Thursday, July 20, 2017

Can we Talk? Interview on Travel Notes and Beyond


Anda Galffy of Travel Notes and Beyond fame wanted to talk?  Here is the interview..

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Linda Ballou, a very prolific travel writer from my sweet hometown, Los Angeles. Besides writing about her outdoor adventures on her travel blog and other media outlets, Linda is also the author of three books. Here is my interview with her:

1. Tell us a little about yourself: Who are you? Where are you from?
I was born in California, but my parents moved to the wilds of Alaska when I was 13. The beauty of the Chilkat River Valley surrounded by majestic snow-slashed peaks grounded me in nature. I find solace and sustenance in the great outdoors. Today, I am an adventure travel writer based in L.A. My mission is to get to as many naturally beautiful places I can before they are gone. The universal threats to the environment make this journey more pressing with each passing day.

2. What is your blog about and how did you start blogging?
I share my outdoor adventures in travel articles and gorgeous images but, I also have a three books to my credit. Wai-nani: A Voice from Old Hawai’i set in pre-contact Hawai’i; The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon that takes the reader from the Grand Prix circuit to the John Muir Wilderness on horseback; and Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales. My blog is a mixed bag with posts relating to my books and to my travels that serves as a platform for my personal point of view.

Linda kayaking on Un-Cruise

3. Do you travel for work or for pleasure?
I am in it for all the fun I can get. My handbook “How to Make Travel Writing Work for You” on kindle details the renegade way to get great trips. I am not in it for the money, I am in it for adventures that give me something great to write about.

4. What is the most stunning place that you have ever visited?
The south island of New Zealand is the most phantasmagorical as it is so varied. Around each turn on the highway that circles the island is another natural wonder. However, Alaska remains unrivaled in its majesty. I am going to Patagonia in December which promises to be a close runner up.

Linda at Taggart Lake in the Tetons


5. Do you feel that blogging takes time away from your social or family life?
Not at all. As I said it offers the freedom to say what’s on my mind. I share my thoughts and experiences on social media which broadens my interaction with other humans. Recently, I have been having fun using my blog as a platform to get article assignments. It has been working like a charm saving me time creating query letters.

6. What is the one thing that is too large or impractical to travel with that you wish you could take with you when you travel?
I can’t take my main computer. It is way too much trouble, plus I don’t want to drop my brain in the drink, or have it stolen. I take notes on my netbook, or a yellow pad if I will be somewhere remote where there is no power

7. Are there any countries that you would not consider visiting and why?
I am not interested in going to Iraq or other war torn and dangerous places to visit. I love Africa, but there are parts of that continent that are just too risky. I am into to filling my mind with beauty, not angst and turmoil. I give to organizations that are helping with starvation and suffering around the globe to ease my guilt.

8. Do you have any funny travel stories?
Look Ways on Both Islands which was published in I Should Have Stayed Home and is in Lost Angel Walkabout details the time I was nearly deported from Tahiti. Being mistaken for a drug mule and grilled by gendarmes for a couple of hours is funny in retrospect, but not when it happened.

Linda in Costa Rica

9. What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
Jumping a cross-country course in the wild west of Ireland on an Irish Hunter was the most exciting and arguably stupid thing I have ever done. It is a minor miracle that I lived to tell the story titled Irish Mist which is in my book Lost Angel Walkabout.

10. What is your favorite mean of transportation (plane, train, car, ship)?
I am a horse person. Riding on the back of a good horse in gorgeous country is my favorite mode of transport. Short of that, I love rafting and kayaking on rivers. I also loved doing an Un-cruise” throughout the Hawaiian Islands on a small ship with about 25 passengers. From the above mentioned list, I think a road trip in a car provides the most freedom to explore.
You can follow Linda on:
My home Page has pages for each of my books and an articles page
http://amzn.to/2oLGw5P Link to How to Make Travel Writing Work for You on Amazon
Twitter https://twitter.com/LindaBallou

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Epic African Journey

I made it to Africa and it was all that I had hoped for and more!!
Journey of Giraffe on the Chobe River


