california

All posts tagged california

Technically we visited them the other way around, but we found the Joe Davies Airpark accidentally when we were looking for the Blackbird Airpark, so Blackbird gets the priority.

This trip was an object lesson in something that Thomas and I discovered when a friend came to visit us in the mid-90s. And it was in the mid-90s, both chronologically and meteorologically. We took her to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and were dragging her around showing her all of the cool things we’d noticed about the buildings and the grounds during our own visits. She was more interested in the air conditioned parts, like the bookstore. The next day we took her to the botanic gardens and she was enthralled with the plants and the gardening techniques. She had a long conversation that I was completely unable to follow with one of the workers about something horticultural. Meanwhile, Thomas and I were about to keel over from the heat.

While she was talking to the worker, Thomas turned to me and pointed out that when we were at the missions, we didn’t notice the heat so much because what we were talking about was interesting to us but she was miserable. The next day, she didn’t notice the heat but we sure did!

And our trip to Palmdale definitely was an experience along those lines. I mostly noticed the heat. There was a little picnic shelter that was the only shade around and so I hung around there as long as I could before I returned to the rental car and sat with the engine and air conditioner running. Going out into that southern California desert sun made me feel even more like Gollum than usual. And the summer sun does a pretty good job of that regardless of where I am.

Alex, on the other hand, had a blast. Which was my intent. Alex is an airplane buff, so this side trip was for him specifically.

The reason why there are two open-air airplane museums in such close proximity is Plant 42, which 20-ish miles southwest of Edwards Air Force Base. Near as I can figure, Plant 42, which manufactures top-secret aircraft, is actually part of Edwards Air Force Base, despite the distance. The space shuttle Enterprise (which Alex and I saw at the Intrepid museum in New York City) was assembled at Plant 42.

Enterprise at Plant 42

NOT MY PHOTO (I was 10 years old and in a completely different state when this photo was taken). This is the Enterprise at the Edwards Air Force Base end of its trip in 1977. The photo is labeled on NASA’s website as “NASA Photo,” which my understanding of copyright law leads me to the conclusion that it is in the public domain.

The claim to fame of the Blackbird Airpark is that they have not just the SR-71 Blackbird but its predecessor, the A-12. At first Alex was disappointed that the place we ended up didn’t have even one Blackbird, let alone two, but I got onto Google and found that we were next door to where we wanted to be. So I ventured out into the summer sun to see if there was an easy way to get from one to the other. And there is. There is a gate in the fence between the two parks.

b52 with better saturation than last time

I’ve already posted this picture of the B-52 once before, but I goosed up the saturation a bit before I resized it this time.

So Alex got to explore both airparks while I hid in the air conditioning, first in the car, then in the minimuseum/gift shop once we got to the Blackbird Airpark side of the fence. As we returned to our car, I made a quick detour because I’d been seized with a desire to take a picture of the B-52 at the Joe Davies Airpark, even though The B-52s were named for a beehive hairstyle, and not the airplane.

Since I didn’t really explore much, I may ask Alex if he’d like to do a guest post.

Pharrell promotion time. I’ve got, like, four things that will give Pharrell money if you buy them, too, and here’s the first. Amazon Associates link this time, since I’ve spent my own money on it: the movie of Despicable Me (the soundtrack will probably be up next).

Note: I am pasting this into the interface (preparatory to scheduling it for midnight on June 11, 2018) and I still cannot swear where we are from 5:00 to 5:35:59. At first I thought it was Griffith Park, but some sites mention that the video was filmed in part at Runyon Canyon Park, but it doesn’t really look like that either, near as I can tell from Google Street View. I guess on Alex and my next trip to California I’ll make him visit Runyon Canyon Park to see if it looks familiar.

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5:00. Wow. I’m stumped. We spend a lot of time in a big flat area where the ground has a kind of pinkish cast, like it’s made from pink granite or something. There are towers with what I at first thought were guy wires, but upon further watching seem to be holding up power lines. But there’s not a single landmark or sign* to be seen. There’s a fence with sharp pointy bits on the top. The fence looks kind of institutional and the pointy bits are pointing outwards towards the viewer, so, I don’t know. The Los Angeles Zoo, maybe? A college or boarding school? Boy, Beattie has been walking downhill backwards for an awfully long time. I hope he’s going to be okay.

