Temple of Folly, Clocks Cleaned and Repaired

The hype of working the “largest bonanza outside of Virginia City” sparked a two-year long gold rush stampede of roughly 2500 miners to Mammoth.

 

There’s an enduring quality and allure to the Eastern Sierra mountain range, Mammoth Mountain and Mammoth Lakes area that attracted people throughout the ages.

 

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Part One:  Mammoth

Part Two: What Was Mammoth Like Before the Great Recession?

Part Three: Chains that Bind – Bankruptcy, Foreclosures and No Snow

Part Four: Stuck in the Middle with You

Part Five: Breathtaking Mountain Panoramas and Bullet Holes

Photo by Stephen G. Howard

Newer decorations in Aspen Creek condo tweaked my interest, and with very little snow again covering the grounds around our condo and the roads in Mammoth Lakes, I felt a burning desire to find Lake Mary.

Old-time black and white photos triggered my curiosity.

One titled, “Stamp Mill, Mammoth Lakes” in hand printed white letters at the bottom edge.

In it two buildings occupy the lower third, a tall building resembling a two-story barn only partially in the photo, and the second a single story log cabin with shingles.

Behind both you can make out a much taller hill rising out of the frame to the right with loose rocks sliding down its slope.

With two trees in the foreground and a dilapidated building almost sliding down a hill from right to left  you view the “Mammoth Mining Company.”

Decaying wood rubbish piles nearer to the viewer and a wooden wagon wheel lean against a tall pine tree.

Almost all of the wood siding has been salvaged or fell off over time to expose the structural bones.

Maybe the most arresting photo shows four wooden store front buildings with a long wooden walkway or porch connecting all of them.

Similar to the one at Tom’s Place with the less than true sign proclaiming, “Tom’s Place Since 1917.”

In these photos, you can only take an educated guess — at the end of the 1880s – possibly 1888?

Posed in front standing on the dirt street you can count ten males and two dogs – one spotted and the other with dark fur.

Zooming in on the right side of the panoramic shot you capture six males and dog one.

One guy sports a white hat and dark pants, vest and over coat.

A gold watch chain dangles just below his left hand that grasps the lapel of his coat.

Like several others he has grown a long mustache.

He’s the only one standing on an irregular white stone step in front of the porch.

Next to him on our left and standing in the street you see another citizen sporting a long beard in a rumpled lighter-shade three-piece suit

He poses with both hands clasped behind his back.

The next citizen on display poses in a black western hat, dark coat and white working pants with dirty knees.

He’s wearing dark black gloves, the color of his hat.

Look, the photo’s in black and white, so go with me on this detail, okay?

A trio stand in the opposite corner to the right of the gold chained dandy.

Just above them hangs a sign, “Clocks Cleaned. Repaired”

All three lean against a posts or each other with legs crossed.

They’ve pulled their hats back on their heads to better reveal their faces.

They’re younger with dark mustaches.

They’re not in their “Sunday Best.”

They’ve made no attempt at matching their clothes.

The one in the middle wears his jeans tucked into his boots.

The spotted dog one sits at the feet of the third man in dark hat and dark coat with his hand resting on the shoulder of one in the middle.

Dog one stares alertly down the street to the remaining two males and a dark fur dog laying in the street looking back.

The largest sign in the picture says, “Temple of Folly.”

  • A saloon?
  • A community gathering hole?
  • A general store extending credit to miners down on their luck?
  • Or, on close inspection a barber shop with two striped poles near the door with six glass panes?

Directly in front of possibly a second establishment set back a few feet stands a smallish, younger man dressed in a vest, tie and more stylish hat.

  • Was he the barber?
  • Or the bartender?
  • Or, the shop keeper prospering while the older, punchy, white-bearded customer near by stood loosely  at parade rest?

In contrast, with his top button fastened (maybe the only one left) on his dark coat revealed  paunchy’s pot belly hanging over rumpled jeans.

Where can I find remains of the ghost town?

