Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Lost Angel in Paradise Coming Soon

To start the New Year off with a bang, I am publishing a collection of my favorite outdoor days along the California Coast. It is my extreme pleasure to have visited all of these beautiful places and to share them with you in Lost Angel in Paradise. I cap off each day with a suggestion for an eatery nearby the trail head, or beach walk. I have also created a new website spotlighting my travel books, articles.
This post, “Day on the Russian River Road” is a sample of what you will find in my newest book, Lost Angel in Paradise – which is coming soon!
The cool breath of the redwood forest nestled halfway between Santa Rosa and the Pacific Ocean on the Russian River Road greeted me as I entered the Armstrong Reserve.
Light streams though the arms of the giants spotlighting ferns that frame an energetic creek charging through the forest. It rains as much as 55 inches a year here, plus the morning fog keeps the primeval forest floor damp and cool.
The majestic trees that tower overhead were spared the axe by timberman Colonel James Armstrong in the 1870’s. It is one of the last remaining groves of coast redwood trees in California that can live to be 2,000 years old.
The mystical forest encourages reflection and somber thoughts as you consider that these trees have survived centuries of change and upheaval. The Pioneer nature trail is an easy amble that winds though the shady park, but there are a host of trails with varying degrees of difficulty to explore.
There are numerous casual eateries in nearby Guerneville. But, why not make it a fabulous day and take the scenic River Road all the way to the coast? A lovely way to cap off this is day is a repast at the River’s End Lodge where the Russian River meets the ocean blue. If you are really lucky you can stay in one of the four cabins perched on the bluff overlooking a full blown sea.
After a sumptuous seafood lunch, I leaned into the brisk wind and plodded through deep sand to a spit called Goat Rock. A colony of fur and leopard seals lie basking on the sandy spit.
There was an up swell of fur and flesh as the galumphed over the sand to safer waters when I got close. One pup rolled over on his back and stared at me with liquid brown eyes. Others scampered into the icy water.
Upon leaving the beach I spotted trails lacing the bluffs along Highway One that hugs the coast. They called to me for another visit to this beautiful region one fine day.

Note: The reserve is located three miles north of Guerneville on Armstrong Woods Road. From Highway 101 take the River Road exit (in Santa Rosa). Go west on River Road until you reach Guerneville. At the second stop light make a right hand turn onto Armstrong Woods Road.
Note: Guerneville is an unincorporated community in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma CountyCalifornia, United States. The town is historically known for the logging community, formed in the late 1800s. Guerneville is also known for its natural environment, liberal atmosphere, and proximity to wine-tasting and redwood forests. It was founded by the Guerne family in the 1850s.
Located one hour and 45 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge, this haven for lovers of the Sonoma Coast and wine country has been around since 1927.
First published at on my Adventure Column
Top Senior Adventures BlogLinda's mission is to experience as many beautiful places on our planet as she can before they are no more. Travel tales relating her experiences while kayaking, horseback riding, sailing, birding and hiking about the globe have appeared in numerous national magazines. She had great fun collecting travel stories, and profiles of people she met in “naturally high places” for her book, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales. Go to for more adventures.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Be Free in Your Wildness

This year my writing brought me to the back country of  British Columbia-known at the Chilcotin Wilderness. The fact that the Tsylos Wilderness Lodge exists is testimony to the resilence and fortitude of the McLean family that have owned it for 61 years. This is a video of the top of the world ride a high point in my travel adventures.

 I needed to pull the plug on technology. To simple "be here now" for a while. To let my mind relax and my imagination to wander. Rocking along aboard my good buddy Apache for a week let me do exactly that. It was wonderful to tramp through untrameled wilderness with nary a sign of the human footprint.

 I decided to create a website spotlighting my travels and the books and travel articles. Please stop by There may be an adventure there that captures your fancy.

This is the Lost Angel reminding you to be Free in Your Wildness!

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

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

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Taking Life at a Gallop

Aloha, My Love to You: The Story of One Who Was Born in ParadiseAloha, My Love to You: The Story of One Who Was Born in Paradise by Tempski Armine Von
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the sequel to Ms. Von Tempskie’s memoir Born in Paradise. She was an adventurous young woman born on a ranch on the flank of Haleakala Crater in 1892. This book was published two years after her passing in 1943. Her vivid descriptions of the magical isle of Maui before it became over run with tourists made me want to go back to this blissful time. She turned her family home into a guest ranch for dudes and took them on rides in up country Maui. While carrying this load she managed to write five books; two memoirs and three novels in between hosting fascinating guests from around the globe like Jack London and his wife Charmian. What an enchanting and inspiring life she shares in this book that filled my heart with warm aloha and a strong desire to return to the Islands and breathe deeply of the flower scented air.

