Stay tuned, we are participating in a live escape game this weekend.  It just opened in San Diego.

From Their Website:

Room escape is a game emerged from the well-known 90’s point-and-click adventure PC games, where searching, puzzle solving and excitement remain, but what makes it the ultimate experience is that you are physically participating in the story.

The goal is to find and use objects that help players through a range of logic and skill tasks, thereby progressively guiding them to the final puzzle, which ultimately gives them the key to escape. You are locked in a thematic environment for an hour, where your primal survival and problem solving instincts are fully utilized. You need to work in teams and use all your senses: keep your eyes on every detail in the environment searching for hints that will allow you to accomplish the mission and escape from the room!

We will have the 911 on it next week. Wish us luck!!!!


California Events in August

Here are some mainstream events as well as off the wall events all around California for the first few weeks in August 2015:

Oakland                     Art + Soul   August 1-2

Chula Vista                Lemon Festival  August 2

Monterey                   Scottish Festival  August 1-2
Monterey Kayakers

Stanford                     Bank of The West Classic   Tennis  August 3-9

Santa Barbara           Old Spanish Days Festival  August 5-9

Costa Mesa               Orange County Fair    July 17-August 16

Taft                              Car Cruise on Center Street   August 7

Lassen                         Dark Sky Festival  August 7-9

Sebastopol                 Gravenstein Apple Festival  August 8-9

Pleasant Hill              American Iron Car Show   August 9

Huntington Beach     Surf City Nights August 11.
Huntington Beach

Los Olivos                    Quick Draw Festival August 14

Bandy Canyon Ranch

Bandy Canyon Ranch

A few weeks back we were flying high in a F-16 cockpit speeding along at a roaring 500 mph with rockets and guns, while shooting at other competitors.

Okay, in reality it was a flight simulator and we weren’t really moving at all, yet in my mind I was high in the clouds flying the powerful jet myself.

This week we are actually moving again although at a mere one mile per hour as we take a horse drawn buggy ride in the San Pasqual Valley located in Escondido, California.

The Gate
The grounds 2
A  Relaxing Carriage Ride:

This ride didn’t exactly activate the adrenaline, however, that wasn’t the purpose. The goal was to enjoy the warm open air and appreciate the beautiful valley view while relaxing in a comfortable buggy seat.  Adding to the peacefulness,   the clip clop of the horse’s hooves generated a relaxing sound no different than the ambient sounds of ocean waves lapping the shore.

LAntern on side of carriage
The hour or so ride started at the Bandy Canyon Ranch and ended back through the impressive gates of this grand estate.   During the route we passed by sod farms, orange groves, and sun flower patches. The valley was spread out and you could see the other vineyards in the distance with their tasting rooms beckoning wine lovers from near and far.

I didn’t even know this area existed so it was nice to make yet another wonderful discovery.

A Tranquil Gathering Place:
The Bandy Canyon Ranch  is 144 acres of serene charm.  The grounds consist of 9 rustic cottages for overnight stays, hiking trails, an equestrian center, a pool, spa, and a large lodge style room.

One of the cottacges
The pool

While we were exploring the grounds, the remains of a wedding and reception from the night before told a story of dancing, liquor, and obviously, a good time had by all.  Bandy Canyon Ranch offers wedding packages and as we continued to investigate the area, it was apparent that this would be an awesome place for a wedding.

Bandy wedding area
Marriage arch
Not just for weddings, any group could stay in the cottages and there were numerous places to house a large assemblage of people either inside or out.

The expansive pool area had seating all around and there were various sections on the ranch where you can congregate for drinks, swimming, poker, or spend a relaxing evening around the outdoor fireplace.


The grounds themselves were lined with palms, eucalyptus trees, and decorative lanterns.    A small creek passed under various bridges with the bright orange hues of the Koi fish contrasting against the vibrant green of the plants and trees.

Koi pond 2

Koi pond
Up the road a little ways sat an additional gathering area with pizza ovens and another large seating area and just beyond that, a small vineyard.

Although it was closed the day we visited, there is also a small café near the overnight cabins which looked like it featured coffee and snacks.

At the stables, horses were being saddled up for riding and one lady told us she came every week to ride since this area had perfect trails and great scenery.   There are plenty of trails to explore the hills and valley on horseback or walking.

Back to the Carriage Ride:
Our buggy drivers Mandy and Danielle were friendly and left us alone except to ask the occasional question on where we were from, etc.  If we had a question, they were only a few feet away to answer.

The carriage

We just sat back and enjoyed the peace and quiet and the relaxing rhythm as each hoof softly hit the pavement.    An old abandoned dairy building made it feel like we had gone back in time yet a car passing by us once in awhile reminded us that we hadn’t.

Milk building
The sod fields were a dazzling green with the fresh grass appearing ready to be transported to a new home while the orange trees looked recently harvested and bare of its amazing fruit.   I am sure in peak season the groves are overflowing with the sweet smell of delicious citrus.

Sod field valley

After about an hour the buggy turned around and headed home.  We were glad we went in the morning as the powerful rays of the sun were popping out of the clouds ready to boil this inland valley.

View far from gate
The carriage ride also featured a small box lunch which we enjoyed at one of the picnic tables near the stables.

All and all it was a pleasurable activity. My heart didn’t race like it did in the flight simulator, however, sometimes you have to slow the heart down and just enjoy nature.  The world has a lot of wonderful surprises,  Bandy Canyon Ranch  is one of them.

Story:Debbie Colwell


Parting shots:A candle by the stream, a water feature near one of the gathering places, and a nearby vineyard.
Photos:Debbie Colwell



Tower in distanceFlower on hill