With a good wireless connection and a coffee table piled high with Mammoth magazines, brochures, fliers, local directories and books bits and pieces of the story about the photos emerged.

There’s an enduring quality and allure to the Eastern Sierra mountain range, Mammoth Mountain and Mammoth Lakes area that attracted people throughout the ages.

Who were they and when did they populate Mammoth Lakes?

Courtesy Mammoth Lakes Foundation

In fact the history of Mammoth Lakes didn’t start with Dave McCoy in 1941.

According to our condo’s coffee table and wireless connection, if you consider the Native American heritage it starts hundreds of years before European’s arrived in 1877.

Four prospectors wanting to strike it rich ignited a frenzy.

They staked a claim south of the current town of Mammoth Lakes on Mineral Hill by Old Mammoth Road.

The gold rush was on.

Near Lake Mary those early miners organized the “Lakes Mining District.”

Rumors about a strike – the largest outside of Virginia City, known for the Comstock Lode and made famous years later by Mark Twain in “Roughing It” – drew a stampede of miners in 1877.

Photo – Geni

In 1878 the famous Union Pacific Railroad tycoon and Civil War General George Dodge bought the group of claims.

He organized the Mammoth Mining Company to, well, mine Mineral Hill.

Roughly 1500 wannabe miners flooded the Mammoth Area by the end of 1878 alone.

Aurora Ghost Town

According to “Mammoth Properties Guest Services Directory” for two decades gold and silver fever fueled get rich dreams.

As silver discoveries at Aurora and Bodie led to ever more prospecting.

The hype of working the “largest bonanza outside of Virginia City” sparked a two-year long gold rush stampede of roughly 2500 miners to Mammoth.

Photo – cityconcierge.com

The burgeoning mining camp changed its name to Mammoth City and was poised to produce wealth all around.

But, the dream died in 1880, just three years later when reality failed to live up to the propaganda.

The company ceased operations.

Eight years later the population severely declined from a peak of around 2500 to less than 10.

So, was that photo documenting the only remaining survivors?

According to Wikipedia:

“By the early 1900s, the town of Mammoth was informally established near Mammoth Creek.”

And, the Mammoth Properties Directory tells the official story — two decades later Old Mammoth Village formed to accommodate the pioneers drawn to the area to enjoy fishing, hunting, photography, camping, hiking, and horseback riding.

That’s the story that repeated itself across the West.

Most miners remained flat broke while the real money flowed to the merchants, tools and transportation providers.

Even Twain gave up to write and soak up the scenic wonders on vacations in his spare time.

Times had  been tough at Mammoth more recently, as we already knew.

Part Seven:

Steps:

25) Compare what “life” was like in those communities before the Great Recession, how resilient each was during the economic downturn, and to what degree did each bounce back after with any “economic hangover.” 

28) Which lifestyles profiled in the western resort towns during 2008 – 2009 remained five years later in 2013-2014?  Which disappeared entirely? Why? Which new lifestyles emerged, grew or moved in to shift the neighborhood mix? Have longtime locals been forced out by escalating property 

30) Review headlines and relevant news as far back as you can find online to surface each community’s unique pulse and identify information necessary to make your decision. Is there a “ticking time bomb” issue you may uncover that eliminates the resort from your bucket list? Search on topix.com.

McCoy

McCoy bought a small airline to fly a few skiers from Burbank, California to Mammoth.

From Mammoth Mountain Resort – History
He went to the bank, attempting to acquire an $85 loan to set up a permanent rope tow. The bank turned him down but the bank’s secretary, Roma, urged the bank to give him that loan. A few years later, McCoy would marry Roma and the two would raise six children together.”

 

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

 

That night we shared our tale around the flaming bonfire smoking and sparking and launching glowing embers like fireflies into the deep dark starlit skies.

Embellished of course.

And, Dave McCoy wasn’t too far removed from the conversation, although everyone in the family knew him as the iconic figure who left his imprint on Mammoth Mountain and its town Mammoth Lakes.

