Headed East for the Day

Sara and I were really due for a road trip. We picked the direction of East. Sara found hot springs and an art exhibit. I had seen rumblings about a house Al Capone once lived in that is on the way. We also thought we could fit some time in Joshua Tree National Park.

So, naturally, we went on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. We picked a good day, because it wasn’t too busy. It was hot as the devil’s ass outside, though. I had heard of it but was just never able to go on it. I didn’t know what to expect, but assumed it went in a horizontal direction across Palm Springs, even though I had never actually seen it go across the town.

The tram is one of those random ideas some rich guy had in the 1930s and was finally completed in 1963. “The mountains are amazing, but, ugh, that walk UP!” Something like that. I hate walking uphill so cheers to Francis Crocker! Trams on every mountain!!!

You drive uphill for a short while to get to the parking lot. Since it was a light tourist day, we got to park in the lot right next to the entrance. There are shuttles to take you up to the station from the other lots, though, so don’t be scared. And good thing because that is a steep-ass walk. The tram was $25.95 per adult human. The ride takes about 10 minutes each way. Bring your camera!!!

The tram goes up the side of a mountain, but is on cables so you are traveling in the sky, pretty much.

USE 3 Us omg Sep 04, 2 22 27 PM
That little black blob is our tram. aiiii

Sometimes, I get irrationally terrified of heights, but never freaked out in either direction. The floor on the tram circulates so everyone gets all of the views. On the way up, some people could not comprehend that the floor moves, so they kept moving in the opposite direction of the floor, so those of us that understood this crazy concept kept being pushed a bit. On the way down, however, everyone remembered that it moves and I had no problems. I was wearing thong shoes and felt a little stress on my feet going down, but not bad.

Something that Sara and I didn’t even think about until it was too late was that the temperature on top would be vastly different than the firey hell the basin was experiencing. Now, on the day we went, it was in the mid to upper 60s up top so we were fine, but it can get cold, so make sure you check their site to make sure you have the proper clothing.

There are restaurants, a museum and a gift shop at the top. There are a lot of hiking trails on San Jacinto, including one that is really easy and flat. However, you do have to climb down some stairs to get to the easy hike, which, of course, means that you will have to climb back up. The easy hike does not require a permit, but the wilderness hikes do and you can acquire a permit at the ranger’s station.

You can also camp up in the mountains. You will also need a permit for that.

The tram does run in the winter and their site suggests cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Their Adventure Center rents gear, so you don’t have to schlepp anything to Palm Springs if you don’t want to.

Sara and I just wanted to go up and down. We didn’t read about the things to do and didn’t even think about the fact that we could have made a day of it. So, we kind of just went up, hiked for 30 minutes, peed, then went back down. It was still worth it, though.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
1 Tram Way Palm Springs, CA 92262
Phone: (888) 515-8726
Email: pstramway@pstramway.com

USE 3 Sep 04, 2 19 38 PM
It gets a little bumpy around these things!

 

-jenn

Day Trip to San Francisco

barge

I have been to San Francisco many times, but never grow tired of the place. When I went with my family, we stayed at da Vinci Villa for one night. It had been upgraded and we were eager to check it out. It was generally fine, but the walls were definitely thin, but that isn’t really unusual. If any little noise drives you crazy, then this is not the place for you.

by cliff house

One place at which I love to always stop is Cliff House. I have yet to eat there, but do enjoy the great ocean view. It has an interesting history. So many historic buildings have experienced fires, but this one also was once damaged from an explosion that occurred when an abandoned boat that happened to have a lot of dynamite on it, ran into the rocks beneath the structure. Just the kind of randomness I love. Also, it made it through the 1906 earthquake, but then burned down anyway. It’s kind of like Final Destination for a building.

Near the Cliff House, in Golden Gate Park, you will find the Dutch and Murphy Windmills as well as a tulip garden. (I found them by searching the area on a Google map.) windmillThe mills were built to pump water long ago. The first of them was built in 1902. The second was completed in 1907.

Apparently, they are being massively restored right now.

 

 

This trip was the first time I visited the Wave Organ, which was officially ready for visitors in 1986.

This is a free art installation on a jetty (that you can definitely dance upon) near the Exploratorium. In fact, the Exploratorium had a hand in getting this thing built. When you put your ear up to a pipe, it sounds like the ocean is making music with its water fingers. It really should record an album and go on tour someday.

