Never Too Old to Paddleboard – Morro Bayan Cheryl Bariel Learned at Age-72.

Editor’s Note: This article was published in the “Biz Matters” section of publications printed by Simply Clear Marketing & Media in 2018. If you haven’t met Sandi Twist, you’ll enjoy her philosophy to teach anyone their style of paddle boarding on Morro Bay In Central California. Sandi is also Vice-President of the Board of the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce and Ken Twist is on the board of the Morro Bay Maritime Museum. 

 

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.” Living on the Central Coast offers abundant opportunities to live playfully – and even work playfully. Case in point: Cheryl Bariel never intended to inspire her SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) friends, but she did, including her instructor, Sandi Twist, co-owner with husband Ken of The Paddleboard Company of Morro Bay.

Outlook-1516298672

In 2017 Cheryl Bariel relocated from Santa Rosa. She already practiced a disciplined routine to maintain a healthier lifestyle after successfully battling uterine cancer in 2014. Morro Bay offered her many scenic areas for daily walking, but she wanted more. I’m 72 years old and have learned my limits, but overcoming cancer gave me confidence to believe I could try anything,” she said.

Fellow paddler Bert Tibbitts said, “I met Cheryl when we were both taking “SUP Works,” an introductory paddleboarding class conducted by The Paddleboard Co. in conjunction with Fitness Works of Morro Bay.  After we had taken only a few sessions, Cheryl and I were talking about a paddleboard race planned in Morro Bay and she said, ‘I am going to do that.’ I said ‘Whaaat…the race is several miles long and only a few weeks off.’  She entered the race and completed the course.  And now, once again she displays her amazing attitude when she took on another challenge paddling every day for 31 days.”

IMG_3423

“I wanted more lessons. I like figuring things out – how to overcome obstacles,” Bariel said. “There was so much to remember. I was determined to become self-sufficient at it.” She decided to commit to seven days to “get my system down.” When she finished seven she added another seven, then fourteen consecutive days. She’d still be racking up the days beyond the 31 if her doctor hadn’t advised she stay out of the water after an unrelated hand injury. “It Is best to take a lesson – at least Sandi’s (Twist) Quick Tips to learn about the tides, the wind, how to load and unload the board.”

Twist added, “It’s a process…and often a show-stopper for some thinking it is too much work, too hard to handle. There are few health or physical excuses that can’t be modified by one of our company’s certified trainers and yet I always hear I’m too old, not healthy enough, bad knees, hips — THERE IS NO AGE LIMIT. Cheryl is such an example at 72.” One qualifier she says, “For safety reasons, you must be under 280lbs.”

“It’s best to go out with a buddy,” advised Bariel. “When I’d been paddling about three months — eight days into my personal challenge, a friend couldn’t make it, so I decided to test it out by myself. My confidence was high. I thought — I’m prepared. I’ve learned what to do to be comfortable with what I know and what’s around me…I just need to do it.

“I was out by Bayside (Restaurant) when the fog rolled in. I couldn’t see Morro Rock then I couldn’t see the Embarcadero. I got nervous when I couldn’t see the boats around me. The tides changed and luckily took me near Tidelands Park. I was able to find a place to get out and walked the board back to the Embarcadero until the fog lifted then I got back in and finished my paddle.” She noted it was her wake-up call to “learn your escape routes and always carry a phone.”

About Day 14 she met another challenge — loading her equipment by herself after a paddle. Once she mastered the tricky maneuver of loading and unloading, she now enjoys helping others.

Bariel, Twist and Tibbetts are regular members of the Tribe, a SUP social group that paddles Thursday mornings from the dock behind The Paddleboard Company. Several paddlers meet up on the bay from various launch points. Twist said, “It started slowly last winter. Many had learned to paddle then purchased boards over the winter. Anyone can come. They don’t have to be in a class or have taken a class from our company. The only criteria is that they must already know how to paddle.”

What’s the next challenge for Bariel? She announced to an amazed Twist she planned to enter the Rock to Pier Paddle. Twist explained, “We paddle along-side the runners who run the beach route. You must be an experienced paddler since we go outside the bay.” She said the paddlers usually get to Cayucos for all the festivities about the time as the runners. For more information and to register at www.leaguelineup.com.

 

The Paddleboard Company owners, Ken and Sandi Twist met at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She had visited Morro Bay while attending Cal Poly Pomona studying engineering. Visiting her sister university by the bay, she had to wonder why she was in Pomona. “Once I transferred and met my husband it was all history. We have a passion for the sport and we personally love doing it. Paddling Morro Bay is always fun, always challenging, always a new experience — a mystery with constant change — a puzzle to manage. The Paddleboard Company is our way of sharing it.”

IMG_1076-300x300

The Paddle Board Company is located at 575 Embarcadero in Morro Bay and offers a variety of private or group lessons by certified trainers; scheduled water activities, including fitness programs and Paddleboard Yoga, plus high quality paddleboards for sale, rent or even loan to test out during sessions. www.thepaddleboardcompany.com.

Maybe a New Year’s Resolution? If you live on the Central Coast, why not try paddle boarding with Sandi Twist? Or if you are visiting, make it a must-do on your list while in Morro Bay. Time or age is not an issue!!

DSC06268

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas Len & Midge: Keep Sailing on Morro Bay

images

Living the dream is not the same as living on easy street. Just ask Chef Leonard and Midge Gentieu, owners of Morro Bay’s luxury dinner cruise yacht, the Papagallo II. “From ten-years-old I wanted a boat. We were seven kids and couldn’t afford a rowboat. My dad said if I didn’t drink or smoke until I was 18 he’d buy me a boat. I didn’t, but he died when I was 14.”

Gentieu’s other dream to become a chef was not favored by his father. “But he gave me words I always try to live by whatever I do in life – he said ‘If you want to be a cook then be a cook, but be the best cook.’”

chasing-the-heat-cover-350

Documented in his autobiography Chasing the Heat 50 Years & a Million Meals, Gentieu graduated with honors from New York’s Culinary Institute of America in an era when you had to earn your stripes as a chef. He literally earned those stripes while serving two three-star generals in the U.S. Army. During his career, he has also owned and operated five restaurants and has been an executive chef for restaurants, resorts and clubs throughout California.