Now there’s an I don’t know, water tower? A big green tank of some sort, at any rate. What I wouldn’t give for a street sign. A subway station. A McDonald’s.

Okay, now we have a gate. Not a fancy, identifiable gate, no. Just one of those things that they padlock shut to keep you from driving up that street. It’s probably metal but looks like PVC pipe. A chain-link fence. More chain-link fence. Pine trees. Minions.

5:36 Now we’re at Magic Johnson’s house. Even if I’d been to Magic Johnson’s house, which I haven’t, or I could tell where it is, which I can’t, I wouldn’t be saying, “Hey everyone! Magic Johnson lives at . . . “

5:40 Sigh. A residential neighborhood. No way I can. Oh, wait. Is that Vermont on the way up to Griffith Park? I think it might be. Let’s check. Eee. I got it. Now how on earth did I get it? Apparently the “bumps 15 mph” sign is more memorable than one would expect. We start at Aberdeen and then make a left onto Vermont, heading south on the sidewalk along the northbound lanes. Time to enlarge the polygon. We keep walking down Vermont to Hillhurst and then down Hillhurst to Gainsborough, where we make a left.

5:56 Now we’re somewhere completely new, I think. Let’s find out. The street name behind him looks like “Tempe” or “Temple,” which is probably just my brain filling in because I know that there’s a Temple street in LA. There is something that looks like a school or a church up there on the hill behind him, but I’ve only got 40 seconds left, so I doubt I’ll ever figure this one out. The angle just changed and we seem to be at the top of a very steep hill. I wonder what I’d get if I searched for “the steepest hill in Los Angeles. . . .”

*Well, okay. There are a couple of signs, mostly what looks like of the “put your garbage here” and the “don’t climb on this tower” varieties.

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ETA: I finally found it. Well, part of it, anyhow. It sure looks to me like the 5:04 dancer passes the spot at coordinates 34.1252253,-118.2820732 in Griffith Park. The posts, the buildings, the fire hydrant, and the bollards all match pretty much exactly. Unfortunately I cannot follow the whole trail because no one has driven/walked it yet and posted it to Google Street View.

I definitely think I’m onto something here. We seem to be following Vista del Valle Drive, but I cannot figure out which direction we’re going. I’ll have to do further research.

Now, this is a post that would lend itself to overdoing on the Amazon Associates links. I will try to restrain myself to only maybe two or three.

Warner Brothers was founded by, well, four brothers with the surname of Warner — Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack. I’m not 100% certain why Jack has always been the only one whose name I know off the top of my head. I’ll have to ponder that one. The Warner family originated in Poland (though Jack was born in Canada) and began in the movie business by owning theaters. Somehow they parlayed that into actually making movies and moved from Ohio (how’d they get from Canada to Ohio? I’ll have to look into that) to California.

The Warner Brothers’ first studio was on Sunset and Bronson (and has the scintillating name of the Sunset Bronson Studios today).* The studio had the money to move to nicer digs in Burbank after the release of The Jazz Singer, the first ever “talking picture” — a movie with sound. The Warners accomplished this when they purchased a company that owned movie theaters and which had a one-third stake in First National Pictures, a different movie studio. They purchased the other two-thirds of First National later that year and First National owned the land in Burbank where Warner Brothers is today.

Over time, Warner Brothers continued making movies and also diversified into animation, television, music, and publishing (with their purchase of DC Comics). Looking at the official company history page, I kind of both would love and hate looking at their corporate structure chart. “Warner Horizon Scripted Television”?

