Tombstone: The Town Too COOL to Die

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Pew! Pew! Pew!

Last year, Sara and I went to the Travel and Adventure Show in Long Beach. There were booths with Tourism Bureaus and tour companies. They encourage travel to their cities and countries. Of course, we want(ed) to go everywhere, but that day, Arizona won. We set off a few days later without any agenda.

At one point, we realized that Tombstone is in Arizona. I probably squealed. Sara probably squealed. Lots of squealing. We couldn’t get there in one night so we stopped in Tucson and found a nice quiet hotel far from the downtown area. We ate at some sandwich shop that Sara had seen on a food show. They have a huge sandwich that is free if you eat the whole thing in a certain amount of time and don’t throw it up. MMMM
We did not eat that sandwich.

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Hello, Tombstone!

So, we got to Tombstone and we just freaked out for it. Fricken WYATT EARP was there!! WYATT! EARP! DOC HOLLIDAY! I’ve been to ghost towns and historical places, but some resonate with me more than others. This was one of those places. So, we HAD to see the “shoot out” at the OK Corral.

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Grrr
Don’t mess with me, buddy!

There are several shows a day. Luckily, we got there in time to catch the last show of the day. We saw the players walking down Allen Street to the OK Corral. Doc tipped his hat at Sara (which made her SWOON.) We were so sold. We watched the gunfight. Re-enactments are so cheesy, but I LOVE them. We waltzed into the OK Corral, site of the famous gunfight, and grabbed our tickets to the show.

I knew the basic story, but the shoot out sorta confused me.
We watched it, then got pictures with the Gunfighters.

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I fit right in!

 

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Oops!

We had not planned on spending the night but as we ate dinner at Big Nose Kate’s, we realized we HAD to spend the night in this town.

Here is a thing about Sara that always cracks me up. She yelps everywhere we go. We were once in Bufu, Idaho and she tried to Yelp a place to eat. We stopped at a divey bar/restaurant and she said “There are no reviews.” Well.. Of course there weren’t. People there probably did not know what Yelp IS. The people at the tables around us were all discussing people they knew in prison. It was that kinda place. But, I digress. This particular night, Sara’s Yelping was just fantastic. She was lying in her bed at the hotel and found Doc Holliday’s Saloon. A reviewer mentioned that, sometimes, the actors from the shootout went to the bar, dressed as their character. That was all she needed to see. As soon as we walked in, I started talking to a man named Jim. Everything he said was interesting. And then I babbled “Blahblah Blah blah..” Paused for a new drink. Jim and I talked for a while longer. Then he told me he hosts karaoke, but not usually on that night. He asked the owner (or manager) if he could whip out his equipment and do a karaoke night right then. I have had myself a few karaoke nights in LA. It’s not a big thing. Just some crappy speakers and a monitor. Honestly, I did not expect much from someone in a small town. BOY, was I wrong. Jim starts to unload and set up. It was like the Transformers. Holy crap! Big ole monitors. All hi-tech and shit. Everything was set up pretty quickly and suddenly I became Miss MC. Now, he IS the Karaoke guy in Tombstone (and maybe other towns. I can’t recall.) but I like to think that it was extra magical because I was there. Yea. I used the word magical.

I grabbed a mic and had people sing with me, brought the music books around, and made sure to remind everyone to tip. Hope he made a lot of tips that night! I sang my little heart out. Unfortunately, there is video and it actually sounds like I am spitting my heart out. Not good. At least I know where it is. : )
We loved every minute of it. So so so glad Sara found that place and so glad we met Jim.
You are just DYING to know if Doc and Wyatt were there. Aren’t you?
No. Damnit. No. They were not.

The next morning, Sara and I wanted to walk around a bit more. There is a place with old timey guns you can shoot (that shoot paint) so naturally, we had to do that. People came up to us and made comments about the night before. (Apparently, we were really fun.) We would looPew Pew Sara_Tombstonek at people with blank stares. No recollection of meeting them or interacting with them. Very grateful we were well behaved.

So, we ate. We shot the old timey guns. And we avoided the actors on the streets trying to get us to see other re-enactments. Ultimately and reluctantly, we left. Sedona was on our radar. We were only stopped once by Immigration agents; asking from where we were coming. Tombstone is really close to the Mexican border. Since we were not hiding anyone in our dashboard, we went on our way.

. . .or were we?

I am very pleased with my purchase of Wyatt Earp’s autobiography from the OK Corral gift shop. I love stories about cowboys and western history. Everyone wants their own version of history to be told, despite how bullshit their version was/is. But, I think it’s fantastic. I can’t wait until it is time to read Wyatt’s version of his life. I don’t care if it’s bullcrap. It’s Wyatt. And Wyatt is good with me!