I was with 6 other people, so after 3 activities, we made it across the way to Muir Woods. Always a favorite place to visit in Northern California!

 

-jenn

 

 

Events and Activities for October

I live in Los Angeles and am amazed at how often I sit at home and do absolutely nothing. But, once it is Fall, I am out a lot more. Maybe it is because it is less likely to be 90 degrees.

Here are some great Fall and Halloween activities. There are a lot of scary movie screenings around town as well.

Dust Bowl Festival
October 20
8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Sunset School, 8301 Sunset Blvd
Bakersfield, CA 93307

If you read “:Grapes of Wrath”, then you know about the migrants that came to California to escape the dust bowl disaster that was happening in the plains of America. Every year, there is a festival in Weedpatch at Sunset Camp (Arvin), where they lived and worked, honoring them and their plight. The old buildings are opened so you can actually walk in them. Photos, books and artifacts from the time are displayed. This event is free.

Haunted Hayride
Through October 31
Griffith Park (OLD ZOO)
4730 Crystal Springs Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Travel Town
Open all year around
Depot Day is October 14
5200 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Underwood Farms
Open Year Round
21st Annual Fall Harvest Festival runs through October 31
3370 Sunset Valley Road
Moorpark, CA 93021

They have a pumpkin patch, lots of activities for kids, including a petting zoo, food booths, live bands, gift shop, fresh vegetables and fruit for purchase. It does cost $15-$20 on weekends, but only $6 on weekdays.

The Best Halloween Store Ever
225 N. Moorpark Rd., Suite A,
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
It is in a small mall.
This is a pop up store, so get there fast! They sell a lot of props for your home or if you are having a Halloween Party and I was in HEAVEN!

Thousand Oaks Street Fair
October 21
October 21, 2018
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Moorpark Road (between Hillcrest and Wilbur)
Thousand Oaks, CA
Free Admission

Ghost Walk
Through October 28
AG Museum of Santa Paula
926 Railroad Ave
Santa Paula, CA 93060
Admission is $10-$15, depending on when you go. You can make reservations online

Fillmore Halloween Train
364 Main St
Fillmore, CA 93015

HalloweenTown
Open all year around
Three locations:
2921 W Magnolia Blvd
3021 W. Magnolia Blvd.
3013 W. Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505
Rob Zombie’s store!! It has great Halloweeny things, including costumes, and is great if you need a fix in the middle of the year.

Dia de Los Muertos
October 25-November 2
Olvera Street, across from Union Station

Grand Park Dia de los Muertos
October 29
Grand Park
200 N Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
200 N. Grand Park, Los Angeles, CA

Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Dia de Los Muertos
October 27
$25
Walking Tour
October 13

Cinespia
Most weekends
6000 Santa Monica Bvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90038
I recommend taking Lyft to this cemetery for their events

Alpine Village Oktoberfest
Through October 27
833 Torrance Blvd
Torrance, CA 90502

Sherman Oaks Street Fair Oktoberfest
Sunday, October 21
House of Billiards
14662 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Castle Haunted Mansion
October 31
9001 Bermuda Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92646

Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, CA 90802

The Los Angeles Italian Festival w/ Joe Mantegna
October 21
1761Vermont Avenue
(it is on a stretch of Vermont/Franklin)
Los Angeles, CA 90027
$10

13th Annual LA as Subject Archives Bazaar
presented by The Art Deco Society
Saturday, October 20
9am-5pm
Doheny Library
USC Campus
3550 Trousdale Pkwy
Los Angeles, CA 90089

books, experts, workshops. All about Southern California

 

 

 

Drum Barracks, Civil War Museum in Wilmington, CA

Photo Feb 03, 4 48 28 PM

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend, Brian, and I went to the Chowder Barge in Wilmington, CA. It is a barge that was used as a support vessel (whatever that means) for “Mutiny on the Bounty” that was repurposed to be a restaurant on the water in the Leeward Bay Marina, surrounded by boats. I am glad we made the trip to try it, but it wasn’t my favorite bowl of clam chowder. The option of “bread” doesn’t mean a bread bowl, as we are familiar with in San Francisco. It was a piece of bread (not sure what kind) in the middle of the thick soup. We also ordered double clams. What that means is that fried clams are added. I didn’t even notice the clearly written fried part on the menu, but ate them anyway, so had to double exercise the next day. Our waiter was very nice and the restaurant itself is a pretty cool idea, but do not go with any gourmet expectations. Definitely a great place to visit during the daytime, when you can see the view.