Anyway, so the tour. As I think I’ve mentioned before, Thomas and I went on the tour back in the mid-90s and I wanted to see how the property has changed and also to give Alex a chance to check it out. As you might expect, a lot was the same (if you lowered me gently from a helicopter into the middle of the backlot, it might not have taken me a dreadfully long time to figure out where I was, and I certainly would’ve known by the time I found Stage 16, which is the tall one with the WB logo on it that figures prominently in the company logo that runs before movies these days). Quite a bit has changed as well.

The tour starts out on a tram where the guide takes you around the backlot. This is where the outdoor scenes for a bunch of movies and television shows have been filmed. There’s a generic midwestern town and a generic city street, for example. There’s a generic little corner of a Paris street there as well, which was used in Casablanca, but I think I missed the photo of that one.

branch with extra leaves attached, 2017

I got a kick out of this. It’s a for-real tree with extra clumps of leaves tied onto the branches. Why would they do this? Because maybe the director’s vision has the trees fluffier than in real life? To change the apparent season? Anything like that, probably.

There also used to be a generic western town, but that area has been replaced by a generic suburban street, the buildings of which double as offices. That area may have been in use when we were there because I don’t remember that area, though maybe the tour guide just didn’t point out that they were also offices.

One of the other things that must have been in use that day was the jungle set with a water tank that has been any number of ponds, lakes, lagoons, and ocean shorelines. When Thomas and I took the tour, the guide gave a list of just some of the things that were filmed there. I’m sure the list would be even longer today.

Let’s see if I can stick an Amazon Associates link into a picture caption:

Daily Planet Building from Lois & Clark, 2017

Generic City Street — this in particular was used as the Daily Planet building in Lois and Clark (and, in fact, was in use in just that way when Thomas and I were there). As you can see, there are stairs down to the “subway,” though they just stop at the bottom.

Hey! It looks like it worked!

*And here I took a break of something like 20 minutes to figure out if we ever got there in the 24 Hours of Happy thing and looking at the studio on Google Street View, it sure looks familiar. And, no, I don’t think we ever get this far down Sunset. It looks like we only go as far as Gower.

I’m paralyzed by indecision here. I’ve decided to link to Kelis’s song Milkshake for my Pharrell promotion this time out, but there are just too many versions of it. Ack!

Okay, so I’m just going to link to the first two that come up. Looks like one is the “explicit” version and the other is the “clean” version. Milkshake by Kelis/Milkshake [Clean] by Kelis.

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4:00 Pharrell takes over from where the off-brand Lalla Ward left off on Vermont and the 101.

4:04 We’re somewhere else now. Phone calls are 25¢. There’s a gas station. There’s an escalator. So we’re headed into the subway? That could be cool. Also, Jon Beattie definitely gets the MVP award for heading backwards down an escalator like this. I hope Pharrell gave him a raise. And, well, we actually aren’t anywhere new. We kept going south on Vermont and are now at the intersection of Vermont and Beverly.

4:08 Now I’m pretty sure we’re up at Vermont and Oakwood, at the Shell station (we sure seem to spend a lot of time at gas stations).

4:12 And now we’re even farther north, this time back on the bridge over the 101. Each dancer here is heading south, by the way. Our polygon isn’t getting any bigger here, people.

4:16 We’re in a car now. I can identify neither the car nor the location. We go past a car wash and under an overpass. Wait. There’s a Chevron station and a Quality Inn. More overpasses. A Valero, I think? Another overpass and the words “Tom’s Burgers.” Now I’ve got a 7-11. OMG. I’m sure that if I could find a Chevron, a Quality Inn, a Valero, a Tom’s burgers and a 7-11 in that order, I’d have the place, but what are the odds? Okay, we have an identifiable business, finally. Violet Olga Salon. That puts us on Glendale Blvd and the location of the 7-11 means that we’re going north. And it only took 14 minutes to figure this out.

I take it back. We just turned onto Glendale. Prior to that we were on Silver Lake Blvd. The thing that says “Tom’s Burger” in the video says something about 100 years of Armenian Genocide in September of 2017. The Valero might be a Mobil now?