No one else knew how close we were that night to his first mountain slope, or that he married Roma, the secretary of the bank that turned him down for an $85 loan.

That, and so much more.

Wikipedia fills in some of the details:

In 1938, McCoy got a permit and set up a primitive rope tow using parts from a Model “A” Ford truck on McGee Mountain, near US Highway 395

He went to the bank, attempting to acquire an $85 loan to set up a permanent rope tow. 

The bank turned him down but the bank’s secretary, Roma, urged the bank to give him that loan. 

A few years later, McCoy would marry Roma and the two would raise six children together. 

After swapping yarns at the bonfire we returned to our cabin and when I flicked on the light I noticed something for the first time.

Not too far from the old-time stove-heater sporting the black rounded angle “Z” stove pipe leading to the roof.

Not too far from the 14 bullet points on “Welcome to Rock Creek” rules of the road.

And not too far from the “Welcome to the Cabin” painting on wood with a an idyllic lake side setting with a deer drinking water at the water’s edge.

A ‘30s or ‘40s era gray pickup truck sat next to a log cabin with yellow lights casting a glow on the ground and with steps leading down to a canoe and dock.

I wondered if a local artist painted it and Rock Creek Lodge lent its support.

But, what caught my eye was the third piece hanging on the brown paneled wall.

A photo of three circling birds of prey, dark brown with black tipped wings.

The glare from the cabin lights masked a faint full moon directly behind the dominant hawk in a dark blue mountain sky.

In the foreground filling in the lower two-thirds of the shot you notice brown and white and gray rock formations with little else.

Except in the lower right, there it is.

Scribbled over a brown boulder Dave McCoy’s signature.

And, not part of the photo, but haphazardly fastened to it, a description:

Photo by Dave McCoy written in cursive script.

This photo was taken by Dave McCoy, the founder of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.  The proceeds from this image will be donated to the Mammoth Lakes Foundation, which supports higher education and cultural enrichment in the Eastern Sierra.

A former co-worker of mine tells a story about her boy friend chatting it up on the gondola taking him to the top of Mammoth Mountain where he’d ski down the Cornice.

During the conversation, Dave McCoy’s came up.

The gondola rider asked if he’d like to meet him.

Figuring it was just a conversation and nothing else, said “Sure.”

“When? What are you doing after the run?”

“Wait,” the boyfriend said, “This is Thanksgiving holiday weekend.”

No problem.

Dave (he called McCoy a nickname that my friend couldn’t recall in the telling of the story) won’t mind, he said.

Completely unannounced, the Gondola BFF walked up to Dave’s porch and yelled that he was there with two new BFFs in tow.

From “How I Did It … ” Inc. Magazine. CREDIT: Bryce Duffy

To my friend’s amazement Dave appeared, welcomed them into his Bishop ranch, piled them into his ATV and took them on a tour across his “back 40.”

“He really didn’t seem to care,” she said. “Even though his kids, grandkids and great grandkids were arriving at any moment.”

Maybe living all those years in the high altitude living a vigorous life is the formula for a  long life and marriage.

Wikipedia fills in some details.

Dave and Roma from Mammoth Lakes Foundation

McCoy turned 100 in August 2015. His wife Roma turned 95.

McCoy currently enjoys traveling in the Eastern Sierra driving an ATV. 

He has always enjoyed photography and that is what he does today. 

His mission is to take pictures of places very few people have even seen. 

Dave’s pictures can be bought at local stores in Bishop and Mammoth and other local towns. 

All of the proceeds go directly to the Mammoth Lakes Foundation, which helps develop education and the arts in the Eastern Sierra. 

Mammoth Lakes Foundation from its website

“The family and the community were always a big part of our success, as they helped play in the big sandbox as well,” McCoy says. 

“It shows that no man does anything alone. 

Now, my camera’s eye keeps making the Eastern Sierra a place for all of us to enjoy.”

Back in the 1940s the climate shifted and McGee Mountain received less snow than when Dave pioneered Eastern Sierra skiing.