He models “the guy that does the work gets the knowledge” and believes the restaurant business was his perfect apprenticeship to survive and thrive for ten years navigating guests circumventing Morro Bay. Then there are the times he must travel outside the bay for regular U.S. Coast Guard and Morro Bay Harbor Patrol requirements.

images

At age 56, Gentieu found his “boat” while working as executive chef at Linn’s Restaurant in Cambria.  During time away from the kitchen, he’d park dockside in Morro Bay and plan – or dream – about his future business. “I’m a fan of motivational books like Zig Zigler’s. I’d see my yacht docked instead of three fishing boats. I started saving. Midge and I would plan travel around checking out yachts for sale. When I found the Papagallo, the broker asked me what I was moving up from. He was not impressed when I said a kayak, but the owner Ernie Gabiati, the founder of Gallo Salame, liked that I wouldn’t change the name and we wanted to offer quality entertainment on board. Midge was not too excited, but sometimes you have to believe and take that calculated risk.”

Once sailing their new yacht on San Francisco Bay Midge said, “I could get used to this,” but the 19-hour cruise to Morro Bay made them question their sanity.images

Along with several other chapters of challenges and successes, their first cruise home to Morro Bay is one of 24 “day(s) from hell” chapters he recounts in his debut book – readable as if audible with him standing behind his fully stocked bar serving a favorite Central Coast wine and musing about the life and times of Chef Leonard Gentieu, a life well lived.

What’s next? Gentieu is visualizing a B&B yacht with several berths offering the good life with cuisine on deck viewing another somewhere along the Pacific Coast.

Meanwhile, small group charters are available on the Papagallo II.  Contact www.onboardnauticalevents.com or call (805) 771-9916. You’ll enjoy booking with Midge and cruising with the Gentieus.

images

Editor’s Note: That being me!! If you haven’t travel with Len and Midge, you are missing a treat. Cruising Morro Bay, hearing a Chef Len tale — not tall tale, but adventures with Chef Len — is worth traveling to Morro Bay, CA. And besides, he and Midge are good people, good neighbors and active citizens making a difference in their community.

Thanks for your ideas, insight and support of the newly opened Morro Bay Maritime Museum — located at 1210 Embarcadero almost directly across the bay boulevard from where the Papagallo II is docked.

This is reprinted from the San Luis Obispo By the Bay Monday column featuring people and activities of Morro Bay, Cayucos and Los Osos, CA in San Luis Obispo County along the Pacific Ocean Coastline written for years by Judy Salamacha.

 

 

AAUW Garden Tour Sends Girls to Explore Science Careers

TechTrek2017From left to
Theona Hadjiyane, Reagen Garcia, Leona Moylan, Fiona Stevens, Claire Haslett, and Anika Velasquez.
Note: This was the 2017 class of AAUW Tech Trek Summer Camp Teens. i post now because the Central Coast members of AAUW (American Association of University Women) will be looking for gardens to showcase in the spring to earn the funds to send future Teens to Camp. This was published in The Bay News, Morro Bay and Coast News, South County, San Luis Obispo and archived at https://www.simplyclearmarketing.com

It is never too late – or too early — to invest in our youth. For example, annually the Morro Bay-based American Association of University Women (AAUW) produces a Garden Tour. For a mere $15 ticket five home owners in Morro Bay, Cayucos and Los Osos open their uniquely designed gardens offering tips for planting, pruning and general landscaping.

The event takes place on a Sunday typically in April. It is self-guided gleaning gardening tips and ideas knowing your investment has helped invest in the future of young women entering eight grade. Proceeds help fund scholarships to attend Tech Trek, a week-long immersion summer camp focused on science, technology, engineering and math at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The program, developed in 1998 by California AAUW member Mary Wolback, has consistently proven to open future goals and dreams  inspiring students with possibilities never considered possible. It is documented Tech Trek alumnae surpass the national average in most advanced math and science courses.

During the summer of 2017, four young women from Los Osos Middle School, Leona Moylan, Fiona Stevens, Claire Haslett and Anika Velasquez passed an extensive qualification process that included an application, an essay, and a personal interview.  Additionally, AAUW coordinated attendance at camp for Theona Hadjiyane and Reagan Garcia funded by the Cayucos Lioness Club. The young scientists’ interests ranged from the search for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes to renewable energy sources and filtration systems to provide potable drinking water.

Notes of appreciation and a presentation at a Fall AAUW general meeting followed their Tech Trek Camp experience. After six months into their final year at middle school I asked the question, “Did summer camp continue to influence your education – and goals for your potential future careers?”

Theona Hadjiyane explained, “I have done a little better in my math and science classes since attending Tech Trek…my attitude has not changed because I have always liked learning new things in school and I will always want to be a teacher. Camp reinforced my plans for the future and reminded me of the great things I will do.”

“The highlight of camp for me was definitely the social aspect,” Anika Velasquez said. “There were so many girls and they were all wonderful people. I remember one night in our dorm all of our girls gathered around my roommate’s bed and I did impressions for them. The smiles on these amazingly intelligent girls’ faces and hearing them laughing was the best part of my trip.” Anika also enjoyed the boat trip. “It’s awesome that we get to experience something that is specific to our area and a big part of the Central Coast.”

”I enjoy math very much,” added Reagan Garcia, “but if it hadn’t been for my math teacher, I probably wouldn’t have ever even known what Tech Trek was.  After hearing about the camp, I decided to apply because I knew I wanted to go to college and wanted to find inspiration from other women who are in STEM careers.”

“The biggest surprise was that all the girls there had huge dreams and were all ready to chase them!” said Claire Haslett. “My dreams to become an endocrinologist have become more real. I absolutely love math and science, but this camp taught me to love it even more. My dreams for medical school will come true!”

Fiona Stevens first heard about Tech Trek from her older sister, Natalie, who constantly “…talked about (it) for two months.” Fiona was interested in STEM courses. Aerospace Engineering was her favorite. “We spent hours each day learning and doing fun activities, like making hot air balloons, rockets out of liter bottles, and making paper airplanes…definitely the best part of my core class was learning about rockets…no lift, a little bit of drag, weight is going down, and thrust is going up.” She determined, “I have always enjoyed attending school, but I never really thought about my future career until Tech Trek. I was introduced to many inspiring women who have careers in science and math, that have pushed me to believe in myself and have directed me towards some future careers, like being a Biomedical Engineer, or an Electrical Engineer.”

Anika has applied everything she learned and improved her study habits. She summed it up for all involved. “Tech Trek taught me that even though I am a girl, I can achieve anything I set my mind to, which helped reinforce my plans for college and life’s career by planning out high school, and getting me involved in my interests, such as space, medicine, and the ocean.”

