Sunday, June 28, 2009

Over the top changed to, across the top

On Friday I went to pick up my son for the weekend. I have to pick him up in Pasadena and then drive back to the east to our home in the lovely San Bernardino Mountains. On Friday's the traffic out of Pasadena is Horrible. One option is to take side streets most of the way to avoid the snarled conditions on the Freeway. This is the 210 Fwy and evening traffic is so bad that even the Diamond lane is stopped. Well on this particular Friday we had to go pick up the cute fiancee in Victorville so another route opens up when that happens. There is an over the top route that cuts over the mountian to the Palmdale area in the desert. You take Hwy 2, the Angeles Crest Highway to the Angeles Forest Highway ( I think that is designated FH59), and it drops you off outside of Palmdale. A few other side roads can bypass Palmdale and cut some miles off this route but it is still10 mile farther than going the Freeway route.
A change in plans happened on the way to the top of the mountain. State Route 2 was reopened.

State Route 2 has been close for a few years now, due to a wash out back near Mount San Antonio. Route 2, better known as Angeles Crest Highway, Runs from the city of La Canada/Flintridge to Wrightwood. It travels along the top of the Mountains of the Angeles Forest at an elevation of 5000' with a pass at 7900'. I told my son that we would go that way instead. In his now teenager changing voice he said "so"
He didn't like it that I stopped along the way because it interupted his sleeping...grin
Most of the stops were to get pictures. First Pic was of the dome for the 100" telescope ontop of Mt. Wilson.

If you are in the So Cal area this place is a must see. I will tell every one about a 2 weekend Telescope adventure later, that includes this location.
We travel more east along Angeles Crest. This state started construction of this highway in 1929, and you can see this in the rock walls and tunnel mouth faces. Wikipedia link to Angeles Crest Highway.

The terrain is rocky mixed with pine forest. The road cuts through and passes some cool scenery.

I haven't been up here in years and was surprised when this sign showed up.

Sorry to say that there was no Bighorn out that day. I stopped in the middle of the road and looked which of course got my son to open his eyes to ask what the heck I was doing.
This was in the area of the tunnels so being me I had to honk in all the tunnels which my son no longer I like the echo....grin
I had to stop at a place that is a junction of sorts. Unfortunately the Junction at State Route 39 has been closed since the 70's. Wikipedia link Route 39.

I hear they are talking about getting this route open again.

We traveled on heading east to get to the cute Fiancee. We came to a place where water was cascading down the side of the mountain. My son had to get down into the water. We even found some un-melted snow from last winter here.

The last part of our Hwy 2 adventure had a serendipitous turn. We were entering the Wrightwood area when a vintage Chevy pick-up truck goes by pulling a Vintage Teardrop trailer. I have been facinated by the Teardrop trailer for a while now and just recently decided to build one to drag around. I turned to follow the truck and noticed a sign on the sign post to a Wrightwood area camp ground. Vintage Trailer Gathering. I thought about this time that I had better get to the cute fiancee first or she would be waiting in the heat for too long.

We went to get her and have some diner and she agreed to go up and look at the vintage campers.

And the Teardrops.

It was a great day, and we can't close out an adventure with out some architecture. A place called "The Pines". Very cool old lodge in a place called Big Pine, near Wrightwood.

Next adventure we go to Barstow Ca.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Marina Del Rey boat show...NOT

Well Today we went to do an adventure and we got had. We went down to Marina Del Rey to go to the annual boat show there. There was a couple of websites with information for it but something fell apart with the thing and it never happened....sigh I stopped at a local boat sales place nearby to the location the show was suppose to be and the man inside said that it was the Marina del Rey chamber of commerce that had that boat show. The chamber of commerce contracted with a boat show promoter to put this thing on and recently didn't promote it and so it never happened. Oh well, I found out that there is another boat show next weekend...grin

We started out with three things on our Itinerary: Boat show, a store called Galco's, and see if we could find cute fiancee's grandmothers old house in LA. The Galco's thing was a last minute entry into the schedule do to us seeing it on a TV show called "California Gold" last night and it looked cool. I looked up this Galco's place on the internet and the hours were short for Sunday so we headed for there first.

Galco's is and old grocery store.