Eastern Sierra Ski Club at McGee Creek Lift in 1938. Courtesy of Pomona Public Library

Pivot.

Where did the heavy snow fall?

Why, Mammoth Mountain, of course.

He set up his second rope tow there just as WWII was fought, in 1942.

But enough about that.

For now.

What about his story? “Dave McCoy – World Class Skier, Entrepreneur, and Visionary”

According to legend, and Wikipedia, Dave first fell in love with the Eastern Sierras when he visited roughly 87 or 88 years ago.

He loved it so much that in shop class he fashioned his first pair of skis.

During his adolescent years he had to move to the state of Washington to live when his parents split up.

The Great Alf Andersen from Wikipedia

There he lived with his grandparents.

There he encountered Norwegian ski jumpers.

And, there they fanned the spark into a flame that began in junior high school.

Here’s the Wikipedia part.

Right after graduating from high school, he moved to the tiny town of Independence, California

Two years later, he moved a few miles north to Bishop. 

In 1936, McCoy took a job as a hydrographer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which involved skiing up to 50 miles per day.

Courtesy Mammoth Lakes Foundation

While being a hydrographer, he joined the Eastern Sierra Ski Club. At age 22, he became the California State Champion in skiing.

For the decade roughly between 1942 and 1953 the startup struggle phase of Mammoth Mountain ski area’s tested his entrepreneurial meddle.

Luckily for him the Forest Service offered by bid the right to operate the ski area.

Lucky, because nobody bid on the permit.

From Mammoth Mountain Resort – History

Without any money, he didn’t bid either.

But, they must have recognized the fire burning brightly in him, because in 1953 they gave him the permit nobody bid on but, with one stipulation.

He had to develop the mountain as a ski resort.

What?

Can you imagine how he must have felt?

An entrepreneur’s dream almost handed to him.

From Mammoth Mountain Resort – History

By 1953 a ski lodge opened.

He incorporated as Mammoth Mountain Ski Area two years later.

But all wasn’t deep powder and awesome runs.

Wikipedia describes how McCoy struggled to develop Mammoth.

The “lodge” was actually only 12′ by 24′, had a dirt floor with an outside toilet, and served snacks. 

The McCoy family used it as a home during the early years of Mammoth.[

McCoy went to the bank again for a loan of $135,000 to build a chair lift. 

Again, he was turned down. 

Somewhere he found a used chairlift.

From Mammoth Mountain Resort – History

With his dedicated Mammoth maniacs Dave worked feverishly digging holes and mixing concrete to permanently anchor the lift by themselves.

Chair 1 became operational just in time for Thanksgiving in 1955.

Chair 1 had a wooden ramp, covered with snow, that skiers had to side-step up to reach the chairs. 

Sometimes skiers would lose their balance and cause several of the skiers in line below to topple over like dominoes. 

But, it worked.

And it was definitely a platform he could build on over the next four decades.

Our family remembers the early days of the next phase in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

The ramp was removed sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s and a new high-speed Chair 1 was installed and renamed “Broadway Express.” 

The original main lodge was expanded and to this day, the upper part of the old exterior rock wall mural, with a white and brown flagstone arrow, can be seen sitting on the deck. 

By 1973, under McCoy’s leadership, the ski area grew to 14 double-chairs, and a second base lodge was built. 

The drive from Southern California region to the mountain required a dedication on the part of skiers and eventually boarders, because Mammoth wasn’t a destination ski resort.

Well, not yet anyway

What did Dave do?

McCoy bought a small airline to fly a few skiers from Burbank, California to Mammoth.

Mammoth Yosemite Airport from Wikipedia

The growth of the ski area led to growth of the town of Mammoth Lakes, California, which incorporated in 1984.

And the rest was history.

Steps:

(32) Plan extended seasonal vacations during summer and winter months. Group destination locations together in regional trips to explore what several bucket list towns have to offer in the general vicinity – with only a week or two vacation time to spend, we recommend organizing your itinerary by travel regions.

