PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

John Poimiroo

87-year-old wins Camellia Cup

BROWNS RAVINE — Age and experience overcame youth and enthusiasm at the Camellia Cup on Folsom Lake on April 20, as 87-year-old George Koch of Carmichael won the 47th running of the regatta, sailing his J22, Poco A Poco in breezes that fluctuated up to 14 knots.

Koch was the oldest skipper in the race, which also listed among its 43 captains 7-year-old Katie Deutsch of El Dorado Hills, who sailed Four Sirens, a Santana 20.

The win was Koch’s second during the long running of the Camellia Cup; he last won it in 2006. He admitted he didn’t think he’d win, considering that boats in two smaller classes were winning all their races, but the Camellia Cup is awarded to the skipper who has done the best overall …

WorldStrides, WorldPass Travel merge

WorldPass Travel Group LLC of El Dorado Hills was acquired this month by WorldStrides, the largest accredited educational travel organization in the United States. WorldStrides specializes in providing educational travel opportunities to more than 200,000 students annually. WorldPass Travel President Bruce Bitnoff said that none of his company’s 46 jobs are affected by the acquisition […]

California rambling: Farm stays

Staying on a farm was, for many recent generations, a family reunion sort of thing. Grandchildren went to live with their grandparents, helping out with chores, as their relations reconnected. For many youth, it was how they spent summers or holidays. However, that all began to change as America evolved from an agrarian, to an […]

California Rambling: What’s new this spring

Spring brings new life to California, not just in its fields, but also in its many destinations. Let’s hop around the state to see some of what’s new. Running through next February at the California Museum, the exhibit Ray Eames: A Century of Modern Design celebrates the centennial of the legendary designer in her hometown […]

California Rambling: Life’s list

Birders will tell you that everyone oughta have a life’s list. Not the kind on which you list the places you hope to visit or things you want to do, like jumping out of an airplane, but a list of birds you plan to see. There are over 8,600 species of birds in the world. […]

California Rambling: Motoring in March

Once, while traveling abroad, I responded to a woman’s question by saying I lived in California.  She continued, “Oh!  I love California. It’s so green, like Ireland!” I answered, “Ah, you must have visited in March.” She exclaimed, “But yes!  How did you know?” March is California’s month to be green. Our hills are flocked […]

California Rambling: Learning to ski with Zeal

Learning to ski or snowboard has, to some extent, been a process driven by technology. Previously, it was advances in equipment that influenced teaching. Though now, at El Dorado County’s Sierra-at-Tahoe ski area, advances in digital videography are allowing ski instructors to show their students videos of their runs while still on the mountain. Tiny […]

California Rambling: The complete winter resort

Since the late 1940s, numerous developers have announced plans to build the complete winter resort at Lake Tahoe, only to each fall short of that vision. In its 40th year, Northstar California can rightly claim being Lake Tahoe’s first. Originally called the “Timber Farm,” Northstar was a logged forest near the railroad and lumber town […]

California Rambling: California’s Gold

This month, California lost its greatest cheerleader — Huell Howser. It is newspaper style to refer to people by their last name, but as travel writer Christopher Reynolds of The Los Angeles Times wrote in his eulogy to Huell, “what Californian has ever called him ‘Howser?’” During the nearly 40 years I’ve worked in travel […]

California rambling: Magnificent magnolias

One of California’s most distinctive and colorful shows of foliage is seen each winter at the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park, where nearly 100 rare and historical magnolias erupt in a fragrant riot of vibrant pink and white flowers. This floral spectacle is worth planning a trip to San Francisco to see. Some […]

California rambling: Local knowledge

Ask a local what’s best in their area and once they get past the iconic reasons to visit, they’ll start listing the hidden gems. Like, where all-you-can-eat ice cream is served, their favorite but little-known hike, a nostalgic bowling alley that still feels like the pins are being set by hand, or tips on how […]

California rambling: Magical winter festivals

Winter is best described as “Magical.” All other seasons change by their internal cycle of life. New life appears in springtime, matures in summer and has a fiery demise in autumn, but in winter the change comes from external elements. Snowflakes fascinate us with their geometric symmetry and gentle descent. Soon, the winter landscape is […]

California rambling: Farming snow

Farmers and ski area operators have a lot in common. Despite their best planning, ski areas are, ultimately, at the mercy of the weather. Last winter, the weather wasn’t kind to California’s ski areas. Snow needed in November and December didn’t fall until March. By then, skiers and riders had committed to other sports. Things […]

