.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 / 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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“Pic of the Week”, February 11, 2017: Canter’s Deli, Los Angeles

02 Canter’s Deli Los Angeles

When recently visiting Los Angeles I returned to one of my favorite places in L.A.’s Miracle Mile district, Canter’s Deli.  Canter’s is an authentic Jewish deli which never closes.  Besides ordering items from the menu, there are a wonderful assortment of fresh baked goods available for sale at the deli’s bakery.
When I was a resident at UCLA I’d eat at Canter’s from time to time with my peers.  The corned beef and pastrami sandwiches are wonderful, as are the pickles, pickled onions and everything I’ve ever tried here.  It seems the place hasn’t changed in the 30 years since that time.
Canter’s opened in 1931, was and remains very popular, although it has changed locations more than once.  It’s now run by …

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Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, February 11, 2017: Canter’s Deli, Los Angeles
.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

“Pic of the Week”, January 20, 2017: Kelp Forest, Monterey Bay Aquarium

030 Monterey Bay Aquarium. Kelp Forest

The finest aquarium I’ve had the privilege of visiting is in Monterey, California.  Built alongside the old sardine canneries of Cannery Row (a site immortalized in John Steinbeck’s novella of the same name), you’ll find yourself fully immersed in the underwater world when you visit.

There’s dozens of great exhibits, but there are two that are my favorites — the jellyfish, and this one, the Kelp Forest tank.  I’ve spent a lot of time watching this latter tank because there seems to be no end as to what’s going on.   A giant shape approaches in the tank, only to be broken into thousands of individual sardines as the school splits apart.  The moving light and shadows of the kelp, the sharks …

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

Roadfood — the best “American” food out there!

005 El Campeon Mission San Juan Capistrano.  Carnitas

When many people think of “American food” they envision fast food — McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell and the like.  These have their place — inexpensive, reasonable meals, quickly served and widely available.  Those who have traveled with children know how handy stopping at a McDonalds with a play gym can be.  Fast food is successful because people support these restaurants.  That said, except when needing a quick meal while traveling, I rarely eat at fast food chains.

That’s because I enjoy reasonably priced, family-run restaurants which prepare great food, of which there are thousands in the United States.  You might find some of these by searching “Yelp” or “TripAdvisor”, but by far the most useful website for me is

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“Pic of the Week”, August 28, 2015: Surf and Turf

01 Newport Beach Crystal Cove State Park

I love spending time in Newport Beach, one of the Orange County beaches in Southern California.  A major reason for this is beautiful Crystal Cove State Beach, a 3 mile stretch of natural beach just north of Laguna Beach.  I’ve walked the length of that beach many times.

One time while walking along the cliffs overlooking the beach we came across this artist who was doing a rather nice job painting the rugged coast.  The middle photo below shows his subject matter.

Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, August 28, 2015: Surf and Turf