Moonridge 2009

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It was the usual scenic drive up the mountain with me resolutely keeping my eye on the horizon through all the hairpin curves. Hwy 18 sure lives up to it’s name, Rim of the World Hwy. Coming around one more curve, we caught sight of beautiful Big Bear Lake.

And before we knew it, we were at Moonridge Park.

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This is a shot taken on the balcony at the back of the entrance building which faces into the park.

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Here is another shot from the balcony overlooking the park.

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It was a beautiful sunny blustery day, hot in the sun, cold in the shade.

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We arrived late, at eleven in the morning. I assumed we had missed all sorts of interesting stuff, but it turns out that events had a late start. Not the Chinese auction though, that was all set up, manned by Rae and Luna, offering the opportunity to win all sorts of interesting goodies. I bought six tickets and put my bids in for some lovely necklaces and an RB picture.

In the next picture in the background on the right you can see a bit of the tables and canopy where the Chinese Auction was set up. The ladies had their hands full selling tickets and keeping things from blowing away in the stiff breeze that would spring up every so often. The booth in the right foreground was selling Moonridge trinkets, T-shirts and mugs.

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I had brought along with me the two prints I had offered in the Moonridge auction to hand out to the winners. Fortunately I quickly found the rightful owners. Later I was able to pick up my own auction item, the DigiPro Graphics tablet from the lovely Pam.

Since it was getting late and guest of honor, Garett Maggart, still hadn’t arrived to kick off events, the park folks decided to do the drawing for the Chinese Auction first. Here we see one one of prizes are being handed out to the lucky winner. No such luck for me. :-)

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With the Chinese auction concluded and still no Garett in sight, they went on to start the first animal auction. By the time he showed up very late and very apologetic, the first auction was already well underway. I didn’t actually see when he arrived, but I heard that he joined the fans in one of the front benches for a while and cheered on the usual generous bids for the animals. In the next picture you can see Garett way in the back to the left. He had taken his usual spot behind the auction tent in the enclosed area.

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Here is another angle on the auction action.

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More bidding for the gorgeous owl.

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Here Garett poses for one of the many commemorative photos with winners and the cute critters being provided for.

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Here is bidding going strong.

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And then they brought out the burros! Mother burro and son if I remember correctly.

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More winner pictures.

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This special little guy was quite a handful for the animal wranglers. He came to the park when he lost a wing, but it certainly has his own ideas of just where and when he should walk.

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Here is Jasmine, Garett’s old friend.

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They had a nice reunion.

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This is one of my favorite photographs. Isn’t that the most tender expression on Garett’s face. But then, the baby hedge hogs were the most seriously cute things I’ve ever seen. They would have melted anyone’s heart.

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Cuteness times two.

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Okay, these wolf pups were serious contenders for the cuteness prize, but still…

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Garett and wolf pup bonding moment.


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During the auction, I kept moving into the shade when I got hot, them back into the sun, when the wind chilled me. I finally settled on this compromise. Half in the shade and half in the sun, with the hood up to keep the cold wind from my neck and the jacket pulled over my legs to shade from the sun.

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After the auction we finally took a turn around the zoo.

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And ended up where the line was forming to get Garett’s autograph. There definitely were a lot less people here this time. It made for a very relaxed atmosphere and very short wait when Garett showed up to start signing.

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Here are some of fans that went before me.

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And then it was my turn. He said, “Hi Lupe” , which was very nice, even though I knew it was because I was wearing a big old name tag. And then he asked if I would like the picture personalized and I said yes, please! He started writing and then stopped suddenly and turned to Lucy who was sitting next to him and asked if there were any more of the same photo he was signing. I had bought the photo from Lucy earlier in the day.

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He looked up at me and said “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I misspelled your name. I wrote Lube, instead of Lupe.” I think everyone within hearing distance started laughing then.

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The Lucy said something like “You better watch what you’re saying, especially in front of this crowd”. And that made everyone laugh even more.

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He quickly signed another copy for me and thanked me for coming very graciously and all I could think about was, boy did want that other photo!

