Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day Trip: Fort Ross State Historic Park

Located about 20 miles south of The Sea Ranch is the Fort Ross State Historic Park.  We made a trek down to the park when we had one of our bicycle guests who was taking a rest day. We had just received our annual park pass and figured it was time to put it to use. Also, this is one of the places that I grew up within a few hours of and have passed dozens of times, but never stopped.

Fort Ross was a  Russian-American Company settlement from 1812 to 1841 that was chartered by Russian government. Fort Ross was the southernmost settlement in the Russian colonization of the North American continent, and was established as an agricultural base to supply Alaska. It was the site of California's first windmills and shipbuilding, and Russian scientists were among the first to record California's cultural and natural history. Fort Ross was a successfully functioning multi-cultural settlement for some thirty years. Settlers included Russians, Native Alaskans and Californians, and Creoles (individuals of mixed Russian and native ancestry.)

There are both original and reconstucted structures. The craftsmanship is pretty incredible. The entire park is set on the bluff, with fabulous views to the ocean and small inlet, below. They also do historic reenactments at the park, which could be pretty neat to see.

Things to know before you go:
- $6 day use fee
- Nice interpretive displays
- Bookstore
- Picnic benches
- Check schedules, as they have had limited hours due to budget cuts

Monday, July 4, 2011

#20 - Help Someone Check Something Off Their Life List (1 out of 5)

Or, why I sent an ice cream maker to a stranger.

When I attended the World Domination Summit last month, I heard the lovely Karen Walrond speak about the things she learned when she was working on her book, The Beauty of Different. Karen also talked about her life list during her talk and about curating an exciting life. One of the items on her list is to make old-fashioned hand-crank ice cream with her daughter.

As many of you know, I have my own life list that I am working through. One of the items on my list (#20) is to help five other people achieve something on their life list. After Karen’s talk (which rocked, by the way), I approached her to ask if I could send her an ice cream maker so that her and I could BOTH work towards something on our life list. I was actually a bit nervous to ask her if she would be game for this, as she's a "famous blogger" in my mind. Upon introducing myself, she was instantly kind and friendly and after a quick consideration she graciously said yes (!!!). 

I found a vintage Montgomery Wards hand crank ice cream maker that was in good shape. Bob and I gave it a test run and then I packed it up and sent it off to Karen. I loved the fact is was from Montgomery Wards, because it reminded me of my grandpa, who was a die hard Wards fan. If Wards didn't sell it, he didn't need it: garden hose, tools, underwear, polyester pants and shirts, towels, you name it.

Anyway, the ice cream maker safely arrived in Texas and Karen gave it a run over the holiday weekend. She did a great blog post about it and made a cool stop-motion video documenting the experience. Check out the video on the blog post, or see it below. Hooray for ice cream, hooray for life lists.

Now, I'll be keeping my eye open for others who have life lists that I could help support in a small way.  Happy 4th of July, everyone.