Indeed, worth a $15 investment enjoying a Sunday afternoon Central Coast Garden Party. Tickets are available after April 1 each year at Volumes of Pleasure Bookstore, Coalesce Bookstore, and Farm Supply in San Luis Obispo or from any AAUW Morro Bay Branch member. Missed it this year? Check it out next April. Of course, want to invest more to help a girl find her career at Tech Trek? You can also underwrite the cost of a girl to attend camp so AAUW can send a larger class to Santa Barbara from the Central Coast. For more information, https://www.morrobayaauw.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trading One Paradise for Another

What drives folks to move to the Central Coast? The slower, but active lifestyle? The Mediterranean climate? The ease of making friends in a smaller community where one can make an impact by just getting involved? Living near the beach for many means living in paradise, so what would make one trade it away?

ChablisMorroBayViewRick and Claire Grantham say they will miss Morro Bay, but they have decided to exchange one paradise for another – Paulsbo, Washington. “We found a little piece of heaven,” said Rick as he pulled out the pictures of their new dream home. He was particularly impressed with the mini-theater room perfect for watching movies with the grandkids. Indeed, being closer to their son, Greg, and daughter, Jennie, was the motivator to plan a move in January. While their current view is the Pacific Ocean, he concluded, “Our view will be the Hood Canal.” He pointed to a picture he caught of submarines sailing by with a Navy escort.

1980-01-01 SSN + AVALON DSRV 001

Not this submarine which is actually featured in the new interpretive center for the Morro Bay Maritime Museum, but Rick spied an escort!!

Recovering from a second back surgery, Claire explained since she retired in 2015 they’ve had wonderful times traveling to various places in the United States in their motorhome, but this past year was tough. They lost close family members and had personal health issues. “During one of our visits with son Greg, he pulled me aside and said, ‘Mom, I’ll always take care of you.’ That’s when Rick and I got serious and realized we wanted to live closer to children and grandchildren.” They have another son in Oceanside, but knew they could enjoy motorhome visits south to Morro Bay, Oceanside and, of course, occasional — maybe even regular — L.A. Rams games.

Image 12-14-18 at 10.48 AM (1)

Rick in his RAM Room. He’s been attending and saving RAM collectibles since the team began. When they returned to LA he was first to purchase season

In 1992 the Granthams were newlyweds when Rick accepted a Senior Medical Tech position at the California Men’s Colony (CMC). They were relocated from Southern California to San Luis Obispo. Claire was hired as Nursing Director for a new rehabilitation unit at Sierra Vista where she ultimately would lead the hospital’s Infectious Prevention program for seventeen years. Rick would enjoy volunteerism and community service after he retired from CMC in 1995.

When they settled into Morro Bay, they didn’t know a soul, but by getting involved each have made lifelong friends. And since they’ve done it once before, getting involved in Paulsbo community life is their plan. They know their kids are excited they are moving closer, but also know they will be busy with their own lives.

Claire says the friends she’ll miss are like a patchwork quilt coming from a variety of activities they have been involved in. She served on the SLO County Community Health Commission and Emergency Medical Corps, but it was a quilting class taught by Becky Rogers at The Cotton Ball that linked her with many of the friends she still enjoys today. “I will miss my friends, warm weather, and the only home we’ve shared as a couple,” she said. “But we still have our water view and a mountain view of Mount Olympus.”

Image 12-14-18 at 10.50 AM

 

Greg was a Sophomore at Morro Bay High School when they first moved. He played several sports so they volunteered to work shifts at the snack-bar where they met a different set of friends. Although they actively participated together forming the Morro Bay Police Volunteers, Rick credits Claire for most of the organizing especially when former Chief Joe Loven retired and dubbed the Granthams as the new leaders for the annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner. They built a crew that cooked and served the dinner – some joining them annually for the fourteen years they chaired the event with annual support from Carla Wixom.

They would open their home for events like Caroling Cops and several Morro Bay Rotary functions. Rick was president of Morro Bay Rotary 2002-2003, but always remained active and intends to join a club in Washington. They also shared interests in San Luis Obispo County Veterans Outreach and Combat Services – he as a Vietnam Veteran and she from her healthcare interests.

Claire loved her job at Sierra Vista. It allowed her to get out into the community giving flu shots and providing information about preventable diseases. But she also became a sought-after friend, a medical advocate, for many as issues that would trigger questions and hospital visits.

Rick stated his “biggest honor” was serving on the Morro Bay City Council. “I would check in every day with every department and developed great relationships.” He was proud the Harbor Walk and the Morro Bay Blvd. Traffic Circle were completed during his two terms.

And not only because Washington is where his kids grew up, but Rick also recalls his first exposure to Washington was in Kingston, which is nearby Paulsbo. He was stationed there as a military medic. “It was a small town with only about 100 in our unit. In a way, it feels like we are moving back home.”

Thanks, Rick and Claire, for your military, law enforcement, government, community and career nursing services. Morro Bay will miss you, too.

 

Thank You Thank You Thank You: Central Coast Honor Flight Says It For Us!

Image 12-12-18 at 10.21 AMMajor Jim Murphy of Los Osos retired from the United States Marine Corp after 20 years of service, including tours in Korea and Vietnam. He’d visited Veteran’s memorials in Washington, D.C. several times before, but last June his 3-day tour with 49 other Honor Flight Central Coast California Veterans and Guardians was different. In his never-hold-back style, he remarked to members of a sponsoring group, the Rotary Club of Morro Bay, “Any Veteran who doesn’t sign-up and go is a darn fool.”

Tony Weizneiwski of Cayucos served in Japan with the 97th Army Anti-Aircraft Artillery during World War II. He met his new friend “Murph” on the same June tour and agreed. “It was very emotional,” he said. “Everywhere we went there were people of all ages thanking us.”

Image 12-12-18 at 10.21 AM (2)

Honor Flight board member Janice House explained, “Our heroes are transported to D.C. three times a year – two in the fall and one in the spring. We want to make sure every Veteran has the chance to visit their memorial. Top priority is given to the senior Veterans, World War II survivors, and other Veterans who may be suffering from a terminal illness.”

The first Honor Flight took place in May, 2005 with six small planes taking twelve World War II Veterans from Springfield, OH to Washington. The list quickly mushroomed to warrant expanding to commercial airlines. American Airlines stepped up as corporate sponsor and community partners donated to make the trips happen for more Veterans. The founding organization, Honor Flight Network, approved a Central Coast California regional hub to serve San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. The first flight took off May 13, 2014.

