Santa Barbara, Rincon, Santa Paula, the Sisters on the Fly

God, I love my state. I count my blessings every time I drive south along Highway 101 to Santa Barbara. One thing I was struck by this time, that I hadn’t noticed before, is how many Camino Real bells there are between King City and San Luis Obispo — one every five minutes or so. Does that mean there were once that many here at the northern end of the Royal Road between San Francisco and Sonoma?

Camino-Real-Sign-Bradley-CA

Let’s hope the ignorant general public continues to ignore them.

After leaving super early on a Wednesday, so I could clear the South Bay before rush hour, I made it to Santa Barbara by 2:00ish. I visited two places. The first was a retirement village named Samarkand after the hotel of that name that my great-grandmother Mary Hopkins established in the building that her son, my maternal grandfather, Prynce Hopkins, had built in Persian style for the Montesorri-like school he founded in 1913 called Boyland. (Long sentence, sorry. Sometimes it is difficult trying to be factually and historically correct.)

Samarkand

The blue urns, now planters, are remnants from the hotel. My great-grandmother probably imported them from the Middle-East where they were created to store olive oil. See the koi pond at the left? Grandpa built that for the school. Here is a photo from the history exhibit the complex displays. My aunt Jennifer Hopkins provided the old photo for the exhibit.

BoylandII-Pools

The round pool beyond the koi pond was a swimming pool for the school children. It was shaped like a globe to help teach the children geography.

The second place I visited was the Santa Barbara History Museum.

SantaBarbaraHistoryMuseum

Even though I have been visiting Santa Barbara since I was in my Mommy’s belly (to visit  her father [d. 1970] and grandmother Mary [d. 1955]), I had never been to the museum — at least that I remember. Here are some of the highlights for me.

First, I noticed upon entering the museum that the stone with the brass plaque to the left of the door is exactly like the gravestone for my great-grandfather Charles Harris Hopkins’ in the nearby Santa Barbara Cemetery (the photo below).

HopkinsCharlesGrave

Next, it was fun to see photos of Santa Barbara back when my great-grandparents moved there. They built their home on the corner of Pedregosa and Garden Streets back in 1897. Their son, Grandpa, who would have been twelve in 1897, later wrote about the horse-drawn trollies running down State Street. He mentioned that sometimes the trolly drivers waited outside a store for a rider to do her shopping, then continued on after she reboarded.

Old-Santa-Barbara

I also liked seeing this old embroidered silk shawl. I have one just like it that used to belong to my great-grandmother Mary. Maybe she used to wear it for the annual Santa Barbara Fiesta?

Shawl

I spent the night at the Rincon Parkway Campground, a strip of parking spaces along the highway between the ocean and the cliffs.

Next morning I headed to Santa Paula for a Sisters on the Fly weekend event. The Sisters on the Fly is a group of about 14,000 women around the US and Europe who like to camp and have fun. They have four rules for joining their events. 1) No men. 2) No children. 3) Be nice. 4) Have fun. The fun activitiy planned for this weekend was paddling kayaks along the coast of Anacapa Island.

That was Friday. On Saturday, we hung about the KOA campground, did some crafts, got to know each other over coffee, and then, following Sisters on the Fly tradition, toured the women’s camper trailers, or, as in my case, campervans. I only filmed the fun vintage trailers.

On Sunday, before heading to Pasadena to visit my grandchildren, I took advantage of Family Day in Santa Paula. All the museums were open for free. There is an Agricultural Museum,

SantaPaulaAgriculturalMuseum

an oil industry museum,

OilMuseum1

OIlMuseum2-OilRigs

and two art museums. The drive from Santa Paula to Pasadena through orange and avocado groves was very pretty, but the weather was cloudy. So I’m not going to include my photos.

That’s it for now.

Otis, Massachusetts

Hi there.

My ukulele and I have been in Massachusetts, where we performed Henry’s Big Kaboom for the children of Otis, population 1549. Otis is one of the 56± towns along the Henry Knox Trail. Ramsey and Annie stayed at home for this one. Here is a short video.

