Friday, July 11, 2008

Palomar Mountain

Pine Mountain

Hello again from Pine Mountain. Last week was a smoky one at the ranch. First there was the Santa Barbara fire and then there was the Piute fire up by lake Isabella. Depending on wind direction one or the other was sending smoke our way. Last week was a bad week for fires. At the high point there were over 1700 fires burning . It seemed like most of central and northern California were on fire. Thanks to the valiant effort by all the fire crews many of the fires are now out and there are less than 300 still burning. I was away working for some friends on Palomar Mountain but even down there we still had some smoke drifting over us. This weeks story is about Palomar Mountain and the famous observatory there. First we have our usual sections on Alternative energy, Easy Cash, Nutrition and Health, Traveling, and Adventure.

Alternative Energy

First for those of you that have just joined us, here at the ranch, power is supplied by 2 wind turbines and a water turbine. We also have a few solar panels that charge up a battery bank. Our horizontal turbine looks like a small wingless airplane on top of it’s 80 foot tower. We purchased that one from Our vertical turbine we purchased from, it spins away on a 30 foot or 10 meter pole out by the barn. Our water turbine in the dam of our pond came from an Alaskan alternative energy company The wind has been normal for this time of year. Every day there is an almost constant 7 or 8 mph wind. In the late afternoon and early evening the wind picks up to about 10 to 15 mph.

Is your electric bill going through the roof? Are you paying $200 or even more per month for electricity? Do you want to cut costs or even learn how you can sell electricity back to the power company so they pay you instead of you paying them? Learn how you can supplement you electricity and reduce your electric bill for only a small investment of less than $200 in alternative energy. Go to and learn easy ways you can cut your electric bill.

The price of fuel keeps going up in price. Gasoline is now over $4.50 a gallon. Everyone is looking for anything that will increase fuel economy even a little. Most Alternative energy fuels are still years away but there is a way to improve your mileage, increase your horsepower, and reduce your emissions all at the same time. You will be able to turn your vehicle into a fuel efficient one with only a few readily available items from your local hardware. The instructions are easy to follow and there are many diagrams so you can see how to do it too. It does not matter if you have a gasoline or diesel engine vehicle it will work with either one. Go to to learn more while supplies last.

Do you want to increase your fuel economy and create 30% less pollution? How about increase your gas mileage and increase your power too. An environmentally safe non toxic product called Ethos will do just that. It improves gas economy by reformulating your gasoline to allow more air to be mixed with the fuel vapor. This causes cleaner combustion and increases power. Your fuel burns more completely and thus produces less emissions. All you have to do is add a couple ounces per tank of gasoline or diesel. Go to and learn more about this alternative energy supplement.

Easy Cash

Is the cost of living getting you down? Do you need to make some quick money to cover expenses? Go to , put in the access code mountain1, watch a free short movie and start making the money that you have dreamed about.

Nutrition and Health

These days everyone is concerned about nutrition and health. Most of our food is over processed and has very little nutrient value. Our food looks great but not much more. If we want to stay healthy in today’s world we are forced to take supplements. The question is: What supplements will provide what you need for the least amount of time and money? I believe one of the best supplements out there is called acaiplus. It is a blend of vitamins and minerals plus acai to promote health and long life. They also have vitamins to help improve your long term and short term memory. They also have an energy drink that gives you steady long term energy. To learn more about these products go to Check out Acaiplus, Feed My Brain, and White Lightning.

Travel for Less

Are you tired of paying high airfares only to be crammed into a tight seat when you travel? Find out how you can save hundreds of dollars on your next flight. You may even be able to fly first class for the cost of coach if you know the secret. Learn how you can save enough money to take that once in a lifetime vacation. Go to and find out now while supplies last.

Discover how you can fly around the world on a shoestring budget. There are ways to travel for free. These ways are easy to learn if you know the secrets.. Go to to find out. You will be glad you did.

Have you ever wished that you could travel for a living. Does the call of far off places thrill you? Would you like to travel the world on your own schedule and see the places that you want to see? Would you like to enjoy your vacation and get paid for it too? Long to travel on your own schedule and enjoy your vacation? Would you like to travel for a living and see new and interesting places every day? Do you like to write letters to your relatives telling them about your recent vacation? Then you have what it takes to become a travel writer. All you need is a little instruction and you can have a dream job too. Go to and learn how you to can become a travel writer.

Adventure and Treasure Hunting

Do you watch movies like Indiana Jones and wish you could do that in real life? Do you like a good mystery and a good adventure? Would you like to use modern methods and tools to find long lost treasure?
All this is possible if you learn from the best. Stan Grist, world renown adventurer and treasure hunter has written a course complete with step by step instruction on how to become successful. Go to
And check out his course “Creating Wealth Through Adventure”

And now our feature story.

