel destinations.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Magic of the Iao Needle in Wailuku Valley

Was it just a coincidence that the Maui Beach Hotel where I was staying sits on Kahalui Bay where Kamehameha landed in the late 1790 with his armada of Alapa warriors?  From the beach at the hotel, I can see the mouth of the impregnable Wailuku Valley backed by steep cliffs and the primordial Iao needle
Iao Needle
piercing clouds hovering on its flank. .
 I tried to imagine the scene. Hundreds of warriors landing in double-hulled outriggers wearing the red malos of war, carrying spears and short knives. They trampled over the Mauin forces that met them at this beach and then marched “onward to Wailuku” several miles inland to defeat Kahikili,
Mauin Warrior
Kamehameha’s arch rival for power over the Islands. They rolled Lopeka, a cannon seized from a western sloop, up the rocky trail until they backed the Mauin forces into a corner at Wailuku. The slaughter that ensued was harsh even for the time.
Was it just chance that Kona Winds literally blew me off the beach at Paia yesterday and forced me to the venture to the sheltered valley?  When I arrived, the iconic Iao needle normally obscured by thick clouds flashed a brilliant green spotlighted by afternoon sun. The sheer 3,000- foot-pali that protect the valley sheathed in thick blue-green verdure are impossible to climb.
Wailuku River
 Water whispers sweetly through taro ponds with rust-red ti leaves on the edges creating an Eden-like setting for a Hawaiian village. Four streams merge here to form the Wailuku River that was clogged with bodies and ran red when Kamehameha’s warriors finally did conquer the Mauin forces after many failed attempts.
It seemed a guiding force brought me here to witness the glory of this valley. Was it the spirit of Ka’hahumnu who wanted me to know the beauty of this place haunted by the ghosts of so brave warriors? Was she trying to help me get the Hawaiian story right? I like to think so.


Adventure-travel writer, Linda Ballou, shares Great Outdoor days in L.A, as well as a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, her historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i and her latest action-adventure novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

View from the top of a Clydesdale


I never thought I would have to use a stepladder to mount my horse, but life is full of surprises.
Don't look down


The Covell’s Clydesdale Ranch in Cambria is home to over 100 of these gentle giants. They offer rides on their 2,000 acres of privately owned land in the heart of the Central Coast. If you ever yearned to experience the vast green meadows framed in green fringes of forest and to know the intense beauty of early California, this is your chance. 
Tara Covell
Tara Covell will meet you at the gate and deliver you down about a mile of dirt road to the staging area. There you will meet your ever so sweet mount for the next hour or so. The bulk of these horses is intimidating at first, but once aboard you feel like you in a comfy recliner. Their stride is so huge you cover a lot of ground at a walk. The trot is bouncy and the canter feels like you are floating. Because these horses are mostly used for driving carts you are told to steer them like the handlebars on a bike.
The ride takes you through a forest of Monterey Pine  A cooling sea breeze greets you after a heart-thumping canter up a hill to a panorama you won’t soon forget.
to the top of the world with an eye-popping 360-degree vista that stretches to the shimmering Pacific. You will see hawks, wild gobblers, and finches flitting through the canopy on the way. Shy bobcat, mountain lion and foxes live here as well, but they don’t come out in the daytime.
If you are not a rider, tours of the ranch are offered by owner, Ralph Covell, by request. If you get to the Cambria in the heart of the Central Coast don’t miss this special opportunity for a totally unique experience.
 You must make reservations.
Covell California Clydesdales
For more adventures in Cambria Download Visit Cambria App

Adventure travel writer, Linda Ballou, has a host of articles on her site along with information about her novels and articles at www.LindaBallouauthor.com


Subscribe to Linda’s blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com to receive updates on books, and travel destinations and events.





Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Hot Tips from Travel Gurus at L.A. Travel Show



I had the pleasure of listening to Pauline Frommer and Peter Greenberg. Here are some of thier best tips.
 I

Pauline Frommer at www.Frommers.com  has tons of good info including podcasts of recent Travel Show Talks.
Peter Greenberg of Travel Detective fame. PBS show with lots of nuts and bolts information that helps you “Get off the Brochure.”


Peter insists that you get good travel insurance before you go. www.Insuremytrip.com is a good site to compare companies that offer travel insurance. He loves Medjetassistance.com and buys an annual policy. I use Travel Guard. They are the only company I know of that will give you medical emergency travel insurance separate from a larger all-inclusive policy

He likes .Darksky weather app because it lets him know the weather conditions where he is going.
www.TourRadar.com  according to Pauline is a wonderful source for finding the right outfitter for the region you want to explore. Outfitters from around the globe are listed here. Just enter your destination and away you go.

www.stridetravel.com is another site that gives you a roundup of outfitters

www.hostelbookers.com  is Pauline’s favorite source for lodging search. She says hostels are much nicer than they used to be and are cheaper than hotels.

www.autoslash.com. They give you best price on car rentals and apply any coupons that are applicable. What is more they will drop the price if it changes while you are waiting to begin your trip. Be sure and get their insurance if you are traveling in a foreign country.  Especially, if you are not used to driving on the “wrong side” of the road.

www.toursbylocals.com   is a great site if you have a couple of days before connecting with a group, or are an independent traveler. Just contact them ahead of time and they will be happy to give a very personal tour of their region. Let them know what you are especially interested in and they will try to comply.

HAPPY TRAVELS
Find a host of adventure travel articles at www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.
 Subscribe to her blog   http://lindaballoutalkingtoyou.blogspot.com
 and receive updates on her books, and travel destinations.