Later,
Jenn

© 2013 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

Being Mostly Good in the Badlands

 

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We got to the Badlands too late to visit for the day, so we spent the night in Wall, South Dakota.  We checked out the town before we settled in because, apparently, small towns must now fit some criteria for us to actually spend the night. One bar/restaurant was mostly empty and the bartender didn’t seem very enthused about us possibly spending time there. There was another place a few storefronts away that seemed to have younger people in it, so Wall, it was.

Our hotel, Best Western Plains had a pool and hot tub. I am always excited when hotels have these amenities, but rarely use them.   A few years ago, in Red Lodge, Montana, I

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The view from our room was AMAZING!

was shrieking with excitement about a hot tub in my room. However, by the time I ate and returned to it,  I was completely exhausted. Didn’t care. Filled the tub with water and forced myself to sit in it for a while like I was punishing myself.  Sara and I really thought we’d eat and come back and enjoy the water, but we never got to enjoy the water.

We went to eat and hang at the restaurant with the younger people in it.  As we chowed down, 2 locals kept sitting and talking to us.   They were nice enough, so we obliged. I swear one of the guys was missing his front teeth. The other guy was really drunk and told Sara about how he used to be an alcoholic but wasn’t anymore. They wanted us to play pool. In our heads, we are pool sharks, but in reality we suck. Luckily for us, they were drunk and didn’t seem to notice much. One of them started rubbing himself on my leg, so Sara and I took that as our cue to ditch them.

So that happened.

The next day, we got up nice and early to see the Badlands.  Va Va Voom! That is some IMG_1640seriously stunning scenery.  It used to be a salt water sea. As the water disappeared… the Badlands began.

There is a loop (Highway 240 Loop)  that takes about an hour to drive, with plenty of places to pull over to enjoy the sites.  There are hikes, too, but we opted out since we had a bit of a deadline to make. Hiking is a must do for the next trip here.

We saw Bighorn Sheep!! IMG_1649

But, we didn’t see bison, porcupines, bobcats, or Prairie Dogs.

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How very Old Timey of Prairie Dogs!
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I asked Sara to pose for a picture.

I had always wanted to see the Badlands. Just the name alone is cool. Seeing it while on a road trip made it even better.

But.. wait.. there is more!

As you drive towards the Badlands, you will pass like 800 million signs for Wall Drug. It sounded like Disneyland! Except.. a Disneyland that I would like! Lookie!

We went inside Wall Drug and all of it’s glory.

There are attractions that were closed by the time we got there. The Badlands Loop ends an hour East, so we were not able to return to Wall Drug to enjoy them.

 

On our way towards our next destination, we finally ran into some bison at Al’s Oasis. Yipee

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Bison Whisperer. Then, not a Bison Whisperer.

 

 

– Badlands Jenn

 

Baseball Art, Lavender and Animals!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ek6sJ_n0lVI%5D

I read about a baseball exhibit and was very excited. Then saw it was at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles.  I automatically assumed it was going to be some hippie weird hemp rope odd something not very baseball-like exhibit.

THANK GOD! I was wrong!  Not one to pass up trying something new, I drove over to the museum to check it out. The museum entrance fee is already dirt cheap, but is even cheaper with a KCRW card. ($5!) Yay!

Up to the 3rd floor I ran. No. I am lying. I totally took the elevator. ZOOM to the 3rd floor. So, it’s dead silent up there. I am the only visitor. No weirdo museum people analyzing anything next to me! I could stare at things as long as I wanted and NO one was there to pressure me into moving on. It was a Thursday in the early afternoon. Good time to go, folks. Good time. A security guard appeared exactly when I realized I didn’t bring my regular camera with the timer.  I got this awesome picture.

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The exhibit are all items owned by a collector named Gary Cypres. His sports memorabilia collection is one of the largest in the world. There were quilts, cigar boxes, drawings (from the 1800s, yo!), a roulette wheel table (sweet!), old bats (no, not your mother-in-law) and

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In 1903, this bat was
presented to the
Boston Red Sox for
winning the first
World Series.

lots of other cool items.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       IMG_4567I really dug the art made of unraveled sock and shoelace threads. A man named Ray Materson was imprisoned (drug-related thing) and decided to get all artsy by making these little squares of baseball players. I am only putting up one here.

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Look at the detail. Dang!

This exhibit runs through September 9, 2012.

