A while back, I went to a local Chamber of Commerce type get together, a “mixer,” about 15 miles from my new home in Amador County. I went because I knew most of the people in the area had come here from other places to retire. I was hoping to meet someone from the Phoenix area to ask them about local attractions as well as “not so well known” attractions. I had a conference in Phoenix coming up and wanted to get the inside scoop, as I knew I would have several days on either end of the trip to explore.

While at the mixer, I met a guy from Philadelphia. “Wow that must have been great seeing the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Do all the old houses really decorate like the 1700s in Elfreth’s Alley?”

He looked at me with a blank stare. “Um, I don’t know. I never went there.”

“Not even when you were in school?” I pried. He shook his head no. “Not even the Liberty Bell?” Again with the head shake. “Wow,” I said, “I need to go grab another drink.”

I continued talking to people throughout the night looking for Mr. or Ms. Nashville. I found a guy from Memphis who didn’t know Graceland was nearby, a woman from Boston who spent 35 years there and never went to Boston Commons, the harbor where the tea party happened, or even the Bull & Finch Pub. That’s where they filmed “Cheers.”

As the evening went on, I came to the realization that no one knew about or had seen anything around them most of their lives. I sat back to reflect (aided by several glasses of wine) on the sad state of local knowledge these folks had. Then it occurred to me that for the last 13 years that I lived in Southern California, I was walking distance to Disneyland and, during that time, I went one time. I could step outside my front door and see the fireworks but only did that about five times. I was 20 minutes from the beach, which I love, and went maybe once a year.

Most of what I did see of Orange County and other parts of Southern California was on horseback

Most of what I did see of Orange County and other parts of Southern California was on horseback

The point is, I didn’t really see what the area had to offer as a tourist destination. People travel from all over the world to Orange County and I didn’t appreciate it.


I read recently that at about age 50 we all make the subconscious decision to continue living or to throw in the towel and start dying. If you choose the latter, you start doing less and your life becomes smaller. So, while I’m somewhat past that magic 50 number (yes, I’m a baby boomer), I have given this idea a lot of thought and have decided I never want to go there.

I know it’s easier to bitch about my knees hurting or my bout with cancer or even why I hate typing because the arthritis in my knuckles hurts, but I’m not going to do that. I’m going to get up and get out. I’m going to continue to set goals and make plans. Now that I live in another, far more beautiful tourist destination, I’m going to learn all I can about what’s happening in this area, as well as any other areas I visit, so I can give you the inside scoop, or at least my take on it.

About Me

O'neill 3-30-14 FB cropWelcome! I’m Ava, the Gold Country Cowgirl. Yes, I do have a horse and ride regularly. You’ll see some of that on the blog.  Although I was born on a farm in Missouri, I spent most of my life in busy, crowded Southern California. I say most because I also lived in a ghost town in Nevada for five years. I moved to Amador County, in the heart of Gold Country, the end of 2014. Gold Country is a wonderful, middle of the road between the two extremes.

I travelled out of the country a lot in my younger days but I’m staying closer to home now. I love learning about new places, meeting new people, wine, good food, cooking, horseback riding, camping, crafting, and all animals, especially my horse and three rescued cats.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope I inspire you to get out and learn more about where you live. I hope even more that you come back often and give me your two cents worth.

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