So now we’re on Glendale and we make a right onto Fletcher and then another right onto Riverside. And now we’re enlarging the polygon. We make a left onto Newell and then another left onto Ripple. We turn left onto Rosanna and go under the Glendale Freeway, which apparently will lead us back to Ripple? Then a left onto Gilroy (this one took me a long time because my brain kept seeing the design on the van as being public art on a cement wall. Once I figured out what it was, I saw a similar van at that turn on Google Street View and knew that had to be the right corner). Then we go under the Golden State Freeway and make a right onto Riverside again. Now I’m really confused because we turn right onto Fletcher, which means that we’re now where we were at the beginning of the paragraph. We then head back under the Golden State Freeway and the past the site where Rattlesnake Park is now, and then over the LA River. You can barely see the river, since it’s now 4:41 in the morning. Then we turn left onto San Fernando and head north (doesn’t this sound familiar? Let me guess. We’re going to make a left onto Glendale in a minute).

4:44 That’ll show me for making assumptions. We’re back on foot, with a dancer in a longish skirt and a sparkly blouse in the middle of the street . . . somewhere. Are we in a park? A wealthy-enough residential neighborhood that the houses are set really far back from the street? There’s a park-looking garbage can in the middle of a line of those little wooden bollard-type things that mark the sides of roads in parks. Like these. At 4:54 or so, we go around the other side of her so that she’s no longer backlit and can see the lights of the city in the distance, so my guess is that we’re in Griffith Park.* About damn time, if you ask me. I hesitate to enlarge the polygon unless I’m absolutely certain, which I probably won’t be until it gets lighter. Well, as of 4:59, it’s almost light enough to see, but there’s still not enough to go by to enlarge the polygon. You can see a transmission tower and guy wires behind the final dancer so maybe we’re up by the Hollywood sign?

At 4:59:59 our polygon is 13.76 square miles, meaning that we’d now need 182 Hours of Happy to cover the entire city.

*I think I’m wrong about this. Several months later I’m still pondering. In articles about the video I see more mentions of Runyon Canyon Park than of Griffith Park, but I have seen both mentioned. It may be that the next hour, much of which is spent in a park, is spent partly in each of the two.

This is just bizarre. I’m worrying about how to make a post on the Universal CityWalk when it’s basically just a mall attached to the Universal Studios Theme Park. There’s no real history and it’s about as handicap-accessible as any open-air mall (which means that if your handicap is things like asthma or cutaneous porphyria you’ll have the usual exposure to outdoor allergens/sunlight problems that you’d have anywhere). It’s a very nice mall with lots of themed eateries, plenty of street perfomers, and one of those dancing water fountains that’s fun to watch.

Traditionally, we eat at the Hard Rock Cafe when we’re there. I’m not 100% certain why my friend group decided that would be where we would eat, but we ate there in 1998, 1999, and 2000, and now it’s not a trip to California without a meal there.

Hard Rock Cafe Guitar

The Hard Rock Cafe guitar, 2018

There’s an outdoor stage right there, as well, and when Alex and I were there, Kirstin Maldonado of Pentatonix was performing songs from her solo album. I watched her while we ate, figuring that if she ended up being the next Madonna or Pink or whomever, I could say that I saw her at the mall. It doesn’t look like she’s going to, though, since I had to do some digging to jog my memory as to who she even was. Oh, what the heck. I need to monetize this thing, so here’s the Amazon Associates link to the album she was promoting: Love. I’m sure there’s a way to make those Amazon links come out Amazon Orange, but I haven’t been able to find it yet. When I do, though, watch out.

Universal citywalk globe 2018

The Universal Globe, 2018

Apparently there are some actual regular clothing-type stores at the CityWalk, but you can’t prove that by me. I usually just notice things like the big Universal globe at the entrance, and the aforementioned dancing fountain, which I took a bunch of pictures of, and the Voodoo Donut Shop (which we didn’t go into, but I noticed it!).

And now here we are, 300+ words later, and I guess I’ve actually managed to make an actual post on the CityWalk. I intended to make this just sort of a general mall post (since I’ve been getting my pedometer steps in at our local enclosed malls lately) and it turns out I didn’t need to. Who knew?