Women’s Rights and Child Labor Laws

Julia-Frances-Fanny-Baker-Ames-_Young-n-Old

Julia Frances ‘Fanny’ Baker Ames (1840-1931)

This is why studying my ancestors can be so interesting. Often I find connections between events in the distant past that enrich my understanding of events today. This time the women’s rights and child labor law connections are between my great-great-grandmother Fanny Baker Ames and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Yesterday I wrote up a bio of Fanny because she is being featured in an exhibit for the Massachusetts State Police Museum. Fanny lived in Boston in the 1880s, when she was in her 40s. While her husband Charles Gordon Ames busied himself as the minister of the Church of Disciples Unitarian Church, Fanny served as the president of the Boston Equal Suffrage Association, held offices in the Massachusetts and New England Woman Suffrage Association for Good Government, served two terms on the Boston School Committee, and was one of the first women on the original Board of Trustees for Simmons College.

Most relevant to this blog post, on May 9, 1891, Fanny was one of the first two women hired as officers for the Massachusetts State Police. The other woman, Mary Ellen Healy, lived in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Fanny and Mary Ellen worked as factory inspectors to help enforce the new child labor laws. Men officers were each paid $1,500 per year. The women were each paid $1,000 per year, though the men and the women did the same job. Fanny worked for the police until 1897. But Mary Ellen stayed on for 37 years.

Then this morning (February 20, 2018), on BBCNews Online, I read about Elizabeth Warren officially launching in Lawrence, Massachusetts her campaign for the 2020 Democratic race. “Ahh, Lawrence,” I thought, curiosity piqued because, of course, I remembered learning yesterday about Mary Ellen of Lawrence. I related to this news article with a completely different perspective than if I had not written Fanny’s bio yesterday.

“The Massachusetts senator told the crowd of several thousand in Saturday’s blustery cold about Everett Mill. …. Back in 1912 [when Mary Ellen was still an inspector there], the textile factory was the scene of a labor strike for better pay and working conditions that expanded to include 20,000 workers, mostly women, in the then-bustling industrial town.

The west side of Everett Mills as viewed from Essex Street.

Everett Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts. (Photo placed on Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, by EMC)

“The movement that started in Lawrence, [Warren] explained, led to government-mandated minimum wage, union rights, weekends off, overtime pay and new safety laws across the US. The story of Lawrence is a story about how real change happens in America,” Ms. Warren said. “It’s a story about power  –  our power  –  when we fight together.”

I suspect Elizabeth Warren caused as many eyes to roll as I do when I talk about my ancestors, but wouldn’t Fanny have been happy to know that six of the ten Democratic candidates running so far for President in 2020 (400 years after Fanny’s ancestors Francis Cooke and Richard Warren stepped off the Mayflower) are women? Richard Warren may well be Elizabeth Warren’s ancestor, too. Six degrees!

Massachusetts militia entering Everett Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912. Photo copyrighted by the Lawrence History Center.

Photo from the Lawrence History Center Exhibit: “Bread and Roses Strike of 1912: Two Months in Lawrence, Massachusetts, that Changed Labor History”

Holiday Closet Sorting

HopkinsChestVideo-prt2-Cover

Hi there. A few months ago, I reorganized my blogs so that this blog, Rambling in Ramsey, is just about my travels in my campervan and other RV-related thoughts, while my other blog, Peach Plum Press (the name of my publishing company), is about my writing projects. Since nearly all of my writing projects have to do with genealogy, I am now posting genealogy-related subjects on Peach Plum Press. For those of you would like to follow along, here is the link to Peach Plum Press.

https://peachplumpress.wordpress.com/

Happy Holidays

Last Leg of the Henry Knox Trail

Hi. I hope everyone had a fun Thanksgiving. Lucky me, I got to be with all three of my grandsons and their families. Meanwhile, I was able to finish this video compilation of my trip in September 2018 through southern Massachusetts following the Henry Knox Trail (West Springfield to Cambridge). I also visited some amazing libraries. I sorta screwed up on my video labeling. This is Part 2 of following the trail but actually, Part 4 of my series on being in New England doing Henry Knox related things.

