PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
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John Poimiroo

California Rambling: Americans, ugly or not?

In Eugene Burdick’s 1958 novel, “The Ugly American,” a fictitious Burmese journalist says, “For some reason, the (American) people I meet in my country are not the same as the ones I knew in the United States. A mysterious change seems to come over Americans when they go to a foreign land. They isolate themselves […]

California Rambling: Southern California’s Lake Tahoe

Northern California has Tahoe, and Southern California has Big Bear. Though Big Bear Lake is a reservoir (created in 1884 by damming seven-miles of the San Bernardino Mountains’ Bear Valley) and Lake Tahoe is a natural Sierra Nevada basin, the two mountain lakes and their resort communities have much in common to compare and study. […]

California rambling: Feeding time

What is it about feeding time at a zoo that is irresistible? The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens lists a couple of dozen keeper talks on a busy day; many include a feeding. Fascinated zoo goers line enclosures to watch keepers measure mackerel to penguins at Penguin Island, toss apples to bears at Hearst Grizzly […]

California rambling: Surprising Branson

Branson may be the bowl of kettle corn you’ve put off tasting. However, once you do, odds are you won’t be able to put it down. What makes Branson (population 10,000) so tantalizing is its down-home authenticity. Branson is located in the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri near the Arkansas state line. This is a […]

California rambling: Summer camps

Summer began this past weekend for many residents of El Dorado County. They went camping, had backyard barbecues and sunbathed by the water. Though in reality, summer doesn’t begin officially for another 28 days. However, you can’t convince a kid that summer won’t arrive for almost another month. After all, graduation ceremonies have been happening […]

California rambling: Capture California: Taliesin West

America’s best-known architect had, at the age of 70, become ill. Frank Lloyd Wright had contracted pneumonia and a doctor advised his wife, “If you take Frank out of those bitterly cold Wisconsin winters and move to Arizona, you will prolong his life by twenty years.” So, in 1937, Wright began searching for desert property […]

California rambling: Evergreen Lodge a new type of Yosemite accommodation

It’s not every day that a decision to establish a youth employment program leads to the creation of one of the most successful businesses in its area, but that’s what happened at Evergreen Lodge outside the northwest corner of Yosemite National Park. The lodge is the creation of Lee Zimmerman, Brian Anderluh and Dan Braun, […]

California Rambling: Play ball!

The joyful call, “Play ball!” has just returned to Major League Baseball parks across our nation, though it was being shouted a month ago at Spring Training camps in Arizona and Florida. If you’ve never been to Spring Training and you enjoy baseball, attending spring training is an experience to add to your life’s list […]

California rambling: The Rhônes of Pleasant Valley

Wine has been made in El Dorado County since the start of the Gold Rush, though it took until the 1970s to discover that Pleasant Valley, southeast of Placerville, is ideal “terroir” for Rhône style wines. These are the wines made in southeast France’s Rhône River Valley, from Côte Roti south to the legendary Châteauneuf-du-Pape. […]

California Rambling: Vitamin S

There’s a healing property in the Sierra Nevada that John Rice, general manager at Sierra-at-Tahoe, calls “Vitamin S.” “I believe in Vitamin S,” he said. “Whatever ails you, Vitamin S helps in so many ways.” Rice is speaking about the therapeutic effect that skiing and snowboarding has on people. He said it’s more than just […]

California Rambling: Carnaval de Québec

We Californians don’t know winter. Yes, our Sierra Nevada gets 400 inches of snow on average, but that doesn’t mean we know winter. We travel to the mountains for short escapes to play in the snow, then scurry back to our homes at lower, warmer elevations. A 40-degree day is often the coldest winter day […]

California rambling: Watchable wildlife

A famed BBC naturalist once described California (before the Mission period) as the Serengeti of North America. California’s Great Central Valley was populated with vast herds of elk and antelope. Families of ferocious grizzly bears feasted on game and salmon and steelhead that teemed in its mighty rivers. Its blue skies were filled with millions […]

