What Do You Get at a Travel and Adventure Show?

 Marketing Travel, adventure
Santa Clara Travel and Adventure Show

Marketing Travel and Adventure Ideas to Vacationers

Nearly fifteen hundred vendors and five hundred travel agencies represented tourist attractions around the world. They marketed events and attractions in their corners of the world at the Santa Clara Travel and Adventure Show on February 11-12, 2017.  Potential tourists from the San Francisco, Santa Clara County area packed into the Convention Center to plan their summer vacations.

Chambers of Commerce and city representatives from across Tulare County meet monthly as the Sequoia Tourism Council. This body proposes ways to promote tourism in Tulare County. Part of this promotion is to attend three travel shows across the state. The first show is in Santa Clara, followed by the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show, completed by the San Diego show.

Marketing Travel, adventure
My left arm is not deformed. I’m holding our 2017 Visitors’ Guide, “Find Your Awe.” Chris Brewer donated the treasured 1892 Atlas of Tulare County on my right.

It was my privilege, along with four other representatives from Tulare County to attend the Santa Clara show. We set up our booth in the California rows ready to greet visitors and pass out free Sequoia Tourism Visitors’ Guides. We urged our neighbors from the north to come to Tulare County.

Marketing Travel, adventureTotal attendance was up two thousand to nearly 20,000 visitors in Santa Clara’s 108,000 square foot Convention Center Exhibit Hall. Before the doors opened crowds lined up encircling the auditorium while the vendors put finishing touches on their booths. Presenters and their representatives wove through the lines passing out admission tickets to their events. The show had broad appeal. Young families, retired couples, and out of country tourist groups waited patiently for the doors to open. Once they did, we were so busy we did not even notice when Rick Steves came and went.

Sequoia Tourism Council Booth

As a new tourism vendor, I learned quickly that the broad appeal of Tulare County is the Sequoia National Park. Working with esteemed colleagues, Eric Coyne, Deputy CAO, Economic Development Film & Tourism and assistant Ally Vander Poel from the Tulare County Resource Management Agency taught me much about the film industry and economic development opportunities in our county.  Kelly Evans, the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park Education Program Director, and Krista Matias, Programs Coordinator for the Sequoia Parks Conservancy shared about park programs available both in and out of the park. Their goal is every fourth grader in the park. Together we handed out Visitors’ Guides and educated attendees who showed an interest in visiting the National Park. As a member of the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce and representative on the Sequoia Tourism Council, I encouraged the streaming thousands to stop long enough to consider visiting the small to medium-sized towns leading up to the park, primarily Visalia, Woodlake, Three Rivers, and Exeter.

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Yosemite Rock Climbing Wall

Our space was packed. There was often a line spilling into the walkway waiting to sign up to win our basket. People could not move through the main hallway.

Sometimes we migrated across the hall next to the Yosemite Rock Wall to hand out our Tourism Guides. The four of us chatted with visitors as fast as our mouths would go.

Marketing Travel, adventure
The Sequoia Tourism Crew

Only four hours from either San Francisco, the northern large population hub of California, or Los Angeles, the southern bubble, Tulare County makes a quiet alternative to the hustle of busy city life. So many attendees told us that the Sequoias were on their bucket list. My personal goal was to add our small artistic and historic communities to their schedules.

My opening catch phrase as I stuck my arm bravely in front of the molasses moving line was, “Want a book?” It was hard to refuse those big trees with the tagline, “Find Your Awe.”

If they took the guide, I asked, “Are you interested in history?”

That question stopped people from their mad rush through the booths. Most of them answered positively. It would be unAmerican to say otherwise.

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Krista’s space

If the visitors liked history, I told them that I had something special for them.

Chris Brewer, from the Book Garden in Exeter not only gave us five beautiful books to give away at each of the three shows but collectible colorful fruit box labels. This artifact from the 1940s or 1950s, perfectly preserved in his museum storage, created conversations with potential tourists.

“Do you know what this is?” I asked.

Many of them guessed it was a can label. Their reply opened the door to briefly discuss small towns and the agricultural communities in Tulare County. Sometimes I threw in a pitch to the students about participating in Nationa History Day, California. I couldn’t help myself.

We all tried to slow down the wave of people long enough for them to sign up for our beautiful basket of products from Tulare County. You can’t see all the products inside. You would have loved to win this basket of goods from Tulare County!

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Donations from Chris Brewer, Marily Reese, Woodlake High School, Valley Business Bank and others crammed this basket chock full of treasures from Tulare County.