As I noted in the comments section on YouTube:

For a copy of my sing-along children’s history book about the trail, Henry’s Big Kaboom, go to the Fort Ticonderoga Museum Store at http://www.fortticonderoga.org and click the ‘shop’ tab. You can also order it on Amazon. You can view the animated video (same title – Henry’s Big Kaboom) on YouTube.

To view my video about following the first part of the Henry Knox Trail go to https://youtu.be/aD9fu4BeTzI.

For a written guide (pdf) to following the Henry Knox Trail, check out the Hudson River Valley Foundation website at http://www.hudsonrivervalley.org/themes/knoxtrail.html. They updated the guide a year ago.

That’s it for now. Keep on Rambling.

USA Swing Videos – Pasadena to Vermont to Maryland to Pasadena

Brochures for the National Parks I saw on my westward leg of my USA Swing

Traveling westward, I visited 5 National Parks, 3 National Historic Sites, 5 National Monuments, 1 National Recreation Site and 1 National Historical Park as well as county and state parks.

I’ve just posted on to YouTube my video’s of my August to September USA Swing. In the second video, I included a clip about how I found free or inexpensive campsites using an app called AllStays.

Here are the links. The video for the trip eastward takes about 12 minutes and the video for the trip home is 33 minutes. I love it when people leave comments on YouTube and subscribe to my channel.

I feel so lucky to have been able to see our spectacular county this way. Next time I take this trip, I will make it in October and November when it is cooler.

Back to California

 

A map of my 2018 swing around the USA.

Green dots indicate destinations that are part of the National Parks system. Red dots indicate cities I visited for family reasons.

It’s great to be back to the land of In-n-Out Burger, though I haven’t had one yet. From Pasadena to Pasadena, my Swing Around the USA took 38 days and 37 nights. If you count San Rafael to San Rafael, I will have been away from home 48 days and 47 nights. For the purposes of this blog, here are some statistics from the Pasadena to Pasadena loop:

The number of miles driven: 8733
The number of gallons of gas burned: 475
The cost of 475 gallons of gas: $1421
The cheapest gas was in Texas at 2.39/gallon.
The most expensive gas was in Blythe, California at 3.89/gallon
The average amount spent on campgrounds: $16/night
The number of animals I saw as roadkill: 3 beaver, 1 snake, 1 deer, and 6 armadillos —I got the impression that armadillos move slowly — plus countless opossums, raccoons, and squirrels.
I saw only 1 bear. He/she was alive.
The amount spent on propane: $6.95
The number of cans of iced Arizona Green Tea I drank: 15
The average amount spent on food per day: $16

My last set of tours included the ancient American native sites in Arizona. There are a lot of them. I only saw the National Monuments of Wupatki, Walnut Canyon, and Montezuma’s Castle.

American Indians in the Four Corners region

American Indians in the Four Corners region

The Wupatki lived north of today’s Flagstaff, elevation 7000 feet, surrounded by volcanos.

Here is a rendering of what archaeologists think the place looked like 900 years ago.

Their civilization was nearly wiped out when the Sunset Crater volcano erupted. The volcano is its own national monument (i.e. another stamp on my National Parks Passport).

The photo above is of some of the hills still covered in cinders.

Within the city limits of Flagstaff, I arrived at a narrow, deep gorge called Walnut Canyon, where from as far back as a thousand years ago people lived in caves.

My final stop was Montezuma’s Castle.

I remember seeing it when my parents took my two brothers and me on a road trip to Santa Fe in 1964. My family was allowed to walk around the ancient ruins, which have since been closed off to the public because they were being worn away. The park built a model of a cross section showing what the castle might have looked like.