While we were eating our clam chowder, I looked at one of my history books of California and found out there is a Civil War museum nearby. We were unable to get to the museum that day, but did return a few weeks later.
Before we ate, we stopped at Urban Americana. It is a really cool vintage store. It has furniture, old signs, toys, books, clothes, art and vinyl records.

Very unique and kitschy stuff. No matter where we go, Brian finds a place that sells records. Sometimes, I luck out and they have other things for me to look at. This place is huge and has a lot of cool things, an outdoor area with a nice bench, and they have bathrooms.

 

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Last year, I read a book entitled, “The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War” by Leonard Richards. There were a few stories that had me on the edge of my seat from excitement. I had a feeling how they would end, but they ended way more spectacularly than I imagined. The gold rush is certainly a big part of what we learn in history class. The gold miners did more of a gentlemen’s agreement on mining claims. They were none too happy when rich Southern slave owners came over, using slaves to do all the work, being able to mine more ground faster and make more money. The disagreement over California being admitted as free state is what some believe was the final nail in the coffin and what officially started the Civil War. Being a free state meant anti-slavery states had a majority of representatives in the government.

Drum Barracks was built to be the Union headquarters for California, Arizona and New Mexico. It was also protecting the harbor. Supplies were based there. Camels were shipped there also, with hopes that they would be more efficient than horses. (Nope.) Most of the buildings are now gone. The Museum was formerly housing for Junior Officers.

There is another building about two blocks away (Eubank Ave and Opp Street) that was Photo Feb 13, 1 38 07 PMthe powder magazine, where gunpowder & ammunition were stored. That building has a fence around it, but I didn’t see any signage. Very easy to find, though.

The only way to see the inside of the museum is if you take a guided tour. This is both good and bad. Good, because I certainly got more out of the visit with a human being there to answer questions and explain things. The only bad part was that there are many printed things on the walls that I didn’t read because I didn’t want to hold up the tour. There were only 4 of us. However, no one would have actually cared if I stalled to take anything in longer. That is all on me.

They have 1st edition Ulysses S. Grant books on display, which was absolutely amazing to me. Most of the furniture is that of the era, but not what was actually in the home. Soldiers lived more compactly. The original artifacts are mostly in glass cases, with replicas available to pass around.

There is also a room with different weapons that were used during the Civil War. A man that was on the tour with us was familiar with the weapons of that time. He asked my boyfriend if he had ever shot a gun, being fascinated with the size of the bullets. Kind of thought it was funny because I am the one that has tried shooting. Even tried a machine gun. Anyway, what I loved about that guy was how excited he was to finally be in the museum. He said he had heard about it and seen ads, but never went despite living nearby. That morning, he finally did it!

As you tour the building, you will get to the medical display. I knew about how surgeries were done long ago, but it was nice to have a refresher, gross as it was. Really gross. I think it was the re-using the surgical tools without sterilizing them and just wiping off the blood and moving on to the next surgery that really brought it home for me. Can’t help but wonder what things we now believe to be medical marvels will be thought as horrifying years from now.

Finally, Drum Barracks has a great gift shop, filled with Civil War books to help you further your knowledge.

Drum Barracks is both a Los Angeles Historical Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

The Chowder Barge

611 Henry Ford Avenue

Wilmington, CA 90744

(310) 830-7937


Drum Barracks

1052 N. Banning Blvd.

Wilmington, CA 90744

(310) 548-7509

**Drum Barracks is closed on Monday and Friday. Two tours are available per day. You do not need to make reservations for the tours unless you have a bigger group. Be sure to check their website before you go.


Urban Americana

1345 Coronado Avenue

Long Beach, CA 90804

(562) 494-7300

 

– Jenn

© 2018 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

Grand Central Air Terminal

Grand Central Air Terminal, Glendale, California

Photo Nov 19, 11 08 09 AM

I work on the production side of commercials. Sometimes, the shoots are on stages that have been used in famous and beloved television shows and movies, often with commemorative plaques hung on the wall outside the door. Sometimes, the location is a beach, a house, or a museum. Sometimes, the location is a piece of history.

Though I am not religious, I lose my mind over Christmas and Santa. A few years ago, I even started a tradition of getting my photo with Santa. I have stood in line with children at malls, Union Station in Los Angeles and Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. The adults don’t always get that I am actually in line to get a photo with Santa and ME and have walked in front of me to get photos of their kids. Last December, I worked on a shoot with Santa Claus in an industrial area in Glendale, California.