 

New Oak Ranch is a lavender farm in Ojai, California. They also have walnuts, olives and tangerines. During the summer, their ranch is open to the public. Since I adore lavender, it made sense to take the hour drive for the experience. I fantasized about running through the lavender fields and rolling around with the wind blowing through my hair.  Maybe Gene Kelly, Olivia Newton John and the Muses rollerskate with me. . .

You are given clippers and a twisty tie and are set free into the fields to cut your own IMG_4603batch. You can cut some for cooking (Provence) or go for the aromatic lavender (Grosso!) IMG_4604There are bees all over. I am not a fan of being around stingy things so was a bit concerned. They have a sign up stating that the bees won’t bother you and I decided to just believe them and waltz through. One with the bees. . . one with the bees. .

Won’t even lie. The bees were so into their pollinating that I felt a bit bad cutting down their fine work, but did it anyway.  They did not bother me once. Err.. okay. One seemed to yell at me until I moved a little bit.

After gallivanting about in the fields, it was time to check out the products. One of the owners, Karen Evenden, was standing by to help me decide what to buy. Lavender everything. Lotion, spritzer, body wash, sea salts, jams, scones, honey.  Karen let me try the jams and honey. I grabbed as much as I could. I am really looking forward to making the scones. The lavender buds for cooking and tea are fantastic. Been throwing them in my vegetable saute´ and loving it!  Make sure to check out the above video. A really cool woman named Brooke explained everything about the ranch to me and Karen describes some of the products. Great people!

Again, the lavender fields are only open in the summertime, but their products are available through their website  all year ’round.

The Gentle Barn is an animal rescue sanctuary for farm animals. They rehabilitate animals. IMG_1334Poor things were abused, neglected or meant for butchering. A few people posted about it on Facebook so I looked into it and found out it is very near Los Angeles. Just a 25 minute drive. There are cows, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, donkeys, cats, dogs, turkeys, IMG_1344and llamas. And you can pet every one of them. Okay, not the llamas. So I just stared at the pretty eyelashes on one of them.  It is a $10 donation to get in and well worth it! The animals are adorable (duh) and very mild mannered.  Some of the animals were bred to be food and were genetically modified. Poor things. IMG_4631                                            There is a cow (their therapy cow) that has bow legs and arthritis. She can’t stand up for very long. She’s the one I pet the most.

When you feed the carrots to the horses, make sure to visit the ones a little further back.

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Yay! Carrots!

One was making a lot of noise to make sure I stayed put and gave her attention.  Definitely pet the turkeys. Was pretty cute to have one look at me like I was the best thing ever for doing that!

Gentle Barn is definitely a family-oriented place. Great to teach your children to be kind to animals.

Ellen and Portia DeRossi are big fans of this place. It was even on Ellen’s show. I visited with the turkey named after Portia. So, I guess that means I sorta met a famous turkey. If you can’t get there, you can donate through their website. They would sure appreciate that!

I finally got to feed Ostriches and Emus in Solvang at Ostrich Land.

I seem to goIMG_4716 to Solvang an awful lot these days (sssh!) and have always wanted to visit this place but never did for some reason (wine.) It is $4 per bowl of food.  The birds are all behind fences and reach their heads over to eat.  They all had the best expressions on their IMG_1364faces and walked like Big Bird. Fine. Maybe they aren’t really “expressions” but, whatever.  Hit this place up before you make it to the wineries. That would be my advice. Very silly fun.

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Don’t forget about us! We are past the ostriches. We like the food, too!

 

Thanks for reading!!  – Jenn

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

Hitting The Bean & the History Museum in Chicago

It took living in Los Angeles a few years to really appreciate my hometown, Chicago.

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Mom told me to take this picture cause it’s cool.

Parking is crazy expensive in Chicago (Thanks, Daley!!!!), so my Mom and I took a train Downtown.

 

We hung out in Millennium Park. This place was not around when I lived in Chicago, so I had not been..  Mom and I checked out The Bean,    IMG_0730                                                          which is a giant bean shaped mirror.  Hmmm.  Okay?                                            The website boasts of how the bean (sorry, “Cloud Gate”) reflects the beautiful Chicago skyline.  It sure does. But you can also see the skyline by simply turning around and looking right at it.  HA! Yet, I seemed to really dig this mirrored sculpture since Mom and I hung out in the park for a quite a while and took a trillion pictures. The park offers concerts, art, exercise and well, a park. It is nice to have places like this within a city.  Just watch out for coyotes!

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My Dad is the photographer.

The next day, my Mom, Dad, Brother and I high-tailed it to The Chicago History Museum. I hadn’t been

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Nope.

there since I was a child. It definitely changed a lot.  Was extremely happy that they still have train.  They have interactive exhibits, which I always LOVE.       IMG_15691                                                                                     Children learn something from these exhibits, but I just want the pictures!!