It’s late May in Chobe National Park, Africa’s third largest wildlife preserve, and creatures great and small are fat and sassy. Tall golden grasses are plentiful. They are the favorite of the many herds of massive elephants and a host of antelope along with Cape buffalo, zebra, and more. The sable with its handsome striped face, the kudu with its elegant curled horns, and the seemingly thousands of impala all glow with good health. They look at us in our open-air, tiered safari vehicle with curious eyes as we trundle along sand tracks.
Leopard-Courtesy of OATS


I got to share highlights of the trip in this video clip on Around the WorldTravel. A wonderful excuse to go to Santa Barbara, my favorite get away. Your comments  are welcomed on this YouTube video



The finale of the trip was a stop at spectacular VictoriaFalls  where I embarked on an Elephant Back Safari spotlighted here in FabSeniorTravel newsletter.  



I traveled to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This piece" Botswana Highlights" is the first in a series of three giving more d
details onn what I experienced in each country.





Full Itinerary of my trip with Overseas Adventure Travel 

I have a host of travel articles on my site, along with information about my travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, and my historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’I, as well as my latest novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.
 Subscribe to my blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com to receive updates on books, and travel destinations and events.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

World full of Wonders Awaits

Just returned from adventures in Estes Park, Colorado, gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park, a world full of wonders.
I am working on my articles detailing trails with tips for would be hikers.

 From there I headed to the Laramie RiverRanch
where I stepped off the grid for a glorious four days. That’s where I met my trusty steed, Owen,
who cheerfully carried me over hill and dale to head spinning vistas in what is left of the Wild West.

More to come, but I have to get to work while these fine experiences are fresh in my mind.

I have a host of travel articles on my site, along with information about my travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, and my historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i, as well as my latest novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.
 Subscribe to my blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com to receive updates on books, and travel destinations and events.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Best Birthday Gift Ever

 In The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon Gemcie determines to ride solo on the John Muir Trail in an attempt to sort out the confusion in her life.  While trying to capture the ethereal beauty of the John Muir Wilderness, I hoped to capture the imaginations of those who have not been privileged to ride or hike in the fragile beauty of the high country.

Here is what John Muir said on (June 23 which coincidently is my birth date) in his first My Summer in Sierra’s in 1869

“Oh these vast calm measureless mountains days, inciting at once to work and rest!
Days in whose light everything seems equally divine opening a thousand windows to show us God. Nevermore, no matter how weary, should one faint by the way who gains the blessings of one mountain day; whatever his fate, long life, short life, stormy or calm, he is rich forever.

With this thought in mind I can only feel gratitude that I was able to ride amongst the spires that inspired his musings that touched my soul so deeply. For my birthday, I am heading to Colorado to hike and ride in the Rockies. Should be splendid with tons of wildflower and bluebird skies. Grateful for all the good that has been put on my plate!






I have a host of travel articles on my site, along with information about my travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, and my historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’I, as well as my latest novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.
 Subscribe to my blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com to receive updates on books, and travel destinations and events.





Thursday, June 15, 2017

Making Tracks in the Rocky Mountains

Reading Lady in the Rockies by Isabella Bird has aroused my wanderlust to a fever pitch. I booked a room at Estes Park the gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park in June.  The wildflowers should be thick in the meadows and views of snowcapped Long’s Peak sublime. I’m in for a little soul-cleansing while doing research for my next writing effort. I have long been impressed with the stamina and sheer determination of this English woman who rode in the winter of 1873 in the Rockies solo. I want to hike and ride in her hoof prints.


From there I venture north to the Laramie River Ranch on the border of Wyoming and Colorado to ride the open range. 
It is remote, rustic and hopefully a real dose of the old west. That is what I am looking for after reading about the thirty mile a day rides Ms. Bird galloped through with ease. She and Birdie, a sturdy Indian pony, cantered over 800 miles through vast pristine wilderness on tracks buried in snow.


 I may get a little sore on this outing, but what the heck. If Izzy can do it in the dead of winter, surly I can ride in the Rockies while the sun is shining high in a blue bird sky.



Come to my site for a host of travel articles along with information about my 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 my blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com and receive updates on my books, and travel destinations.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

What was so Great about Kamehameha I?