The three other women in our group focused more on the “Big Trees, the Crystal Cave, the Dark Sky Festival, and other events at the parks.

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Maria Perez, and her friend Madona.

Two of the 94 press members, Maria Perez and her friend Madonna stopped by our booth. I had met Maria online just the week before. We discussed phoning each other as fellow twitter followers from California. Then, we found out we both had plans to attend the Show. Problem solved.

Over the two-day weekend, February 11-12, 2017, we handed out 1,188 Tourism Guides down from 1,540 in 2016. We collected 230 names on two iPads down from 474 in 2016. (OK we talked too much!)

 Marketing Travel, adventure
Sequoia Tourism booth

Our prize winners, practically screamed with delight when they picked up their winnings. And they should have. The basket contained hundreds of dollars worth of Tulare County goods. There were a plethora of items including books, honey, olive oil, a hoodie sweatshirt, a custom clay teapot, stuffed animals, trinkets, office supplies, and candy.

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“This atlas is all I wanted!”

One young woman won the 1892 edition of the Tulare County Atlas reprinted by Bear Books and donated by Chris Brewer.

She exclaimed, “This is the only think I wanted! I’m so happy! This was the best booth here!”

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She couldn’t believe she won! See the Star Fire Fruit label?

Thank you to our wonderful donors for their generosity.

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Thank you, friends, of Sequoia Tourism Council

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South Valley Artists’ Studio Tour


Have you ever wanted to see where an artist does all their work?  Vince and I had the privilege of doing just that this weekend. I want to thank my friend Connie Smith for the tickets she sent my husband and me to attend this three-day event. Kudos to her daughter, Carolyn, for organizing it.

The Secret Garden by Toni Best

We looked forward to it from the time we received the passport map, name tags and book featuring the forty artists on tour about two weeks before the event.  I particularly looked forward to the artist of the work featured above, Toni Best because I had known her as a teacher. We did not get to her studio until the last day, so you will see more her work later.

The county-wide event lasted three days.  Since the county is the size of Connecticut, Carolyn and her committee subdivided it into three regions for easier trip planning. We live in Region Three, so we started there. There are two artists within walking distance of our house, but we decided to end there, and drove up to Three Rivers first. The sunny day made the wild poppies and lavender as well as our moods on the way up to the foothill town sparkle.


We only made one wrong turn, but quickly turned around and followed the well-marked signs to a husband and wife team. This was the wife’s charming studio. I do not remember if her husband built the building or just the cabinetry inside, but it appealed to me right from the start and she was a delightful as her cheerful studio and clever art work.  I loved the idea of drawers in the stairs even though I do not know how practical it would be to bend down to the floor when you needed a paint brush.


The stairway leading between the two studies added to the picturesque view.

Although Martha had some realistic work, her surreal style reminded me of Rene Magritte, one of my favorite artists.

A museum contacted me on October 5, 2017, to add this information. The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium is currently exhibiting Magritte, Broodthaers & Contemporary Art, which features or showcases René Magritte.

Our René Magritte page provides visitors with Magritte’s bio, over 170 of his works, exclusive articles, and up-to-date Magritte exhibition listings.

A little white horse cuddled on a little girl’s shoulder, a chair walking a tightrope were two of the many examples she displayed. Martha Widmann and I chatted like old friends. I would snag her in an instant to illustrate a children’s book for me.


She had copies of some of her art clothespinned to the wall of the building outside as well as larger prints of them inside. Her husband’s chair obviously inspired her.

One of her husband's chairs.
One of her husband’s chairs.

This is one of her more realistic pieces.


My husband was more taken with her husband’s work, Stickley furniture.


Rick Badgley buried his unique woodworking shop under about 18 inches of soil which kept it cool in the hot summers, and grew wild grass on the roof. We have had a lot of rain this year so the grass was seasonably green. My husband and I both envied his craftsman garage doors.

We could barely pull ourselves away from this beautiful setting and interesting conversations, but we had five or six more places we wanted to see.  I’ll give you one more glimpse of this one, and tell you about the others in another post.


Surreptitious Photography: Black and White Sunday


SURREPTITIOUS, Ah, surreptitious

kept secret, … shhhhh … quiet do not repeat this … especially because it would not be approved of

Visalia Streets014 BW

Not this time.

Google or Bing driving rapidly through the neighborhood,

Camera perched high on the car roof.

Driving openly,

Driving fast,

Snapping pictures of streets and homes.

No one cares.

Grandmas sipping lemonade under umbrellas in their light cotton robes,

Willing to represent neighborhoods on the internet.

Wave to Google on wheels.