View all my reviews

Monday, December 17, 2018

Be Free in Your Wildness

Wilderness, The Gateway To The Soul: Spiritual Enlightenment Through WildernessWilderness, The Gateway To The Soul: Spiritual Enlightenment Through Wilderness by Scott Stillman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Scott Stillman is preaching to the choir in my corner or the world. One of my stories set in Sedona is titled Not Enough Said for Solitude. I have been encouraging people to toss the clicker out the window and breathe deeply of our beautiful world for some time. However, it is refreshing to find this younger voice share the many ways that nature can be our salvation. I believe people are too concerned about being connected and are so harried keeping up of with technology they have lost touch with themselves. I am not able to carry a backpack into remote regions solo, but I do enjoy horseback, riding, river rafting and hiking in our countries varied, majestic landscapes. I thank Scott for taking me into places I can’t go alone and for allowing me to imagine the peace, silence and magic of these wild places. This is a wonderful book that will help you be free in your wildness.
Linda Ballou-Author of Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales

View all my reviews

Friday, December 7, 2018

Warm Aloha for the Holidays

What better gift than a journey to ancient Hawai'i. If you purchase Wai-nani on my site I will provide gift wrapping and free shipping anywhere in the U.S., including Hawaii.

I will also include Wai-nani's Wayfinder, a map I created that takes you to sacred historical sites on the Big Island.  I visited almost all of them in my research for Wai-nani. Reading my book and having the map in hand will enhance any visit to the Islands.
Wai-nani's Wayfinder

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  

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

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Welcome to my You Tube Channel

Come and visit me at my Youtube channel.

** I have a host of videos on The Lost Angel Walkabout  playlist taking you on my favorite adventures.

** On Wai-nani: A Voice from Old Hawaii playlist I have answers to the most common questions I get about the ancient culture of Hawai'i

** On The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon playlist there is a trailer and clips from the audio book, and articles about my riding adventures in North America and more.

Please take a moment to join me there and subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

My playlists

Monday, November 19, 2018

Gifts for Friends with a Wandering Eye

I love travel narratives.  These are a few of my favorite travel books sure to whet your wanderlust. These are not typical guidebooks, they represent well-written travel literature.

Sara travels in a way that I would love to do, but just don’t have the stamina.
From soggy sleeping bags, to elaborate dinners at elegant haciendas she shares the highs and lows of Chili—a country of extremes. Home to some of the highest volcanoes in the world, vast expanse of desert and tropical forests and of course, the glaciers  of Patagonia, it takes a savvy traveler to navigate it’s wonders.  Ms. Wheeler provides a well-informed look into the culture, history and politics of a place. Her writing is exceptional with lyrical descriptions and amusing observations. If you contemplating a trip to this thin country put this books on the top of your list. Right there next to Bruce Chatwin’s Patagonia
What a wonderful find. Alexandra Fuller captures the seduction of the African sun burnt landscape. The vast spaces that set the mind sailing seduced her parents and made them stay against great adversity. They lived in Kenya when British Colonists spent their days in royal comfort, but those days ended with a revolution and war in the 60’s.  Ms. Fuller masterfully weaves the very personal history of her dramatic childhood and the life of her stiff upper lip parents against the backdrop of a tumultuous time. Her parents chose to remain in Africa after their lands were seized and to set up housekeeping in remote Zambia where they found peace under the” Tree of Forgetfullness.” I have ordered the third book in the trilogy of Ms. Fuller’s stunning memoir.

 Adams delivers a healthy portion of dry information made palatable by interjecting doses of self-deprecating humor that are often laugh-out-loud funny. The pasty-white New York journalist trudges behind a leathery Australian obsessed with the ruins of the Incas, up daunting mountains and then back down into the soggy Amazonian rain forest.  We follow in the footsteps of Hiram Brigham III, who dedicated about half of his life to finding the Lost City of the Incas but had to settle for being credited with the discovery of Machu Picchu in 1911. Adams focuses mainly on Brigham, geography and history, but never tells us much about the Incas themselves. I enjoyed the book, found it very informative and entertaining which is what good travel writing should be, but I felt disappointed that I didn’t learn more about the culture of the people who built Machu Picchu.