Aside from being a supreme athlete, a master of martial arts, and a merman, Kamehameha fulfilled a centuries-old prophecy. On the night he was born, a fiery rooster tail streaked across the heavens marking the birth of the warrior destined to unite the Hawaiian Islands where persistent tribal wars marred a peaceful existence. No conversation about sacred sites in Hawai’i is complete without explaining why this warrior/chief was so great.
Kamehameha’s birthplace, Akahi aina Hanou, (near Mo’okini Heiau) is on a lonely knoll overlooking the sea in Kohala. It is thought that Halley’s Comet passed by the night of Kamehameha’s birth in 1758 marking him the chosen leader. Priests advised the ruling chief to destroy the child who threatened his seat of power. His mother, fearing for her son’s life, had him spirited away to Waipio Valley where he lived in gentle isolation for the first five years of his life. Tutored by a loving mentor, he learned the genealogical chants of his ancestors and began his life journey as the “Lonely One.”



At pubescence he returned to the village of his mother and was accepted by the now aged chief. He excelled in all sports, dance, and martial arts, proving himself to be an outstanding warrior. The old chief prided in Kamehameha and when he died he appointed him the Keeper of Ku—the war god.




Prophecy held that the warrior able to lift the 7,000-pound Naha Stone would become the chief whose cloud would rest over all the Islands. Kamehameha “lifted” the Naha Stone when he was 16 years old. (The Naha Stone is located in front of the Hilo Library, 300 Waianuenue Avenue.) This was the second omen to re-enforce his hard path.
It was Kamehameha’s unshakable belief in his destiny to be the ruler to unite the Hawaiian Islands that pulled him forward. You cannot understand Hawai’i or the significance of the sacred sites scattered throughout the realm without knowledge of this great leader who—through the force of his will, the strength of his intellect and unequaled physical prowess—brought a “Golden Age” to his people.

In a series of posts and videos about sacred sites in the Hawaiian Islands I expand upon the various temples he had built and the strategic battles that were fought during his rise to power. His words to his people when he passed to the other side in 1819: “Know the great good I have given to you.”

The character Makaha in my historical novel Wai-nani: A Voice from Old Hawai'i is inspired by this brave warrior.




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.  

Her quest today is to get to as many beautiful places as she can before they are gone. Subscribe to her blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com and receive updates on her books, and travel destinations.





Join me at Mystic Journey Bookstore onJune 18th

Mystic Journey Bookstore 
1624 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice California


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


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Star on Top Senior Blogs for 2017

Star on the Senior Adventure Travel Blogs for 2017





My adventure travel column on the National Association of Baby Boomer Women has been selected again as one of the Top Blogger sites in 2017.  My personal blog LindaBallouTalkingtoYou is also recognized on that list.

I would love for you to subscribe to my blog. It is an ecclectic mix of travel adventures, insights into Hawaiian history and mythology, and pieces about Cowgirls who jump over Moon!!

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 blogwww.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com and receive updates on her books, and travel destinations.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Video clips shed light on #Ancient Hawai'i

As an adventure travel writer I love to travel and spend time writing about my explorations.  I also love sharing Wai-nani, A Voice from OldHawai’i with book clubs so I have created 
brief video clips answering the most common questions I receive from readers about my book.

In the story I weave myth, legend, and actual historical incidents that raises the question in the minds of readers “What is True?”   In this clip I address this very important question.
Is the story historically accurate? http://youtu.be/wI4BONZhbjY
Each of the thirteen clips I created answer specific questions about the Hawaiian culture. For instance, the death of Captain James Cook at the hands of the Islanders has long been a controversial topic in Hawaiian history, so I presented my position on the matter.
Did the Hawaiians stab Captain Cook in the back? http://youtu.be/_S0kD-RtcK8
Here is my response to the question “Did Hawaiians have “Love Games?”
http://youtu.be/rmUxhOyKJzA
 It is my hope that sharing in this way readers will not only come away with a better understanding of the ancient Hawaiian culture, but that they it will give readers a more personal connection with me.  People love videos because reading huge amounts of written content becomes over-whelming. I hope people will find my videos about Wai-nani, entertaining and informative and will share them with friends!

Linda Ballou Author


I have a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about my travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, and my historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’I, as well as her latest novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.
 Subscribe to my blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com to receive updates on books, and travel destinations and events.




