Elk in the Canyon

DSC_0017

Hello Adventurers!

Sierra Highway is the 14 freeway parallel that can take you all the way from Sylmar to Palmdale without ever turning off the road. Much of the highway is weeds, rocks, and hillsides but there’s also some gems scattered along the way. This elk statue perched on a small rock is located in the back of the Elks Lodge parking lot (obviously)!

Parrots Up Above

DSC_0110

Saturday Snap!

Each Saturday I’ll post a random and unplanned photo I’ve snapped from somewhere around town!

Hello Adventurers!

While driving around the Altadena area I kept hearing this weird squawks that were unlike the normal birds you usually find around LA. After finally tracking down the sound I found these four parrots high up in the trees!

Under Center

DSC_0070

Hello Adventurers!

If you’re up for the challenge, some amazing graffiti can be found in some of the harder to reach corners of SoCal. The small town of Piru is mostly made up of farm land but if you follow Center Street from the highway you’ll eventually cross over the Piru Creek. This burner is located under the bridge and on the other side of some thick shrubs. Spots like this highlights graffiti at its finest — mostly out of sight and made only for the artist and his/her peers.

Hi Fi Giraffe

DSC_9958746

Hello Adventurers!

LA sure has its share of neon signs; not anywhere near the amount as Vegas but still a lot. If you drive up and down Hollywood Blvd. or Sunset you’ll see plenty of awesome signs. One of my favorites in the whole city is located miles away from Hollywood on an unassuming building on the outskirts of downtown.

Citrus Bikes

DSC_024932659876

Hello Adventurers!

Covina, deep in the San Gabriel Valley isn’t necessarily an area people drive from far away to go to. If you find yourself in town you’ll more than likely end up on the main drag Citrus Avenue. There’s a few blocks that have restaurants and little boutiques, not to mention these awesome orange shaped bike racks!

Vertigo’s Mission

DSC_0495

Hello Adventurers!

The missions scattered throughout California give a glimpse into the history of this great region. A lot of missions still hold daily masses with a consistent congregation of locals and tourists from all over the world. One of the most well-known Missions is Mission San Juan Bautista located in a picturesque valley a bit north of Salinas.

DSC_0504

Just across the street from the mission itself you’ll find a small park with the town’s first ever jail house which was built way back in 1870!

DSC_0520

While these grounds hold great religious sentiment, my visit was because of a different reason. In 1958, Alfred Hitchcock himself took over this historic monument to film his legendary movie Vertigo. In the film, Scottie follows Madeleine to an old Spanish village outside of San Francisco. She remembers a past life that she spent at the mission. Today the stables still look the same and you’ll even find the grey horse Madeleine talks about!

DSC_0529

DSC_0525

DSC_0528

Hitch made use of the mission’s stables, courtyard, chapel, and recreated the church’s one-time bell tower for Madeleine’s suicide jump. The story goes that when Hitchcock visited the church, long before filming started, the bell tower (though shorter than he wanted) was still standing. But when filming took place he used a matte painting to make the tower look much taller — tall enough for someone to commit suicide from. You can see a picture of the bell tower matte painting here and the photo below shows its state today!

DSC_0493

As seen on screen in: Vertigo (1958)

The Wizard of Oz

the_wizard_of_oz

Working my way through the AFI Top 100 Greatest Films of All-Time!

#10 — The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Sideways House

DSC_0004

Hello Adventurers!

The California coast is full of beautiful hillsides, picturesque piers, and wave swept beaches. If you’re up to the task of waking up early enough to catch the sunrise, you’ll really start to understand why people come from all over the world to visit this great state.

DSC_0087

The Goleta area, besides having these peaceful beaches, also played host to one of my favorite movies, Sideways. While most of the film was shot in and around the Buellton area, just about 30 minutes or so up the freeway, Goleta (said in the film to be San Diego) is where Miles (Paul Giamatti) lives. The building’s real owners sure are proud of its role in the Academy Award nominated film, so much so that they hung a plaque forever proclaiming the apartment as the “Sideways” House!

DSC_0126

As seen on screen in: Sideways (2004)

Rosicrucian Park

DSC_0553

Hello Adventurers!

I’ve always been fascinated by Egyptian history — mummies, pyramids, the Sphinx — all of it! San Jose, my hometown, is also home to the Rosicrucian Park and Egyptian Museum which has the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in all of western North America!

DSC_0567

DSC_0571

The museum has several real mummies of people and pets, sarcophaguses, and tons of artifacts including tools, bowls, and tablets!

