John Poimiroo

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 […]

California rambling: Float your boat

Boating has the ability to reanimate primal sensations. Floating on a calm body of water can be like being immersed again inside the womb. All sense of time and place are washed away by the comforting rise and fall of swells. For many, boating isn’t a journey, race or thrill. It is simply a moment.  […]

California rambling: Spring gardens

Spring reminds us of the beauty and delicacy of new life, especially in its gardens.  Across El Dorado County’s lush green hills, fields of bright orange and yellow poppies are in bloom, warming the heart and making us want to see more. Wildflower followers didn’t expect so beautiful a display this spring, considering the drought. […]

California rambling: Mountain music

The hills are alive with the sound of music, at least in the Sierra Nevada.  Several music festivals will bring bluegrass, Beethoven and Lady Gaga to our hills.  Beginning on Saturday, Sierra at Tahoe in Twin Bridges “celebrates spring in the Sierra,” during the ski area’s second Equinox Spring Festival.  Sierra spokesman Steven Hemphill  said […]

California rambling: Politics aside

Congress has the opportunity to put politics aside and recognize a woman who, 150-years ago, advocated an extraordinary concept… that Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias be protected in their natural state as a public park for all time. The Yosemite Grant, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in June 1864 at the […]

California rambling: Surprising Stockton

Surrounded by farmland, southeast of Stockton, is a surprising sight.  Drive east of Highway 99 on East Carpenter Road until you come to an elaborate, formed-concrete portal, decorated with exotic calligraphy and guarded by dragons. Inside the portal is a magical world of brightly painted Buddhas, demons and temple buildings. It is the Wat Dhammararam […]

California rambling: Now that’s weird

Don’t expect to visit the International Banana Museum on your next trip to Los Angeles. As appealing as it might be, it has slipped from Tinseltown to the Salton Sea. You won’t find the Museum of Miniatures, Lingerie Museum, Poodles Museum, Foot and Toe Museum or Hopalong Cassidy Museum there, either.  They’ve all closed after […]

California rambling: Local Olympians

El Dorado County has a lot to cheer about this month, as three local women will be competing for the United States at the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. All three represent the Sierra at Tahoe Resort. Hannah Teter is the most renowned of the South Lake Tahoe trio of two snowboarders and […]

California Rambling: Tale of two mountains

In this conclusion of a three-part series, California Rambling continues to contrast Whistler Blackcomb with Heavenly/South Lake Tahoe.  Chris, a server at Jimmy’s restaurant at South Lake Tahoe, went about his work preparing tables for the night’s guests. He brightened when asked about his new restaurant and described, in mouth-watering detail, its wood-fired Greek seafood […]

California Rambling: Tale of two mountains

In the second of a three-part series, California Rambling continues to contrast Whistler Blackcomb with Heavenly/South Lake Tahoe. From the first pulsing notes of the Black Eyed Peas’ Time of My Life amplified from a 12,000-watt mobile DJ station, 20-something skiers and riders atop the Gondola at the Heavenly Mountain Resort were dancing on the […]

Heavenly: Giant portable boombox hits the slopes

Living up to its brand as the “highest energy ski resort on the planet,” Heavenly Mountain Resort opened the doors to a new way of entertaining skiers and riders waiting in lift lines, Friday, by premiering a first-of-its-kind mobile DJ platform on a snowcat at Tamarack Lodge atop the resort’s California Gondola.  Created for Heavenly […]

California rambling: Tale of two mountains

It seemed like every Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus look-alike in North America was at Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia a week ago, for the opening of the area’s new Harmony 6 express chair lift. A string of red-suited Clauses hung from the Harmony 6 chair as they rode up to ski and ride the […]

California Rambling: On the road to recovery

After losing her husband unexpectedly, Englishwoman Kay Morris-Robertson began a road to recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by undertaking a three-year, 80,000-mile road trip across all 50 U.S. states. The first place she visited was chosen serendipitously. Albuquerque just happened to be atop the list of departures at Los Angeles International Airport the day […]

California rambling: Gray Thursday

On Thursday, American families will gather as has been done since 1621, to feast and give thanks for life’s bounty.  Only this year, before the stuffing is even cold, they’ll rush off to stand at store entrances and be among the first to buy stuff to give to themselves and each other. Thanksgiving Day used […]