Sunday, May 21, 2017

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.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Real Deal Dude Ranch

Remote, rustic and real were the qualities I was looking for in a dude ranch in Colorado.  The Laramie River Ranch, a small spread sitting on the banks of cooling river in the middle of vast plains backed by snow-capped mountains, looks perfect. Situated near the Wyoming border, the ranch shares the wide open spaces of it's neighbor.
Owners Krista and Bill have small children so family values are a hallmark of the ranch. There are lots of activities for kids so adults can ride out for the day without a care.


Since publishing my book TheCowgirl Jumped Over the Moon,
I have become immersed in the horse world once again.  Twenty years ago I owned my own mare and we galloped over hill and dale until the sun slipped behind ridge of the Santa Monica Mountains surrounding our barn. I loved those days and cherish all the adventures I had with my best girlfriend. Becoming re-acquainted with the horse world through the works of other authors has made me want to get back in the saddle.
I am so looking forward to my stay at the Laramie River Ranch where horseback riding is the specialty. I don’t need high end amenities, I need to re-connect with nature riding on the back of a good horse in gorgeous country.  Yeehaw!!

Full report when I return.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sitting Chilly on a Ride to Justice

Flamingo Road (Fia Mckee Mysteries #1)Flamingo Road by Sasscer Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like all of Lynda Sasscer Hill’s stories Flamingo Road is set in the dark underbelly of the horse-racing world. I stopped going to the track when I saw a horse break its leg in half from the stress of being run too hard before bones were formed. Sickened by the sight of the animal being put down in front of me, I determined never to return even though I love the pageantry and beauty of fine specimens in their prime. But, we learn it is not always what it seems as Lynda shares the inside dope, [no pun intended] on what goes on behind the scenes in the racing world. Her plotting is fast-paced filled with many head-spinning sucker punches that keep the reader riveted. Protagonist, Fia Mckee, is an under cover agent who exercises thoroughbreds by day and seduces gangsters by night. Both endeavors are worrisome. In between she is trying to work things out with her estranged brother and his horse crazy teenage daughter. They are both trying to deal with the desertion of their mother and the murder of their father. Sasscer Hill ties the story together in a pretty bow in the end that makes you feel satisfied, and yearning for more, which I’m certain is in the offing.


View all my reviews

Since publishing The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon, I have been having fun reviewing other equine authors. This is one of the best so far.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon in the Ribbons


It was quite a leap of faith for me to publish this story.  Writing it was part of my own healing process when I had to give up riding due to an injury. I am so pleased that The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon is a finalist in the Indie Excellence Awards.  For it to receive this recognition is quite on honor.
Cowgirl has garnered numerous 5-Star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads from horse lovers, and general readers alike. I am marketing it under the genre “New Adult”, but the story can fall under “Women’s Fiction”, or even “Western Romance.” Here are some of my favorite comments from readers
**Horses. Romance. Adventure - who could need anything more from a book?

** I could smell the leather and sweat, feel the wind buffeting the flags at the shows, hear the whispers of the trees when Gemcie was out in the trail.

** Her writing is so descriptive that you feel you are in the saddle and experiencing everything Gemcie does. The words describing the amazing mountains makes you able to feel the wind and smell the rain.

While writing The Grand Prix jumping scenes in Cowgirl I kept a vision of Susan Hutchison in my mind. She is an incredible rider whose slogan is “No Guts-No Glory.” I saw her riding Samsung Woodstock in the 90’s when they were on their way to World Cup. She kindly agreed to an interview that appeared in the California Riding Magazine. The timing was auspicious because she was inducted into the Jumper Hall of Fame in 2016.


I especially enjoyed my conversation with Diann Adamson Can WeTalk”  that appeared in her newsletter Le Cour di l’ Artiste.

The Response to my storyand interview with Le Romantique, a site hosted by a Canadian teen, was important to me because I wanted to know if my book held appeal for the younger audience.


Cowgirl went Down Under in an interview with Christine Meunier, author of the Free Rein Series


A fantastic write-up and endorsement for my book appeared on Equine Addiction in Sept. 2016


Gina McKnight of Riding and Writing Fame spotlighted me on her blog early on.