Galco's is better knows as the "Pop Stop" This place sells only soda pop, beer, and wine, plus it has a cool sandwich counter. Oh and old candy too. Watching the TV show last night they showed that this store had all these old soda pop names and a huge selection of flavores.
This Place is actually in a part of Los Angeles called Highland Park. We spent an hour there. Every time we picked up a bottle of soda pop we got a rush of They had the original Dr. Pepper, not the formulas of today's stuff, the old flavor. Other names like Bubble Up, Nesbitt, and such, odd flavors like cucumber, mint julip, chocolate, even old time sasparilla.
They had some cool beers there. We bought some cool dark beers to sample later.
The sticker shock was pretty bad after we had got to the check out counter. We had the money so we went ahead with the purchase.
We are going to have a great time trying these odd flavors and old brand over the next few weeks so it is worth it.

We left Galco's and zig zagged our way thru old LA and did our favorite site seeing thing, looking at Craftsman homes.
We get down to Marina del Rey and no boat show....grrr
So the last thing on the list, find cute fiancee's Grandmother's old house. I had looked through Google maps for this house for her a few times but couldn't find it. Last night I wend over with her, the land marks around the old home. With the street name and a school for a land mark I thought I had got it zeroed in. I put the street names in my head and when we got off the freeway I headed right to it. We turned the corner on the street and BINGO she pointed and the tears came to her eyes. It had changed over the years. It had been a single story Craftsman of course. One of the type that had the two ''eyebrow'' dormers on the top and cool square pillars holding up the front porch. The pillars had changed to post over the years but it was close enough so she recognised it. It is a shame though, that part of LA is a little rough so most of the homes have bars on the windows and doors. We took a pic so she could email them to family.
Being in this area of LA we found ourself in a Craftman rich environment so we went up and down a bunch of streets and oooh and aaaah'd at the well cared for homes and sighed at the ones falling apart.
We had been feeling a little funny in the tummy area this morning so we made our way home to recoupe from what was ailing us.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

My Aunt needs pictures...grin

I emailed my Aunt that I had started a
she emailed back and wanted to see pictures of the Cabin.
This is an adventure blog so I can post pics of my Cabin/adventure.
It is a work in progress so no laughing...grin
Here is a picture a few winters ago.

sunrise from the house.

Had to go out and take I only seem to take pictures of the house when it is covered in snow. Taking pictures of how bad you are snowed in to email to your boss can come in handy...grin Here is the rest of the cabin.

I have siding I need to get up. I have been looking for a special kind of siding. It is essentially rough cut planks with the log side still on it. They have the tree limb edges and all the irregularities as the side of the tree, it looks very rustic and cool. I also want to ad rock to the base of the house to give it a Craftsman feel to it.
will post more as time goes. I have another project waiting in the wings that I can't start until the siding is up. That project is a teardrop camping trailer for more adventuring. It will be an adventure just building it.

Piano story

On the way home from dropping off the cute fiancee, I saw a sad site on the side of the road, a piano that had fallen off a truck or something and was in pieces next to the road. Double sad that the person that dropped it didn't pick it up. It did spurn a memory from a few years ago.
This is a little happier piano story.
Before I put in a wash room here at the cabin, and before the cute fiancee even, we use to go to the laundromat to clean our clothes. The nicest one, in my eyes, was the laundromat in Cedar Glen on the other side of the Lake. This place was attached to a building that housed a hobby type store. (art supplies, drafting supplies and such) The loading dock for this place faces the street, and there is a dumpster there, and people drop off there unwanted junk there. This is littering of coarse, the owner of the store now is responsible for that junk by his dumpster...sigh Well this one time some person had dropped off this old weather beaten upright piano. This piano too was a sad site, peeling wood veneer, hinges barely holding the thing together. My son had gone outside the hot laundry and had been gone longer than I had like so I went out to see what he was up to. I rounded the building and there was my son sitting at this piano two fingering the thing and goofing around. He was doing pretty good with the notes almost I looked at him and the piano and I had a strange sensation, it was like the piano was beckoning for someone to play it.
It was time to transfer the clothes to the dryer so I called my son to come help. After the transfer and the dropping of the quarters to get the drier started we went back outside so my son could mess around with the piano some more. We rounded the corner and a car had pulled up and a couple was looking at it. My son and I stood up on the top of the stairs that led down to the loading area and watched. He and I commented to the couple about the sad looking piano and how stupid people are for abandoning things like this. They were thinking of taking it to someones house but on closer look it was a shambles. About this time a girl gets out of their car and walks over to the piano. In my memory I see her interlocking her fingers and cracking her knuckles, but I don't think that She looks the keyboard over and touches a few keys. She then set herself in a position to play. She went right into the song from the movie "The Sting", I think the song is called "Ragtime", I could be wrong. (I found out later this song is called the "entertainer") This tattered old piano was tuned almost perfectly for playing a ragtime tune. This young girl was good too. She played the full song even the end part that you never hear. My son and I just stood there watching. Kind of a cool sunny day with just a few clouds trying to come up the mountain from the valley, and here was this old sad piano being played by someone who knew what it was there for. It was like it had beckoned her to come push the keys. Damn moving moment for me. She finished, got up and headed for the car. I complimented her on her playing and how she played the end part that I had only heard once before. They all shook their heads looking at the poor sad looking piano and drove off. It was too much of a mess for them to handle. My son and I looked at each other and I said "can you believe that, it was like the poor old piano called for her to play" He looked at me funny and we went back to the laundromat to tend to our cloths.
The next day I went to work and during a break I told everyone this story and I teared up trying to tell it. It was one of the coolest moments I can remember, thought I would share it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Drive home Lightning adventure