Okay, here’s the deal. I don’t want Pharrell to be all, “Hey, this lady’s using my work as a naked cash grab!” But then I don’t want to avoid the cash grab completely. But, it is important to me that Pharrell at least have the possibility of making a bit of money off of this.  So, every post will have an Amazon link to something that will potentially put money in Pharrell’s pocket at the beginning. If it’s something that I’ve spent some of my own money on (the DVD of Despicable Me, for example), I’ll link it through my Amazon Associates ID. If it’s not (Britney Spears’s Britney album, which has the song I’m a Slave 4 U, which Pharrell wrote and produced, on it), I’ll post the naked Amazon link. I’m currently toying with buying Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories album, but haven’t decided yet. I guess we’ll find out if I buy it or not when I get there.

So I guess we’ll start with Britney, since it’s on my mind.

I hadn’t decided to do this as blog posts at first, so these first two hours are just my notes on where we go and what we see. Things get chattier and more detailed in future hours.


Midnight Mobil – Vermont at Melrose

12:40 – 4000 Fountain east to Hyperion then north to Glendale then south on San Fernando to Fletcher then northwest on Fletcher to Glendale to Rowena (?)

12:56 between 7th and 8th on Hope

1:00 a.m. Beats me. We’re indoors and the only words I can read look like maybe The Plump Gander? The Palm Court? That looks like a distinct possibility. There’s a Palm Court Ballroom in the old Hotel Alexandria in downtown LA that looks a lot like the room that Pharrell is dancing around in. If only I could see the ceiling. . . . Well, until I find something better, that’s my decision.

1:04 Hollywood American Legion Hall*

1:12 Outside American Legion Hall heading south on Highland to Mel’s Drive In

1:32 Back farther north on just south of Highland and Johnny Grant then west on Hollywood boulevard to Sycamore then back east on Hollywood to Highland and back south on Highland again to Hawthorn

1:56 Back at the Hollywood American Legion Hall, apparently.**

*2035 N. Highland

**You’ll see the term “apparently” a lot in these posts.

Okay, let’s cast our memories back. Back, back, back. Farther than that. Okay, are you to 1978 yet? If not, we’ll wait.

Are we all here? Jimmy Carter is in the White House (I’m a big fan). David Berkowitz is tried and sentenced (I am a bit of a true crime geek). We had three popes, including the eerily prophetically named John Paul I, who really did put the “I” on his name (also a religion geek). And the top-grossing movie for the year? Grease.

If you’ve seen Grease, you’ll probably remember the drag racing scene. Remember the street they’re racing on? That’s not a street. It’s a river. The Los Angeles River, specifically.

There was catastrophic flooding along the Los Angeles River in 1938 and to fix the problem, they completely destroyed the river’s ecosystem. They dug the river deeper and widened it and covered the whole damn thing with concrete, as if that doesn’t add insult to injury.

In past visits, I’d seen the river occasionally, and it was just as heartbreaking an eyesore as you’d expect. I couldn’t believe that there ever had been a healthy river there.

In recent years, however, I’d been hearing that they’d been working on restoring the ecosystem. I’d heard rumors that there was enough water in some places that people were actually kayaking. This, I wanted to see with my own eyes. I spent quite some time trying to figure out exactly where the improvements had been made and how to get there. Finally I found an article in the Los Angeles Times giving directions that involved parking by the tennis courts in Griffith Park and walking behind the soccer fields. There, you’ll find a bridge over the Golden State Freeway which will lead you to the river. So, we did just that. It certainly was an experience, and on an early Monday afternoon in late July there aren’t a whole lot of people out and about, which made Alex very nervous. We got some fantastic pictures and got to watch an actual blue heron in the water of the river.

After a few blocks, Alex had enough. So we took what turned out to be the Alex Baum Bicycle Bridge back to Los Feliz, took Los Feliz back across the 5 and returned to our car. I’m glad I got the chance to see the revitalization of the river, even if it was kind of creepy and deserted, and I hope to get a chance to explore more (maybe on a weekend when there will hopefully be more people there) on future visits.