Round

We are coming up on the anniversary of this life changing event. Our home burned to ashes.

We have come a long way since the early days of deep shock and we no longer break into tears when someone says they’re sorry or utters a kind word. We are rebuilding.”

Part 3 In a Three Part Series

Part 2:  If Worse Comes to Worst

Part 1:  Swall

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Round fire in Sierra Nevada destroyed 40 homes and structures and 250 residents from Small Meadows and Paradise were evacuated.

Worse did come to worst… 5 years later.

What Are We Going To Do?

For the vast majority of Swall Meadows residents in the winter of 2015.

Two lines in Wikipedia summed up the devastation succinctly.

On February 6, 2015, Swall Meadows and the neighboring community of Paradise were ravaged by the Round Fire, which burned 7,000 acres. 

Swall Meadows, California

The fire destroyed 40 homes: 39 homes in Swall Meadows and 1 home in Paradise.

Word got out.

Variations of the Associated Press account were picked up by the New York Daily News, US News & World Report, and the Los Angeles Times.

Ravaging Wildfire

Round fire in Sierra Nevada destroys 40 homes and structures, is 50% contained – Los Angeles Times

More than three dozen homes and buildings were destroyed Saturday by a wildfire in the Eastern Sierra that has forced the evacuations of two towns and burned more than 7,000 acres.

Cal Fire said the wildfire, dubbed the Round fire, was 50% contained as of late Saturday afternoon.

The blaze broke out just after 2 p.m. Friday, and was fueled by strong winds that had made containment difficult. 

But a strong storm system moving through the area Saturday brought rain that helped firefighters gain the upper hand, officials said.

An evacuation center has been established at the Crowley Lake Community Center in Mono County.

Devastating Aftermath

SWALL MEADOWS, Calif. — Associated Press

Ira Hanson milled around an evacuation center near tiny Swall Meadows on Sunday afternoon, not quite sure what to do after learning that the dream home he and his late wife had built 30 years earlier was damaged in a wildfire that consumed 40 homes and buildings.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Hanson, 79. 

“It’s like having a nightmare and you’re going to wake up any minute and it won’t be true.”

Fire crews increased containment of the wind-driven wildfire that ravaged communities along the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, but they said Sunday that they still didn’t know when the roughly 250 residents evacuated from Swall Meadows and nearby Paradise would be able to return home.

It blew up when 50 to 75 mph winds whipped through wooded areas near the two communities for about three hours, turning the flames into a “freight train,” Brown said.

The relatively affluent community of Swall Meadows, which boasts sweeping views of the snow-covered Sierras and is home to retirees and outdoor enthusiasts, was hit hard by the blaze. 

Thirty-nine homes were destroyed there while one burned in the community of Paradise, Brown said.

A three-year drought across California has created extremely dry timber brush that fueled the flames and pushed them all the way up the Sierra slopes to the snow line around 8,000 feet, she said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Meanwhile, officials running the evacuation center in Crowley Lake said they received an outpouring of support. 

Pizzas, fresh fruit and a birthday cake collected on a folding table, while a white board filled up with the names and phone numbers of people who had volunteered their homes for displaced humans and pets.

So many had opened their homes that nobody stayed in the shelter overnight.

“This is one of the most resilient communities you’re ever going to find,” said Mono County Administrator Jim Leddy. “They know how to take care of themselves and take care of their neighbors.”

Drought, Wind and Fire

SWALL MEADOWS, Calif. (AP) — US News & World Report

An incoming storm caused the winds to constantly shift direction, making it tough for firefighters to contain the blaze, she said.

“We had to take defensive positions to protect as many structures as we could while protecting ourselves,” Brown said. “We did what we could.”

She said Swall Meadows was hit hard by the blaze — 39 homes were destroyed there while one burned in the community of Paradise.

Firefighters gained the upper hand when rain moved in, and have contained 50 percent of the blaze.