Image 12-12-18 at 10.20 AM

House added, “We’re scheduling Korean War and WWII Veterans now. But it is important for everyone to get on the list. Things happen with schedules — why a Veteran might not be able to attend so we’ll call someone else on the list to take their place.”

“My most vivid memories will be greetings everywhere we landed,” said Murphy. “There were cheers, flags, thank you signs, and sincere, interested questions by children and their teachers. Two monuments stood out for me this time – the Navy monument and Fort McHenry in Baltimore. My guardian — although I didn’t need one — was my red-headed daughter, Molly. Coming home I’ll treasure the coin Under-Sheriff Tim Olivas gave each of us when we landed at the San Luis Obispo Airport about 10:30 p.m.“

Image 12-12-18 at 10.21 AM (2)

Weizneiwski’s guardian was his brother. “I was most impressed with the Korean Wall that had fresh flowers on display every day. They were brought by Korean-Americans living in the DC area.” It is notable that his younger brother by 15 years served in Korea and Weizneiwski still brings his wife flowers from his garden daily.

Honor Flight requires a guardian accompany the Veteran and they don’t have to be family. House explained, “They need to sign-up, time flexibility helps, be in good health — and strong enough to push the Veteran in a wheelchair. We do a lot of walking. The guardians pay their own way of $1,500. The Veterans are fully funded.”

Morro Bay Rotarian Jack Keely encouraged others to also become guardians. His fondest memory was meeting with a school group. “The teacher introduced us by saying to her class ‘Meet the people who saved the world.’”

The group always stays together as a unit. There is a meet-up lunch before the tour and after realizing the bonding that is created during the trip, a post-reunion was added to the festivities hosted by Tolo Winery of Paso Robles.  Both Murphy and Weizneiwski were particularly stunned by the water-bridge created by the fire department as the plane went airborne.

Murphy said, “First we went to Arlington to pay respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. After his duty, the soldier came over and told us about his responsibilities.” Fort McHenry was also memorable. “They played our National Anthem inspired there by Francis Scott Key (Battle of Baltimore, War of 1812). As it played a curtain opened to view Fort McHenry across the bay.”

Image 12-12-18 at 10.22 AM

The Veteran duo agreed their time together allowed them a chance to reminisce the past while building new friendships with similar life experiences. Why it was asked does it seem PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) happens to younger Veterans.

Murphy answered, “I have taught servicemen all the ‘dirty tricks’ of war and I’ve been told by younger men what I taught them saved their lives. I was never spit upon when I returned home. I was offered the chance to transition back into regular society.”

On a lighter note, he directed the conversation back to the benefits of Honor Flight. “You’re crazy not to go. You always get prime parking! People of all ages offer you a thank you for your service and all I had to buy was the drinks I ordered from a bar.”

Mother-Daughter Passion for Beekeeping

Published in Then & Now Column http://www.simpleclearmarketing.com Image 3-13-18 at 5.46 PM

Ten years ago Haven Honey began as a hobby for Doris Diel and her daughter, Sandra Hansen. After retiring from a nursing career, Doris became concerned about the sustainability of honeybees. She’d read about the threats to their habitat and realized the loss of the honeybee would be a worldwide disaster. For example, a 2014 report on MSNBC stated that “…honeybees pollinate 70 of 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world, thus, responsible for $30 billion a year in crops. We may lose all the plants that bees pollinate, all of the animals that eat those plants and so on up the food chain.”

 

Diel decided to help and ordered the appropriate beekeeping equipment. “When my mom ordered her first hive, she invited me to come over, suit up and do a hive inspection with her,” said Sandra. “I remember how intense it was that first time, being surrounded by the energy and hum of the bees swirling all around me.  It was completely fascinating and I was instantly hooked!  From then on we tended the bees together and eventually I put hives in my yard as well.”

 

They read books, internet news, blogs, and attended workshops to deepen their understanding of the challenges honeybees face – particularly imbibing sprayed pesticides on crops the honeybees pollinate and an Asian mite that attaches itself to the bees. “We’ve embraced a philosophy of beekeeping that we hope will help our bees naturally overcome some of these challenges,” said Sandra, who lives in Morro Bay. Diel lives on five acres in Atascadero. They manage hives on properties throughout the county including Paso Robles, Templeton, Atascadero, Cayucos, and Morro Bay. However, both admit they are still working to turn their passionate hobby into profitable business.

 

Branching into presentations about beekeeping to area groups, they recently spoke to the Morro Bay Rotary Club explaining the intricate, communal life of the honeybees. Hives have about 50,000 bees with Queen who directs all activities. Female worker bees make up most of the population and are responsible for almost everything. They gather nectar, guard the hive and honey, care for the young brood bees, etc. The male drone bees mate with the queen, which ends their life cycle.

 

Sandra explained, “In beekeeping there are many days that you don’t do anything other than enjoy watching them go about their business.  In the Spring, when the Queen is laying a lot and building up the hive population for the coming nectar flows, the most important job for a beekeeper is making sure the bees have enough room so they don’t swarm.  This means checking all the hives and adding super boxes if necessary.  A super box is just another box of frames stacked on top. It’s like adding a story to an apartment.  It also can be time to do the first honey harvest depending how much surplus honey is stored.  Spring and summer are the busy seasons. And then in the late fall you do the opposite, making sure the bees are packed enough to stay warm and therefore you remove boxes. In the winter, you mostly just leave them alone because they do not like to be opened up in cool weather.”

 

Yes, bee stings come with the job even when they wear all the safety equipment, but they have built up a tolerance. In fact, they will protect others when bothered by bee swarms. The best scenario is if the swarm is on a lower branch. They can lure the orb of buzzing bees with sugar water into a box held directly under the swarm by yanking the branch so the swarm will lurch into the box. Success, however, depends on getting the Queen so the rest of the bees follow,

 

Both agree the hardest part of beekeeping is losing a hive. Sometimes there is no apparent reason for losing a hive that was once thriving then suddenly dies. Sometimes they just move on. Other times it is mites or ants that overtake a hive. “It is amazing how attached you can become to these little insects,” said Sandra.