Also, coming back on the bridge is why I began my 24 Hours of Happy project. I was watching the video for Happy and noticed that Pharrell is on the Alex Baum Bicycle Bridge at one point. The end of the video directed me to the 24 Hours of Happy site and then I found the individual hours on Pharrell’s iamOTHER channel at YouTube, and it was all downhill from there.

Los Angeles River between Glendale and Los Feliz, 2017

Look at that. From this angle it almost looks like nature. And someday it will hopefully look completely like nature from all angles.

But back to our final day. Traditionally when someone from our pharmacy goes on a trip, they bring something back for everyone else in the pharmacy — magnets, food, pens, whatever. I hadn’t found anything yet, so I looked up souvenir shops and found that most of the best ones are in Hollywood. We hadn’t been to Hollywood yet on this trip, so we figured why not?

We found a parking lot not too far from Hollywood Boulevard and hiked for maybe a quarter or a third of a mile. But what a quarter or a third of a mile! We walked down the Walk of Fame looking at all of the names and watching the people looking at all of the names. I noticed, by the way, that Betty White’s star and that of her late husband, Allen Ludden, face each other, which I thought was sweet. We also went past the establishment formerly known as Grauman’s Chinese Theater. You may be familiar with Grauman’s. It’s the place where all of the actors’ hand- and footprints are in the squares of the sidewalk. I dragged Alex from actor to singer to director just agog and I managed to restrain myself and only take one (not very well framed) picture of Bette Davis’s square. Finally Alex dragged my attention to the task at hand and we continued to the souvenir store. I resisted the temptation to stop by again on our way back to the car, but we needed to get on our way to the airport to return to Texas.

We got our souvenirs and made it back to the airport in plenty of time for our flight. Unfortunately we were seated on the “wrong” side of the plane, by which I mean the side that faced out onto the ocean. As it took off, the plane circled around the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and from that side of the plane I could have maybe gotten one last picture of Cabrillo Beach, the lighthouses, Seal Beach Pier and the Queen Mary. Well, now I know. We need to be on the left side of the plane on our flight back next time.

And there will be a next time. Not in 2018, and maybe not even in 2019, but someday.

This project is seriously eating into my language learning time. Before I started this project, I was routinely getting $2 and $3 easily. Now it’s like pulling teeth to get more than my average daily amount (currently $1.32) so that I don’t lose ground. And I’m definitely not going to make it for today — it’s 11:51 pm and I’m only at $1.30.

On the other hand, doing this project is going to give me 20-something new blog posts, so that will advance this part of my future as a self-employed something-or-other.

Speaking of which, I had something of a setback recently. I know that if I want to reach my goal, I’ll need to start investing in the stock market. So, to that end, I finally saved up the money and then the stock market dropped. I watched my stock for a couple of days and once it started going back up again, I figured I’d better get in while it was still low. And then it dropped farther. And farther. Fortunately, I’m investing and not speculating, so I’m just going to wait this out and figure that it’ll turn around someday. And if it drops another $50 or so I might go ahead and buy my second share now and then work to pay myself back for it.

Notice the words “20-something” up there. The 9:56 to 10:55:59 hour was spent in Union Station. The dancers really didn’t explore around the station much, so I’m probably going to lump that hour in with either the 8:56 to 9:55:59 hour or with the 10:56 to 11:55:59 hour, which means that I will have, at most, 23 posts.

On Alex and my last day in California, we finished up a couple of things I wanted to do but hadn’t had time to. The whole story will have to wait until I post my next installment (hopefully I’ll get to working on that tonight) but when I was watching the video for Pharrell Willams’s song Happy, I saw one of the places we’d been that last day. At least, I was pretty sure that it was the same place. I called Alex in and he agreed that it was the same place. Well, while I was working my way up to making these posts, I watched that video again (for reasons that you’ll understand when I post that post) and saw a note at the end directing me to go to 24hoursofhappy.com and so I did. And I discovered that the official Happy video is clips from a huge 337-person* project of people mouthing the words and/or dancing to the song. And so I began to watch it to see what places I’ve been to on my trips to Los Angeles.