Brown said even rain wasn’t enough to put out the fire because a three-year drought across California created extremely dry timber brush that fueled the flames.

Captivating Photos, Conflicting Emotions

“ROUND FIRE” RAVAGES EASTERN SIERRA HOMES – February 7, 2015

http://wildernessexposures.com/round-fire-ravages-eastern-sierra-homes/ 

A relief fund has been set up to help victims of the fire who lost everything, including their homes. 

If you would like to help please visit the gofundme page and make a donation: http://www.gofundme.com/roundfirerelief

Too Much Too Soon?

Thanks for your comment, Bill. 

Please know that it is not my intent to romanticize the event or as you say, congratulate the fire. 

Its true that I viewed the fire with the conflicted perspectives of an artist, journalist, former wild land fire-fighter, and personal friend to several of the families whose homes were both lost, and directly threatened. 

I am deeply saddened by the tremendous loss the fire has caused the members of this tight-night community of climbers, skiers, and fellow mountain lovers. 

It is not my intent to focus on the misfortune they have experienced, or exploit the “human wreckage” as you so sensitively wrote. 

I do apologize if any of my words have offended those who were actually affected by this tragedy.

Evacuation of Horses Through Wall of Flames

Carol says

February 13, 2015 at 8:51 am

I live in Swall Meadows. 

I had to walk my horse out of that fire down through Paridise (sic) to get out. 

This photographs are exactly what I walked past. 

We made it out around 2:00 am. 

We started at 2:00 pm. 

We are all ok. 

I saw many emergency trucks pass us along the way. 

The firefighters always rolled down a window to see if we needed anything. 

In hindsight, a bottle of water would have been nice. 

I wouldn’t wish my experience on anyone. 

And hope we can set a protocol, like they have in so many other parts of California to have an evacuation for horses and large animals in place when this happens again. 

Walk 10 miles in my shoes before you judge me.

Life Changing Anniversary, Hope and Resilience

Jennifer says

January 18, 2016 at 8:22 pm

We are coming up on the anniversary of this life changing event. 

Our home burned to ashes. 

We have come a long way since the early days of deep shock and we no longer break into tears when someone says they’re sorry or utters a kind word. 

We are rebuilding. 

Our community and especially the people at my church have encouraged us a great deal. 

We are affected every day by our loss, continually having to “let it go.” 

I think that we will feel much better when we again have a home of our own…looking forward with hope.

Each winter for five years as we chugged our way up Sherwin Grade, after the LA Times published the fiscal checkup article but, before the Round Fire, I’d squint to see if I could catch a glimpse of Swall Meadows.

In much the same way as we drove through Owens Valley past the signs to Cartego near the Crystal Geyser bottling plant, I’d keep my eyes peeled for any sign of Scott Palamar’s award-winning home and sustainable desert community.

U.S. Highway 395 in California’s Eastern Sierras

About a year before the Round Fire in the Malibu Mountains, he too lost everything and chose not to rebuild.

“All I managed to do was get the cat and clothes, and grab computers and important papers and that’s it,” Palamar said. 

One neighbor did stay for another hour, and watched as the vegetation around Palamar’s home caught fire. Palamar’s home, which he’s lived in for nine years, burnt to the ground, with nothing left standing practically, except a mailbox.

Each attempt to pick out Swall Meadows failed.

It’s especially difficult – nearly impossible climbing up US 395, because the downhill lanes block your view.

Sadly, it wasn’t until a week after the 2015 fire, on our way to our yearly ski and snow boarding trip to Mammoth.

We could see the blackened devastation covering the entire Mule Deer migration trail from mouth of the Round Valley canyon up into the narrowing canyon slopes.

Each resident faced gut wrenching choices.

Start over.

Fight or flight.

But, to where?

We introduced this section with a story about building a life on your own terms with Whitefish, Montana residents figuring it was time to move on because of their property tax burden.

We put together a “Birds-of-a-Feather” lifestyle list of possible communities across western states.

