Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Jack London’s Beauty Ranch Spared

November 6th, 2017

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate About twenty years ago, I followed Billy and Saxon, characters in Jack London’s novel The Valley of the Moon, on their journey in a buckboard wagon up the coast of California on their search for the perfect place to land. They put down roots in what is now the Jack London Historic Park in Glen Ellen.  Jack purchased the land in 1905 and dubbed it his “Beauty Ranch.” In my essay Jack London and Me, I detail how my life and the master of adventure writing have intersected. I yearned to be closer to him and had to visit the haven he... Read More

Haines, Alaska: Gateway to Alaskan Adventures

September 5th, 2017

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate I have been migrating from Los Angles to Haines, the prettiest little town in Southeast Alaska, for the last 40 years. Like the arctic tern in its epic 25,000- mile round trip journey and the salmon’s primordial yearning to return to the clear waters of its birth, I come home. When snow-frosted peaks of the Coastal Range that hug the tiny berg and Port Seward come into view, I mist over.  Alaska is to me austere, rugged and moody, yet thrilling in its unrelenting beauty. Haines, population 2500, was once a homely pioneer town; now Main... Read More

Lose your Heart at the Laramie River Ranch

July 9th, 2017

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate Krista Burleigh, leading my ride, dreamed of owning a ranch and spending her life sharing her love of the outdoors and horses with her guests. She and husband Bill, roamed the West to find the perfect spot. They picked the Laramie River Ranch for its isolation and endless miles of trails that fan from the ranch and offer a variety of terrain and great footing for the horses. I have sampled many dude ranches and the LLR offers an unrivaled, rustic, authentic western experience on the back of well-trained, fit horses. From a distance the sage-covered... Read More

Going Solo on Safari

August 12th, 2016

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate Note: This is a second in Linda’s series of three articles detailing the Ultimate Safari experience with Overseas Adventure Travel, aka OATS, in the countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. She notes that the fantastic images accompanying her story are courtesy of Tom Schwab.  When I told friends I was going on the Ultimate Safari that would take me to Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, their first question was, “Are you going alone?” Well, yes, but not exactly. I told them that I would join a group of 14 other travelers upon... Read More

Botswana Highlights on the Ultimate Safari

June 28th, 2016

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate Note: This is a first in a series of three articles detailing the Ultimate Safari experience with Overseas Adventure Travel, aka OATS, in the countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. There is simply too much ground to cover in one article. It’s late May in Chobe National Park, Africa’s third largest wildlife preserve, and creatures great and small are fat and sassy. Tall golden grasses are plentiful. They are the favorite of the many herds of massive elephants and a host of antelope along with Cape buffalo, zebra, and more. The... Read More

Eyes on Africa

March 10th, 2016

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate I am thrilled to be taking the “Ultimate 17-day Safari” with Overseas Adventure Travel. It promises total immersion into the African culture and a close up and personal look at creatures large and small. We will travel  to conservation-minded Botswana; less-traveled Zimbabwe where I will partake of an elephant-back safari near Victoria Falls, the largest curtain of water in the world; and to Zambia for  incredible game viewing while canoeing the mighty Zambezi River. I have wanted to experience the Okavango Delta in Botswana since... Read More

Soak in the Serenity of St. Croix

October 7th, 2015

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate A single white sail drifts by where I lay on warm sand beneath a fringe of palm trees. Hotel guests on paddle boards and a family of locals floating like a raft of ducklings in translucent water share the unspoiled beach. St. Croix, the gentle virgin, as Cruzans call their sleepy isle, is off the grid for most tourists. Sitting on the horizon nearly 38 nautical miles way, bustling St. Thomas is bombarded with cruise ships three times a day, while St. Croix gets a visit about once a week! Sharon North Pohl, avid horsewoman and founder of... Read More

SLO’s Apple Farm Inn: A Sweet Spot on California’s Central Coast

July 11th, 2015

By Linda Ballou NABBW’s  Adventure Travel Associate Situated halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles in sun-kissed San Luis Obispo is the Apple Farm Inn, a perfect place to shake off the road dust. The Inn is easily accessed off of Highway 101, and its steaming outdoor spa and cool pool are guaranteed to smooth out the kinks. Stroll the delightful gardens overlooked by a saw mill replete with a working water wheel reminiscent of days gone by. SLO, as locals call it, is nestled in the heart of California’s wine country. Gracious hosts at the Apple Farm offer complimentary wines between... Read More

Glacier Bay: A Place You MUST Come and See

May 8th, 2015

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate John Muir explored the fiords of Glacier Bay in 1879 in a sixty-foot, spruce canoe with a Tlingit Indian guide. I’m glad to be aboard The Spirit of Adventure, a 150- passenger catamaran with two glass-enclosed decks to roam, and an open deck on top for viewing. Our Captain, a jaunty young woman with a ponytail down to her waist, is wearing a crisp naval white and blue uniform. The introduction to the cruise, given by the ship’s naturalist, a national park ranger, is interrupted by the sighting of a sow with two cubs. While I scan the... Read More

Sun Damage is Cumulative, But It Might Not Be Too Late to Save the Skin You’re In

March 1st, 2015

By Linda Ballou NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate  A glint of jealousy flashed in the eyes of my fellow adventurers on the jet boat ride out of the Grand Canyon when I whipped out my lightweight mask, secured it to the frame of my sunglasses, and turned to face 60-mile-an hour winds. This handy defense against the elements helped protect my skin from the wind and intense glare of the sun reflecting on the water. Less than an ounce of protection in my pack prevented me from receiving skin damage with no cure. In Alaska, where I grew up, it is said that there is no such thing as bad weather... Read More