Temecula, California

As I jumped over the wooden fence onto the cross country course, I felt two dozen simultaneous punctures into my skin.

“Son of a …” (I’ll let you figure out the rest)

First, I looked down to see the source of the pain, which appeared to be a multitude of barbed thorns protruding out of my arms and legs — courtesy of some nasty little desert thorn bush that had nothing better to do. Next, I looked up and saw a TV camera in my face, not even 10 feet away, which was no doubt broadcasting my misery (and my choice of words) to horse people all over the country.


So much for ever working in the horse industry again. 🙂 I could see my reflection in the giant lens so I had no doubt that they could see me. I gave an apologetic grin and limped off the course to start my hour-long thorn removal project and to try to get some pictures of horses coming around the course.

As horses would speed by, leaping over logs and water hazards with a rider holding on for dear life, they would raise huge clouds of dust on the dry desert-like floor. Some of the horses love the thrill of the competition, and some looked just as terrified as the riders! This was no Kentucky horse park, but the place held its own kind of charm, albeit it brown and dusty, and I thoroughly enjoyed working here for a couple of days.

Unlike in Kentucky, the cross country course at Galway is not roped off so a photographer could easily find himself in the wrong place as the horses are coming and going from both directions. I kept one eye in the viewfinder and one eye watching my back to avoid death by furious hooves.

My scheduled photo shoot with the famous Hawley Bennett went fairly well, despite having to shoot in the middle of the afternoon when the sun is a photographer’s worst nightmare. She turned out to be quite friendly and very cooperative, I hope she continues to kick butt in her riding career.

At night, Lyndsey, Alan, and I would explore the hundreds of restaurants and pubs in the small town. There seems to be 1 restaurant per person in Temecula — you could eat at a different place every night and it would take years to see them all. Sushi, Thai, overpriced burger joints with themes — anything you are craving.

We picked a classy Thai place which served up incredibly tasty pad kee mau (drunken noodles) but cost around what would be a month’s salary for the average Thai person.

There is an old town here which reminds me a lot of places that we drove through a few weeks ago — like Deadwood and all those other “Old West” style clusters of ice cream parlors and souvenir shops. There didn’t appear to be any tourists, but if one should suddenly appear in town there was no shortage of places to dress up in old clothes and get your picture taken.

Rather than wander the old town, we decided to eat our noodles and go somewhere that a vagabond with a “live in the moment” Taoist mentality can get into a lot of trouble:

The casino!

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2 Responses to “Temecula, California”

  1. What you need is a IN-N-OUT! Best burgers in the country if hey have one there… which they probably do.

  2. Dude, you are like 20 minutes from where I live in California…

    Too bad I am in Singapore.

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