Palomar Mountain

East Grade

Palomar is an historic mountain. Actually it is three mountains in one with a bowl between them. Last year it was threatened by the San Diego wildfires. Due to the valiant effort of many firefighters and hundreds of fire trucks, the fire was stopped right at the edge of the mountain. This saved the store, restaurant, gift shop, lodge and observatory from fire damage and preserved their historic heritage.

The Observatory

Palomar is the home of the world famous 200 inch Hale telescope. It began as a dream of George Ellery Hale in the 1920’s and was completed with a grant by the Rockefeller Institute in 1948. The giant mirror was brought up the narrow twisting and winding South Grade Road and just made it inside its domed building before a heavy thunderstorm started. Owned by California Institute of Technology, today the observatory is operated by a consortium of Caltech, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Cornell University.

The 200 inch is one of five large telescopes on the mountain. There is also a 60 inch completed in 1970, a 24 inch completed in 2006, a 48 inch , and an 18 inch. In 2007 the 200 inch was fitted with an adaptive optics system and now it can see twice as far as the Hubble Space Telescope. Also just completed is the Test Bed Interferometer. This uses three small telescopes spaced up to 110 meters apart to become the largest telescope on the mountain. The light is directed through tubes to a central collecting station where it is analyzed by computers. Future projects include a Thirty Meter Telescope.

The smallest telescope nicknamed The Sleuth, is a robotic telescope that searches 10,000 stars for evidence of planets orbiting them. It is one of three performing this task. The other 2 are in Northern Arizona, and Tenerife.

The 200 inch Telescope is the only telescope that is open to the public. Hours are from 9
A M to 4 PM. If you would like to see the other telescopes at work, become a member of Friends of Palomar and then you will be invited to special tours and events. All the telescopes work every night that is not overcast. The telescopes are at the top of the mountain so even when there are clouds they are usually below the level of the telescopes.

Arriving at Palomar you are at the 5550 foot level of the mountain. A short walk up the mountain past the gift shop brings you to the 200 inch domed building. You can take a self guided tour of the dome and after 11:30 AM there are guided tours. In the early days an astronomer used to have to wear a heated suit and sit in a cage at the top of the telescope to aim it. Today it is all done by computers from a heated control room.

The Palomar Lodge

If you are staying more than one day on the mountain, you can camp at one of the many campgrounds from $15 a night. If you want more comfort you can stay at The Palomar Mountain Lodge. The Lodge built in the 1920’s is an historic place. It has 10 cozy staterooms from $75 to $150 a night. Many celebrities have stayed there including governors, presidents, movie stars and even Albert Einstein. It has a large ballroom with 2 fireplaces. Surrounded by pine forests, the lodge is a great place to stay and unwind from the pace of the hectic world around us.

Mothers Kitchen and The General Store and Gift Shop.

If you are hungry when you are on the mountain a great place to eat is Mother’s Kitchen. It is open 11AM to 4 PM Monday, Thursday, and Friday and 8:30 AM to 5 PM on the weekends. There are many choices on the menu including garden salads, Mexican dishes, Mountain specialties, and grilled sandwiches. They even serve a Lunar Grilled Cheese sandwich. They have three cheese Lasagna and for dessert there are fresh baked pies and cookies. There is a fireplace for those cold winter days. There is outdoor dining which is really outdoors under the trees and a nice indoor dining area. The service is great, less than 5 minutes. I tried the mountain chili. It was mild and just right and went well with a sandwich. My whole meal was only $7. The restaurant has been there a long time. The present owners have been there since 1977.

Next door to Mother’s is the General Store and Gift shop. You can stock up for all your camping needs here. The gift shop has amazing one of a kind gifts that are sure to be a favorite. Across the parking lot is a small ivy covered post office and next to the post office is a little building that sells soap.

After spending several days on Palomar Mountain, first working, then sightseeing I returned home to Pine Mountain.

Pine Mountain Evening

It is evening once more. I am relaxing in my easy chair. I have just returned from my trip to Palomar Mountain. Squeekers my African grey parrot is sitting on his perch eating peanuts. Tonight our sample coffee from is Nicaraguan Matagalpa. This coffee is grown high up in the Central American mountains. It has a rich chocolaty taste and is a full bodied coffee just right for relaxing . Cousin Sam and his wife just left to return home. They took very good care of things while I was down on Palomar Mountain. Squeekers and I have just finished watching the original Stargate Movie. Well it is getting late and I am ready to get some sleep. I put Squeekers in his cage and head off upstairs to bed. Good night all see you next week.