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Taking our little bird to 11,500 feet!

Wow what a snow year for the Sierra! As it’s kinda putting a damper on my usual day hikes this summer with crazy water crossings and slushy snow fields, I’m relieved we have the water for our ranch! Take a trip with my husband and I as we fly over the Sierra near Donner Pass at 11 thousand feet in a Cessna 172 SP! We then head over to the coast (San Francisco Bay) where it’s completely fogged in!

The sites of the Sacramento Valley from Sierra to the Coastal Range is pretty awesome!

 

I Almost Stepped on a Rattlesnake!

Today on this episode of Twyla World we take a nice hike from the American River Confluence to the town of Cool. It’s only 6.2 miles round trip, however there is a little of a climb to get out of the canyon. You can make this hike much longer if you do the trails in Cool that loop around back to the trail into the Canyon. AND we met a rather large rattle snake!

 

Kentucky Kin Folk

My dad was born and raised in Eastern Kentucky. As a matter of fact, my Kentucky roots go back several generations of Cornetts who came from England and settled in the Appalachian mountains. My dad was able to leave the hollers and a life of  working in the coalmines by joining the Army in 1941. Many lived their entire lives in the hollers, and working in the mines.

I’ll be kicking off my 2017 Summer Concert on the Couch Series this June. I’ll be inviting musical guests (hopefully the show up!) and of course there will be poodles!

Mysterious Gigantic Tire Appears in the Woods

In this episode of Twylalword, we go on an 11 mile hike in the beautiful foothills of Northern California near the town of Foresthill. This is a GREAT hike and has very nice ups and downs and is the perfect interval workout. This trail is shared with mountain bikes and horses. Beautiful in the Spring!

We come across a weird ode to Sesame Street, a GIANT tire in the middle of the woods, and we get to hear the story about a guy dubbed “sticky pants”!

Sit back and enjoy the scenery!

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Dangling Upside Down from a Running Horse!

Suicide Drag

At 40, I decided I wanted to ride a galloping horse at full speed while hanging by one foot upside down.  This is called trick riding!

Mid life crisis?  Hells yes!   It all started when I saw a photo of a woman riding a galloping horse standing up on top of the saddle! I NEED TO LEARN TO DO THIS.  This sport was huge back in the 30s through 60s, with trick riders performing at all of the rodeos. But for some reason, it started to die out and there were only a handful of people doing this sport in the entire US! There was no one to teach me!   There were no YouTube videos, no DVDs, nothing in Google that showed me how to trick ride.  NOTHING!   The only thing that I found was a book called “Trick and Fancy Riding, 140 ways to break your neck” that was written about 50 years ago.  In this book were stunts that were done on a galloping horse with little stick figures showing the prospective lunatic how to get in and out of each trick!  NUTS!

Then one day, after searching and searching in Google about anything to do with horse stunt riding and finding zilch, I came upon a very crude personal webpage of a man named Rex Rossi about 20 pages deep in the dark reaches of Google.   Rex Rossi is in the Stunt Man Hall of Fame. His trick riding saddle is on display in the Gene Autry Museum in LA. He was a national Trick Riding Champion many times over and performed at Madison Square Garden for 19 consecutive years as a trick rider and trick roper. He had been in a zillion movies and had doubled for John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Clint Eastwood and many others. He was  also a stunt man on TV shows such as Bonanza. He was legendary. I about fainted when I clicked on his contact page and it said he lived only 45 minutes from my house!

I practically had to audition for the man in order to get lessons from him. Once I proved I was serious, he finally let me bring my horse to his ranch.  He was in his 80s at this time and I was lucky to find him when I did. He passed away a couple of years later!

I became a professional trick rider performing at fairs, rodeos and private events throughout the state. I started my own trick riding team called the radical riders. I gave lessons, filmed a trick riding documentary and started the website www.rodeotrickrider.com that had the first forum about the sport before Facebook was around. I have to say that my website brought so many people into this sport and trick riding has made huge comeback. I was also profiled in this fantastic book call Wild Women and Tricky Ladies by Jill Stanford about legendary  and present day trick riders!

In 2008, I broke my arm while trick riding at a rodeo and this led to the end of my performing because my doc said I had bone density issues and I didn’t need to be hanging upside down from a horse any longer.  However, I still gave lessons at my ranch and traveled to other states to give clinics and private lessons.

Today, my chapter in this wonderful world of trick and fancy riding has come to a complete end as I start another chapter in my life. My horse is old and I quit giving lessons at my ranch. The sand in my arena has washed away from the past two winters, and I’m selling my custom trick riding saddle that I had specially made in 2008. That was a hard decision. But, its just sitting in the barn and I need the funds to buy backpacking gear! My new chapter!

What will I do next?  Hike a few hundred miles? We shall call it my golden years crisis!