 

Research and testimony from locals confirm raw honey sourced from the area the honeybees gather the nectar combats allergies. As stated on their website www.havenhoney.com, “Our honey is raw to preserve all of the enzymes, and minimally filtered to ensure it contains beneficial pollens. It’s also delicious…straight from the hive!” Currently they are so small they typically sell out of honey within a few days of harvesting. It’s best to watch their Facebook for notices and act quickly. If a stronger harvest Doris will take her half of the honey up to the General Store. They also offer several beeswax products.

 

It was difficult for Sandra to identify what she liked best about beekeeping. “I think the endless opportunities for learning — the awe and wonder at these miraculous little creatures and the essential work they do.  They inspire a profound sense of interconnectedness.”  She loves sharing her time and hobby with her mom…and then there is the delicious honey. “There is nothing like harvest day and enjoying a taste of honey right from the comb!”

 

Morro Bay’s Bud Anderson: An Inspiration to All He Touched

Author Note: The following article was published in my Then & Now column and online at http://www.simplyclearmarketing.com on April 10. A correction to the original posted column had to be made to the actual month we lost Bud Anderson. It is corrected below.  Even with multiple readings it is so easy to miss the big mistakes as we self-edit to get all the words in their proper place to paint the desired picture we are trying to create for our readers. That’s why all writers need a good editor and all readers need to be reminded to fact-check when something looks out of place — especially in today’s world. Regardless of the number of apologies and corrections by the publication, in our digital world a published mistake or mis-quote or modification of the facts and yes, personal information you don’t really care the world to know lives on somewhere. My sincere apologies immediately went out to the family and friends who helped me compile this tribute to a wonderful man with a wonderful network of people who cherished him.

 

I hope my blog and Facebook readers will be equally as inspired by Bud Anderson. He touched many spreading his work ethic and personal respect for others not realizing he was a living example of how we each should value those we meet along the way.

DSCF1117

Bud Anderson, daughter Mollie, and friend, David Peter at an annual family Thanksgiving Dinner, the one day a year The Galley of Morro Bay is closed to the public.

Harold J. “Bud” Anderson of Morro Bay passed away at 93 in late March. Residents will miss joining him and wife Rita at Morro Bay Historical Society meetings or attending Estero Bay Community Foundation functions. More so are those many teen lives he inspired while employed at their first job at the original Galley Restaurant. During Morro Bay’s 50th anniversary the couple was recognized, thus, featured in my former column written for the SLO Tribune. Bud said, “Over the years we trained hundreds of Morro Bay High School students. We wanted good students who were good citizens.”

When the family decided to re-purpose their Embarcadero lease-site and focus on operating the Anderson Inn, it was typical of Bud’s legacy to ask former employee Dave Peter to partner in restaurant — now known as the Galley Seafood Grill and Bar — knowing he would carry forward with the Anderson legacy. Peter’s first hire and co-owner was Head Chef Henry Galvez, a fellow teen employee.

Peter loves to tell the story about Bud offered him his first job. After Little League his family would celebrate at “the Galley. “When I was about ten Bud asked if I wanted to join the Galley Farm Team. I bugged him till I was fourteen. It was a proud day when I started working as a busboy on my birthday.”  It was also an easy decision to give up a successful career and return from Germany in 2005. “Bud set the bar for customer service and how to treat the staff. We share multigenerational staff members some who have worked for him and us for up to 30 years.”

Janice and Stan House raised two of the “…countless teenagers who learned their work ethic at the Galley. Bud stressed the importance of getting an education. If your grades weren’t up, you were expected to get them up.”

Keith and Wendy George had two children who worked for Bud. Now living in Maryland, Meg Meador recalled, “In spring of my senior year, I confirmed I would work again during the coming summer at The Galley. But the promised employment came with a condition – that I would come by The Galley with my prom date in May.” Her date questioned such a request. She answered, “Because Bud and Mollie have to approve of you – and they want to see our outfits.” Meg confirmed “That’s what made being part of Bud Anderson’s circle so special. Whether you were an employee or a patron, you were treated like family.”

Tim Barkas worked for Bud from 1972 to 1989. “I started in high school. I didn’t intend to keep working there after college but it was a great place to work.” After marriage and kids, he took a state job forever admiring Bud’s work ethic. “He took few days off. Customers would be disappointed if he wasn’t there to greet them. He’d open at eleven, go home briefly at 4:30 to change and be back at 5:00 for the dinner shift mostly seven days a week.

“One fun memory was our streaker,” Barkas continued. “After eating a guy disappeared into the restroom then streaked past Bud’s busy counter. He didn’t see him naked until too late. Bud later said he’d wished he thought faster to give him a well-placed kick.”

Mollie Anderson said her father remarked recently how proud he was to celebrate his 70th Anniversary married to Rita. Years ago, in my column he also proudly celebrated the success of his children. “At age nine Jeff was fileting fish in the market for 10 cents a pound. Mollie was 13 and Rodger 15 when they started working in the restaurant. Mollie matured to play LPGA golf while Rodger ultimately served as mayor and treated all he met like family.”

Born in San Luis in 1925, the family owned the historic SLO Anderson Hotel. They moved to Morro Bay in 1958. Florence and Bill Wilson, a fisherman, had a fish market and restaurant they offered to Bud. Rita encouraged the purchase. They opened in 1966 and he recalled, “We specialized in fish Bill caught…he’d dock at the restaurant and amaze customers by pulling up the fresh-hooked cod right in front of our window. We were a funky restaurant, but understood customer relations and good food would keep us competitive.”

For several years, Stan House, Keith Taylor, and Jim Wood would regularly walk to Morro Rock. House recalled, “So many people would come up and either shake Bud’s hand or give him a hug. If one person can epitomize kindness, civility, family and community it is Bud Anderson

In fact, Bud’s advice to Morro Bay’s residents, “Whether we’ve lived here 54 years or 54 weeks, we all have the same rights and responsibilities – to be kind to each other and make decisions based on what is best for Morro Bay.”

 

 

 

River Oaks Hot Spring SPA – Paso Robles

home_woman-in-tub

Is Tuscany on your top-ten wish list? Do you dream of winding down the day-to-day hustle to be in the moment with a loved one or giggling with the girls — all the while gazing at the forever view of rolling hills rooted with grapevines, sipping a fine Chardonnay or Sparkling Cider and munching regional cheeses, olives and dried fruits? Would you believe you don’t need to travel to Italy to experience the flavors of Tuscany?