Small adventure on the way home from work today. We had a nice monsoonal front come into Southern California today.

Thunderheads grew up along the mountain all day and we had a pretty nice lightning show at work. Sad note: Some poor lady died by a lightning strike today in Fontana, the town where I work, she was standing under a tree. We don't get that many thunder storms here in southern California so she probably didn't understand not to stand under the tree...very sad.

Well the adventure, I was going to pick up the cute fiancee and it was really going to town with the lightning. I have to go up the Cajon pass, (for those outside of California that is a pass that takes you from the L.A./San Bernardino basin up 3500' to the high desert) to get the fiancee.
Lightning was hitting on the hills next to the I-15 as I went up. Some close enough I could hear the boom through the closed truck windows with a CD on. I pick up the fiancee and we head for home. We have to travel up through some mountain canyons to get to our nice little cabin, and as we made it up one canyon, the fiancee says she sees smoke ahead. We finally get to it and there is a tree smoldering on some private property to the south of the highway. I thought it best to call 911 and let them know we had some smoke there. Wild fires are a bad thing for us up here in the mountains. We had to evacuate 2 1/2 years ago for almost a week, so if you see smoke you call around here. Some excitement for the day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kelso on to Zzyzx

Sorry this took so long to finish we are away from home a lot with our work schedule.
On that Early February day we left Kelso heading for I-15 again to the town of Baker. We ate some lunch there and started to head home. Right out side of Baker is an off ramp. Anybody who has driven to Las Vegas has seen this off ramp. There is nothing that can be seen as you pass by the off ramp either so you wonder what the heck possessed anyone to name this road in the desert Zzyzx. ( pronouced like Issac from what I'm told). Well for the adventuresome people, if you head south on that road you come to a place that was once a mineral spa back in the 1940's. It accually has an interesting history that is both checkered and Ironic. Check out the wikipedia entry for this place,_California The part I like about the guy who built this place is the fact that while he is selling his "snake oil" and mineral spa, he unwittingly saved an endagered We truck down Zzyzx road and park at the parking area. The Parking area has a restroom there that can come in handy after that bumpy road to the place. There are Tamarisk trees and Palms everywhere, most of them lined up to make roads and avenues for the subdivision he was going to build out there.
Once again this place is an architecture geeks cool zone. Built in a 40's style art deco style it is cool just to look at the buildings.

The Place is now run by the University of California. It is a place for Desert studies and the study of the for mentioned endangered fish. It is set up kind of like a camp now with dorms and showers.
We looked around and read all the placards and at the wild life. We also looked around at what is left of the old spa pool and abandoned rooms. I took what I think is some artsy pictures.

There were some abandoned rooms at this place, more like hotel rooms with bathrooms and such. In one room someone had collected a bunch of old toilet bowls together in a group. I couldn't resist getting a picture on Picture titled "meeting of the minds"

And the last one called "contemplation".

At one time this was a cool resort I guess. It had a mineral pool...

The pool was once enclosed by windows but no roof. The empty window panes and the clouded desert back drop was rather captivating, and made for some cool pictures.

It had been raining off and on so the ground was kind of muddy, and my cute fiancee found these tire tracks rather interesting. They fit well for the pending Valentines Day.

Zzyzx is a interesting place to see, all adventurers should see it once.

We hit the road again and headed towards Barstow Ca. Just before you hit Main St. there is a sign advertising the Harvey House, but unfortunately it was closed when we got there. That one is now on our future list for stops. We followed Route 66 for the rest of the way until our turn off for home. It was a great outing, I would recommend all those places to those who seek outing like this.