California rambling: True retreats

After a national election, both the winner and loser want to get away, yet often have a difficult time doing so. For the winner, there’s little time to escape before the work begins. And, for the loser, there are few places to avoid being noticed or annoyed. So, here are suggestions of remote resorts that […]

California rambling: The Mother Road

Of all America’s roads, only one has been the subject of prize-winning novels, hit songs, popular television shows, motion pictures and festivals. Though the route is no longer a U.S. Highway, Route 66 survives in the psyche of all who seek to return to the past. U.S. Highway 66 was one of America’s first public […]

California rambling: In search of Drake’s Plate

Many have long searched Marin County for a plate of brass left along the California coast by English explorer Sir Francis Drake in 1579. Perhaps the most learned and respected explorer for Drake’s Plate was George Bolton, the esteemed historian and director of the University of California’s Bancroft Library (1920–1940). Bolton often encouraged his students […]

Upside down no problem for Oracle Team

SAN FRANCISCO — If anything was made clear during the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS), sailed on San Francisco Bay this past week before potentially 1 million spectators, it was that Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill knows how to come back from behind and overcome adversity. In the final fleet race, sailed on Sunday, […]

California rambling: Strik’n Gold’n

California is the Golden State not just for what can be found in its streams, but for its many discoveries, opportunities and treasures.  In the Eastern Sierra at this time of year, discoveries glisten everywhere. On a recent trip to the Eastern Sierra, I joined fishing guides Scott Flint and Jon Carlton from the Troutfitter […]

California rambling: The hidden wonder

There’s a great engineering accomplishment near El Dorado County that was once described as rivaling the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Egypt. Its construction changed our nation and world history and yet, today it is mostly hidden and forgotten. The transcontinental railroad is a storied chapter in the history of the West. […]

California rambling: Waterwheels of the Warner Valley

For generations, children visiting Drakesbad Guest Ranch in Lassen Volcanic National Park have built small waterwheels out of twigs and sticks and placed them in Hot Springs Creek, to spin until time and nature would wash them away.  With family visits to national parks declining, some now worry that this time-honored tradition will eventually wash […]

1-2 finish for Oracle Team USA

SAN FRANCISCO — Oracle Team USA’s toughest opponents were themselves during the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) regattas sailed on San Francisco Bay, this past week. Oracle skippers Jimmy Spithill and Russell Coutts faced each other in the match race final on Sunday, after beating all other competing boats in single-elimination rounds. Coutts, 50, beat […]

California rambling: Bat press

Q. What would you do if you saw 250,000 bats?  A. You’d be mesmerized. That’s the common response among those who join tours led by the Yolo Basin Foundation and California Department of Fish and Game on summer evenings, when some 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from their roosts beneath the Yolo causeway on I-80, […]

California Rambling: Burnishing the auld mug

America’s Cup and the Mountain Democrat both began in 1851. America’s Cup is the world’s oldest international sporting trophy (45 years older than the modern Olympics), and the Mountain Democrat is California’s oldest newspaper. To survive as long as they have, America’s Cup and the Mountain Democrat have learned to adapt to the times, to […]

El Dorado Hills business honored as top Disney provider

WorldPass Travel Group of El Dorado Hills virtually swept this year’s Walt Disney Resorts Symposium Awards, being honored 10 times, including receiving Disney’s prestigious “Partner” Award for lifetime achievement. The Disney Symposium is an event at which the world renown entertainment park operator rewards its highest 30 producing travel planners. WorldPass President Bruce Bitnoff said, […]

California rambling: Summer movies

Last Saturday, we went to the movies. Summer is a good time to go to the movies. The chill of the air conditioning. The buttery smell of the popcorn. A night out with your girl, or guy. Going to the movies just seems as much a part of summer as the Fourth of July. Summer […]

California Rambling: Yosemite in living color

Zion National Park is Southern Utah’s version of Yosemite National Park. It has towering canyon walls, rock monoliths, inspirational views, great hiking trails, even waterfalls. The two national parks are twins in many ways, but one. Zion is “Yosemite in living color.” If Yosemite is ice, water and coolness, Zion is its counterpart. Its colorful […]