 Don George’s very personal travel memoir is about connections with other humans and a few very large creatures. At Notre Dame he feels connected to the past and all those that have walked through that portal to Christianity. In Cambodia, he spends three nights in the home of a family and is moved to tears by the simplicity of the way they share life’s chores and joys in modesty. In the Sea of Cortez he communes with a whale. His writing is poetic broaching lyrical and is very moving. He raises the bar for travel writers. We are not to simply take our readers to a place through their senses in good writing we are supposed to deliver the meaning of life in subtext. I believe the dance is all there is, so I am determined to get to the Cook Islands where Don connected with the shimmying hips of natives in the balmy, palmy breezes.  In fact, I have been so stirred by his descriptions of his experience there that I must go soon! It is no longer some musing in a distant future. Don’s writing has made me want to be there, to know the tranquil beauty of the horseshoe shaped lagoon and the laughing eyes of the Island people. In short to be more connected with the rhythms of life. 

The Tao of Travel- Paul Theroux

When I learned that Paul Theroux, one of my favorite travel writers, had written the Tao of Travel I rushed to get a copy. At first I was disappointed that Theroux would waste his considerable talent on a compilation of other travel writers of note. But, as I got into his very personal critiques and reflections on the greats like Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry David Thoreau, Sir Richard Burton and Joseph Conrad I looked forward to eaves dropping on the “long conversation” about travel writers. Theroux talks about the little known realities of some of the greats. Edgar Rice Burroughs who created the Tarzan character had never been to Africa. Steinbeck did travel with his dog Charlie for three months, but he who also indulged in conjugal visits from his wife along the way. The book reads like a tabloid reality check on “who’s who” in the travel writing genre. Theroux also talks about the paradoxes of travel, the wisdom of travel and its perverse pleasures. As usual, Theroux pulls no punches in his discussion of his peers or precursors. I confess in the end I enjoyed what felt like ”Happy Hour with Paul” even though he slandered my home town, Los Angeles, lumping it in with Bombay and Tokyo “which are known for their ugly buildings and bad air.”

Baboons for Lunch James Michael Dorsey

I love a man with a sense of humor. It’s hard to imagine the distinguished gentleman I know as James Dorsey to be slinging dun balls at monkeys, or bouncing unceremoniously across the desert on a camel, but he does. In his effort to connect with cultures that are rapidly disappearing he finds himself in some precarious situations. He always handles them with respect for his hosts and delivers insights to his readers. This is a wonderful well-written collection of tales from silly to soul searching.  Obviously influenced by Tim Cahill, my travel writing hero, James shares his exploits with self-deprecating humor while delivering a deeper message.

May I add my own contribution to travel literature- LostAngel Walkabout – One Traveler’s Tales reviewed by James Michael Dorsey?

Lost Angel Walkabout by Linda Ballou takes the reader out of their armchair and into the vast world as few travel writers can. Her eye for detail combined with intimate knowledge of her surroundings sets Ms. Ballou heads above most of the travel writing pack. In this age when everyone with a back pack proclaims him or herself a travel writer it takes a book like this one to re-define the genre. The stories are personal and inviting, giving the reader not only a feeling of participation but leaving them with a memory of where they have just visited. This is just plain great travel writing.

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

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

Sweetheart Deal for Hawai'i Lovers

                      Sweetheart Deal for Hawai'i Lovers

Gift of Wai-nani's Wayfinder with Purchase on my site

In need of a great  gift for your friends who love books and Hawaii? I love Linda Ballou's novel Wai-nani. A beautifully written story about a strong woman in ancient Hawaii who leaves her family to follow her heart. It's got everything: romance, action, adventure, Hawaiian history and culture. It really brings ancient Hawaii to life in a can't-put-down drama. 

Linda, it warms my heart that you have taken the time to learn so much about the Hawaiian history and culture I love. Thank you for transferring that knowledge into such a beautifully written novel. Jennifer Crites- Former Editor of Aloha Magazine and Long time resident of Honolulu

Wai-nani's Wayfinder is my gift to you with the purchase of Wai-nani:  A Voice from Old Hawai'i on my site Linda Ballou

Gift wrapped with free shipping if you  purchase on my site.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Attitude of Gratitude

It is that time of year to count your blessings and share them with others!
Wishing all happy holidays! Linda