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But here I am with my Moonridge 2009 Garett autograph, it will hold a place of honor in my collection, for what almost was.

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We headed out very soon after that, out to the parking lot that has such a great view of the Bear Mountain Ski Resort, which is right next door.

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We set out to find the bed and breakfast where we were going to spend the night. Instead of heading out to the main highway we decided to take a small road that our car navigator indicated made a more direct route. The road was a bit rough, but we enjoyed the very scenic drive through the wooded Big Bear neighborhoods.

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And soon we arrived at the Knickerbocker Mansion Bed and Breakfast

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Quoted from the website:

Built in 1920, on Knickerbocker Road, a stone’s throw from Big Bear Village, Knick’s historic log mansion stands proudly today as a reminder of the amazing William Edwin Knickerbocker: Big Bear’s own Paul Bunyan.

Since the early 1920’s, the Knickerbocker Mansion has stood watch over Big Bear Valley from its perch on a hillside just south of the village of Big Bear Lake, California. Bill Knickerbocker was a huge and hearty man. He worked his way Westward from Pennsylvania in the early 1900’s. Reaching California, he settled in a place called Pine Knot, now known as Big Bear Lake, and became the first damkeeper for the recently completed dam. Knickerbocker searched and finally found a beautiful piece of high ground, where he could overlook the town he loved. There, along with his wife and five children, he built a magnificent log mansion. An expert axman, Bill Knickerbocker felled the trees for this historic home himself.

The outside of the mansion is constructed from halved logs that were installed vertically for the siding. The house is built of all natural materials with extensive pine and cedar paneling throughout and is home to two huge native-stone fireplaces.

A wooden staircase, made of 13 half logs, leads you to the second floor where there are four spacious guest rooms decorated to perfection and all with private baths.

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It certainly is a beautiful rustic dwelling. Nancy, our hostess, was the nicest person imaginable and was very friendly and helpful throughout our whole stay.

Here we are checking out the view from the gallery balcony that runs along the back of the house. You can see the lake through the trees in the distance.

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We had a chance to take a quick walk to The Village shopping district, just a few blocks away, before dinner.

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We made reservations for 6:00 at the Knickerbocker in-house restaurant called The Bistro. We had read some good reviews for the food here and were eager to try it out.

Keeping this in mind we did little more stop briefly at a number of shops and enjoy the afternoon walk through this colorful shopping area. There were a pair of magnificent Clydesdale type horses hitched to a carriage for either a ride or photo opportunity. Some of the souvenir shops were filled to the brim with interesting and original items, just begging you to spend time browsing and choosing. But we felt kind of rushed so ultimately only ended up with a pair of Big Bear T-shirts and a bag of decadently delicious fudge from the North Pole Fudge Company shop.

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Back at the mansion we only had time for a quick change of clothes before coming back down to dinner.

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I chose the Airline chicken from the menu and Marty had the Sauteed Salmon. They were both excellent meals, together with the freshly baked poppy seed rolls, cantaloupe-mint sorbet, between salad and main course, we were pretty much in heaven. We did ask before ordering, why the name Airline Chicken, since it did not exactly inspire good vibes. Nancy assured us that it was called Airline Chicken only because the owner’s son worked for an airline and that it was very, very good.

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After a great dinner, we were more than ready to retire to our room. The sun, the altitude and steep climbs took their toll. It’s a good thing I didn’t have any wine or Marty would have had to carry me up that half log staricase.

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Next morning we came down to the Bistro dining room to have our gourmet breakfast which is part of the bed and breakfast package.

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We had coffee, and orange juice before Nancy brought us citrus fruits sweetened with honey. This concoction of peeled orange and grapefruit slices marinating in a sweet sauce was a great way to start the meal. Next was blueberry french toast and some delicious sausage links. All this enjoyed as we watched the squirrels, woodpeckers and other assorted wildlife going about their important morning business right outside the window.

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All good things must come to an end, so soon after we were on our way home, happy with our brand new set of Moonridge memories.

Here is a little extra treat. It’s video of the last five minutes of so of the Garett T-shirt auction and online auction totals presentation. Enjoy!