As soon as I arrived at work, I was tasked with wrapping gifts for kids, which I gladly did while donning my personal Santa hat. The art department built and created an amazing and festive room with crafts, snacks and decorations. When I finally needed a bathroom break, I walked to another part of the building and discovered that I was in an air travel museum! Grand Central Air Terminal was a major airport long ago, attracting the rich and famous. It was the premier airport around Los Angeles before that title was bestowed upon LAX.

Air travel was starting to catch on in the late 1920s in the United States. In 1926, the Feds started to regulate air travel to ensure safety, which would then encourage people to take seriously the idea of flying in lieu of slower modes of transportation. Moving forward into the future of transportation was actually inspired by delivering mail. It had been decided that private businesses should get into mail delivery via plane. Combined with the enthusiasm created by Charles Lindbergh and his solo Atlantic flight, the US got excited about this newer form of getting around.

An airline called Transcontinental Air Transport had a Los Angeles – New York route that began at Grand Central. Lindbergh was hired by the airline and even flew the first leg of the first flight to New York (along with some celebrities.) Without night travel capability, the trips still included connections using trains and took nearly two days. When the DC-3 was introduced, the flights times were reduced, with a few stops for fuel. (The ads for the DC-3 included women so everyone would know that even WE can handle flying.)

When the USA joined World War II, the use of Grand Central was no longer for private citizens. It was used by the US Government to train pilots. Though the runway was extended during wartime, it was reduced when the airport was returned to use by civilians. The airport was unable to survive with said smaller runway due to the larger commercial airplanes that had emerged. The air terminal closed in 1959.

Eventually, Disney took over the building. It was restored and is open for free tours but you must make a reservation here.

Grand Central Air Terminal

1310 Air Way

Glendale, CA 91201

grand.central.air.terminal@disney.com

 

-jenn

 

Free Museum Day – Descanso Gardens

Photo Jan 28, 1 30 42 PM

I decided to partake in the free Museum Day in Los Angeles, CA last week. I have been spending far too much time indoors and was glad for an excuse to get outside. There were a lot of places taking part, but I chose Descanso Gardens because I had never been. It was a lovely day out, with the temperature in the 80s, despite it being ”winter.”

It seemed as though many people parked in the residential area, but there was ample parking in the actual lot. My boyfriend, Brian, and I got our tickets online, which helped us avoid standing in an extra line. We stopped by the café first, which is right before the entrance. My lunch was good and the perfect amount of food. A woman in the line mentioned that she likes to take advantage of free museum days. Last year, she went to MOCA in Downtown LA, but said it was so crowded that she doubts she would ever go again on the free day. Descansco was definitely busy, but there were moments of complete quiet and peace, which were much needed. We got to enjoy a bench by the lake for a fair amount of time without interruption.Photo Jan 28, 2 11 00 PM

 

The grounds are enormous, with much to see. Each season has it’s own group of blooming flowers, with spring having the most. I really enjoy how it is set up, allowing you to walk through different sections. The Oak Forest and Ancient Forest were my favorites and Japanese Gardens are always beautiful and calming.

There are a few trails and places that are a bit of an uphill hike. We walked up a bit of a steep hill to find that it was an even steeper walk down, walking next to a fence. Most of the grounds are even and accessible for everyone, though. They do offer wheelchairs at the Visitor Center. Also, there are benches and bathrooms throughout the grounds.

The Boddy House, former home of E. Manchester Boddy, who founded the gardens, was an unexpected hike uphill, at least on the route we chose to take. If you have difficulty with something like that, please make sure to plan ahead and look into other routes/options so that you can enjoy this attraction. Restored in 2007 and opened as a museum in 2008, the Boddy house is considered a “must-see.” There are informational signs within the house and the rooms are, rightly, roped off. There is a functional sink with a sign that asks everyone to please not touch or use it, but, clearly, someone turned the handles because there was splattered water within the basin. (That both annoyed me and made me laugh.) The rooms and furniture are a “re-interpretation” of its appearance. Since the house and furnishings are contemporary, it didn’t have the same historical feel as many other places I have been, making it feel like more like going to a house party at a very nice house. There are docents available, but due to the crowd, it didn’t even occur to me to find one to gain any insight. Again: Free Museum Day. Brian couldn’t help himself as we left the building, telling random people where the keg was. Everyone enjoyed his joke, I think.

