My 4th of July: 1976

The 4th of July brings back memories of being a kid growing up in a LA suburb in the 70’s.  Life was pretty good.  The summers were hot, the barbecues were going   and when the firework stands went up, there was a special excitement in the air.

Ohhh what to pick!

Ohhh what to pick!

In those days our parents didn’t worry when we were gone from early morning til dark.  We didn’t have cell phones.  We spent the 35 cents to ride the bus to the beach, or .25 cents would get you an entire day at the local pool.

In those days we played with matches, lit our own sparklers, firecrackers and watched as our dads lined the tables with all sorts of goodies that would light up the night.  We didn’t wear shoes and someone was always cut or burned, but we hosed it off and kept on truckin’ as the saying went in those days. We didn’t were sunscreen or bicycle helmets and digging gravel outta your knees when you ate it going over a  rickety bike jump in the back ally was a right of passage even for the girls.   We took turns watching for traffic on our street as we practiced doing hand stands on our flex skate boards {mine was green and yellow swirls.  :)

There were water fights, secret meetings in the giant tree house in our yard, and hide and go seek games that lasted late into the night.

The fish was frying, cornbread was baking there was a pig buried deep in the ground that my dad watched over for a full day as is baked and a huge kettle of corn on the cob. The neighbor ladies carried in huge bowls of potato salad, slaw and baked beans.  Beer and sodas were on ice in big tubs, and there was a kid sitting on the ice cream maker literally freezing their butts off while another one cranked it until their arm wore out.


Making ice cream











All this may sound a bit out of place for a girl raised in LA, but my parents and most of those I grew up with were all from the south, and that’s how we did it.  Once the food was gone and the fireworks were over, my dad busted out the guitar and my mother or a family friend was at the piano, there was a fiddler and even someone on the spoons… it was a regular hoe down, or our own version of Hee Haw.


Just another fun filled day

Just another fun filled day


Life was pretty damned good and we never forgot what the day was all about.  We raised our flag, counted our blessings and mama made sure we knew that we were living in the greatest country in the world. I am pretty damned proud to be an American and this is still the best county in the world regardless of which side of the aisle you’re on.

Save Prado Dam The Biggest Patriotic Mural in America


Times have changed; fireworks as we knew it are a thing of the past.  Our kids can’t go 10 feet out the door without GPS strapped to their ass and their phones in their pockets, layered in sunscreen… Even though those days are past, I like to remember them and the good feeling that those long-lost dog days of summer bring me, because you can’t help but smile.

So Keep on Truckin, fire up the Q and finally, God Bless America

The Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival 2015

Getting a camp site at the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival is no easy task, but we lucked out for our first time out and landed the top spots on the grass surrounded by shade trees.  The spaces did not have all the hook ups just water, but somehow we managed.  We rolled in Thursday evening and were ready to relax and enjoy our long weekend with some good food, friends, and of course wine.


The Food and the Wine

The Food and The Wine


Temecula Balloon & Wine Fest


Our spaces came with two passes for the event.  So it was a bit of a sticker shock when our daughter joined us for Friday evening and it was a $25.00 entry fee.  Saturday was $30.00 and military only get discounts on Sunday.(gate prices) Which I think is crappy, and that’s being nice about it. Campers, if you needed internet access, that will cost you $24.95 per day, after you paid $275.00 plus dollars for a spot that is NOT full hook ups (water only) and there is NO phone service here. For those that plan on attending next year.  If you don’t camp, plan on leaving the are early or tailgate, because we watched the line of traffic sit and go no where until almost midnight.  There is only one way in, and one way out.


Waiting for the Balloon Glow

Waiting for the Balloon Glow



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Sunset at the Festival



We had just been to the Balloon Fest in Cave Creek Arizona the week before.  The entry fee was $10.00.  And it was the first time any of us had been and was a last – minute decision to go.  It was a real treat!  (So Yes, I am going to compare these two events.)

Cave Creek Arizona Balloon Fest

Cave Creek had plenty of things for the kids to do.  They had at least three jumpers, a mongo giant slide, and a spin til you puke ride and lots of grassy hills to play on. The kid activities were a few bucks each.  There was lots of food.  Drink tickets were quick to get and a drink was about $8.00.  The problem was you got $20.00 in tickets then had left over tickets, for which you could not buy anything.  So we gave them away on our way out the gate.  The event was so fun,  we really did get our money’s worth, then some. If you want to go next year check it out here

The cool thing was, of course the balloons. For a little town, Cave Creek did it right.  There had to be 15 balloons or more for the evenings glow and they were beautiful.  There was a butterfly and a happy face,  A bumble bear that was adorable.  You could walk right under them, a tunnel of hot air balloons and walk up to the basket and talk to the pilot.  It was pretty dang amazing and I have not had so much fun in years,  I felt like a little kid with a margarita!  What a score!

Cave Creek Balloon Glow

Cave Creek Balloon Glow

Super Cute Butterfly Balloon

Super Cute Butterfly Balloon



Cave Creek Balloon Glow

Sadly,   The Temecula Balloon and Wine fest had only five balloons for the balloon glow.  And looking at advertising for Toyota, Pechanga, and Remax,  was not really thrilling, it was a huge let down.  We thought that maybe they would bring the ‘A’ game for Saturday Night.  alas… they did not.

Temecula Balloon Glow

Temecula Balloon Glow


Temecula had a ton of vendors and the venue itself was nice.  I liked the layout of the with all the trees, it was like a little village.  We really did not hang around too long.  The drink tickets were crazy expensive, and the line to get tickets was out of control. Sadly there were only 18 wineries. And of those, only 10 were local.  A pretty weak showing for an area that boast 50 wineries.


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The best part of the weekend,  was waking up Saturday morning and watching the balloons float over the top of us and land out in that nice little grassy area, just feet from our camp site. Me with my coffee in one hand and a camera in the other managed to get some great photos.

Saturday Morning Balloons

Saturday Morning Balloons

Temeula Balloon and Wine Fest 2015

Smokey Bear

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That evening we played some Boccie Ball, on our Plastic, Pink Flamingo covered grass, threw some steaks on the grill as our friends gathered for the evening. Our friend Jason the Manager from Lorimar Vineyards shared some lovely wine with us, ( Like we didn’t already have a case of Lorimar in the trailer.) And we had a great time.


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Good Friends

My Best Pal

Kendle From Lorimar Vineyards

Billy Jo’s Birthday Flamingos

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Eric just being…

Will we go again…? Sure.  But now we have the Albuquerque, New Mexico and Boise, Idaho Balloon Fest in our sites,  and now that we are residents of Scottsdale.  Cave Creek will always be on the short list.