Join her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/linda.ballou.9  


Saturday, March 10, 2018

March is Women's History Month.-I salute Ka'ahumanu on her 250th Birthday


Chiefess Ka’ahumanu

On March 17, 1768 (some say 1777) Ka’ahumanu was born in a cave at the fortress hill of Ka’uiki in Hana. The fierce Moi of Maui, once her mother’s lover, became so enraged when she chose Ke’eamuoku over him that he set his warriors upon her parents. They chased them through Haleakala Crater, but lost them in thick mountain forests. While Ka’ahumanu was still a baby her parents fled from Hana to Hawai’i where they lived in royal comfort. Wai-nani,A Voice from old Hawai’i my historical novel (1750-1819) is inspired by the life of the precocious Chiefess Ka’ahumanu. To some she is remembered as the” loving mother of the people” and to others she is the “flaw that brought down the chiefdom.”
 Ka’uiki in Hana


Brave, athletic, strong, passionate, caring and centered in herself, I saw her as a forerunner of the modern woman. It was a tremendous gift to be given the opportunity to visit the cave where she was born. It took the entire crew of six members of the Hana Canoe Club to paddle me to her birthplace.  We pointed the tip of the outrigger into the oncoming waves that sloshed over the bow and paddled through the foaming surf to the protected shallow waters lapping at the lava rocks beneath  the cave where she was born. I climbed the jagged black lava to a path that led to a large opening with two indentations big enough to accommodate a human.  Her mother enjoyed a lovely view of Hana Bay and the green mountains floating on the horizon. Offerings of flowers were placed in front of the openings. Before leaving I floated in the waters at the foot of her cave considered to be healing by those who come here for sacred ceremonies. 
 Big Mahalo to friend and fellow author, Lorraine Brodek, for fulfilling my desire to visit the sacred birthplace of the woman that inspired my novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i





Written With Warm Aloha
In the Name of Ka’ahumanu

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Sneak Peek of Iguazu Falls



My South American sojourn with Overseas Adventure Travel began and ended in Buenos Aires, but fellow travlers went on to explore Iguazu Falls. Susan Pedrick, an avid photographer, captured highlights of the worlds largest falls and is sharing them here. I admit that after seeing her photo essay that I wish I had gone the extra distance. 
Catwalk to the falls

Igauzu Falls


Devil's throat
Local children

Buffet at Eco Lodge




Relaxing at days end

Thank you Susan Pedrick for sharing your images


My mission is to get to as many beautiful places I can before they are gone!!
www.LindaBallouAuthor.com








Sunday, March 4, 2018

South American Sojourn Trilogy

 My sojourn in South America began and ended in Buenos Aires where half the population of Argentina reside. Like most Americans, my knowledge of the geography of South America is a bit fuzzy. The journey took me to less-traveled parts of Argentinaand Chile providing an overview of the landscape and high points, which I have shared in a series of pieces. 

First Stop: Buenos Aires to Bariloche, Argentina

Church bells ring outside my window and remind me that Buenos Aires is a strongly Catholic town.

You may recall that Pope Francis is from Buenos Aires and and he often returns to speak at the Metropolitan Cathedral, considered the heart of the city—a city that is a frenetic beehive of activity.  Buenos Aires to Bariloche






Second Stop  
Puerto Varas, nestled sweetly on the south shore of Llanquihue (“yan key way”) the largest lake in Chile, is the adventure hub of the Chilean Lake District.  On the far shore, the snow-tipped Orsorno Volcano offers head-spinning vistas for hikers in the summer (November-March) and in winter, thrilling downhill ski runs.
In the glacier moraine valley below lies the gateway to Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park, where you can explore the Petrohué Waterfalls. Puerto Varas is also the headquarters for Pumalín Park, a pristine wilderness area with native forests laced with cascading waterfalls. Let Adventure Find you in Puerto Varas
Third Stop
I am sipping coffee at Hotel Lago Grey in Torres del Paine, Chile before everyone arrives for breakfast. An exquisite rainbow is arcing to the left of a panorama of turquoise glacier-fed waters framed in snow tipped-giants that soar to 10,000 feet. I feel as misty as the gauzy clouds drifting over the Paine Massif; privileged to behold the grandeur before me.  Wet and Wild Patagonia
The Iconic " Horns" are behind me

This was an incredible journey. I would love to go back and horseback ride, river raft and hike in all of these regions. Thank you to Overseas Adventure Travel for giving me this overview

My mission is to get to as many beautiful places I can before they are gone!! 
www.LindaBallouAuthor.com



Monday, February 5, 2018

Let the Adventure Find You in Puerto Varas,Chile




 Puerto Varas, nestled sweetly on the south shore of Llanquihue (“yan key way”) the largest lake in Chile, is the adventure hub of the Chilean Lake District.  On the far shore, the snow-tipped Orsorno Volcano offers head-spinning vistas for hikers in the summer (November-March) and in winter, thrilling downhill ski runs.

In the glacier moraine valley below lies the gateway to Vincent Perez National Park where you can explore the Petrohue Falls. Puerto Varas is also the headquarters for the Pumalin Park, a pristine wilderness area with native forests laced with cascading waterfalls.Full article on my "Boomer Column."
NOTE: My sojourn in South America with Overseas Adventure Travel began and ended in Buenos Aires where half the population of Argentina reside. Like most Americans, my knowledge of the geography of South America is a bit fuzzy. The journey took me to less-traveled parts of Argentina and Chile providing an overview of the landscape and high points I will be sharing in a series of pieces. This is the second:
My mission is to get to as many beautiful places she can before they are gone! I shares a host of travel articles on my site, along with information about my travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales.  
www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.  

Join her at Facebook –https://www.facebook.com/linda.ballou.9
Subscribe to her blog at -http://lindaballoutalkingtoyou.blogspot.com/