California Rambling: One Way to originality

It is much easier to take what’s available and popular and use it, rather than to create something personal and new. It’s particularly ambitious to do so in theater, where well-known plays and musicals are likely to succeed, whereas original work more often leads to frustration and rejection. Don’t tell that to Ingrid Laurentiis-Wilson, director […]

California Rambling: The social side of dog parks

Considering that there are some 39,000 dogs in El Dorado County, it’s surprising that only two dog parks have existed until now — a public park at South Lake Tahoe and a private park in Shingle Springs. However, that’s about to change, as a dog park is under development at Hacienda Park in Cameron Park […]

California Rambling: California’s overlooked heroine

If ever California had a heroine that history overlooked, it was Jessie Benton Frémont. You won’t find her name memorialized on peaks, streams or towns. Yet, if not for Jessie Benton Frémont, the west may not have been settled as it was, slaves may not have been freed as they were or Yosemite preserved as […]

California Rambling: For wine tasting, it’s only Fair Play

Passport weekends, El Dorado County’s biggest winery event, occurred in April. If you didn’t buy tickets earlier in the year, you probably didn’t go, as it often sells out well in advance. However, another —  actually older — wine event will occur on the first weekend in June. And, it’s only Fair Play to tell […]

California Rambling: Can a regatta change a city?

Can a sailboat race change a city?  If it’s America’s Cup, it can. After visiting New Zealand last November and seeing how America’s Cup improved Auckland’s waterfront, it’s apparent that the auld mug will be remembered for the wake of improvements it leaves along San Francisco’s waterfront after the City hosts  the 34th America’s Cup […]

Over 50 reasons to travel

If you’re 50 or more years old, you probably figure you’ve earned a little indulgence and are ready to travel. That’s what travel experts say you’ll do. But, what no one can predict is how you’ll travel. That’s because the baby boom generation is so … well, unpredictable. The 76 million Americans born between 1946 […]

California Rambling: Shakespeare in the mountains

What is it about Shakespeare outdoors? His plays come to life in the open air, especially when surrounded by nature’s beauty.  From Adirondack and low-backed beach chairs, theater goers at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival at Sand Harbor State Park will watch “The Two Gentlemen from Verona” this summer (July 13 to Aug. 26) as […]

California Rambling: Jump right in, the water’s fine!

A year ago, water agencies were reporting lake and reservoir levels at a five-year high. What a difference a year makes. This year, several water agencies are forecasting significantly reduced water levels. Though, lower water doesn’t mean an early end to water recreation in 2012. El Dorado County has 121 lakes and numerous reservoirs and […]

California rambling: The door to kids’ well-being is the front door

Tomorrow, on the first day of spring, California kids will be given 10 good reasons to play and explore outside with the release of the newly-revised California Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. The Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights (COBR) is a life’s list of outdoor activities that every child, between age 4 and 14, should […]

California rambling: What are you waiting for? Jar Jar Binks!?

What’s keeping skiers and boarders from the slopes this winter?  It certainly hasn’t been lack of snow. Despite weeks of blue skies, ample snow provided good to excellent skiing in the Sierra from December through February. That was evident over the President’s Day weekend at Sierra-at-Tahoe where meticulously groomed slopes provided skiing that was about […]

California rambling: Standing ovations

Three Stages, the performing arts center at Folsom Lake College, has gotten used to standing ovations.  Since opening a year ago, it has had 75 sold-out performances, many concluded with appreciative audiences on their feet.  Now, Three Stages is getting its own standing ovation for the economic and cultural shots in the arm it has […]

February 20, 2012 | Posted in Opinion | Tagged | 1 Reply

California rambling: Sacramento takes flight

A city’s first impression is often made by its airport, and with the completion of construction on Sacramento International Airport’s Terminal B, the capital city’s image is taking flight. Flying through Sacramento has long been a breeze compared to most other California airports. Now, it’s both easy and pleasurable. That’s saying a lot, considering that […]

California rambling: Islands of Northern California

California was supposed to be an island. That’s how Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo described it in a fictional novel he wrote in 1510. De Montalvo’s description of a bountiful island full of gold and beautiful women inspired Spanish explorer Hernan Cortés to search for it. Upon sighting what he believed to be an island off […]

California rambling: The islands of Southern California

In his 1510 novel, Spanish author Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo described an island so bountiful that little effort was needed to collect its harvest, where gold was plentiful and whose only inhabitants were beautiful women draped in strings of pearls. He called it “California.” Nearly a decade later, Spanish explorer Hernan Cortés thought he had […]

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