Visalia Streets014 BW

This time

Innocent-looking  driver

Creeps along the abandoned street,

Fifteen miles an hour

Rounds  the corner.

Grandmas gone

Lemonade littering the gutter cleared from view,

Children obscured behind air-conditioned walls

Visalia Streets017 BW

Windows smeared and speckled with dog nose prints

Cool inside rolling wordless pale green exterior

Passenger slumped toward the window,

Face obscured, hidden behind the camera lens,

Visalia Streets015a BW

Feigning interest, where none exists.

Seeking drama, not fluff

Visalia Streets007BW

Alert to the quiet that lurked beyond the corner,

Drawn irresistibly towards the

The controversial

house influenced by

Frank Lloyd Wright, his secrets buried with lives already erased


Visalia Streets006BWCR

Life oozing from protective plants,

Oven-temperature air weighing down tree limbs,

Heavy with dust,


Behind the camera ,

Behind the glass,

Behind the camera,

SNEEZE squeezed into a tiny squeak.

Visalia Streets006BWCR2ACCSTRPrius creeping in electric silence past the target home,

Recording the house,

Mid-century spaces for intrigue,

Time elapsed storing secrets within clean lines,

Visalia Streets005BWTWI

Looking for what was not there.



Visalia Streets005BWAccEdg

Envisioning lives that did not exist,

Except in the author’s mind.

Visalia Streets005BWRIP

Visual fuel for Girls on Fire,

Stolen surreptitiously from the unsuspecting home owners.

Visalia Streets005BWPaint Dabs

For more on surreptitious pictures Click here on on the image below.


If you enjoy blogging and writing, please visit my new site, Just Write, or like me on Facebook. thanks so much!

Writing Description: What Are Your Tips?

Write posts on Word. Save posts often. Will I never learn? I deleted a picture from my blog post, and the entire post disappeared.

writing, fiction, Visalia, Sarah's house, Beverly Glen1

Vince sells real estate. Yesterday I rode to Visalia with him to take pictures of places in my book I couldn’t remember well enough to describe. I am not good at writing riveting descriptions. I get lost on the cracks or shadows in the road, and miss the important details. Or my mind focuses on an imaginary conversation between me and a real person, two imaginary people, or me and someone imaginary, who might be real, but would never talk like we do. This takes so much of my attention that I probably should never drive. Vince asks me if I remember going places. Sometimes I wasn’t with him, so I have a good excuse for not remembering, but just as likely, I sat right next to him having an internal conversation.

blogging, books, Visalia, Tulare County
blogging, books, Visalia, Tulare County

Since I struggle with descriptions I rely on others to help me. George Pilling wrote a great book, A Walk Around Visalia. He’s told me what trees grow where, which neighborhoods my characters would choose, and what’s around them. He had a gorgeous picture of the house I pictured for Sarah. Yesterday Vince and I found it in person.

writing description.
writing description.

I spent about 20 minutes writing a detailed description of this picture. I ignored the cracks in the road.  How would you describe the house picture?

fingers crossed

I promise I won’t copy… OK, not without your permission.

Improve Your Novel With Physical Exercise

It takes me about 2 hours to write a chapter which averages 1,300 unedited words per chapter so far.  For two hours I barely move a muscle except my fingers, which are flying.  In Avila I had a routine of answering emails for 2 hours in the morning, walking for 3 hours or about 8-9 miles, then writing two chapters in the afternoon and evening with just a little walking in between the two.  I didn’t do any strenuous exercising.

About 2 months ago I hired a personal trainer, S.M.A.R.T Fitness, in Visalia, CA to help me get in shape in lose weight.  They are not paying me to advertise for them, but what a great experience it has been!  I go three days a week at around 10:00 each morning, so I have been able to keep my routine of answering emails and comments in the morning and taking care of CCSS business before I go out.

stairstepper elyptical

I arrive around 10:00 and get on one of the cardio machines.  I like to start with the  elliptical machine for 10 minutes.  By the time I finish, I look pretty much unacceptable to go anywhere but home.  If my hair had been combed to start, it’s wet and curly by the time I’ve done 10 minutes.  Then I finish the half hour “warm”-up – really that’s a “burning hot”-up on a stationary bike.  That machine has a fan on it.

