Day 16 – January 26 – Carlsbad, CA – Day 11
Every once in awhile you have a day that brings back fond childhood memories. Today was a such a day.
This afternoon we drove to the Flying LC Ranch, once owned by Broadway/Movie actor Leo Carrillo. The Flying LC is registered as a Designated California Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1937 Leo Carrillo purchased 1,700 acres of an old homestead property and began restoration work to create a place of retreat from the Hollywood hustle and bustle that also connected with the proud memories of his past and honoured the history of the land and previous owner’s lifestyle. Two years later he bought a further 838 acres.
Over the years, after Leo and his wife passed away, their daughter sold parcels of the land for local development. The final ten and half acres containing the hacienda and ranch buildings was gifted to the City of Carlsbad for a park. The city subsequently purchased a further 17 acres, did extensive renovations to structurally and historically protect the buildings and opened the Leo Carillo Ranch Historic Park in 2003.
So….you ask, what does all this have to do with my childhood?
After a lengthy and successful career on Broadway and making 90 films Leo Carrillo, at the age of 70 was cast as Pancho, the sidekick to the Cisco Kid in the first children’s colour TV series. I loved to watch the Cisco Kid. Anything about cowboys and horses was right up my alley. We watched a short ‘background’ film when we arrived at the ranch and on it was a clip from one of the episodes that I clearly remembered seeing on the TV. During each episode there was always a moment when Pancho would say “Oh-h-h Cee-sco-o-o” and Cisco would respond, “Oh-h-h Pan-n-cho.” To see the actors performing such an iconic scene was very nostalgic and heartwarming.
The ranch was called Rancho de los Quiotes (Ranch of the Spanish Daggers – a common name for the agave plant that grows extensively in the area) and the Flying C brand became known all over the state of Californina. It became a full working ranch with over 600 head of cattle, dozens of horses, chickens, pigs, etc. and crops of corn, beans, avocado, citrus and wheat, oats and barley. Peafowl also wandered the property and there were peacocks and peahens freely walking around even today.
We spent the afternoon wandering around checking out all the buildings and outdoor spaces. Unfortunately the inside of the hacienda is only open on weekends but we peeked in a few windows as we were able. The L-shaped house wasn’t all that large but Leo and Deedie held many gatherings at the ranch. The large outdoor patios and BBQ spaces, along with the swimming pool, would have adequately met their entertainment needs.
Leo wife’s Edith (Deedie) was not as social as Leo and sometimes needed some ‘away’ time. Leo had a small house built up on a hillside so she could retreat and work on her art projects in peace and quiet.
We had finished walking around and were heading in the general direction of the parking lot when I decided to check my phone and see if there were any geo-caches hidden at the park. Lo and behold, yes there were. There were four of them. Unfortunately our phones wouldn’t download the details of the caches but our compasses worked and we were able to locate three of the four. We think we know now where the fourth one was hidden so we may just go back over that way one day and see if we can find it.
It was really fun to spend time at the favoured home of one of the remembered TV characters from my childhood. The sun shone all day, the temperature was nicely comfortable and we walked along nice pathways with interesting visual and historic buildings. To find some caches just iced the cake.