Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Prepping for the April A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Wednesday starts the April ABC blogging challenge," I said to the Husband late last night. "I've run out of juice. I have no ideas at all."

"What letter are you on?" he asked.



We both laughed at the same time.

Since 2010, the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  has been an annual event in blogland. Every day, except Sunday, participants post something about a subject beginning with the letter of the day. April 1, naturally, would be any subject beginning with A.  

I did the challenge in 2013, entering both Take 25 to Hollister and my other blog. It was fun, but tough, so last year I decided to just enter The View from the Top of the Ladder. This year, since my goal is to post every day on the two blogs, I've entered both of them in the blogathon.

Each blog has a theme. I'm going simple with Take 25 to Hollister. The theme is Hollister. Go ahead and laugh. It's not as easy as I thought it would be. Think about it. I can't write about the Pinnacles, Fremont's Peak,  or other things outside of the city limits, unless I tie it into Hollister somehow. That's the challenge I've given myself. Of course, being that I'm the boss here, I can change my rules. Maybe then I can come up with a subject for the letter A.

For those curious, food is my theme for The View from Top of the Ladder. You're welcome to check me out there, too. I pretty much have a line-up of tales ready to go. As for Take 25 to Hollister. . . stay tuned for tomorrow, dear readers.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Wildflowers on the Anza Trail

Yesterday, the Husband and I walked a bit of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail (pshew, that's a mouthful) in San Juan Bautista.  Butterflies and grasshoppers escorted us throughout the walk, bees serenaded us, and wildflowers greeted us as well. The flowers showed up in all sorts of places along the trail.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Sunday Flashback: A Sign of the Past

I've always liked the sign "San Juan Gardens" that graces the side gate at Vertigo Coffee in San Juan Bautista. I like to imagine a donkey playing under the sign.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Morning, Mustard, Maze, and Musing

I took a short ride on the bicycle this morning, stopping on Hillcrest Road to take in the sweet view of the yellow mustard and the soon-to-be covered fields that were once-upon-a-time apricot orchards. When the trees came down, I was surprised to see Marguerite Maze Middle School from Hillcrest Road. I still am, for that matter. Another view that will be gone, too.

Wouldn't that be wonderful if the field on Hillcrest became a park instead? Now, that could be a perfect place for an outdoor public pool. Just a thought.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Memories of Bolado Park

Today's post is a memoir of Bolado Park, written by Robyn Detherage Asimus, who lived in Hollister once upon a time. Robyn wrote this piece several ago for our defunct 1971 Balers website. She kindly has allowed me to republish it here. All photos are courtesy of Robyn. Thank you, Robyn!

Bolado Park

 © Robyn Detherage Asimus 

I loved those summers at Bolado Park. I can still remember those magical summers in the 60s as if it were yesterday. . . .

Entrance to the Swimming Pool

Driving down the long hill from Tres Pinos, the golf course on the left, rounding the last corner to begin your first glimpse of Bolado Park. The long, long grassy area and the rodeo grandstands, pulling into the parking lot, walking up the stairs, through the main doors, and there on the right was the most beautiful sight in the whole world. The unbelievably big, beautiful, blue swimming pool. The water sparkled in the sun. WOW!! How I loved summers at Bolado.

Swimming, diving, synchronized swimming pageants. Doing front and back flips off the board, (wearing a tee shirt so that I wouldn’t sting my back), being on the swim team, and practicing until I thought that my legs would fall off.

The Dance Hall

And the most important event at Bolado Park………BOYS !! (Hello, Burgie Valenzuela, Greg Guerra, Joe and Bob Maddox, Doug Goularte, Tom Medeiros, just to name a few….)

Remember the upper deck sunbathing area down by the shallow end? Of course, us girls never went there. We all knew that the cute boys were at the deep end, swimming, diving, and just sitting on the bench looking good.

The smell of Coppertone and Sea & Ski suntan lotion, the baskets we used to put our clothes in and the pin with the number on it that went with it. (Remember those?) The huge dance floor, knotty pine wood everywhere and the juke box playing our favorite songs over and over again. Surfer Girl, Help me Rhonda, I Get Around, Dead Man’s Curve, and Do the Locomotion With Me. (Just to name a few.)


The Snacks at the Concession Stand

I loved the hamburgers at Bolado. I always ordered mine with just mayonnaise and pickles. What was I thinking?

Bazooka Bubble Gum that was shaped long—kind-of like a tootsie roll, cream soda, Big-Hunk candy bars, and those delicious milkshakes.

