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Get Your Holiday Groove on in Stockton California

Holiday Getaways for Thanksgiving Weekend & Black Friday as Seen on Sac & Co.

You’ve had your fill of Thanksgiving cheer and Black Friday’s door has opened on the retail holiday 11 Patented Constant Hip Checkseason. Resist your urges towards mall mania and enjoy post-turkey delirium with a day-trip or even an overnight esc ape your return from feasting with family and friends or specifically an outing from Sacramento – it’s an easy retreat to Stockton and what you discover will astound and amaze you!

Get ready to rumble with the Stockton Thunder’s Black Friday home game. Free black tees to first 1,000 fans 18 and over! The premier AA hockey league affiliated with the New York Islanders – has made the playoffs every year since 2006.  Great sport for kids – the three fast-paced 20-minute periods with two intermissions and great on the ice promotions. Kids can decompress while parents sit back and smile. Make this an 8 University Lofts Courtyard Courtesy of University Plaza Waterfront Hotelovernight experience at the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel adjacent to the Arena. Home game buffet before – menus vary from appetizers to slider bars and prime rib – different feature for each game. Then, post-game players are available for autographs at University Plaza Waterfront Hotel.  The chic hotel is comfortable and convenient for all your Stockton activities. You'll love the lounge and restaurant. Friends, families, romance. Yep, they've got it all!

Stockton, like the rest of California, is culturally diverse. The most eye-opening example is the Cambodian Buddhist Temple hidden away off a Highway 99 frontage road – the more than 90 statues depicting the life of Buddha are truly larger than life! The Buddha in death is more than 50 feet long and 12 feet high. The Temple is open to the public every day at no charge. This place is a photographer’s dream especially in the early morning light. So if you want to get up and get going, put this at the top of your morning list.

Stockton is no stranger to the arts – world-class arts! The crown jewel of Stockton’s arts and history is The Haggin Museum – another (almost) hidden gem. Situated in the heart of Victory Park, the 3 Victory park & Haggin Museum80+-year-old museum features permanent and rotating exhibits. Currently, Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross will bring a smile to faces of all ages. You’ll recognize some of your favorite caped crusaders along with famous artists who inspired a young Alex. The museum houses collections by famous artists JC Leyendecker and Albert Bierstadt which are world-renown.  Comic book fans should seek and discover JNA Collectibles on West Fremont selling vintage comics from Fantastic Four and Avengers to Spiderman – these are the real deal. Whereas over on the Pacific Avenue – the Miracle Mile – for more than 40 years Al’s Comics has thousands of the latest issues – popular with parents and kids.

For more than 90 years – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and that’s true with The Miracle Milelocal developer Joseph Plecarpo got the idea from LA’s Whilshire Boulevard – shopping the way we used to shop – strolling The Avenue! Small local restaurants, pubs, and retail specialty shops will 15 Miracle Mile Credit Barbara L Steinbergbe celebrating Black Friday and American Express Small Business Saturday. Need more turkey, dive into Mile Wine Company’s 4th Friday in November Sandwich Special – turkey, Brie and Cranberry Mustardo. Live blues and jazz every weekend.  Gian’s Italian Deli (pronounced John’s) is a favorite for more than 50 years – homemade with love raviolis, sauce, breads….Kitchen specialties at Home Thyme, Dragonfairy metaphysical gift store,   and Christmas magic at With Garden Flair. The Abbey Trappist Pub will be pouring holiday beers. It’s where locals have shopped for more than 50 years. Great music weekends at Mile Wine and Valley Brewing -- hey, did we mention that Stockton is home to the Dave Brubeck Institute – translates into incredible music! Centrale Kitchen & Bar plus the old Stockton Empire theater now Empresso Coffeehouse – kitschy and excellent caffeine fix.

Yes, you may actually need your GPS to navigate. Spend the afternoon on Stockton’s Miracle Mile and then follow Pacific Avenue back to Sacramento. Yes, I am suggesting that you stay off Interstate 5. The roads of old will lead you out of Stockton and onto Thornton Road. You 26 Visit Stockton.orgwill need to zigzag a bit but once you cross Highway 12 – it’s open space and jogs through the tiny hamlets of Thornton and (yes) downtown Franklin. You’ll avoid any and all traffic coming and or going. I do it all the time.

More About Stockton

Stockton Road Trip is Buddhaliscious

Are You That Woman magnet - stickerMy romance with California began more than 24 years ago. I started traveling California. Exploring. Every corner. The back roads. Border to border. Coast to mountains. Urban. Rural. Big towns and small. For all I have seen, been, and's a drop in the bucket. California is endless. Her secrets sometimes hidden, but more often, right in front of you. Open your eyes! 

Hundreds of years ago, the Island of California existed in mythical proportions. In modern times, it still does. The magic is there waiting for you. Waiting for me. I continue to venture out to discover what I know will be countless OMG moments. Unlocking one more secret or not so secret treasure.