DSC_0557

DSC_0661

DSC_0679

If you time your visit right you must take the tomb tour. This 30 minute-ish tour takes you through a reproduction of an ancient Egyptian tomb complete with cave paintings and a sarcophagus that appears to have been broken into by tomb raiders. The guide explains all the cave paintings and the story they tell about the pharaoh and his afterlife.

DSC_0622

DSC_0645

DSC_0627

As soon as you enter (and after you pay the ticket fee) you’ll see the prominent replica of King Tut’s coffin standing upright in all its glory!

DSC_0599

DSC_0600

Walt’s Resting Place

DSC_0148302919

Hello Adventurers!

Today — December 5 — is Walt Disney’s birthday. In celebration I decided it a good time to post about Walt Disney’s resting place. While some may think the shrine to Walt Disney would be gigantic with plenty of Mickey Mouse themed artifacts scattered around. Instread, the resting place of Walter Elias Disney is rather modest with nothing more than a small plaque listing a few other family members and some hanging flowers. This private garden is hidden deep in a shady corner of Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Glendale. While plenty of other deceased celebs grace the grounds of this cemetery, it seems not a lot of people know that Walt Disney is one of them. I guess it makes sense though that this small plaque mostly goes unnoticed — especially with overgrown bushes partially hiding it and, duh, the fact that the garden is private.

DSC_0148302918

Gaviota State Beach

DSC_0260

Hello Adventurers!

The central coast of California is lined with unique towns with small populations most in the thousands — but Gaviota has to be the smallest with a minuscule population of around 65 residents. Even though the town is so small, it is home to one of my favorite state beaches appropriately named Gaviota State Beach. The small beach only has one lifeguard tower, a small pier, and a handful of picnic tables. If you’re driving through in a winnebago, they even offer over-night camping!

DSC_0270

If you time your trip right — sunrise through the metal support beams is pretty awesome!

DSC_0234

DSC_0149

Around the corner of the cliff on the south side of the beach you’ll find these great diagonal rocks with waves constantly crashing over them!

DSC_0213

Village Posters

DSC_0426

Hello Adventurers!

Across the street from Cabrillo High School in tiny Vandenberg Village you’ll find these neat hand painted posters of all different kinds of flowers. Vandenberg Village is a small town seated right up against the Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County. I couldn’t find any info on these mini-murals, but I’m assuming they were done by students at the high school. They sure are a great way to brighten up a mundane stone wall!

DSC_0418

Art Alley

DSC_0362

Hello Adventurers!

Driving north on the 101 through Santa Barbara is a beautiful stretch of road. When the highway cuts inland, Highway 1 branches off to the small wine town of Lompoc. Among their local wines (notice the “sip Lompoc” event on the theater marquee) the town has a vibrant art community including the genius Art Alley.

DSC_0368

DSC_0373

DSC_0376

DSC_0377

DSC_0379

DSC_0378

DSC_0385

Built in 1876, the Artesia School House was Lompoc’s first country school and held class until 1960. After a few moves and restorations by Lompoc Unified School District, it found its way to the current location on the grounds of Learning For Life Charter School.

DSC_0395

South H Street is lined with beautiful Italian Stone Pine trees. The trees on this street make up the largest grove of Italian Stone Pines outside of the Mediterranean. This street has been featured plenty of times online and in books as some of the most famous trees on Earth.

DSC_0316

DSC_0297

Another historical landmark in Lompoc is the Fabing-McKay-Spanne House on L Street. When this Victorian farmhouse was built in 1875 it was the fist two-story wooden house in town!

DSC_0344

Neutra Rec Center

DSC_004820123

Hello Adventurers!

Richard Neutra, the world renowned modernist architect, is mostly known for his beautiful homes from the 60’s that grace the hillsides across LA. But besides his famous homes, he also gave a helping hand in creating this Recreation Center in Eagle Rock. This building, though waaay bigger than most of the homes Neutra is known for, still resembles his style with vertical and horizontal exterior beams and, of course, lots of glass.

Bolton Hall Museum

DSC_01085202

Hello Adventurers!

Besides the world famous museums like LACMA and MOCA, LA has dozens of small independent museums spread across the Southland. Tucked in the Tujunga area, the Bolton Hall Museum — an LA City Historical Landmark — highlights the history of Rancho Tujunga which includes Sun Valley, Tujunga, Sunland, and a few other communities. Besides housing historic photos and artifacts from the region, the building itself is spectacular and is over 100 years old!