The Staff
I have lots of special memories of the employees there, too. Lovey ran the main cash register. (I was scared to death of her.)  Cleva Harlan and Vivian Kaiser, sisters, and the main cooks.

Martha Hatch, Dave Tomasini, (also a mailman in town; he rode a bike to deliver the mail, remember him?) and Dean and George Clevenger, super-hunk brothers from the Bay Area. (Okay I just threw that in—they are actually my cousins, but according to their wives, still super hunks.)

Frank and Julie Escover: Frank was the groundskeeper and drove the little cart around; Julie was his cutie-pie daughter. Tommy and Francine Medeiros. Did she not have the most perfect ponytail in the whole world?

Coach Hardin, Pete Maddox, and Pat McCone were the main lifeguards. Peggy Slater was the swimming teacher who gave private lessons. Not many people knew that Peggy had taught soldiers in World War II how to swim under the water and avoid the burning fuel on the surface when their ship was attacked. She was responsible for saving many lives.


Pop Burns

Of course, my grandfather “Pop” Burns, who by the way was also the best grandpa in the whole wide world. He always had a huge set of keys hanging from his side and a hug and a smile for me.

As great as my life has been I would give anything just to step back in time to the 60’s again and spend a day at Bolado Park swimming, laying in the sun and just living the good life again.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The California Welcome Center—Salinas

The other day, the Husband and I dropped into the California Welcome Center in Salinas so that I could get some brochures and such about Salinas and Monterey County to inspire me with future story ideas. Sure, I could research the Internet, and I shall, but I also like to read printed materials. Call me old, I don't mind it. Besides, I love going into visitors centers. It's like going into a library, which I also love to visit, and being welcomed by books full of knowledge and entertaining stories. The California Welcome Center in Salinas certainly lived up to that. 

It's a bright and cheery place with friendly, helpful staff. That morning, the Husband and I met Inez Don Carlos, Assistant Manager, who kindly kept pulling out brochures, pamphlets, and maps of some familiar and many not-so-familiar places to check out in Monterey County. She also gave us tips of places to visit in Salinas, such as the windmill at the Harden Foundation (which I'll write about another day), and when are the best times to visit the area. For instance, in the summer, you might plan your trips around the various festivals that take place in Monterey County. 

State welcome centers are located throughout California, each covering a particular region. The California Welcome Center in Salinas is one of three centers in the California Central Coast, and it covers the Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties. Although designated by the state of California, the nonprofit welcome centers are not run by it. Some are connected with a city visitor's center or a chamber of commerce, while others, such as the Salinas center, are independent. 

The Salinas center has a plethora of brochures, pamphlets, maps, and gorgeous visitor guides to help you plan your adventures and tours for visiting families and friends, not just in our area, but also in other parts of California. You'll also find books, postcards, and souvenirs of our area for sale at the center. Be sure to check out the maps on the wall that show where visitors to the center have come. It's rather impressive. 

The center is located at 1213 North Davis Road, at the south end of the shopping complex that's on the west side of Highway 101, near the Laurel Street exit. It's open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Here is its Facebook page and website.

By the way, did you know that the artichoke has been our official state vegetable since 2013? Who knows how long I would've gone ignorant about that fact if we hadn't stepped into the California Welcome Center in Salinas the other morning. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Llamas in San Juan Bautista

Sure, everyone knows about the wild chickens roaming the streets of San Juan Bautista. But, who knows about the llamas?

Now, did I say they are live llamas?

But, there are live llamas in San Benito County. Oils of Paicines raises llamas on their ranch just north of the Pinnacles National Park. They shear the animals yearly and turn their wool into fiber which they sell.

Back to the llamas in San Juan. If you want to check them up close, here's where you'll find them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Driving the Back Road Home

Yesterday, the Husband and I took San Juan Grade Road back from Salinas. We figured the scenic route was the best way to get back home during the evening commute. I drove the wiggly road at an old fogey's pace, but it seemed like we got to San Juan Bautista just as fast as if we took the highway.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hollister Airshow Coming in June

Look, up in the sky! By the clock tower on Fourth and San Benito Streets.

Nope. No Superman. I just couldn't resist. But, it's a nice segue for the annual Hollister Airshow that will be on Father's Day weekend, June 20 and 21, 2015. Click here to go to the airshow's website for the details.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Sunday Flashback: A Once-Upon-a-Time Bank

As you look at the photo, imagine it's the 1960s. A bank counter goes across the floor, which is parallel with the wall, just a few feet in front of the reflections on the floor. Equally spaced across the counter are teller windows and behind the windows are female clerks helping Bank of America customers.