Closer to home, but comparable to any photo-view-stop in Tuscany is River Oaks Hot Springs Spa cloistered within the River Oaks neighborhoods of Paso Robles Wine Country. The open-air private soaking tubs are positioned to capture the beauty of the spa’s hilltop location, which also offers therapeutic massages, facials, and private indoor hot springs healing spas.

The restorative Artesian Mineral Hot Springs are at least as dated as Old Vines producing in Tuscany’s Chianti Vineyards. In the 1800s the Salinan Native Americans introduced the relaxing hot springs to the Franciscan padres pastoring at Mission San Miguel. Reports are that Outlaw Jesse James discovered that the healing baths could mend his gunshot wounds. And world-renowned pianist and former prime minister of Poland, Ignacy Paderewski swore his arthritic hands were soothed by soaking them in the artesian springs, thus was compelled to purchase property in the area. Pre-1960s’ Paso Robles’ healing bubbles from unimaginable depths below the topsoil became a magnet for ailing travelers worldwide searching for numerous benefits from the thermal pools, including arthritis and allergy relief and cures or enhancements for various skin conditions.

After purchasing Paso Robles Hot Springs in 2005 from the owners of Avila’s Sycamore Springs Mineral Resort, Estella Associates Inc. completed an extensive renovation and re-branding, including re-positioning the soaking tubs from the Salinas River area to their current location to take advantage of the incredible views and elevate the facilities to a contemporary, luxury spa. The therapy suites and open-air tub rooms underwent dramatic makeovers allowing guests to enjoy the hot artesian thermal waters under the moonlit sky.

The staff at River Oaks Hot Springs Spa promises indulgent services intended to turn a daydream about Tuscany into a reality day-trip without the hassle of crowded airports and long Trans-Atlantic flights. Once a guest enters the cozy fireside lobby of the intimate Tuscan-style retreat, he or she should be preparing to be pampered and soothed.

Getting Spoiled: Sandee Archibald, Supervisor, and Assistant Supervisor Melanie Strouss plus the contracted nine certified massage therapists and two aestheticians are ready to serve. Kiyoko Ujii Humes has served River Oaks for 15 years while Michael Alexander Lavez rounds out their newest therapy team. Spa packages or individual therapies are available by appointment at www.RiverOaksHotSprings.com from Tuesdays through Sundays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 

Whether Swedish, Hot Stone, Deep Tissue or Prenatal, all 60-minute massages include a 30-minute indoor artisan mineral spa prior to treatment as does all face and skin therapies, wraps, glows and waxing for women and men.

 

Strouss said the Winemaker’s Couples Package was one of the most popular, which offers a 60-minute indoor spa sipping a bottle of Le Vigne wine and a mini-Charcuteries tray provided by Chef Nicola Allegretta of Mistura Restaurant. This is followed by 60-minute Swedish massages in the same room. Alternative beverages may be requested.

 

Equally as popular for individuals is the “Day at the Spa” offering champagne and scenic views in one of the five open-air spas followed by a 90-minute Swedish massage topped off by a Grand European Facial.

 

Several other packages are just a lavish. For appointments contact ComeRelax@RiverOaksHotSprings.com.

 

“We have a frequent soaker program,” said Strouss. “After nine spas guests get one free. During the winter guests don’t always think about getting into our open-air private spas, but when I’m chilled I crave the heat of our artesian mineral springs with the beautiful farmland hills, willow trees and vineyards to look at. I have active young children at home. Here it is so peaceful and quiet even with the easy access to the Paso Robles highways.”

 

Getting More: Strouss also manages the private party weddings and special events. “The Pavilion can accommodate 200 guests at a catered event with a 6-hour minimum. We have rounds and banquet tables and chairs available and enjoy working with Chef Nicola for catering.” She explained the Gazebo will accommodate 200-seated guests and has a 2-hour minimum usage fee. Including the amphitheater by the lake the three areas can handle 1,200 guests with onsite parking for 700.

 

Getting there: Motor off CA 101 to Hwy. 46 then turn left onto Buena Vista Drive. Another left and immediately the bustle slows to the calming residential living of Traditions and The Cottages, single-family and senior-living homes in the burgeoning 200-acre master planned communities developed by Estella Associates.

 

GPS 800 Clubhouse Drive. It will amble past River Oaks Golf Course, the nation’s one-of-a-kind six-hole “player development” course by Rudy Duran and Gary Wishon. Golfing level of play becomes a choice, as will the numerous Peruvian cuisine menu items offered by Chef Nicola Allegretta at Mistura Restaurant served onsite at the clubhouse.

 

Glance to the right and view the special event areas, including the Pavilion and Gazebo available for special events. A walking tour of the grounds between the golf course and River Oaks Hot Springs Spa will reveal a lake and adjacent amphitheater for private bookings.

 

For questions and bookings contact her at Melanie@riveroakshotsprings.com or call at (805) 238-4600.

 

Is Tuscany on your top-ten wish list? Do you dream of winding down the day-to-day hustle to be in the moment with a loved one or giggling with the girls — all the while gazing at the forever view of rolling hills rooted with grapevines, sipping a fine Chardonnay or Sparkling Cider and munching regional cheeses, olives and dried fruits? Would you believe you don’t need to travel to Italy to experience the flavors of Tuscany?

 

Closer to home, but comparable to any photo-view-stop in Tuscany is River Oaks Hot Springs Spa cloistered within the River Oaks neighborhoods of Paso Robles Wine Country. The open-air private soaking tubs are positioned to capture the beauty of the spa’s hilltop location, which also offers therapeutic massages, facials, and private indoor hot springs healing spas.

 

The restorative Artesian Mineral Hot Springs are at least as dated as Old Vines producing in Tuscany’s Chianti Vineyards. In the 1800s the Salinan Native Americans introduced the relaxing hot springs to the Franciscan padres pastoring at Mission San Miguel. Reports are that Outlaw Jesse James discovered that the healing baths could mend his gunshot wounds. And world-renowned pianist and former prime minister of Poland, Ignacy Paderewski swore his arthritic hands were soothed by soaking them in the artesian springs, thus was compelled to purchase property in the area. Pre-1960s’ Paso Robles’ healing bubbles from unimaginable depths below the topsoil became a magnet for ailing travelers worldwide searching for numerous benefits from the thermal pools, including arthritis and allergy relief and cures or enhancements for various skin conditions.

