.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Back at the Getty Center, Los Angeles

Getty Center Museum 11-2016 (7a)

When I have free time while traveling in greater Los Angeles, I love to visit the Getty Center — well worth a full day’s visit, especially if you’ve never been there before.  There’s no admission fee but you have to pay $15.00 to park for the day (so if you’re dropped off by a friend, the entire day would be a freebie).   There’s a large parking structure adjoining the 405 Fwy in Sepulveda Pass and from here visitors takes a tram uphill to the Getty Center.  The tram/funicular ride takes just a few minutes and when you exit you enter a beautifully crafted world of art and architecture.   I enjoy walking the meticulously maintained grounds and taking in the ever …

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.All Trips / Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

St. Mary’s in the Mountain, Virginia City, Nevada

‘s in the Mountains

Virginia City is an interesting destination, being one of the best preserved “Wild West” towns I’ve ever visited.  Once a prosperous mining city, it was one of the largest communities in northwestern Nevada during the late 19th century.  Thousands of people flocked here when silver and gold were discovered in the Comstock, including many Irish Catholic immigrants.  Those of you who remember the popular television series, Bonanza, will remember that the Cartwrights frequently visited Virginia City to conduct their business.  They were not alone, as Virginia City provided services to local miners, ranchers and timber men. There’s lots to see in this old town, still a center of commerce but now catering mostly to tourists rather than locals.

I thought the …

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.All Trips / Car Culture / Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

Cruise Night, Carson City

IMG_1257

I spotted this collection of classic cars while recently visiting the Reno area. We were driving down the main road in Carson City (S. Carson St) when we saw dozens of beautiful cars in this lot and, of course, had to turn off and see what was going on.

Turns out this was the weekly Cruise Night gathering of a local car club. I’d long known that the favorable climate of Nevada helped prevent the deterioration of cars and that certainly was on display.

There were lots of beautiful cars and many people stopped to study and enjoy them. Here’s a part of what we saw that day:

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

The Griffith Observatory: Los Angeles’ Art Deco Treasure

01 Griffith Observatory

One of Los Angeles’ most famous landmarks is the Griffith Observatory, which is situated on a hill (in massive Griffith Park) overlooking the Los Angeles basin.  Designed to be an observatory of the planets and stars, it’s a beautiful Art Deco structure that houses space and science exhibitions and has a great planetarium. 

While smog obscures the views from the Observatory most of the time, the place is especially memorable for its great views on a clear day like the one I had the

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

The Living Desert Wildlife and Botanical Park

desert

Unless you’ve driven across them, it’s hard to comprehend how vast the deserts of the American Southwest are.  While at first glance the region seems nearly lifeless, it’s rich in a diverse variety of hardy plant and animal life.  An excellent way to see this assortment of desert life is to stop everywhere and explore.  A much easier and more convenient way is to visit a botanical garden which, while not a perfect experience, is highly educational.  A place I’d recommend is the Living Desert, located in Palm Desert, California (very near Palm Springs), which provides a one-stop chance to explore the flora and fauna of America’s deserts –with an African sampler to boot!

Giraffes, Living Desert Museum

The Living Desert occupies …

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.All Trips / California / Food / Southwestern USA

Signs of Grand Central Market, Los Angeles

03 Grand Central Market Los Angeles

Even though I lived in the Los Angeles area for more than 2 decades, it was not until I moved away from the city that I visited its famous Grand Central Market.  Situated in downtown Los Angeles (on Broadway), near many of the city’s massive skyscrapers and businesses, the market has been a landmark for 100 years (established in 1917).

The market has changed with time and it’s not like most of the markets you’ll visit.  Sales of fresh and bulk food , while a component, are a small part of the operation.  It seems these traditional market elements have been pushed out to make room for more restaurant vendors.  People now go to the market to buy prepared food.   …

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.All Trips / Food / Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

In ‘n Out — That’s what a Hamburger is all about

57 Las Vegas 2015. In ‘n Out Burger (8)

Many of my Canadian friends find it difficult to understand why someone would want to move away from California.  There were good reasons to stay and, in our case, better reasons to leave, but there are definitely things about California that I miss.  Foremost among these are dear friends, the meyer lemon and fuyu persimmon trees in my yard, and the beautiful winter weather (summers I wasn’t too crazy about — blasted hot).  And

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Backpacking to Ostrander Lake, Yosemite National Park

Ostrander Lake, Yosemite National Park

From time-to-time I enjoy looking at some of my older photos to remember bygone adventures.  It’s from one of these periods of reflection that today’s blog germinated.

When I lived in Southern California, I enjoyed spending time each summer exploring the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains — John Muir’s Range of Light.  While much of California is hot as an oven in the summer, these mountains offer a pleasant climate and excellent backpacking opportunities.  In the summer there’s enough water in the lakes that you don’t need to carry more than a day’s worth — very different and much easier than what’s required when backpacking in the Mojave desert.  The weather is warm in the day, cool at night, and almost without …

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