Annie was allowed on the quarter-mile path to see the castle. Fortunately, the path was shaded with sequoia trees. It was 100 degrees out and I had more desert to drive through to get back to Pasadena. When my family drove to Santa Fe back in 1964, we followed Route 66. There are many remains of the old route along today’s Interstate 40. I wanted to spend my last night in Quartzsite, Arizona, which I had heard about. But I couldn’t reach it before dark. Instead, I watched my last desert sunrise from a Rest Stop.

My final drive through the desert the next morning was lovely.

The entomologists at the Smithsonian would envy Ramsey’s bug collection. There are bug splats from 28 states. Now I get the challenge of washing them off.

 

 

 

 

Indian Territory

Back to having fun. Near Santa Fe, New Mexico, I came to Pecos National Historic Site, where stands the foundations of a pueblo and a Spanish church built in 1690. Underneath those structures, and in surrounding excavations, archaeologists have unearthed evidence of people living in this key geographic area for over 9000 years — hence the site’s preservation by the National Parks and why Santa Fe grew up near by.

With my brain packed with the area’s history, I drove on to the charming Santa Fe itself. I’ve been there before, but it’s amazing how different the experience is driving to a place knowing its historical and geographical significance versus arriving by train or plane.

I walked around the plaza looking for a coffee shop (my jewelry box is already stuffed with silver jewelry, so shopping was of no interest) and settled for a cookies and cream ice cream cone. Annie was allowed in the shop. She’s great at meeting people for me. While slurping, I chatted with the couple sitting next to me. They were also from the San Francisco Bay Area.

There was still enough time to head south again to Albuquerque to see the Petroglyph National Monument. The Visitor Center is in the center of the park, but not within walking distance of the petroglyphs. Since it was still too hot to leave Annie in the car, I decided to check into the nearby High Desert RV Park and tour the old Route 66. I would return to the trails when it cooled. Then some dark clouds arrived and suddenly it was pouring rain out.

I realized I loved my dog more than I loved petroglyphs. I will return to see the petroglyphs when I’m dogless.

Next was a second badlands National Park known by the Spanish word El Malpais. The park is basically a huge sea of lava (3.5 million years old) surrounded by sandstone cliffs (150 million years old). I drove down one side then the other, which took about two hours.

Gorgeous.

Then I backtracked ten miles to see the Indian Pueblo called Sky City. As its name implies, it sits on top of a bluff. The drive up to the pueblo was worth the trip, but the museum was worthless. To see the actual pueblo, I needed to pay a large fee and leave Annie in a strange kennel for a couple hours. I contented myself with viewing the pueblo via a YouTube video.

Thank goodness the site is being preserved for history sake. The Sky City Casino helps pay the renovation bills. What counts is what was.

Heading back west again, and only 30 minutes down the road from the east side of El Malpais, and across the Continental Divide,

I reached El Morro National Monument. I loved this place. The rock “headland” creates a gate on the south side of the centuries-old east-west trail.

It also serves as a landmark for a water pool that collects at the base of the cliff.

The pool has been the drinking fountain for travelers since forever. It is 150 miles from any other water source. Indians left petroglyphs on the wall of the cliff by the pool. The Spanish explorers signed their names with the message, “passed by here.” So did the pioneers. Dates range from 1607 through the 1800s.

The National Park ranger gave me a guide that explained the history behind each inscription. For example, two pioneer sisters who signed their names continued on through the Mohave, survived a bloody Indian raid, and ended up settling in Fresno, California. One of the Spanish explorers, General Don Diego de Vargas “was here” in 1692.

You’ve got to see this place for yourself.

Moving on, I ate lunch in the Zuni Village. Roasted corn. Yum.

Crossing into Arizona, I spent the afternoon driving the 28 miles north to south through Petrified National Forest.

First the Painted Desert.

Then the petrified logs. My photos don’t do justice to any of this. The colors and the expansive vistas must be experienced in person.

I’m going to visit more ancient pueblos tomorrow. I’ve been on the road for 40 days. I’m ready to head home.

Baby Cows, a Baby Bear, and a Beautiful Bride

This vacation has been so packed with fun that my head is swimming. Or is that the heat and humidity that is making my brain fuzzy?