Once upon a time that's what took place in this building on the northwest corner of San Benito and Fifth Streets. Bank of America built the building in the early 1930s.  Today, it's home to The Vault, which rents out the first and second floors for social and business events.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Online Resources about San Benito County

Are you looking for online resources to help you plan for a visit to Hollister, San Juan Bautista, the Pinnacles National Park, or somewhere else in San Benito County? The websites below are a good place to start. Click on the headings to go to the sites. And, if you want to learn about some upcoming 2015 events in San Benito County, check out this link on Take 25 to Hollister.

Hollister Downtown Association

San Benito County Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber of Commerce also has a website, but it was being redesigned when I wrote this post.  It may be up now. Click here for its website.

San Juan Bautista

Pinnacles National Park

A definite must-do is a visit to the Pinnacles National Park. Although it is the newest park in the U.S. National Park Service, it has been part of the system since 1908 as the former Pinnacles National Monument.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring, Solar Eclipse, and Supermoon!

Today is the official day of Spring.  Whooo-hoo! At 3:45 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Savings Time), the sun is directly above the equator, marking what is known as the Vernal Equinox. That's when the Earth experiences 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night during its orbit around the sun. It happens again on the Autumnal Equinox.

Another cool thing that's happening in the sky today is a total solar eclipse. Unfortunately, we won't be able to see the eclipse in our part of the world. The scientists say that a solar eclipse on Vernal Equinox is rare.  Even more extraordinary is a solar eclipse occurring on the Vernal Equinox when there is a Supermoon, which is a new (or full) moon being at its closest point to the Earth. And that's happening today! Wowza!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The One and Only Hollister

I like how the orange banners are a bright pop of color in Downtown Hollister. How about you? The Hollister Downtown Association is responsible for their creation and posting them up. If you look closely, you'll see a name of a Hollister business on each flag. You can also see the HDA's logo—(The Original™) Hollister California.

When the HDA's logo first came out, I thought that it was weird to see the parenthetical original. Is it suppose to be a whisper?  "Ssssh. We're Hollister California, not that fake place that's plastered on clothing. Ssssh."

Today, I read the parenthetical original differently. It's more like "We are the one and only Hollister, California!" Yup.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Not So Incongruous

Once upon a time, I thought it was weird to see palm trees outside of Southern California. Oaks, pines, and redwoods are part of our natural landscape and, of course, all the apricot, apple, walnut and all other fruit and nut orchards that once covered Hollister and San Juan Valley.

Then as I grew older, mourning the decimation of trees for progress,  I accepted the sight of palm trees in Northern California. Like all living trees, they give us oxygen, shade, aesthetic pleasure, and hope. I still think it is weird to see them outside of Southern California. But, just a little bit.

How I ramble. The gorgeous conifer tree and palm trees in the photo stand along San Felipe Road on the north edge of Downtown Hollister.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Old County Jail

Yup, that's the old San Benito County Jail on Fourth Street. Built in 1949, the prison cells were on the second floor, which accommodated 50 prisoners. It was used until 1992 when a much larger correctional facility opened on Flynn Road. The old jail is still used for some kind of purpose by the San Benito County Sheriff's Office.

In 1875, a jail was erected nearby this one on Fourth Street. Here's a description of the jail and it's location, which I copied (including spelling and punctuation) from this web page at Newspaper Abstracts.com.
The New County Jail -- The San Benito county jail is to cost $10,000 and will be completed in April proximo. Messrs. BOOTH & CORY, the contractors and builders, are making fast progress with the work. The building will be 1 story high and its dimensions 38x60 feet. The walls, which are up, extend about 20 feet from the floor to the roof…The design is by Theodore LENZEN, the skillful architect of San Jose. Like all structures reared for the accommodation of law breakers, this is not very attractive. Located at the rear of the court house, in Col. HOLLISTER’s late handsome garden, opposite the Montgomery Hotel, where fruit, evergreen and pepper trees abound, it is well shaded from view and will probably rarely be observed by the many guests of that increasingly popular house.
— San Benito Advance, March 6, 1875

The Montgomery Hotel was the former residence of William Welles Hollister, for which the town of Hollister was named. The hotel once stood where the new courthouse is today on Fourth Street.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ocean Mural in Downtown Hollister

The biker's mural on the Wentz Alley side of Johnny's Bar and Grill  is a familiar sight. Hundreds of bikers and tourists take photos of it as they visit Hollister, the "Birthplace of the American Biker." Not so familiar is the ocean mural on Johnny's patio.