And we narrowed the choices to the Rocky Mountain states, specifically Colorado, before visiting and sizing up towns in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

For our Swall Meadows family we honestly don’t know how the next chapter of their story unfolds.

But their lifestyle profile opens up their relocation options to the same communities we profiled.

We can speculate.

Meanwhile, officials running the evacuation center in Crowley Lake said they received an outpouring of support. 

Zip Code 93514

Swall Meadows falls within the broad Bishop zip code, unlike Tom’s Place, Rock Creek Lodge, McGee Creek and Crawley Lake which claim Mammoth Lake’s zip code.

If they planned to rebuild (hopefully their financial planner made certain their fire insurance coverage was current) and needed to find a temporary home in the area, they probably chose either Bishop or Mammoth Lakes.

In both places they will find neighbors who fit their lifestyle and share their values.

Mammoth School District employed the husband as a math teacher.

Choosing Mammoth would certainly cut their commuting expenses, while like their other neighbors, they rebuild.

But, first the “from” before the “to”.

Choosing Bishop.

Steps:

(33) When you move, will your established neighbors share your same values? Does your new home have potential over the long-term to develop into a high appreciation real estate investment while being affordable for mid-life or empty nesters? Do the weather patterns in winter or summer make you want to live there year round, or only on a seasonal basis. Does  your new community offer a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities?

Pristine

“Qual·i·ty of life — the degree of enjoyment and satisfaction felt in everyday life.” 

Celebrating the Moment
How to make healthy, wealthy and wise choices for living, loving, working, playing, investing and retiring in vacation communities.

An excerpt from Book Three in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams.

Follow your passions.

Why not?

Nobody can follow your passions for you.

Don’t stop there.

Choose to live anywhere you want.

Preserving the World

“In wildness is the preservation of the world.”  Henry David Thoreau.

The great thing about living where others spend their vacation is the year round quality-of-life.

In case you forgot just what that is …

“Qual·i·ty of life — the degree of enjoyment and satisfaction felt in everyday life.”  

The West.

Live, love, work, play, invest and retire anywhere you want.

From the Desert to the Mountains to the Sea and all the Pristine Rivers, Lakes and Islands in Between.

Western Skies and Island Currents!

Winter in the mountains and summer at the beach.

Snowboarder Performing Jump Silverton, Colorado, USA

The story of the Wild West celebrated a spirit of adventure.

Starting over with new beginnings full of promise.

Fueled by dreams of striking it rich.

We have a rich history of mining and panning for gold nuggets in the West.

Making a life based on ingenuity, resourcefulness and self-reliance.

Back then, whenever travelers met each other on the road, they swapped info about the places they came from and asked questions about places they were going.

But for us, every day we follow the rules.

Go to work.

Keep our nose to the grindstone.

Marry our sweet hearts.

Raise our children.

Save for their college education.

And, finally retire sometime off into the distant future to a glorious second half of our life.

That’s the way it’s supposed to be, but one day everything changed.

Employers shipped our jobs overseas.

We worked longer and longer in jobs we couldn’t stand.

But, at least we had a job.

But, the stress piled on.

And on.

Because of that we had to escape.

If only for a vacation.

There’s nothing quite as all-American as a road trip…

especially in the West, where a wealth of culture, natural beauty and excitement unfolds before you. 

What is it about traveling back to nature?

Where you feel most inspired?

Where the yellow aspen do that shimmering dance beside the deep green of the lodgepole pines.

But, there’s a dark side to vacations.

We notice our predicament when we return to work.

Are we who we really, really are when we keep our head down with our noses to the grindstone?

What about those expansive western skies?

The majestic mountain peaks?

The rushing babbling creeks and brooks?

The taste of salt in the air along the coast?

We keep those nagging questions at bay.

Maybe bubbling up only occasionally in dreamland.

Until finally we wake up and realize we don’t live in our bubble any longer.

We make a commitment to ourselves.

We can make healthy, wealthy and wise choices for living, loving, working, playing, investing and retiring in vacation communities.