While in Vermont, and while the tent was going up and my-sister-in-law baked 19 wedding cakes (or was it 13?), I got some more stamps on my National Parks Passport. 35 minutes south of my brother Tom’s house, I toured the Saint-Gauden National Historic Site. S-G was a talented sculptor who specialized in bronze-casted, life-sized statues of important people like Abe Lincoln. The NHS was his home and gardens.

More fun was driving through the covered bridge each way. Ramsey is 9’3″ tall, the limit, so I stayed in the middle of the bridge. A local I met later at an ice cream stand told me this bridge is the longest covered bridge in North America.

By the following day, my other brother, Charlie, and his wife Paula had joined the menagerie. They accompanied me in visiting the much more lively Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park. The site includes a working dairy farm — all gold-colored Jersey cows. The best part is the nursery for the little calves. I took a ton of videos, which I’ll insert in my YouTube summary of this trip. For now, here is another still shot.

They had a terrific museum about local farming and a well-done movie about George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882), who first established the estate, Frederick Billings (1823-1890), who bought the estate from Marsh in 1869, and Laurence Rockefeller (1910-2004), who married Billings’ granddaughter Mary French.

The men never met each other. The most important thing they had in common is that they were conservationists. The grounds and house are lovely, but not as fun to see as the cows.

The wedding of my niece Megan to Tom of NYC (yes, another Tom in the family) went off without a hitch. No rain, a huge blessing since it interfered with the wedding of Megan’s parents, Tom and Marguerite, on the same knoll 32 years ago. A haze blocking the sun kept it from being too hot.

After bagels at my brother’s house and goodbyes to Megan and Tom, due to return to Thailand the next day, I headed south. It was Labor Day. I stayed in a charming RV Resort by a stream, where I was able to catch up on my laundry. (Not in the stream.) The highlight of the night was a small bear who lives nearby, raiding their dumpster at night. Apparently, there is no mommy bear anywhere.

He spent a lot of time relaxing on a large boulder across the stream from Ramsey, but not that far. He watched me with lonely eyes and I wished I could feed him but knew better.

My task for today, Tuesday, through Friday, is to visit the final 20 monuments on the Henry Knox Trail. I’ll visit five each day, ending in Cambridge. In general, the trail follows Route 20 as it crosses Massachusetts from West Springfield.

Today I first found West Springfield’s monument.

Then Springfield’s. The monument is in front of the National Armory NHS (also started by Henry Knox), so I toured that, too, and got another stamp on my passport.

Then Wilbraham.

Then Palmer.

Finally Warren.

After finding each monument, I took a photo of it, then drove to the local library and donated a copy of Henry’s Big Kaboom to the children’s department.

The Most Charming Library of the Day Award goes to the Warren Library.

I had written ahead to the libraries, so they expected me. Palmer (today) and Northborough (Thursday) asked me to perform with my ukulele. I like doing that. My goal is to educate the towns along the route so that in 2026 when the Train of Artillery is reenacted to celebrate our nation’s 250th birthday, the residents will actually know what’s happening.

Tonight I am at Wells State Park not far from Brookfield, Mass, where I start up again tomorrow. Too bad I don’t have time to see nearby Sturbridge Village.

Made It to Vermont

15 days from departing Pasadena, California, I drove into gorgeous, Vermont, where my niece is getting married on Sunday. It’s Labor Day weekend. She and her betrothed are here at her parents from their own home in Thailand. The family is gathering from all over.

USA Swing Statistics So Far

I traveled through 16 states to get here.

I toured 8 National Parks, 4 National Historic Parks, 4 National Monuments (5, if you count Scott’s Bluff, which I saw from a distance), 1 National River and Recreation Area, 1 National Historic Site, 1 National Heritage Corridor, and crossed over 1 National Historic Trail. My National Parks Passport has all sorts of cancellation stamps in it.

I spent 4 nights in RV parks, 5 nights in state parks, 1 free night in a rest area, 1 free night boondocking on public land, and 3 nights parked in front of relative’s homes.

