For more than 28 years, the Fresno Home Show's organizers have canvassed the Central Valley to collect and concentrate the knowledge of scores of building, décor, gardening, and landscaping professionals. Homeowners can bring blueprints for home projects and consult with vendors or chat with experts.
At Central Sierra Fly Fishing Adventures, guides teach students the basics of fly fishing. The staff pools their collective 75 years of knowledge of the area’s rivers, lakes, and streams, tailoring lessons and expeditions to the skill level of each student.
The owners of 7Star Rental wield more than 20 years of boating experience to equip ocean and lake adventurers of all levels for an active day on the water. Knowledgeable staffers can harness equipment such as wakeboards and inner tubes to all-fiberglass Tigé and Centurion-brand boats, or loan out a fishing vessel with plenty of storage space for bait and tackle. Events such as fishing trips and wakeboarding lessons help watersports newbies get their feet wet. In addition, Sea-Doos carry wave wranglers through California's many lakes, delta waterways, and Guinness World Record–breaking goldfish bowls.
A flock of mallards swoops over the lake, while in the hills above, california valley quail forage in the brush. Each year, gamekeepers release thousands of fowl onto Camanche Hills Hunting Preserve's 1,500 acres, all of which is meticulously designed to re-create the birds' natural habitats. Overseeing a licensing program that prevents crowding in each zone, gamekeepers open the grounds for daily hunts and can even supply hunting dogs with handlers. To help sportsmen refine their hunting skills, instructors lead safety courses and show outdoorsman the most stylish ways to wear hunter orange. The preserve also encompasses three 10-station sporting-clays course, as well as a grouse bunker, two lighted five-stand courses, and a range for trap and skeet shooting.
A clubhouse gives guests a place to relax, and a kitchen opens for breakfast and lunch—days vary depending on the season. It also houses a pro shop, complete with a gun maker experienced in the English tradition of gun fitting, as well as a sporting gun engraver. The preserve also neighbors the Camanche North Shore Recreation Area, which offers lodging, campgrounds, and further outdoor recreation such as horseback riding and fishing. Other nearby attractions range from historic gold rush sites to vineyards.
The instructors at Skydive Hollister conduct their highest jumps at 18,000 feet—the greatest height from which one can dive without supplemental oxygen. Even at this altitude, they have to pump oxygen into the plane’s cockpit before a jump. Once outside, the 120 mile-per-hour free falls last little more than one minute. They help students navigate this rapid descent on tandem dives, during which they strap into the same harness as their student and coach them in proper body position, steering, and parachute release over the sound of roaring wind. At 5,000 feet, instructors deploy the parachute and instruct their partner in parachute control and landing techniques as the blue waters of Monterey Bay and the hills of San Francisco unfold below.
Instructors also train students seeking skydiving licenses through two programs. In the Accelerated Free-Fall program, they teach skydiving principles and technical basics in a four- to six-hour ground school before strapping students into their own parachutes for seven jumps. The Instructor-Assisted Free-Fall program precedes this solo training with two tandem skydives, during which instructors teach their protégés the basics of free-fall turns, altitude awareness, and filling in for the lead goose flying in V-formation.