We also went to the Sturt Haaga Gallery, which is next to the Boddy House. It has nature-themed art, of course.

On our way out, we did stop in the gift store, where they sell many garden-related items as well as food items, like jellies and bread mix.

I am glad to have visited Descanso Gardens, regardless of the crowd. It did take Free Museum Day to get me to finally visit, but it will only take a change of season to get me to go again. I am looking forward to the lilacs in the Spring.

Lilacs to be
Not quite lilacs.

 

 

 

* Wear comfortable shoes.

**Make sure to bring water in your recyclable bottle.

Descanso Gardens

1418 Descansco Drive

La Canada, Flintridge, CA 91011

(818) 949-4200

descansogardens.org

 

 

 

 

 

Salton Sea, Take 2, Bananas & Salvation Mountain

The first time I went to Salton Sea, I assumed it was some tiny little body of water, so figured it would be a cinch to find Bombay Beach. Sara and I got there and found a closed visitor’s center and a very smelly run down shack. This time, I made sure to actually research where it is.  This time was also my boyfriend’s first Dart and Map adventure, where it takes 8 hours to go on a 2 hour trip.

Brian and I went to Pappy and Harriets to meet up with some of his friends and to see Lucinda Williams, who was already on the stage playing by the time we got there.  Pappys is a great little restaurant and music joint in Pioneertown, which is about 1 1/2-2 hours from Los Angeles. Pioneertown was originally built as a set for Hollywood Western movies. Now, it has a motel, Pappys & Harriets and the old set buildings with weekend shoot-out reenactments.

We chatted Lucinda up a little bit after the show, which was very cool, and  since I had a few drinks by then, I babbled about how I had learned to play one of her songs on the guitar. Except, it probably sounded more like “ohhh! You inspired me to pick up the guitar and PLAY! bleeh awesome! woo supporting women woohoo” or whatever I said.  My happy drunk is very puppies and rainbows. And then I was probably asleep by midnight.BANANAS!

The discovery of the International Banana Museum trumped my excitement of finally knowing the location of Bombay Beach. Ever since I met a banana in San Francisco, I have developed a bit of an obsession for all things banana. (No, I do not have a million little banana trinkets.) Brian and I got up and out of our hotel room and drove to the banana nirvana. The website said it was open. I didn’t think to call anyway. So, of course, it was closed. Closed! : (

The owner did answer the phone when I called while in front of the place, but he was on his way out of town. Banana dreams. Foiled. (I can’t think of a good banana pun, so foiled will have to do.)

Next, we went to Bombay Beach. Its heyday was in the 1950s and 60s, with Hollywood celebrities flocking there.  The high salinity, followed by storms destroyed this playcation hotspot by the 70s. If you look up the Salton Sea, you always see a picture of a decaying van. So, when you get there and do not see it, there is disappointment. Fortunately, Brian knows a lot of people and ran into a guy he knew. That guy was with a girl that had been visiting since the 80s and directed me to the iconic van. Now it looks like this: IMG_2170IMG_2164

There were some dead fish and random objects along with the rubble of what once was.

 

Brian grabbed the camera and snapped this very awesome photo. IMG_2161

IMG_2178

 

There are a bunch of trailers off of the beach where people still reside.

 

We went to a local place called Ski Inn for lunch before we darted off to Salvation Mountain, which is another iconic place you have to visit when you are in Southern California.

Salvation Mountain is the recently deceased Leonard Knight‘s way of sending his message to everyone that “God is Love.”  It is about 20 minutes East of Bombay Beach.

IMG_9417
Surely you have seen a picture of this…

People donated paint to him so that he could create his brightly colored mountain, filled with art.  We walked around and checked out all of the cool art on and within the mountain. We were curious about Slab City as well, being that it is RIGHT THERE, but have read enough about it to maybe go when we are feeling more adventurous. Slab is an off-the-grid kind of place. Though it sounds like there are plenty of artists and very interesting types of people there, we were advised to skip it.IMG_2209

IMG_2202
What’s up there?

We decided to go around the Salton Sea instead of back tracking.

IMG_2219
fft fft ffft fft ffft

 

Love driving through new places! I don’t know why it fascinated me that it is so close to Mexico, as was made very clear by the Border Patrol stop we had to make on our way back up. Since we weren’t smuggling anyone or anything, we zipped past and watched the Sea on our right until we reached the 10 Freeway to Los Angeles.IMG_2225

 

-Jenn