Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving in the desert

Drove out to Borrego Springs on Thanksgiving again this year. Spent a day driving around looking at the sculptures. Here's one that I missed last year - The Prospector.

The newest one, added since my last visit, is a dragon/serpent. It's in 5 sections, 3 on one side of the street and 2 sections on the opposite side of the street. I didn't get all the sections in one shot though. Here's the serpent from the front. Note my rig in the distance.

Here he is from the street, so you can only see the front 3 sections.
You can click on any picture to get an enlarged version.

There are a few other pictures of sculptures here from last year.

The best part of the trip was spending time with some friends who I hadn't seen in a while. Wish I could have stayed longer.

The weather was splendid, though and the night sky was bursting with stars. Borrego Springs is where I first fell in love with the desert just before I started blogging. I love going back there.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Death Valley

This was my first trip to Death Valley and it will not likely be my last. What a beautiful place! Now, I love the desert, but this was not at all what I expected and I heard the same from other first timers.

The colors and textures of the hills in Death Valley are gorgeous. This was taken at a place called Artist's Pallette due to the colors in the hills.

We took a short hike up a hill to a natural bridge. Look at the texture of the hills here.

And here's the natural bridge.

The Devil's Golf Course named because only the devil could play golf on its surface due to a rough texture from the large halite salt. Notice the snow on some of the mountain peaks behind me.

Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level, the lowest elevation in the western hemisphere. The red arrow points to a marker in the hill that indicates where sea level is.

Scotty's Castle, 56 miles north of where we were camped in Furnace Creek, is not really a castle and not built or owned by Scotty. This villa, which was built in the 1920's, more than 50 miles from its nearest neighbor, has always had running water and electricity.

I particularly liked the kitchen which was very modern for one built way back then with an electric refrigerator, gas stove, hot and cold running water (the hot water was solar heated).

The music room was also pretty awesome with player piano and organ and other instruments.

Ubehebe Crater is a volcanic crater in Death Valley not far from Scotty's Castle. If we'd had more time, I would like to have hiked the trail around the top of the crater. Maybe next visit.

We also participated in some of the Death Valley 49ers Encampment festivities. Some of the entertainment in the evenings was pretty good. It was chilly at night under the stars, but worth it to hear a couple of the singers they had there. Belinda Gail and Mary Kaye were my favorites. Those girls sure could sing.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cars, cars and more cars

Among the "Top 10 Automobile Museums" per is the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

There are a few interesting dioramas like this one with a 1901 Breer, a steam engine car built by 17-year Carl Breer in his father's blacksmith shop.

The Peterson is more than a collection of cars and their history, however. There's a lot of information on how cars have affected and shaped our culture with gas stations, strip malls, drive-in theaters, insurance, roads, highways, taxes, muscle cars, racing, etc.

On the 2nd floor, there are special exhibits, at least some of which are temporary. Alternative fuels was the subject of one of the exhibits. There was an electric car from 1897 and a new electric car of 2010.

Here's a 1974 Dutcher which runs on steam. This one is from the Jay Leno collection.

And here's a 2005 Nissan fuel cell car.

There are some famous Hollywood cars, including a 1989 Batmobile.

One of the special exhibits was on Scooters.

Another special exhibit was a tribute to Phil Hill, a legendary American racing champion. He also collected and restored cars like this one which was my favorite car in the museum, a 1912 Packard which won a Best in Class award at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Of course, no auto museum is complete without at least one old or otherwise unique RV. This is a 1938 Curtiss Aerocar.

It's pulled by a 1938 Reo. Both of these are one of a kind.

Other auto museums I've been to which you might be interested in:

In Las Vegas, the collecton at the Imperial Palace is billed as the world's largest classic car showroom.

If you like Ferraris and race cars, check out the Marconi Museum in Tustin, CA.

If you're in San Diego and visiting Balboa Park, the San Diego Auto Museum is a small but worthwhile collection to take a look at.

And one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITES is the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, CA. They also have the most elegant website. Check it out.