California never disappoints. Often words cannot describe what I see and experience. What continues to drive my passion for all things California and the continuing love affair. California...the true Center of the World! The center of my world.

Stockton lOgoPrepare yourself and enjoy these images from the Wat Dhammararam Buddhist Temple in Stockton, California. This is too fantastic! A gift. And where is this place of extreme beauty and a freeway, down a frontage road, on a back street. My Mantra to you is this: Take the roads less traveled. They will take your breath away.



Dude, California has Guest Ranches, too!

IMG_4318Long before the humor and adventure of City Slickers, vacationers delighted in the Wild West thrills of California's guest ranches.  Few states, or even countries, can rival the diversity of spectacular natural settings California's countryside offers "city slickers".  For the John Wayne or Annie Oakley in each of us, sightseeing by horseback is the ultimate way to go.

The Alisal Guest Ranch & Golf Resort, located 35 miles northwest of Santa Barbara, is tucked away on 10,000 acres in a quiet corner of the picturesque Santa Ynez Valley.  A working cattle ranch since 1946, Alisal is a horse lover's paradise.  Enjoy trail rides with a private guide, early morning breakfast rides, half-day lunch rides, and moonlight dinner rides to a private lake.  Outdoor activities include fly-fishing, boating, pedal boating and windsurfing at The Alisal's private 90-acre spring-fed lake; year-round swimming in a heated pool and spa; hiking and wildlife watching.  Golf and tennis enthusiasts are in the swing with two 18-hole championship golf courses and seven tennis courses.  Special activities for children include arts and crafts, hay rides, mini-rodeos and special trail rides and riding clinics.  Settle back and unwind in one of 73 suites and studios with high-beamed ceilings, wood-burning fireplaces, covered porches and garden views.  The Alisal is open year-round.

Chanslor Guest Ranch, a 378-acre working ranch,isperched above Pacific Coast Highway 1 in Bodega Bay, just 65 miles north of San Francisco.  A truly unique experience, guests can enjoy magnificent beach rides on more than a mile of ocean front trails at Salmon Creek Beach.  For avid bird watchers, this is an excellent area to view birds using the Pacific flyway.  Accommodations include a three-bedroom ranch house, rustic two-bedroom ocean view house, and romantic loft with private balconies and fireplace, plus a variety of camping options.  Chanslor Guest Ranch is open year-round.

Circle Bar B Guest Ranch & Stables offers tranquility along with down-home comfort.  Situated on 1,000 acres, the ranch is approximately 20 miles north of Santa Barbara and a scant 3-1/2 miles from the Pacific Ocean.  Accommodations include cabins and ranch rooms all with private baths.  For an additional fee, 1-1/2 hour guided trail rides or ½-day excursions featuring a picnic lunch are available.  Dinner theater productions in the Old Barn are presented weekends, April-November.  Other activities include horseshoes, croquet, hiking, swimming and hot tubbing.  If you decide to explore the beautiful countryside beyond Circle Bar B, ranch staff will be happy to pack you a picnic lunch.  Circle Bar B Guest Ranch is open year-round.

The 367-acre Coffee Creek Guest Ranch is surrounded by the pristine beauty of Trinity National Forest and Trinity Alps Wilderness Area.  Activities include horseback riding, bonfires, movies, bingo, square dancing, archery, trap shooting, hiking, cross-country skiing, dogsledding, gold panning and fishing.  Coffee Creek has disabled accessible accommodations and riding.  Unique offerings include romantic weekend getaways, haunted hayrides and horse rides to view colorful fall foliage.  All accommodations are cabins--most with wood burning stoves.  Located 72 miles northwest of Redding, the ranch is open year-Drakesbad Muddy Head to Head 2009round.

Nestled in Lassen Volcanic National Park, Drakesbad Guest Ranch accommodations are rustic, modest and most are without electricity.  Outdoor enthusiasts revel in natural trout fishing in nearby streams and lakes and the swimming pool filled with mineral water from nearby hot springs.  Four-hour trail rides take in such scenic spots as Devil's Kitchen, Boiling Springs Lake, Kings Creek Falls and Terminal Geyser.  All-day rides are available for the more adventuresome.  Located 17 miles northwest of Chester in Plumas County, Drakesbad opens in early June and closes in early October.  At an altitude of 5,700 feet, expect warm, sunny days and cool nights.

Furnace Creek Guest Ranch Credit Are You That WomanA true oasis in the desert, Furnace Creek Resort is approximately 300 miles from Los Angeles.  In the heart of Death Valley National Park, the Inn at Furnace Creek is a Spanish Villa-style grand hotel that has long played host to Hollywood's elite.  For the high spirited, the rustic 224-room Ranch at Furnace Creek is reminiscent of an old mining town, complete with general store, saloon, town square and the Borax Museum, which houses relics from Death Valley's famous mining days.  Both offer leisure opportunities galore: golf on North America's lowest course (205 feet below sea level), tennis, croquet, bicycling, carriage rides and swimming in a naturally warm spring-fed pool.  Spectacular desert excursions include Zabriskie Point, Scotty's Castle and a snow-capped Panamint Mountain backdrop.  Furnace Creek Inn is open October through mid-May; Furnace Creek Ranch Resort is open year-round. 

Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch is located on 840 acres in the fantastic Feather River country of Plumas County – “a land of 100 lakes and 1,000 miles of rivers and streams."  The rustic ranch borders the Plumas National Forest, so outdoor activities abound.  Rustic lodge rooms and one- and two-bedroom cabins are your home away from everything. Choose among horseback riding, fishing, Dudes Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranchboating, gold prospecting, mini-rodeos, rope spinning and bonfire sing-alongs. Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch, approximately 10 miles east of Quincy off Highway 70, is open from mid-April through October.

Hunewill Guest Ranch, established in 1861, is situated at an elevation of 6,500 feet in the magnificent Bridgeport Valley, 5 miles southwest of Bridgeport off Highway 395.  Hunewill has been a part of the 4,500-acre cattle ranch since 1931.  Riding is the main activity at the ranch.  Highlights include mountain rides into the pristine Toiyabe National Forest, moving cattle, swim rides to the creek and fall foliage rides in late September.  Other activities include trout fishing, hayrides, swimming in a sparking stream and hiking.  Guests are accommodated in cottages with porches as well as rooms in the ranch house.  Hunewill is open May-October.

Founded in the early 1860s, the 31,000-acre the Rankin Ranch stretches over the Tehachapi Mountain countryside 42 miles northeast of Bakersfield off Highway 58.  Most people visit for the ranch lifestyle, which harkens back to the Old West.  Guests rest comfortably in six two-room cabins with home-cooked meals served in a high-ceilinged dining room furnished with family antiques. Wanna-be cowhands can generally get in on a round-up if they come at the right time, and genuine wranglers lead trail rides daily.  Supervised children's programs are available.  Facilities include a swimming pool and a pool table.  Rankin Ranch is usually open April 1 until October 31.  

Old West romance and excitement endure at Wonder Valley Ranch Resort & Conference Center.  Cottages set among large sycamores near the babbling Mill Creek, as well as motel-style rooms offer pool, mountain and lake vistas.  Wonder Valley, decorated by wildflowers each spring and crimson and gold leaves each autumn, caters to groups and bed and breakfast visitors and is open September through June.  There are facilities just right for conferences, retreats and reunions.  Senior citizen activities also are a specialty.  Trips into nearby Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are available as are nature walks, hayrides, fishing, sailing, canoeing, swimming, aquathenics, bocce ball, and, of course, horseback riding.  Wonder Valley is 40 miles east of Fresno.

Before selecIMG_4347ting a guest ranch vacation in California, determine how "authentic" you want the experience to be.  With a multitude of guest ranches throughout the state, California can accommodate virtually all ability levels, ages and needs, from an eight-year-old who wants to bed-down under the stars, to a 50-year-old who's dreaming of riding the range rounding-up cattle or luring trout out of a ranch's backyard creek.

If you're a cowpoke hankering for a variety of recreational pastimes -- riding, fly-fishing, swimming, hiking, hayrides, golf, tennis -- most ranches will meet your heart's desire.  A stay at many ranches includes ample meals and planned activities that revolve around each specific ranch's topography.  With a bit of Old West know-how, you can select a guest ranch to fill all your needs.  The best thing to do is contact each ranch directly.

Are You That Woman magnet

Across the USA by horse and wheelchair

Challenging the Limits of Disability - Harnessing Hope & Healing by Access Adventure

The Caravan, a Transcontinental Horsedrawn Journey, began November 1, 2014 in Murrieta, California and will travel all the way to Weirsdale, Florida by March, 2015.   Led by World Champion  carriage driver aCaravannd aspiring Paralympian Michael Muir and renowned horseman Gerard Paagman of the Netherlands and Canada, the Caravan serves to promote equestrian sport and accessible outdoor recreation for people with disabilities.

Access Adventure is launching Operation Welcome Home!.  This new initiative is designed to serve newly injured and recovering veterans and other people who have suffered catastrophic injuries or disabling illnesses and are struggling to adapt to a different way of life.

We are here to prove by example that disability does not mean inability.  Nature is healing.  The horses are the bridge that compensates for our lost function.  Despite living with significant disability, our lives are full and rich with experience.  We want to share this gift. You Can Help!

Please contribute any amount to support our life-changing work.  Every dollar you give provides outreach and services to help an injured veteran, a person with special needs or a disabled child.  Everyone at Access Adventure is an unpaid volunteer and all our programs are free.

Forward this message to your friends and encourage them to share. Together, we can help to rebuild shattered lives. We are harnessing hope and healing.  Each time we challenge the limits of our disability, we gain strength, confidence and courage. Please help us to carry this important message across our nation.

Thank you for your support - Michael Muir & Access Adventure