California rambling: Heading inside this winter

Snow began falling on El Dorado County’s three ski areas: Heavenly Mountain Resort, Kirkwood at Tahoe and Sierra-at-Tahoe the last week of October. With the West’s largest snowmaking system at Heavenly, snowflakes will continue to fall until the area opens — as planned presently — on Nov. 22. All that snow, however, may not be […]

California Rambling: Sandhill cranes

Lodi, California, will probably never be high on lists of top 10 winter vacation destinations, though for sandhill cranes, it’s No. 1.  From October through February, thousands of the large cranes return to California’s Central Valley near Lodi to spend the winter foraging dormant farmlands and their open grasslands, meadows and marshes. The return of […]

California Rambling: Ghost Stories

If you’re in search of ghosts, October is a good month to join a ghost tour and meet them, or at least their stories. Each October, ghost tours abound. Among California’s best are Haunted Haight, the Vampire Tour and Ghost Hunt in San Francisco, Dearly Departed in Hollywood, Ghost Tours of Catalina, the Whaley House […]

California rambling: The good life

Each of us owns a little piece of the good life. Visit Ed Z’Berg Sugar Pine Point State Park along the west shore of Lake Tahoe and you’ll experience it. There, among the ponderosa and sugar pines is Pine Lodge, the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion. It was a summer retreat begun in 1897 by San Francisco banker […]

America’s Cup: There is no second

SAN FRANCISCO — America’s Cup remains in America following Oracle Team USA’s defeat of Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ), in a winner-take-all final race held Wednesday on San Francisco Bay. Since Sept. 18, the Auld Mug was one race from heading to New Zealand. Because of penalties imposed on the American boat for infractions incurred […]

America’s Cup: Improbable comeback sets up winner-take-all finale

SAN FRANCISCO — One of the greatest comebacks in sport occurred on San Francisco Bay, Tuesday, when Oracle Team USA (OTUSA) came back from an 8-1 deficit to win seven straight races and tie Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) in the 34th America’s Cup (AC34). It’s unexpected for a sailboat to win so many races […]

America’s Cup: Never say die for Team USA

SAN FRANCISCO — Someone failed to tell Jimmy Spithill and his Oracle Team USA (OTUSA) crew that they were supposed to lose the 34th America’s Cup. Trailing Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) eight races to one, with the Kiwis needing only one victory to win the cup, the Americans began to win races this past […]

America’s Cup: Not too little, but perhaps too late

SAN FRANCISCO — “Pour Or-ahk-leh: Eep, eep, eep. Ooh ay!  Eep, eep, eep. Ooh ay!” Swissman Andre Di Biase cheered from shore as Oracle Team USA (OTUSA) headed  out to defend America’s Cup, yesterday morning. Cheers of “For Oracle: Hip, hip, hip. Hooray!,” even in French, were not enough to keep challenger Emirates Team New […]

California rambling: Equal Night

 This Sunday at 1:44 p.m., summer ends. That’s the exact moment when the sun will cross the celestial equator (an imaginary line above the Earth’s equator) from north to south, marking a change of seasons from summer to fall.  Twice each year — in September and March — the sun shines directly on the equator, […]

America’s Cup: High drama on the high seas

SAN FRANCISCO — The preliminary races that led up to the America’s Cup finals (which began this week) were so lopsided that many questioned whether the 34th America’s Cup would be a yawner. That speculation ended on Saturday as Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA began sailing against one another in a high-stakes […]

California rambling: Labor Day

To most Americans, Labor Day is a holiday marking the end of summer. Its original intent as a day to honor the social and economic achievements of American workers is secondary, or perhaps not even a thought.  Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American […]

Dominant Kiwis to challenge Team USA

SAN FRANCISCO — Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) was the odds-on favorite to win the Louis Vuitton Cup, which it did defeating Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge 7-1, Sunday out on the San Francisco Bay. The win means the Kiwi boat will sail against Oracle Team USA for the America’s Cup, Sept. 8-21, in a match […]

America’s Cup: Boat too far

SAN FRANCISCO — With the Italian challenger withdrawing from race one in the best of 13 Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series Saturday, and the New Zealand boat doing the same in race two on Sunday — both due to mechanical failures — even the most ardent proponents of the America’s Cup are asking whether that […]

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