 

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My Mother- The Woman Who Made Me

Letting Go

Have you ever heard the story someone being at the bedside of a dying loved one and telling them it’s time to go?  Then at that moment, the loved one takes their last breath?  Have you ever experienced this yourself?  I had always heard these stories and on February 3, this happened to me. My 92-year-old mother had been living in a memory care facility for the past 6 years. It was so very hard to see her deteriorate to the shell of a person that she once was. She eventually stopped talking and was completely bed ridden.  My mother was vibrant, lively and active and if there was a plug to pull, she would have pulled it herself!  She would have never, ever wanted this.  Who would?

When I got to her room, she was breathing pretty heavy and my dad, who is 96, hadn’t arrived yet. I went to my mother’s bedside, stroked her hair and said it was OK to get going on her next journey. It was time for her to leave her old and tired body and go see her parents, sister and other family.  Right then she took her last breath.

We had prayed for her to be let out of her prison, but when it actually happens, the reality sets in that our mother is GONE!  The woman who gave birth to me and my sister, raised us, and helped take care of my son was gone forever. Our mother.

If you had an awesome mom that you lost much too early, I am so very sorry. That sucks and has to be so freaking hard. My mom was 92 and it was still hard.

The American Dream

Eloyce M. Miller (later Cornett) was born in Shawnee Oklahoma in 1924.  When she was 2 years old, mom, dad and her baby sister, Lowetta took a  Model T car over a wooden plank road to California where there was promise of work. My grandfather Pete did many things to keep the family afloat during the depression.  He was a ditch digger, a baker, a miner, a gas station owner, a farmer, a house fixer-upper, you name it. My grandmother Thelma worked right along with him. They moved around a lot!  Northern California (Nevada City, North San Juan, Auburn) then to Arizona. They moved up and down the state of California from Los Angeles to Northern California, a couple of times.

My mom graduated from Nevada City High School in 1942.  After high school, she worked as waitress, a dime store clerk, a machine shop worker, and a telephone operator. She eventually joined the Army and was stationed in Ft. Benning Georgia as a parachute rigger with the 82nd Airborne Division. It was there where she met my paratrooper dad, Marvin Cornett who had just returned from the war.  He was a  Jump Master, teaching new recruits how to jump out of planes.  My dad owned an Army surplus Harley motorcycle and they rode in the rain to the courthouse in Phoenix City Alabama and got married by a Justice of the Peace, who by the way, had tobacco stains on his shirt!  In 1946 my sister Marleen was born.  My dad got out of the Army briefly to try his hand in the civilian world, then re-joined the Army and made a career of it. The Army moved them all over the place. They lived in France and various states. I was born in 1959 in Illinois where my dad was an Army recruiter. We lived in a mobile home and my mother hated every minute of the 9 years we lived in snow country.

My mom was very happy when my dad retired from the Army and we moved back to Northern California to be close to her family and out of the snow.

My mom worked at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento CA as a secretary, an avionics repair technician, and in a warehouse where she worked on a conveyor belt boxing and moving military supplies. She even drove a forklift.

When my mom and dad retired, they traveled.. They spent several years driving their motor home from Northern California to Mazatlan Mexico and would park there for six months out of the year. They took trips all over the US, Europe, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Alaska, Canada, Panama Canal, and the Caribbean. (I may be leaving out some spots)

She was a gifted artist (oil and acrylic), craft maker, seamstress, golfer, clogger, bowler, guitar player, belly dancer, world traveler and party hostess. (She loved to throw a party!)

Safe travels Mother!  See you on the other side!

To read my mom’s entire memoir in her own words, click here

There are a ton of pics and it’s a pretty awesome read.

Click here to see the music video to the song I wrote about her mom and dad. The lyrics were taken almost word for word out of her book.

It’s my Mountain Winter Wonderland Adventure at Donner Lake!

I have been a downhill skier for the past 43 years and I thought I’d never give that up!  Sadly its become so darned expensive (100+ dollars a day) to get a few runs in. I just don’t want to pay it.  Oh sure, I could get a season pass, but then I’d have to ski a boatload of times to make the pass pay for itself. Then, the pressure is ON to get up the hill once or twice a week in the 12 week ski window in Northern California. Then there are the winters where the snow is CRAP and I just paid a boatload of dollars for a worthless season pass.

I have now switched over to snowshoeing and possibly cross country skiing. I never understood the attraction of either until last Friday. For one thing, it’s FREE (other than $5.00 parking) and it’s beautiful.  No pressure to get up the hill and use a pass and deal with the crowds, lines and ridiculous price of a lift ticket!!

Take a walk through the winter wonderland of Donner Lake with my hiking buddy John and I.   WHO ELSE has been priced out of downhill skiing?

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