After I’m exhausted already, Dan or Eddie is ready for me, and they are the most wonderful trainers I’ve ever had.  Don’t tell them that.  I tell them both that they are mean, and they are.  What is wonderful is that they customize the workout to what I need, but didn’t know it.  Yesterday Dan had me doing push-ups.  I can’t do push-ups.  I couldn’t do them when I was 15, and I still can’t.  Can’t is not in their vocabulary, so they cheat.  Dan wrapped a belt around my middle.  I put my hands on a big tire, stretched my legs behind me and spread them for balance.  The first time I lowered myself about an inch toward the tire, and he had to pull me up with the strap.  After about 4 puny starts, I started trusting him to be able to pull me up so I wouldn’t fall flat on my face when I went down.  I went all the way down to the tire.  He still had to pull me up, in fact we had to stop and put on a wider strap because the narrow one dug so hard into my belly, but I actually got down by myself.  Of course, he told me that I did it.  I know he cheats, but it’s ok.

push ups on a big tire.

Eddie worked on stretching my legs one day.  I thought I was going to die.  Really.  My legs don’t stretch.  I can put them up at a 90 degree angle with great pain.  He rested my heel on his shoulder, cupped just above my knee to keep it straight, and gently pushed my leg forward until I yelled 8/10 on the pain scale.  What I meant was 11, but ok, I settled at 8, and he held it there for about 2 minutes, I think.  I couldn’t breathe it hurt so badly, but pretty soon, I was breathing deeply in and out, and I could feel my leg becoming more comfortable until the main level was 0.  Then he moved my heel, just slightly and the pain came back, but it was bearable.  He did some more horrible things to my legs before letting me up, but amazingly, the next day I wasn’t even sore.  That was a couple of weeks ago.  The next time he did it, he could actually move my legs much farther, and much easier without so much pain.

picture this with a whole lot more pain, and 90 degrees not 45.
Picture this with a whole lot more pain, and 90 degrees not 45.

In the month or so I’ve gone there irregularly I’ve lost 5 pounds, and I feel great.  I know that the great amount of sitting that I’m doing isn’t quite as harmful as it would be if I weren’t exercising.  I no longer have sciatica nerve problems like Steinbeck had because he wrote so many hours a day.  I get out with people, sometimes seeing people I know.  I’ve made new friends and been inspired by what they are doing with their bodies.  For many it is almost like physical therapy.

After an hour of torture with Dan and Eddie, I limp drive home, have lunch, and settle in our little trailer to write for two hours.  I go to that place because it was so successful while I was in Avila.  It is quiet.  I take my cell phone, but not my home phone, and Puppy Girl and I go out and sit for 2 hours.  She either sits behind my back, beside me, or puts herself to bed.

Pg puts herself to bed

After about 2 hours of writing, then we go for a 2 or three-mile walk to loosen up again.  I haven’t been able to write two chapters a day while I’ve been home, but that’s ok because I got such a great head start while I was in Avila.  My characters are coming along meeting all kinds of challenges.  It’s a fluffy chick flick kind of romantic book since I am going to get it done in one month, but I’m loving it.  Two of the three women are now in love, and there have been some romantic love scenes, even.  By romantic I mean mostly dialogue, in which the guys say all the right things (of course-it’s a chick flick not a guy flick).  I’m not too graphic, so you all will have to use your imaginations.  I even think my mother would have enjoyed it.  That’s a little bit of understatement sarcasm.  My mom lived on romantic novels.  I had so many of them when she died, I didn’t know what to do with them.  They have no economic value, trust me.  But I digress from the value of exercise on improving your novel-writing.

Exercising gives me time to talk about my book with others and see what they think of it, or imagine the next scenario.  Today I recited the plot to my friend Sally as we walked several miles.  That was fun, and we both walked a little longer because it took a while to tell the story.  I saw my friend Bev, who I hadn’t seen in years, at the gym, and told her that the story is partially set in her condo at the coast.  That was fun.  Dan, my trainer, didn’t even know I was writing a book, so I had a chance to casually market it even before it’s written.  Not that Dan is EVER going to read a chick flick romantic kind of book, but it surprised him that I was writing something.  It’s always nice to surprise your trainer.  They are always surprising you with some new torture.  Uuuuuuuggggggg!  GRUNT REAL LOUD – It makes the trainers take it easier on you because they think you’re at your limit.  I cheat too!  hehehe

My conclusion is that exercise is essential to writing.  People tell you stories that you might end up using in your story or in another story, and you feel better and stronger.  You have a chance to interact with folks, and tell them what you are doing, and so far people have been surprisingly interested, and it’s just a chick flick.  Just think if I was writing an amazing historical fiction!  Maybe next time!  🙂 5-6-7-8, just two more.  Give me one more.  Oooh, I’m SO SORE!  (But my fingers are unscathed and happy!)  🙂

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