I stopped for gas 29 times. The most I spent for gas was $3.49/gal in Bryce Canyon NP, and the least was $2.69/gal in Minnesota.

My favorite campground was Fort Robinson in Nebraska, and my favorite food was the beef with barley soup I bought take-out from their restaurant.

Best of all, I’ve made 4 new fellow-RVer friends!

Since my last post, and before leaving Buffalo, I stopped briefly in the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. It was the home of Ansley and Mary (Grace) Wilcox on September 14, 1901, where Teddy Roosevelt was staying when he learned that President William McKinley had died. McKinley had been shot by an assassin in Buffalo eight days earlier on September 6. Teddy was sworn in as the new president in the library of the house (now part of HIS National Parks) four hours after McKinley’s death.

Annie was waiting in the car, so I took a quick look around, collected the brochure, and stamped my passport.

About an hour and a half hour northeast, I reached the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, which is also along the route of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

As it states on the placard, this is the only National Park dedicated to a movement. I was allowed to take Annie with me on the walk around Elizabeth Candy Stanton’s home.

We peeked in the windows.

And we walked to the Seneca River below, which was, in Stanton’s day, part of the canal system.

The Visitor’s Center is across the river in the old industrial town of Senaca Falls, named after the Senaca Indians who once lived there. But, as you can see from my dashboard , it was 98 degrees out. (You can also see that Ramsey passed his 20,000 mile mark.)

Dogs are not allowed in the National Parks Visitor Centers, so with the car still running and air conditioner blasting, I dashed into the center to stamp my passport, collect the National Park brochure, and snap this photo of a tour going on that I had to miss. You can barely see the ranger guide behind the suffragettes.

I drove through the next town over from Senaca Falls, Waterloo, to see (through the van window) the homes of Mary Ann M’Clintock and Jane Hunt. Annie wasn’t welcome in the Waterloo Memorial Day Museum either, so we skipped that in favor of a chocolate mint ice cream cone.

Then traveling I-90, which follows the Erie Canal as it heads to Albany from Buffalo, we headed to Fort Stanwix National Monument. The fort used to guard the stretch of land between Lake Ontario and the Hudson River, waterways important from the earliest fur trading days, and even before by the American Indians. Traders used to carry their canoes and other boats from the lake to the river, hence the land was considered a portage. Eventually the city of Rome, New York, grew around and over the fort. Like its namesake, all roads led to Rome, and it was the center of the Empire (State).

110 miles due east, I arrived at Saratoga National Historic Park on the corridor of the Hudson River. I had driven past it last June when I followed the Henry Knox Trail. Henry’s Train of Artillery passed by Bevis Heights, where the park is, in December 1776. The Battle of Saratoga, during which Benedict Arnold took a lead role, occurred in September 1777. The park consists of the visitor center and the battlefields. The road through the latter was closed for repair. Missed that. But it was cool enough to leave Annie in the van so I could watch the movie about the battles and see the exhibits in the visitor center.

A five-year-old boy overheard me ask one of the rangers if many visitors to the park were also following the Henry Knox Trail. The boy ran to his parents who then informed me that the lad was a huge fan of Henry Knox. The family was indeed in the middle of following the Henry Knox Trail (even using the same guide I used in June from the Hudson Valley Foundation), had visited the Henry Knox Museum in Thomaston Maine, and bought my book. The young boy has been driving his parents crazy with the Kaboom chorus just as my four-year-old grandson has been driving his parents crazy.

How fun to have a fan!

I gave a copy of Henry’s Big Kaboom to Saratoga NHP. Who knows? Maybe they will add it to their bookstore.

Here is the view of the battlefield. Beyond that is the Hudson River, and beyond that are the Green Mountains.

I made it to my brother’s in Vermont in time to interrupt dinner with the in-laws-to-be. I parked Ramsey across the street on the lawn of an abandoned house, made myself a bean and cheese quesadilla, and opened my last Corona. What a great trip it has been had so far.