California rambling: Final Honors

While serving as a Navy Ensign in Washington, D.C., many years ago, I was assigned collateral duty as a Casualty Assistance Calls Officer. In the Navy and Marine Corps, CACOs are those military officers who, with a chaplain, must notify next of kin that a service member has died. The duty involves informing the service […]

California Rambling: Rarest of the rare

Inside a “sea blue” metal building beside the Cameron Park Airport, 15 craftsmen restore U.S. Navy WWII warbirds that truly are the “rarest of the rare.” Currently being restored at Vultures Row Aviation are a Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber, the bomber that won the battle of Midway; a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, the Navy bomber […]

California Rambling: ‘Go All In’

Meghan Trainor’s hit song, “All About That Bass” has double meaning for the employees at Heavenly Mountain Resort who, while riding chair lifts, sing “bass” as a homophone for “base.” With 32 inches of packed powder (at deadline) Heavenly is all about that base. The ski area is also all about who Trainor’s song appeals […]

California rambling: Aspirational inventions

A childhood dream became realized while exploring the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, recently. There, resembling a tail-less, aluminum, dragonfly on the exhibit floor was a United Helicopters Commuter (UH-4). Produced in July 1946, this compact, personal helicopter was the concept of aviation pioneer Stanley Hiller Jr. and industrialist Henry Kaiser to allow anyone […]

California rambling: Bracebridge Dinner

Beginning Saturday and continuing for 13 nights, California’s most storied holiday pageant and its associated free concerts will fill the Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park with music and pageantry as sublime as the natural beauty surrounding the hotel. Bracebridge Dinner is a holiday event unlike any other. It is a three-hour performance and banquet at […]

California rambling: Cooking the bird

You would think that 393 years after the first Thanksgiving dinner was held, Americans would know the best way to prepare turkey. Though each year it seems a new method is announced with its inventor declaring it to be the best way yet to cook a turkey. We all know the traditional roast turkey. It’s […]

California rambling: Playland-Not-At-The-Beach

Amusement Parks were not places for children in the early 1950s. At least, that’s what my mother believed. On trips to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, my sisters and I would stare out the window as mom’s Oldsmobile would roll slowly past Whitney’s Playland-At-The-Beach. We were seduced by the cackling of Laffing Sal, an animated papier […]

California rambling: Skiing and snowboarding with benefits

Being loyal has benefits, particularly when it comes to skiing and snowboarding. Ski areas used to compete with one another for a skiing and riding public that was expanding, but for the last few decades skier and snowboarder visits have been declining. Last winter, 56.2 million skier visits occurred at U.S. ski areas, according to […]

California rambling: Discovering Iceland’s Westfjords

Iceland’s Westfjords, an area of mythic beauty discovered by Norse settlers 1,140 years ago, is now just being rediscovered by leisure travelers. Until two years ago, this remote, northwest edge of Iceland, connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus of land and populated by small fishing villages, lonely sheep farms and millions of nesting […]

California rambling: The Shelties in our lives

Joan and I have had seven Shetland sheepdogs live with us, during in our marriage. Heather was our first Sheltie, a sweet though terminally timid sable-colored puppy that was my Christmas gift to Joan when we lived in Tahoe City in 1974 (we’d been married four years, but military service, graduate school and relocations kept […]

California Rambling: Taking notice of autumn

Next week, California changes seasons, but most Californians won’t even notice. September 23 is the first day of autumn, though it’s a day largely ignored by Californians, most of whom have never considered that the state has any other season than summer. What a shame, for California’s other seasons are truly glorious. Winter glistens with […]

California rambling: Taking notice of autumn

Next week, California changes seasons, but most Californians won’t even notice. Sept. 23 is the first day of autumn, though it’s a day largely ignored by Californians, most of whom have never considered that the state has any other season than summer. What a shame, for California’s other seasons are truly glorious. Winter glistens with […]