IMG_1591Imagine my dismay when I found out, months later, that I could have taken a picture lying IN the hotdog. It would have been called a dorkdog.

 

The museum is definitely more PC now, as it strives to show how different groups of people are an integral part of Chicago’s development.

They didn’t mention the serial killer that was around during the World’s Fair.

Ah, Chicago History…IMG_1573

 

 

 

People think it’s funny that I loathe red meat, but am from a city known for slaughterhouses. (Oh, and corrupt politicians and gangsters!!)

 

When we were done at the museum, we walked across the street and dined at IMG_1596The Fireplace Inn. That was some good eatin’s! They have a patio and the view across the street was AMAZING! Jenn-Chgo-911-037                                                           I loved that it started to rain right before we ate, but that we still scored a window seat. Eat there.

There are 80 million things to do in Chicago and I will eventually tell you all about all of them! In the meanwhile.. I leave you with this picturesque shack…My brother is so awesome that he drove around until we found it because his bratty little sister wanted photos.shack

 

Out for now… Jenn

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Mansions and Ghosts in San Jose!!

On a road trip to Big Sur. . .we ended up in San Jose.  It just so happened that every hotel anywhere near Big Sur was booked and, naturally, we had not planned ahead.  Luckily for us, one of the only hotels available happened to also be one of the very coolest. We completely scored and stayed at the historic Dolce Hayes Mansion. Yea, we did that. We stayed in a mansion. Albeit, a converted to a hotel-mansion, but a MANSION! Yes, please!  Unfortunately, we arrived too late to dine, but did enjoy a glass of wine in the Coyote Creek Lounge, which was just a quick elevator ride downstairs..in the basement. bawhawhawhaw!! Actually, it wasn’t a creepy-ass place at all. I really liked it and am totally leading you on right now.

The next day, we wanted to be able to say we lounged at the pool of a mansion, so made the effort to relax (woa! that is SO an oxymoron!)  instead of rushing off, as we tend to do. For a little while, we were frou-frou heads in the fancypants hotel robes they provided. . . until hunger pains and ghosts called.

We had to check out the Winchester Mystery House™. The story of the house goes as such: Basically, a woman, Sarah Winchester (as in Winchester guns – pew! pew!!), lost her child and years later, her husband. She went to a spiritual advisor that told her to move West, buy a house and continue working on it 24/7 to appease spirits that allegedly took her family and would take her life as well.  There were hundreds of rooms at one point, crazy stairs and doors that lead to nowhere. Oh, and it is supposed to be haunted. Sounds like my kind of place! It would have been a lot of fun to check it out without the tour, but it wasn’t allowed, so we took the 1 hour tour, hoping to have a supernatural experience. The tour costs $30, which is a wee bit expensive (though I do understand there are costs to keep it open.) Our tour guide was super actor tour guide dude. He was VERY into his job. Sadly, we didn’t see any ghosts. (Figures!) But, ghosts didn’t come out to greet me at The Stanley Hotel in Estes, Colorado a few years ago, either. Soooo, maybe it’s just me. (Watch your backs, ghosts! I’m going to see one of you someday!)

This place is cool, historical (duh) and it is definitely worth checking out.

Do it!                                       – – –    Jenn

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

 

 

Steinbeck was right!

“The next passage in my journey is a love affair. I am in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, but with Montana it is love, and it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.” – John Steinbeck – Travels with Charley in Search of America

Anyone that has had a conversation with me knows that I talk about Montana nearly as much as I breathe. It is so beautiful and so stunning that I cannot keep away from it for long. It was a privilege to introduce Sara to the place that owns my heart.We took the amazingly scenic drive to Virginia City and Nevada City from Bozeman.

Oh!! Old Timey Phone App!!
"I'm not a man! I'm a machine! A MACHINE! Aiiiiiiiii!!!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both are along Alder Gulch, the site of a huge ass placer gold strike in the mid-1800s, thanks to the discovery by Bill Fairweather and Henry Edgar.

 

 

 

 

We walked along the wooden boardwalks and

checked out the stores and exhibits.

The store to the right had some really neat stuff in it. The store owners ditched out a really long time ago, though.

The guys to the left are TOTALLY not real people. I don’t know what is going on underneath that blanket, either.

One of the super duper cool parts about Virginia City are the stories about Road Agents and Vigilantes.  Gather ’round the campfire. . .This story begins with Henry Plummer. He served time for a killing a man in California (“self defense” over a woman.) When he got out, he headed to Idaho, where he continued being a bad, bad man. Henry had to hightail it out of Idaho or be lynched for murder and ended up in Bannack, MT where he friggen becomes the Sheriff! “Holy Crap!” you just thought.  Yea. Major Suckage.

