The wide wheelbase of Jeep Rubicons kicks up age-old dust as they trundle across the dry open vistas of the desert. Inside, Borrego Jeep Photo Tours' guides describe local flora and fauna as they reveal the arid land's most spectacular natural formations such as Coyote Canyon or Split Mountain. They provide passengers with complimentary bottles of cold water and snacks on tours that last anywhere from two to six hours. Professional photographer Aaron Dennis accompanies every tour on their journey, providing guests with in-the-field photographic instruction as they capture their own images as keepsakes.
Jeff Martin's rise to CrossFit acclaim began in the small front room of the phone company he owned with his wife, Mikki. There, he began to teach martial-arts classes in kickboxing, Kenpo karate, and krav maga under the company name Brand X, building a foundation of self-defense skills as his class sizes steadily increased. Jeff's devotion to CrossFit was born simultaneously with Brand X's move to a larger location. Both he and his wife earned their training certifications and established their gym as one of the first official CrossFit affiliates. He then went on to spearhead the CrossFit Kids program, a venture that led to his title as Director of Youth Training for CrossFit Headquarters and the recent surge in toddler NBA recruits.
Today, the classes at CrossFit Brand X encompass every facet of Jeff's journey through the fitness industry. Elite coaches, Kenpo black belts, and certified krav-maga instructors lead sessions for all age groups that aim for functional strength and endurance, helping patrons to feel more powerful and able in their day-to-day activities such as lifting heavy boxes and scaling flights of stairs. The 30-minute CrossFit workouts cull techniques from weightlifting, gymnastics, and cardio drills, challenging muscles with movements that correspond to real-life tasks for all-around health.
As a thin teen, Peter San Nicolas turned to bodybuilding to buff up his physique, which gained him praise from ESPN’s American Muscle. Then in 1989, Peter channeled that motivation into establishing Ramona Fitness Center, a two-story workout facility for members 21 and over. Now, nearly 25 years later, Peter and his team of dedicated personal trainers and fitness instructors are still motivating others to lose excess weight and tone bodies through personal-training lessons, small-group sessions, and 18 group-fitness courses. Instructors get students’ heart rates pumping during Turbo Kick sessions, which meld kickboxing and intense interval training. Additionally, Core and More classes take 30 minutes to focus on ab work without attempting to do yoga while wearing a suit of steel-plate armor.
The facility is also packed with modern workout equipment that ranges from the ellipticals and spin bikes that line the loft-style second floor to the free weights that fill the ground level. The upscale fitness center is also outfitted with a retail area stacked full of vitamins and supplements.
Having spent her early years on an alfalfa ranch, Sabrina Fortyune of Vineyard Trail Rides has spent most of her life around livestock, and developed a special appreciation for horses at a young age. That equine enthusiasm never abated, and today she can look back on a three-decade career as a professional horse trainer and competitor, working with breeds ranging from arabians to quarter horses. Riders in search of a relaxing jaunt can head out into the surrounding countryside on a trail ride among oak trees and ponds more peaceful than the ocean during a shark conference.
The Ramona Valley's long history of winemaking dates back to early Spanish missionaries who settled into the area in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The region’s altitude, high rainfall, and stable pattern of hot days and cool nights nurture the high-quality grapes fermented by Pamo Valley, Shawaesdall, and Lenora vineyards. After assisting with the winery’s operations for several years, Jennifer Jenkin took full ownership of Pamo Valley Winery in March 2007, turning the venture into one of the only women-owned wineries in the area. She produces award-winning wines in limited quantities to ensure that each contains captivating flavor notes and deter mutiny attempts by any one varietal. Schwaesdall Winery lies along 6 acres of boulder-strewn property managed by vintner and San Diego native John Schwaesdall. John first developed a passion for winemaking while working with vineyards planted in the 1950s—a passion that grew into a fulltime vocation after he planted, fed, and clothed 4.5 acres of his own vines. He and his pet turkey Zinny oversee the production of red and white wines, which visitors can sample in a tasting room constructed of straw bales. The rural vineyards of Lenora Winery produce eight distinct wine grapes, which ferment into the winery’s selection of single-origin and blended wines. A screened-in tasting room and separate picnic area allow guests to sample the wines surrounded by countryside scenery and the gazes of jealous sommelier squirrels.