I watched the first hour and then I realized that I was going to need a list. And then the list started to include notes on how I figured out where we were. And then I started marking the areas we’d been in on a map in Google Maps. This became a polygon (as I write this, after finishing the 9:00-9:59 hour my polygon has 10 sides and covers 21.64 square miles). And I put notes about that, as well.

I eventually realized that what I have here is the beginning of a 24-post series. So I think I’m going to do just that, once I finish my next post about the time Alex and I spent in California.

*Each segment is 4 minutes long, so we have 360 segments. However, the top of every hour is Pharrell, so I had to subtract all but one of his appearances because he does have to be counted once for the first time he shows up. So you get 337 people. Technically, it has to be more than that, since some of the segments have more than one person in them. We’ll have to just go with 337+ people,because I am not going to go back and rewatch those first nine hours to make sure I know exactly how many people are in there. I’m not that OCD.

Our fifth full day in California, we left the Pasadena/Los Angeles area once again to visit our annual national park. This year, we went to Joshua Tree National Park (which is another topic to spend an entire post on). And my bank did not like this day, like, at all. You see, I forgot to tell them that I was going to California and the algorithm was able to cope okay with expenses in Los Angeles, Burbank, Pasadena, San Pedro, Malibu, and so on. For some reason, however, it couldn’t cope with my buying gas in Morongo Valley or a t-shirt or pretzel rods in Twenty-Nine Palms. Fortunately my debit card went through for all of those purchases, but when I got home, I had an email from my bank asking about it. And, yes, it was from my bank. I called the phone number on the back of my debit card.

We actually got out reasonably early, at 8:00 in the morning, though I had hoped to leave at 6:00 or 7:00. We stopped at the Walmart in Glendora for the only concession I made to the fact that we were going to spend the day in the desert. I bought — and then actually applied — a fairly high SPF (or whatever they’re calling it these days) sunblock (spoiler: I also did kind of a lousy job and ended up with a streaky, blotchy sunburn).

We then headed off to Joshua Tree. After a bathroom stop at a rest stop and stopping in Morongo Valley for gas, we arrived at Joshua Tree about three hours later. This meant, of course, that we were in the desert for the hottest part of the day, and most of the animals (which weren’t as stupid as we were) were hiding out. We did see one coyote just outside the park, though.

Joshua tree shadow

The shadow of a Joshua tree in, well, Joshua Tree.

We spent four hours at Joshua Tree and then headed back to Los Angeles. After a stop at Walmart in Redlands for a restroom and a pair of nail clippers (I left mine in Texas), we had dinner at an H. Salt, Esq. Fish and Chips in San Bernardino. My folks and I used to eat at an H. Salt (maybe in Hammond, Indiana?) when I was a kid and I hadn’t been to one since Thomas and my 1996 trip (we ate at the one that apparently used to be in Oxnard). The restaurant was kind of empty, but the couple who seem to run the place make the fish to order, so it was fresh out of the fryer when we got it. The restaurant was so dark that we went outside and ate in the rental car. There was a wildfire (a small one, as it fortunately turned out) nearby, so Alex got to watch the planes put the fire out while we ate.

We headed back to our hotel. I fell in love with the bridge that takes Colorado Boulevard over the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, so Alex and I went around the long way to try to get some pictures of the bridge at night. My phone really doesn’t like to take nighttime pictures and adding motion to the mix doesn’t help at all, so they came out blurry.

Blurry Colorado Street Bridge photo

See what I mean?
Picture by Alex Ogden

We took a few pictures the next day as well, and you can see the bridge in them, but I’m still not totally happy. On our next trip, we plan to actually drive that road and take some pictures of the bridge from the bridge. Ooh! Apparently they have a biennial festival actually on the bridge itself. So if we go back in 2020 (no way we can make it in 2018 unless my dad wins the Lottery), maybe I can get pictures of the bridge while actually walking on it. That’s a definite possibility for the future.