 

After purchasing Paso Robles Hot Springs in 2005 from the owners of Avila’s Sycamore Springs Mineral Resort, Estella Associates Inc. completed an extensive renovation and re-branding, including re-positioning the soaking tubs from the Salinas River area to their current location to take advantage of the incredible views and elevate the facilities to a contemporary, luxury spa. The therapy suites and open-air tub rooms underwent dramatic makeovers allowing guests to enjoy the hot artesian thermal waters under the moonlit sky.

 

The staff at River Oaks Hot Springs Spa promises indulgent services intended to turn a daydream about Tuscany into a reality day-trip without the hassle of crowded airports and long Trans-Atlantic flights. Once a guest enters the cozy fireside lobby of the intimate Tuscan-style retreat, he or she should be preparing to be pampered and soothed.

 

Getting Spoiled: Sandee Archibald, Supervisor, and Assistant Supervisor Melanie Strouss plus the contracted nine certified massage therapists and two aestheticians are ready to serve. Kiyoko Ujii Humes has served River Oaks for 15 years while Michael Alexander Lavez rounds out their newest therapy team. Spa packages or individual therapies are available by appointment at www.RiverOaksHotSprings.com from Tuesdays through Sundays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 

Whether Swedish, Hot Stone, Deep Tissue or Prenatal, all 60-minute massages include a 30-minute indoor artisan mineral spa prior to treatment as does all face and skin therapies, wraps, glows and waxing for women and men.

 

Strouss said the Winemaker’s Couples Package was one of the most popular, which offers a 60-minute indoor spa sipping a bottle of Le Vigne wine and a mini-Charcuteries tray provided by Chef Nicola Allegretta of Mistura Restaurant. This is followed by 60-minute Swedish massages in the same room. Alternative beverages may be requested.

 

Equally as popular for individuals is the “Day at the Spa” offering champagne and scenic views in one of the five open-air spas followed by a 90-minute Swedish massage topped off by a Grand European Facial.

 

Several other packages are just a lavish. For appointments contact ComeRelax@RiverOaksHotSprings.com.

 

“We have a frequent soaker program,” said Strouss. “After nine spas guests get one free. During the winter guests don’t always think about getting into our open-air private spas, but when I’m chilled I crave the heat of our artesian mineral springs with the beautiful farmland hills, willow trees and vineyards to look at. I have active young children at home. Here it is so peaceful and quiet even with the easy access to the Paso Robles highways.”

 

Getting More: Strouss also manages the private party weddings and special events. “The Pavilion can accommodate 200 guests at a catered event with a 6-hour minimum. We have rounds and banquet tables and chairs available and enjoy working with Chef Nicola for catering.” She explained the Gazebo will accommodate 200-seated guests and has a 2-hour minimum usage fee. Including the amphitheater by the lake the three areas can handle 1,200 guests with onsite parking for 700.

 

Getting there: Motor off CA 101 to Hwy. 46 then turn left onto Buena Vista Drive. Another left and immediately the bustle slows to the calming residential living of Traditions and The Cottages, single-family and senior-living homes in the burgeoning 200-acre master planned communities developed by Estella Associates.

 

GPS 800 Clubhouse Drive. It will amble past River Oaks Golf Course, the nation’s one-of-a-kind six-hole “player development” course by Rudy Duran and Gary Wishon. Golfing level of play becomes a choice, as will the numerous Peruvian cuisine menu items offered by Chef Nicola Allegretta at Mistura Restaurant served onsite at the clubhouse.

 

Glance to the right and view the special event areas, including the Pavilion and Gazebo available for special events. A walking tour of the grounds between the golf course and River Oaks Hot Springs Spa will reveal a lake and adjacent amphitheater for private bookings.

 

For questions and bookings contact her at Melanie@riveroakshotsprings.com or call at (805) 238-4600.

 

 

Morro Bay Shell Shop: Looking Back

 

Earlier 2018 The Shell Shop: Looking Back was published as my Then & Now Column for Simply Clear Marketing & Media http://www.simplyclearmarketing.com The Bay News, Coast News and SLO City News.

DSCF0935

Somewhere in the world someone is planning their vacation to the Pacific Coast. If they collect shells, Google’s top recommendation is The Shell Shop at 590 Embarcadero in Morro Bay.

“We are told we are the largest shell shop on the West Coast,” said owner David Thomas. With a storefront full of displays, multiple shelves of shells in the back of the shop and warehouse down the block, he guesstimated their inventory includes over 1,000 species of shells – tens of thousands of shells from tiny to huge. Indeed, one of Morro Bay’s tourism magnets owned and operated by the Thomas family in the same location for 67 years. “All of our shells are first caught for food. The shells are simply the by-product. Our family made an early decision to stock a wide variety of quality shells – many collectables.”

Customers travel here from all over the world, explained Thomas. Many say they bought shells at The Shell Shop when they were kids. Their children have saved their pennies to buy a vacation souvenir. Since 1955 the Thomas family has developed relationships with fishermen, shell traders and collectors worldwide while exchanging treasured shells and sharing family stories. And yet, the most asked questions are ‘Where’s the restroom?’  ‘What’s your favorite restaurant?’ and ‘How do you put a hole in a shell?’

It all started because David loved shells. At age ten instead of selling lemonade on the corner of Morro and Marina, he sold abalone shells. He made a $100 that day, a bonanza back then. His parents, Lawrence and Louise Thomas, supported their son’s budding entrepreneurial business by building him a stand that he’d work weekends and summers.

“Dad was a fisherman and during World War II he contracted with the Navy to fish the Pacific Coast. At one point the northwest winds at sea were horrendous and he stopped over at Morro Bay. It was sunny and beautiful.” In 1947 Lawrence Thomas moved his young family from Northern California. David was three. His sister, Beryl, was six. “Dad purchased a narrow lot that extended from Morro to somewhere in the middle of the channel. I remember an ugly green log cabin and nasturtiums all around.” They built the shop in 1955.

David was in the first graduating class of Morro Bay High School before serving in the Navy off shore near Vietnam. He then attended Cuesta College focusing on business administration. However, he said the family learned the shell business the hard way – day-by-day, one customer and wholesaler at a time. They learned to treasure their customers while building a worldwide network of shell collectors. Buying direct was better than working with wholesalers. They quickly learned to check product offerings closely. “In the early days shells came in sacks. One wholesaler came in and the shells looked great. When we emptied the sack we found rocks and other junk below the top layer of shells.”