I am grateful for all the enthusiastic support that The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon is receiving and can't wait to get back in the saddle myself for more riding adventures. Cheers, Linda

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 12, 2017

How writing Cowgirl helped me deal with loss.

I wrote The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon standing up at my breakfast bar. A tingling sensation in my lower back had turned into a debilitating condition brought on by a herniated disc that brought me to my knees and would not allow me to sit.  For six weeks I wore knee pads to crawl from my bed to the refrigerator and took my meals lying on my belly. This injury forced me to give up the riding world that I loved.  At that time, I was busy fulfilling my dream of competing in the jumping arena and doing three-day events with my headstrong little mare. She was my best friend and we had many wonderful adventures together. One of my favorites was rising at dawn on Easter morning and galloping across the top of ridge beneath pearly skies.  I can still feel the joyous sensation of being one with her powerful body—heartbeat to heartbeat.



My way of dealing with the terrible loss I felt was to write this story. Gemcie’s world is turned upside down when she is injured while jumping her horse. She loses everything and needs to be alone to sort out what has happened. She turns inward on a solo horse trek in the high Sierra’s that John Muir loved so well. This opens the door to a whole new world for her that helps her connect with what is most important to her.
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 my blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com and receive updates on her books, and travel destinations.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Best of Times with Bobo

While living on the north shore of Kauai, I got a job as a cub reporter at the Kauai Garden Island
Napali Coast Kauai
News.
  This gave me access to people on the Island I found noteworthy.  Suzanne “Bobo” Bollins, who lived at the notorious Taylor Camp (1969-1978) where young people fleeing the Viet Nam war and materialism of the mainland were living out the ultimate hippie fantasies, seemed a good prospect. It was said that Bobo swam the tumultuous waters of the Napali Coast wearing only a belt with a pouch containing a dry pareau for when she reached the shore. This seemed quite a miraculous feat to me, so I made an appointment to interview her.
She welcomed me in her tree house abode with a glass of Merlot. She told me that dolphin often played with her on her swims from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Valley—some eleven miles away. She said she felt their intelligence when they came close to look her in the eye.  She seemed perfectly at ease in her Spartan quarters, forerunner to the “Tiny House” movement today.  Her brown skin was weathered from the sun and a thick braid of golden hair went to her waist. Stories of the residents cavorting nude were over-stated, she told me. She was wearing a sarong tied at the shoulder in the early Hawaiian kikepa style, and said regular clothes were worn by residents in the evenings to fend off mosquitoes.
 She was highly animated in the telling of her month-long stays in the valley held sacred by Hawaiians, but abruptly stopped short to announce that the lava rocks in the canvas-domed sauna just outside her door were ready. This was to be an evening of sharing with the other residents in the camp. Bobo offered me a hit off of a joint of the most powerful pot I have ever run into in my life, and asked me if I would like to join them in a ceremony celebrating Earth Mother. Curious minds want to know, so I stripped to my undies and joined the group wearing no more than their birthday suits. We sat in a circle around the steaming crimson rocks holding hands while chanting a reverberating Om.  The heat generated by the cauldron of molten rocks combined with the intense communal sharing of energy brought me to a feverish crescendo. I stumbled out of the sauna, and planted myself face down in the frigid mountain stream running through the camp to cool off.  Energy shot through the top of my head like a comet, leaving my mind as clear as the sparkling heavens above.

At that time, the highly romanticized camp of peace and love hippies, glorified in coffee table books today, was nearing an end. Elizabeth Taylor’s brother, Howard who owned seven acres of beach front property had originally allowed a group of thirteen disenfranchised youth from San Francisco to build their camp on Ke’e Beach. Soon, there were over 120 people, including women with small children living at the camp. The residents of Taylor Camp who did not pay taxes, lived on welfare and food stamps, soon found themselves at odds with the locals. What’s more native Hawaiians didn’t like the desecration of the Kalalau Valley by hippies camped there. It was rumored that home boys had put a dead pig upstream the week before my visit to contaminate the water and encourage the tree-house people to move on.