Today, I'm linking up with Monday Mural hosted by Oakland Daily Photo. To see other murals from other parts of the world, please click here.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Sunday Flashback: The 19th Century Fire Station

In 19th century Hollister, fire stations were known as hose barns and the new city had two of them. This was Hose Cart #2 and was located on Swope Alley, near Monterey Street.

A few years ago, this historic building was moved to the San Benito County Historical and Recreation Park in Tres Pinos.

To learn more about Hose Cart #2, check out this link.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Walking Through Wentz Alley

As some of you dear readers know, I like to walk with the Husband through the alleys of Hollister. In some alleys, we get a sense of a time gone by. In the alleys in the Downtown Hollister Historical District, we see perspectives and angles of the buildings that are rather interesting and exciting. So, today, I'm sharing a few sights that we recently saw in Wentz Alley, between Monterey and San Benito Streets.

The Original Sanctuary

The Hollister United Methodist Church started as the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1862. Ten years later, the church constructed its first building, a wooden structure, on the corner of Fifth and Monterey Streets. When the brick building was raised in 1910, the wooden structure became the church's social hall, which is visible from Wentz Alley.

Industrial Doors

Quickly take a look at these historic buildings on Fifth Street. At which building do you think you would find these handsome heavy industrial doors on its backside? Go ahead, I'll wait.

Did you choose the Ross Building (345 Fifth Street)? The building looks so delicate and petite to have these doors, but yet that's where you'll see them. The original owner configured the office building so that it could easily be turned into a supermarket if, at anytime he, or a future buyer, wanted to do so.


I like this alley view of Downtown Hollister from behind Johnny's Bar and Grill. It's an interesting intersection of lines of the various buildings, don't you think?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Shopping at Muenzer's Keys & Teez

Yesterday, the Husband and I brought some out-of-town friends over to Muenzer's Keys & Teez on Fifth Street to show them what truly Hollister, California tee-shirts look like. Yup, they purchased themselves a couple of original designs by Jan Muenzer Holthouse.

Have you been by the shop lately? If you haven't, or never have, check it out the next time you're in Downtown Hollister.  By the way, if you're looking for items that the Muenzers once sold at their old store, you might check out Muenzer's Ebay store at this link.

Aren't these bags cool? They're also original designs by Jan.

Yes, these are keys! Can you find the sugar skull?

Be sure to check out the historical display while at the shop. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

November – December 2015 Annual Events in San Benito County

Here are some annual events taking place in November and December of this year in San Benito County. Click the following links to find out about events in other months.


November 11: Veterans Day Parade  

November 28: 25th Annual Lights On Celebration  For its Facebook page, click here


To Be Announced: 4th Annual Holiday Stroll Through Time in San Juan Bautista

To Be Announced: 10th Annual Holiday in Lights Parade in San Juan Bautista 

December 18: Annual Holiday Bonfire/Hayden Christmas Celebration in San Juan Bautista

December 21: Winter Solstice at the Old Mission San Juan Bautista

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

August – October 2015 Annual Events in San Benito County

Here are some annual events taking place in August through October this year in San Benito County. Click the following links to find out about events in other months.


August 6 - 8: The Good Old Fashioned Blue Grass Festival  at Bolado Park

August 9: 51st Annual Antique and Collectibles Fair sponsored by the Rotary Club of San Juan Bautista  

To Be Announced: Vaquero Heritage Days in San Juan Bautista

To Be Announced: 2nd Annual Boots and Brews Family Fest   at Jardines de San Juan in San Juan Bautista


September 13: Mexican Independence Day Parade in Downtown Hollister

September 19 - October 18: Northern California Renaissance Faire at Casa de Fruta (weekends only)

September 26 - 27: Annual Cactus and Succulent Show Fall Sale in San Juan Bautista  

September 25: Double Road Race in San Juan Bautista


October 1 - 4: San Benito County Fair 

October 1 - 31: Pumpkin Junction at Casa de Fruta

October 17: 3rd Annual San Benito Olive Festival

October 23: San Benito High School Homecoming Parade Downtown Hollister

To Be Announced: 7th Annual San Juan Bautista Ghost Walk  sponsored by the Rotary Club of San Juan Bautista

To Be Announced: Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo Day" at San Juan Bautista State Historic Park

To Be Announced: Swank Farms Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch



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