The Thomas’ started taking buying vacations. “In the 60s Morro Bay was dead during the week so Dad and I would take fishing trips and buy shells in Mexico,” said David. They loved the people and products of Manzanillo, Mexico. David married the love of his life, Justine, who traded her life in Hollywood at the William Morris Talent Agency to travel the world and sell shells in Morro Bay. The couple preferred the tropics. David loved the Philippines. His parents, Lawrence and Louise, preferred South America and South Africa. “The rarest of shells came from the tip of South Africa where the warm waters of the Indian Ocean merged with the cold waters of the Atlantic and Great Whites discouraged shell diving”

Most of the time, however, “We did what we needed to do. Dad and I worked in the back processing the shells. Shells came shipped in large containers — often with smelly creature remains still left in.” David recalls one large delivery came to the SLO train station and the station master called and demanded immediate pick-up. He didn’t have room to store or the stomach for the smells. When abalone shells were abundant in the 1960s, they had to sandblast them. Normally, shells required cleaning with soap and water.

Lawrence fished and worked the shop with the family. He and Dean Tyler, owner of the Morro Bay Aquarium across the street, were good friends and often business partners. David recalls they secured the permits to selvage artifacts from the 1923 Hondo Point Disaster, when seven destroyers ran aground in the fog off Point Arguello – still the largest peacetime loss of Navy ships. Both men came home with large anchors and other

Another piece of history is their 1960s Retro sign. “We were down in no-man’s-land to attract customers on the Embarcadero,” said David. “We lucked into a sign shop that had a Shell Gas station sign taking up space. Eventually the lighting went out. I was afraid to fix it or the city would consider it a new sign and I’d lose it. One day Mayor Yates asked why it didn’t work. He offered to grandfather our then oversized sign so it met code. Nice folks at City Neon retrofitted it for a good price for us.”

Customers tell me they like to come to Morro Bay for our quiet, quirkiness and unique harbor. “I have a great crew today. Katie Fortman is our manager, Tony, Connie and Vicki. They’ve been with us 12 to 30-some years. Like our customers who’ve come for generations, they are family to us.”

 

 

 

Visit the Old West in Paso Robles: Harris Stage Lines

First published in REVEAL The Central Coast of CA Magazine   http://www.simplyclearmarketing.com

DSCF0094

“Come to Paso Robles to enjoy the wine and shopping then experience Paso as it used to be.”

 Tom and Debby Harris find themselves extending this invitation often as they travel the USA. Harris Stage Lines is invited to special events and parades to haul grand marshals in their replica 1860s Concord Stage Coach built originally for Wells Fargo. Appropriately the Carmel Valley Centennial Committee invited them to “haul” the U.S. Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank in their celebration parade. Wells Fargo had the contract to deliver mail throughout the Old West. In 2014 during Paso Robles’ 125th Celebration year, the 1862 Coastal Route between Salinas and Los Angeles was relived hauling the mail from San Miguel to Paso Robles by horse-drawn coach. Monty Montana invited them to Texas for his wild west show with Jack Palance (City Slickers), Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger), and James Drury, (The Virginian) the guest passengers. Tom and Debby drove their team of horses hitched to the #20 Concord Stagecoach built for them by famed Texas specialty vehicle builder J. Brown in the 2016 Rose Parade. By appointment the public is invited to experience over 26 one-of-a-kind horse drawn vehicles at the Harris’ working horse ranch four miles from the heart of Paso Robles.

“We’re in the entertainment business – your horse riding, driving, party and event headquarters,” said Tom. Not only will they take their “nostalgia for the Old West” on the road, but Debby, Tom and their son Cactus spent 22 years creating the hospitality venue. “We purchased acreage with an 80-year-old house and built the rest. Every piece of farm equipment we display is operational. Our party facility is perfect for western themed special occasions, weddings or group barbecues.”

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to drive a buckboard with a single horse or a stagecoach with multiple horses? How is it possible to control a team of four or more horses?  Debby and Tom were raised on ranches. They spent years participating in rodeos and won multiple awards for their showmanship, including Outstanding Display of Western Heritage and The Chairman’s Award for the Ft Worth, Texas Stock Show & Rodeo All Western Parade. They are respected worldwide for their horsemanship – and now love to share their expertise giving riding or driving lessons. “We also train farming with the horses,” said Tom. “We grow forage mix (oats, buckwheat & barley) and use a grain binder for haystacks that look like teepees.”

Tom explained tour buses driving through Paso Robles on Hwy. 101 will book an evening barbecue or locals have been known to surprise visitors with a picnic and tour after a day of wine tasting. Harris Stage Lines details their many visitor options for groups up to 200 guests at www.harrisstagelines.com. Check out the unforgettable birthday parties for children or adults hankering for an experience the way it was when horse power wasn’t under the hood.

Party headquarters includes amazing sounds from a 1922 Wurlitzer of the West 1000 Pipe Theater Organ in the Music Hall. A Pole Barn accommodates indoor and outdoor catered barbecues. Ride a horse or atop a stagecoach or book a throw-back surrey ride with the fringe on top. The “Real Horse Power Show” includes Belgium Draft horses either hitched or hitch-ready to unique vehicles that helped populate the American West.

The Harris family and Stephen Robertson Yergers partnered to create SRY Coaches, a unique horse-drawn vehicle collection and driving school. Each vehicle was chosen for the role it played in the American West. Used for filming commercials, special promotions, weddings, funerals and parades, Tom will also train entrepreneurs to operate an Amish Road Buggy, Ben Hur Racing Chariot, authentic BBQ Chuck Wagon, hay wagon — even a 1906 Hearse built by Johnson & Sons in NY, NY.

But there’s more! “I’ve learned the church organ and the theater organ are completely different,” said Tom describing the mammoth set-up that operates the Wurlitzer organ. Besides musical reviews, the theater organ was the sound depicting the action in silent movies. At age 90 Dr. Ruth Dresser saw Cactus Harris in concert and invited him to her home in San Francisco to play her 1922 Wurlitzer with 1000 pipes knowing he would treasure its value and unique sound. He purchased it, disassembled it, and reassembled it at the ranch. The sound is breathtaking, but seeing the garage-size room full of the equipment in action creates a heart-pounding appreciation for the music from days gone by. And if you are lucky Cactus will be home to create ivory magic, otherwise, Tom, with a gleam in his eye, will set the computerized music on play and recount stories about his son, the world-touring professional organist.

Call Harris Stage Lines at (805) 237-1860 and book a visit with Debby. She’ll be the first to tell you, “We love to create fun, western environment events!”