Still, I admired Bobo for her extreme bravery and athleticism.  At the time I did not know that I had found the inspiration for the dolphin that would be the loyal friend of my heroine in Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i.  It is fascinating to witness how life experiences boomerang into an artist’s consciousness and appear in their work. Many Wai-nani readers view her relationship with a dolphin family as fantastic. The truth is that all of the interaction between my heroine, and her best friend--a bottle nose dolphin, is real. That is to say, I researched the behavior of dolphins and their relationship with humans throughout history to bring authenticity to the story.  A documentary film detailing life in Taylor Camp was released in the Islands. Bobo’s granddaughter, Natalie Noble, stars in the film swimming alone in the buff along the majestic Napali Coast. I suspect there are dolphins playing in her wake.
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 my blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com and receive updates on her books, and travel destinations.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Eye-popping Blooms on the La Jolla Loop

No need to drive to Palmdale to see poppies flame the hills in the spring. Instead, head 22 miles west of Malibu Canyon on PCH to the La Jolla Canyon Trailhead.  Behind the parking lot is a hill covered with lupine and bright orange poppies.
Most families with small children stop at the base of the waterfall about ¾ miles into the trail.  The boulder-step hike beyond the fall winds up the narrow gorge overlooking the streambed with willows and black walnut alive with birdsong.
Higher up, the canyon wall is blanketed with the shaggy trunks of the Giant Coreoposis bursting with bright yellow clumps of daisies from Feb-May.
 Soon the trail levels off through a tree tunnel of lavender-blue California Lilac.



It takes you to a pond lined in with pussy willows. Nestled among the spreading coastal oak near the pond are picnic tables that invite the hiker to take a rest and enjoy lunch alfresco. Nearby is an overnight campsite. The more ambitious hiker can veer to the right and loop back on the Overlook Trail, or go left on the less traveled La Jolla Loop. Either trail is graced with spectacular vistas of Bony Mountain Ridge and the coast.
The Chumash used these trails to make inland migrations to the 600 acre expanse of grassland on the summit. Find Serenity in this back-country meadow where they collected native needle grass to build domed-shaped huts.  Mugu State Park is much the same as it was before the arrival of the Spanish in 1542. The 7000-year-old trail system connects to Rancho Sierra Vista and the Indian Cultural Center in Newbury Park.

The closet stop for a hungry hiker is Neptune’ Net, a biker hangout located between the trail head and Leo Carrillo on PCH, with live lobster and crab in the tank and burgers and fries in a basket.

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

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spur Jingling Interview with Carly Kade

Friday, March 17, 2017

Remembering Ka'ahumanu on her Birthday

Happy Birthday to Ka’ahumanu the most powerful woman in old Hawai’i


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.”


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 Ka’ahumanu’s birth place. 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 cave. 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

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hidden Gems on Highway One in the Central Coast of CA






Heading up  the Highway 1 Discovery Route north of Morro Bay just past Villa Creek Road, I discovered a less-traveled hike at the Harmony Headlands that leads you through a meadow livened by birdsong to a wild walk along coastal bluffs.
If you go when morning mists are rising you will spot hawks, finches, meadow larks and more. The scent of sage and meadow grasses float on the air. This is a mellow walk on a well-groomed trail with a couple of benches where you can sit a spell and enjoy canyon views. When you reach the shore, you may run into a few local joggers on the bluff walk, but you will mostly have it to yourself. Keep your eyes peeled for a small parking lot and sign that says coastal access. There is no fee to park here.

 After you walk drive up the coast just beyond
Cambria to Exotic Garden Drive that takes you to a great lunch stop. Seating arrangements of all kinds are scattered around grounds bursting with all manner of blooms dotted with sculptures and other artistic creations.  A casual food counter serves dishes prepared from fresh local ingredients that can be taken outdoors and enjoyed in the garden. You can purchase plants here and browse the gift shop.


If you haven’t been to Hearst Castle, a stop at the spot the newspaper magnate chose for his elaborate estate warrants a visit.  It sits on one of the last undeveloped stretches of coast that begs you to stroll the sands at San Simeon State Park. The beef in the pancake-sized hamburgers at the Sebastians winetasting room and cafĂ© (walking distance from the beach) comes from local grass fed Hearst Ranch cattle.
Sebastians Cafe and wine tasting room


Click for more adventures on the Highway One Discovery Route 


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