Where we feel the most alive.

Steps:

(21) Spend the time to find the best places to live and invest. It will be worth your while. The great thing about living where others spend their vacation is the year round quality-of-life.

 

 

 

Persistence

“I was an aspiring filmmaker,” he said. But I started to see how aspiring to be something was a way to not really try.”

Aspiring Independent Filmmakers
When do we realize it really is time to move on? Time to smell the coffee?

An excerpt from Book One in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find more meaning and happiness in your life.

You know what they say about anything creative – it’s  1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

Giving It One More Shot

“I was an aspiring filmmaker,” he said. 

But I started to see how aspiring to be something was a way to not really try. 

If you did that and you failed, well, you didn’t really fail. 

I needed to start making things, even if they weren’t great, just making things.”

The grind takes it toll in different ways.

The Show Must Go On

The actor’s wife, still living in their home town, wanted to fly to Los Angeles for the play but wasn’t sure she could make it.

He needed to see her.

He was beginning to realize that daily phone conversations were hardly a substitute for a real marriage.

Not one of his coffee buddies attended his closing night.

But, most importantly his wife wasn’t there either.

Closing Curtains

Maybe she sent flowers?

No such luck.

“I want our life back,” he said after the play was done.

Not long afterward, over the phone, his wife said that she would always hope for his acting dreams, but she wanted a divorce.

He feared that his single-minded pursuit of acting had torn them apart.This quest for an acting career....

My God, it has led me down the road to ruin.

Persist or Pivot? How Do You Know?

And yet …

When do we realize it really is time to move on?

Time to smell the coffee?

Steps:

(4) Nurture your passions and express your uniqueness — no one else can or will, for that matter

(6) Persist and pivot to navigate external threats and opportunities.

(3) Pick options designed to attract better opportunities.  You don’t want to miss out on lucrative jobs or entrepreneurial ventures that will fuel  a real change in your lifestyle.

(7) Choose the ‘Preneur’ business model that brings out the best in you – freelancing, consulting, franchising, Internet marketing or establishing a Knowledge ATM.

 

Dreamers

Your father long ago told you to grow up and quit pursuing acting as a career.”

Piecing Together Your Dreams
Pursuing their dreams: actors, writers and directors; stragglers, success stories and hard-luck cases.

An excerpt from Book One in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find more meaning and passion in your life.

It’s an old story.

Wanna be actors land in Hollywood chasing an elusive dream.

More recently, during the winter of 2012 – 2013, Kurt Streeter, writing for the Los Angeles Times, hung out at an unpretentious cafe in Atwater Village.

Coffee Shop Communities

He profiled one of the neighborhood residents who moved there three years.

Like many others chasing his dream he had been acting since the age of three, but was still waiting for his big break.  

The regulars, a group of a dozen or so, eased his loneliness and shared his Hollywood ambition:

Hollywood Land of Dreams

Amy, the animator who had worked on “South Park,” Nicholas, whose latest film was well received at the Sundance Film Festival, and a rising African American actor who worried about being typecast in criminal roles.

They stayed for hours, talking, typing, hunched hard over laptops, nursing lattes.

They were actors, writers and directors; stragglers, success stories and hard-luck cases.

Mobile Writers and Freelancers

A woman reads over her dissertation; a freelance reporter plans his next story; two producers discuss financing for an independent movie.

Observing the scene, the servers and baristas say, look this is their place so you don’t bother them.

But over time you begin to notice.

“After a while you just see them sort of losing hope. And then, just like that, we don’t see them anymore.”

Privately, after so many failed attempts, the internal dialog goes something like this —

Is it time to give up on your dream of making it in Hollywood? 

Your father long ago told you to grow up and quit pursuing acting as a career.

“It’s so easy to say that. 

Easy to criticize, doubt, say ‘give up’ and  ‘I told you so.’ … I’ve never been one for easy.”

Steps:

(4) Nurture your passions and express your uniqueness — no one else can or will, for that matter.