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ANN CONWAY

Portola Ride Beckons With Lure of True Grit on Trail

December 25, 1987|ANN CONWAY

Call them Portola Wives, those good-natured gals whose social lives bite the dust when their husbands--members of el Viaje de Portola--hit the dust for a three-day horseback ride into the scruffy canyons of South County.

While the women get to participate in a traditional sendoff at the El Adobe restaurant in San Juan Capistrano, the rest of the fun--snoring under starlight, steer wrestling, etc.--is strictly por homme .

Annually, the men--mostly local, high-profile business types--take the ride that commemorates the journey in 1769 of Don Gaspar de Portola, a Spaniard sent out to settle Alta California and locate suitable harbors along the coast.

Orange County Sheriff Brad Gates has been named El Presidente of the 1988 expedition that marks the event's 25th anniversary. "I've been involved in the ride for a good part of my life," Gates says.

"It's a great thing for half-cowboys like me--enjoyment with people from all walks of life in the great outdoors. A chance to reflect on our heritage, a part of the world we never want to forget. And, a time to enjoy horses, cattle, green grass, trees and talk about old and new times without pressure, without phone calls. "

The 1988 ride will last a record four days, April 7-10. The men will go by train (as will their horses) to Camp Pendleton, from where Portola and retinue of 62 soldiers, priests, servants and Indians first entered what is today Orange County.

Their return by horseback to San Juan Capistrano will be celebrated with a fiesta at the mission Sunday. Any proceeds from the $500-per event will go to the mission.

Fantasy Island: Carol Campbell, the special events dynamo who almost single-handedly staged the gala opening of the Performing Arts Center in 1986, has been named executive director of the Argyros Foundation, headed by developer and Seattle Mariners owner George Argyros and his wife, Judie.

This weekend: Campbell handled the three-nights-in-a-row Christmas bashes the Argyroses staged for nears and dears, business associates, politicos and family.

On Thursday: a divine party in the couple's French country manse on Newport's posh Harbor Island for 125 pals, such as developer Harry Rinker, his wife, Diane, and attorney Alex Bowie and his wife, Barbara, etc.

Next night: a party in the couple's home and aboard their 100-foot yacht, The Huntress (which they own with the Rinkers), for business pals and politicos, with a guest list that included all the county's supervisors.

Night three: a surprise birthday party for the couple's daughter, Stephanie, 18.

Suite Life for the Duke: Gov. George Deukmejian left his home in the Belmont Heights area of Long Beach, where he's spending the holidays, to attend the L.A. Rams/Dallas Cowboys game at Anaheim Stadium on Monday. Invited by Atlantic Richfield Co., Deukmejian watched the Rams lose (sigh) with his son George Jr., a sophomore at Berkeley, in the oil company's $33,000-per-year suite.

All Signals Go: A working traffic signal--set with two green lights--was presented to James Roosevelt on Wednesday when the members and staff of the Orange County Transit Commission gathered at the Balboa Bay Club to celebrate the statesman's 80th birthday.

Roosevelt, a resident of Newport Beach, will retire from the commission Dec. 31 after six years of service. "I don't feel very much different," Roosevelt says of becoming an octogenarian. "I can't run quite as fast. But, I don't think anybody could have asked for a more interesting and diverse set of experiences in life.

"I was fortunate to work for my father (Franklin D. Roosevelt) when he was President of the United States. I'm one of two sons of U.S. presidents to be confirmed by the Senate. John Adams was the other."

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