California rambling: Surprising Santa Clara

“Everyone claims to be Silicon Valley,” David Andre of the Santa Clara Convention and Visitors Bureau said of the many cities in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond that identify themselves as a center of high technology, “but Santa Clara is where Silicon Valley began, and it’s still its heart.” Nowhere is Silicon Valley’s […]

California rambling: Surprising Richmond

Agnes Moore didn’t mean to be an agent of social change when, at 21, she applied for work as a welder at Richmond’s Kaiser Shipyard. A month earlier, Pearl Harbor had been bombed in a surprise attack and, like the entire nation, she was incensed about it. So, when Moore heard on the radio, “Women! […]

California rambling: ‘Same Time, Next Year’

In the 1978 motion picture, “Same Time, Next Year,” actors Ellen Burstyn and Allen Alda return each year to the Heritage House Resort on the Mendocino Coast, where the movie was shot. For decades, they were not alone. Staying at the Heritage House Resort became an annual tradition for many of its guests. That’s because […]

California rambling: Giving cities a pass

What if a city’s best attractions were packaged like a theme park’s, with admission to all its best museums and sightseeing attractions on one pass? That’s the question theme park executive Mike Gallagher asked himself in 1996. He’d just left Marine World Africa USA in Vallejo and was out of work for the first time […]

California rambling: Vagabondizing at Mono Lake

Mark Twain was, in his own word, “vagabondizing,” when he visited Mono Lake in California’s eastern Sierra in 1862 and wrote about in “Roughing It.” Twain’s descriptions of Mono Lake, as read by Stuart Wilkinson of Caldera Kayaks at the end of one of his guided kayak tours of the lake 152 years later, remain […]

Sky Mote Overpass sign funds sought

Veterans groups, family and community members, who were successful in getting a U.S. 50 highway overcrossing at Ray Lawyer Drive in Placerville named in honor of fallen Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Sky Mote, must now raise $6,144 to pay the state of California to install signs memorializing Mote. The decision to honor Mote by naming […]

California rambling: Responsibility at sea

For several hours each day, the lives of 5,000 men and women depend on the decisions of a 25-year-old Somerset man. That’s a lot of responsibility for someone so young, but as Ensign Dominic Montez explains, the U.S. Navy expects a lot from its sailors. The 26-year-old naval officer is the only Surface Warfare Officer […]

California rambling: The world’s first

On June 30, California celebrates the founding of its state parks, the world’s first. That distinction occurred in 1864, after President Abraham Lincoln — acting in response to petitions by numerous individuals, including California’s U.S. Sen. John Conness, Galen Clark, Israel Ward Raymond, Jessie Benton Frémont, Thomas Starr King, Bret Harte and Horace Greeley among […]

California rambling: Wonderful Wawona

Miwok Indians named it “Pallahchun,” meaning “a good place to stay.” Settlers later named it after the Miwok name for “big tree,” wawō’na. Though, to many, it is Yosemite National Park’s “best-kept secret.”  With its historical hotel, golf course, history center, artist studio and nearby attractions, Wawona is where people who live in Yosemite Valley […]

California rambling: Iris Hill

In October, the area surrounding Camino is rightly named Apple Hill. Though, in May, it should be called Iris Hill.  That’s because during May, Nancy and Mike Visman’s “High Sierra Iris and Wedding Gardens” at 3170 Hassler Road is a riot of blooming irises. There, on one hillside acre, 1,100 varieties of colorful irises emit […]

El Dorado Hills sailor takes Camellia Cup

FOLSOM — Sailor Craig Lee of El Dorado Hills, Calif. had been competing in the Camellia Cup, the Sacramento area’s longest running sailboat regatta, since the age of 14.  On Sunday (Apr. 27), Lee finally accomplished his lifelong ambition of, at age 60, becoming Camellia Cup champion. Sailing his single-handed Banshee, In n Out, for the […]

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