Anyway, Miners traveling with their gold were being robbed/killed. This was being done by a gang of road agents called “The Innocents.” They totally had secret handshakes and shit. They always seemed to know when and where the wagons would be. Hmmmm… The miners were so not happy about that and formed the Vigilantes to bust some caps into their asses. Or hang them. Whichever. The place where some of the hangings took place is a sort of museum in Virginia City. For some reason, we did not find it at all morbid to stand beneath the wooden beam where criminals were hung. See, it’s actually cool because it was bad dudes during the GOLD RUSH! Historical deaths. Yaay!

Pow! Pow! Hang! Hang!!!

Don’t worry… It was GEORGE, not BURL Ives…

 

 

The Vigilantes eventually figured out that the Innocents were getting their intel from Henry Friggen Plummer. He was taken care of back in Bannack. Ouch!

 

Nevada City is just down the road from Virginia City. In the 1940s, a couple named Sue and Charles Bovey started to collect old buildings from around Montana and Idaho and eventually placed them here, alongside original structures.

ALL ABOARD!!!

 

 

We stopped to look cool in front of an old train before heading over to check it out.

 

 

 

         Ohh!! Old buildings!!

 

 

 

Virginia and Nevada Cities do have tours available, if you are that type…We wandered about and read the placards on the buildings instead.

I snagged a great hat and some books in one of the stores before we checked out the Bale of Hay Saloon.

 

 

 

 

 

Back then, I bet the girls at the Saloon looked a lot like this:

Many years ago, I was in Virginia City at the Saloon with a friend. There were a bunch of hunters there; still wearing their sharp-ass knives in holsters. They had clearly been out in the wild with no showers for a while. It wasn’t long before we all knew where “that smell” came from. They danced their asses off to the band with some young ladies. Meanwhile, a bunch of guys that came in on a bus from Butte, MT were fist fighting outside. My friend and I just enjoyed being in a rockin’ historical bar… and he was polite enough to not throw me out of a window when my pointy heels kept jabbing into his feet as I attempted to two step with him.

Ah, Montana: I Live For You.

Leaving you with my favorite picture from a trip to Montana years ago…..

Yes. There is snow and I am dressed like I am in California. I know, I know....

Jenn

(p.s. Eternal Thanks to BB, without whom I may not have known what beauty lies North and East of Los Angeles.)

 

 

 

 

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

Alleged History in San Francisco

Oh! A Video!!

A long time ago, I visited Fisherman’s Wharf and bought a poster of The Cliff House and always wanted to see it. It was on the list for this trip. I could not wait!! We zipped on over and found it… and it did not look a damned thing like my picture. The structure I was hoping to see managed to survive the San Francisco earthquake, but a fire burned it down a year after that. (Yes. I know this little thing called the internet could have cleared this all up for me, but sometimes not knowing things like that cause you to experience all new things!) I was definitely disappointed about that. Big Duh to me.

The part that was extremely NOT disappointing, however, was the view!

Holy wow!

Look! I’m Alfalfa!

It was sunny and every color was so vivid it felt unreal. Another bonus was the wind. Something about the wind just makes me really feel alive. We had a few more places to see before the day’s end, so we left the lovely Pacific and wandered into the city.

Sara and I live in Los Angeles, which likes to tear down anything even vaguely historical, so we are always quite excited to see things that are a part of history. We went to China Town, had lunch and then took a stroll to 728 Montgomery Street. This was the site of the first meeting of the Free Masons in California. The building that is there now is supposed to be from the 1850s, last I heard. Wow. Bet it’s a cool building.

Yep. Our luck! Under construction!

Next stop was 750 Kearny Street. It’s a Hilton Hotel now, but it once was the site of saloons and gambling places during the gold rush! Come on! That’s freaking amazing! It is so incredible to stand there and think about what it was like during that time; how different it was. (Or was it?)

 

Unfortunately, by the time we were ready to see the Jackson Square Historic District, we were a bit tired. There are buildings there that are the only surviving ones from the gold rush. We should have gotten out of the car and waltzed around, but we didn’t. I am not sure which are and which are not originals, but believe me, I will return and find them. (p.s. It is on Jackson Street and between Montgomery and Sansome.)

We stayed in San Francisco for a few days (with many stories for another time), but the event that has kept me laughing more than anything, was seeing a gorilla chase a banana down Lombard Street.

Banana, Jenn, Gorilla

We caught up with them half way down the street to meet them. They were very nice and it made my day!

Bananas to One and All!

Jenn

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright