FROM PALA (land of surprises) TO AGUANGA TO ANZA BORREGO TO SALTON SEA

This area in the mountains above Temecula is full of adventure! We searched for our fortune digging for precious gems and playing the slots. We drove up Highway 79 to the Outdoor Sky Art Gallery of sculptor Ricardo Breceda, the artist who created the amazing statues in Galleta Meadows in Borrego Springs. The RV Resort at the Pala Casino is new, the sites are big, lots of grass, a pool and two Jacuzzis. Up the Highway is Gems of Pala where you can dig into a pile brought in from a nearby mine, fill a bucket and then sift the dirt in hopes of finding a gem such as tourmaline. Below is Alan’s catch!

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A fellow digger had a stellar find maybe worth a lot of money!

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If you don’t make it at the mine, then try your luck at the casino. This was a good win. I won’t bother to show the losses.

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THE FANTASTIC SKY ART GALLERY OF RICARDO BRECEDA IS A SIGHT TO BEHOLD. AND WE WERE FORTUNATE TO CHAT WITH THE ARTIST.
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UP OVER THE MOUNTAIN THROUGH RAIN SOAKED JULIAN, IT IS ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO NEGOTIATE THE WINDING ROAD INTO THE DESERT WHICH YIELDS BLUE SKIES AND WARM TEMPS. THE PALM CANYON HOTEL & RV PARK IN BORREGO SPRINGS IS ALWAYS A PLEASURE.

OUR NEXT STOP IS ALWAYS A FAVORITE. THE SALTON SEA! IT IS CHOKED WITH SALT, THE TILAPIA DIE OFF AND ARE DRIED OUT IN A GASPING FOR AIR POSE. THE WATER LOOKS YUCKY – BUT STILL IT IS A GREAT SITE TO WATCH THE GRACEFUL EGRETS AND HERONS AND THE NOT-SO-GRACEFUL PELICANS. AND SUNSETS OVER THE SEA ARE ALWAYS SPECTACULAR!
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THE NORTH SALTON SEA STATE RECREATION CAMPGROUND FEATURES ABOUT 15 SITES WITH HOOK UPS. GETS A BIT NOISY WITH THE TRAIN RUMBLING THROUGH. ITS ONE OF OUR FAVORITE CAMPSITES!
ss-campgem-joe-susanBelow is the one Breceda sculpture I have room for in my house. ladybug-breceda

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MAMMOTH DURING OFF SEASON -QUIET AND COLD

THE SUMMER SEASON IS OVER AND THE WINTER SKIERS HAVE NOT YET ARRIVED.  THE SKY IS CLEAR, THE LAKES SPARKLING, THE FISHERMAN NEARLY ABSENT, THE FALL COLORS HAVE MUTED AND FISHING SEASON IS STILL IN SWING.  THIS IS THE FIRST WEEKEND IN NOVEMBER.

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ABOVE IS CONVICT LAKE, SEEMINGLY FISHLESS, AND GULL LAKE, DITTO..

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AT 8,500 FEET, TWIN LAKES SPARKLE IN THE SUN AND ARE SURROUNDED BY SNOW, MUCH OF IT ICY AND VERY SLIPPERY. THE WATERFALL IS GUSHING, THE FISH BITING AND WE WATCH A WEDDING PLANNER HELPING A GROUP OF YOUNG LADIES PLAN A LAKESIDE WEDDING.

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WE EAT TONITE!

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A BALD EAGLE SOARS OVERHEAD.

BELOW IS THE TAMARACK LODGE AT TWINLAKES. THE DINING ROOM BOASTS FINE DINING (AND FINE PRICES), THE LOBBY FEATURES A COZY FIRE, A LIGHT BREAKFAST FOR PATRONS, AND A VIEW OFTHE LAKES.

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DOWN IN BISHOP WE MADE OUR DONATION TO THE NATIVE AMERICANS AT THE PIUTE CASINO AND STOPPED AT SCHATTS. IN LONE PINE ALAN RAN INTO HIS FRIEND JOHN WAYNE.

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FUN GETAWAY IN THE EASTERN SIERRAS.
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THE MIGHTY SENIORS TACKLE THE DESERT

ON OCTOBER 10 SOME 28 SENIORS BOARDED A BUS AND HEADED FOR ADVENTURE IN THE CALIFORNIA DESERT.  FROM DINOSAURS TO A STRANGE PUEBLO TO A PAINTED MOUNTAIN, AROUND THE CONTROVERSIAL SALTON SEA TO THE VAST DESERT LANDSCAPE OF ANZA BORREGO.  FROM A VISIT TO THE MOON, AND TO THE ARTISTIC METAL SCULPTURES TO PEG LEG’S ROCKS, IT WAS AN EYE-OPENING ADVENTURE!

Below, we board the bus in the early morning.flier

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FIRST STOP: THE PUEBLO OF CABOT YERXA IN DESERT HOT SPRINGS. WE ENJOYED THE GIFT SHOP, LEARNED ABOUT THE ADVENTURESOME LIFE OF CABOT YERXA AND TOURED HIS STRANGE AND ARTISTIC PUEBLO.

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WE ALL FELL IN LOVE WITH WAOKIYE STANDING 40 FEET INTO THE BLUE DESERT SKY. HE WAS CARVED BY HUNGARIAN PETE TOTH AND IS ONE OF MANY – AT LEAST ONE IN EVERY STATE PLUS CANADA AND MEXICO.

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AFTER LUNCH AT THE MIRACLE HOT SPRINGS SPA HOTEL, IT WAS BACK ON THE BUS HEADED FOR SALVATION MOUNTAIN. WE MADE A PHOTO STOP AT THE COWBOY AT THE SALTON SEA.
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THE SENIORS WERE AWESTRUCK AS WE PULLED UP AT SALVATION MOUNTAIN. A DOCENT EXPLAINED ITS HISTORY. BELOW WE GIVE THANKS TO LEONARD KNIGHT, NOW DECEASED, WHO DREAMED OF PAINTING THIS MOUNTAIN AS HIS WAY OF HONORING GOD AND RELIGION. HE LIVED AT THE SITE FOR DECADES, AN ELDERLY MAN SURVIVING IN HARSH CONDITIONS WITH NO AMENITIES. A FOUNDATION IS NOW PROTECTING HIS MOUNTAIN.

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BELOW JUDY INVESTIGATES THIS QUIRKY SITE.
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AFTER A DRIVE THROUGH SLAB CITY, BACK THROUGH NILAND, AROUND THE VAST AGRICULTURAL AREAS, AROUND THE SALTON SEA, THROUGH THE AGRICULTURAL WAY STATION AND INTO THE HARSH LANDS OF THE LARGEST STATE PARK IN CALIFORNIA CALLED ANZA BORREGO, TO OUR WILD WEST HOTEL: THE PALM CANYON RV RESORT AND HOTEL.

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AFTER A LOVELY DINNER ON THE HOTEL PATIO AND ENJOYING THE WARM DESERT EVENING. WE CONVENED AT THE AMPITHEATER WHERE AN ASTRONOMER TREATED US TO STORIES OF THE MOON AND PEEPS THROUGH HIS TELESCOPE.
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ALAN AND GARY WENT OFF WITH THEIR BLACK LIGHT FLASHLITES IN SEARCH OF A SCORPION:

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GREETED BY THE DESERT SUN WE ENJOYED A BUFFET BREAKFAST.

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WE THEN HEADED OUT INTO THE DESERT TO VISIT THE FASCINATING STATUES OF RICARDO BRECEDA. IT WAS A TIME FOR PICTURES GALORE. TOOK SOME BUS TRAVEL ON DIRT ROADS BUT OUR DRIVER WAS A TROOPER!

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BELOW VINH STAYS A SAFE DISTANCE FROM THE MIGHTY DRAGON

THE LAST STATUE IS ONE OF THE MOST CURRENT PIECES OF ART, A JEEP!

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HOME BOUND WE PAID TRIBUTE TO THE ROCKPILE DEDICATED TO PEG LEG SMITH AND MARKED BY AN E CLAMPUS VITUS PLAQUE, ON TO A PIT STOP AT HADLEY’S AND FINALLY HOME WITH PHOTOS, MEMORIES, FRIENDSHIPS AND ADVENTURES UNDER OUR BELTS. book-coveryerxa-girlssm7-kelly

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Knuckle down for marbles!

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HISTORY OF MARBLES DISPLAY
AT DUARTE HISTORICAL MUSEUM
By: Claudia Heller

Broken, faded and tattered, the box contained a few dozen marbles. The owner, Duartean Nick Montalvo, beamed as he lifted the lid revealing its contents which he proceeded to remove one by one while reciting the history of each. The box is known as a “time capsule” and the handmade marbles represent sixty years of marbles, a multigenerational collection going back to the 1840s up to the 1930s, handed down from fathers to sons for more than a century and a half.

At first glance they appear to be just marbles, but look closely and their personalities emerge. Nick explains each one in almost a reverent manner. They are like his personal friends and he treats each with respect. “Here is a Bennington, made of crockery,” he says. “And these are called ‘Chinas’ as they are made of porcelain and hand painted.” Among them is an Indian Blanket marble made in Germany, a latticing swirl which reveals a net of colors inside when under light, and a Lutz, sparkling with gold flakes. Glass hand-made marbles were cut from a cane of glass with a cup to make the round shape. Their tell-tale mark is a flat spot on top.

Machine produced marbles were made in Akron Ohio in the 1890s and as an example he introduces a promotional marble which sports the name Coca Cola. M.F. Christianson Company was the largest company producing machine made marbles until it went out of business in 1936. The Vitro Marble Company continued in business featuring character marbles such as Superman, Batman etc.

After WWII, there was a surplus of machines from which ball bearings were extracted for use as marbles.

And where do marbles nestle? Stuffed in a pocket is one way, but marble bags became popular and these too are in Nick’s collection. His favorite is a leather bag from the 1950s made by the House of Marbles. Nick says serious marble collectors need a jeweler’s loop or magnifying glass, and glass plant frogs on which to display the marbles.

Wild about marbles since childhood, it was a passion in which his daughters had little interest. Enter his son, Michael, 8, a third grader at La Fetra School in Glendora. It is a bond between the two and yes, they play! The most popular game is “ringers.” Each player gets 13 marbles which they place in a five foot circle. The opponent shoots a marble into the opponent’s circle in an effort to shoot their marbles out of the circle. For each marble shot out, the shooter gets 5 points. The first one to reach 50 points wins. In some games the players may choose to play “keepsies” where the player who shoots the marble out of the circle gets to keep it. If a player knuckles down over the circle line, he loses his turn. A marble player is called a “mibster” and marbles are often called “mibs.” Nick likes the way the game brings players face to face unlike the modern digital games.

Although his collection contains marbles from the 1800s, much older marbles exist. They have been found in Egyptian tombs, in Native Indian sites, in Druid burial grounds, and in many areas throughout Europe.

Nick has lived in Duarte since 1973. He went to Valley View School, Immaculate Conception, La Salle, and graduated from Duarte High School in 1983. He attended Art Center College of Design and Citrus College. His artistic side has served him well in construction work, building props for the movie industry, and in his personal life. The marble collection he shares with his son has grown over the years thanks to his constant visits to antique stores, estate sales, thrift stores and flea markets.

This historically significant collection is on display through November at the Duarte Historical Museum, 777 Encanto Parkway, in Duarte.

JOIN IN THE COMPETITION.  FOR ADULTS AND CHILDREN ALIKE – OCTOBER 15, 11 A.M. AT THE MUSEUM IN ENCANTO PARK:  PLAY A GAME OF KEEPSIES AND SHARPEN YOUR MARBLE SKILLS!  LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THIS GAME WHICH WAS A MAINSTAY ON THE PLAYGROUND DURING PRE-DIGITAL DAYS.  OR BRING YOUR JACKS OR PICK UP STICKS!

BELOW NICK MONTALVO AND HIS SON MICHAEL INSTALL THEIR MARBLE EXHIBIT AT THE MUSEUM.  THEY PLAY OFTEN AND HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR THE HISTORY OF THEIR COLLECTION.

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ABOVE WE WITNESS A SERIOUS DISCUSSION ON MARBLES BETWEEN NICK MONTALVO AND ALAN HELLER. DID I HEAR A CHALLENGE INVOKED THERE?

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Mac Caw escapes into digital world!

escaped-mccawThis blue and yellow mac caw (Ara araurana) flew off its owner’s shoulder near the San Gabriel River west bank by Duarte’s Encanto Park.  Dozens of locals set out to help locate the escaped bird and some posted the situation on Nextdoor.com, the phone app where neighbors keep in touch digitally concerning local issues.  Amazingly, the bird was spotted several times, finally settling in a tree at the corner of Fish and Mel Canyon.  Neighbors gathered and attempted to lure it down with crackers and kind words, but not speaking English, the escapee countered back in a foreign language and rebuffed the bribes.  A man pulled up in a truck, extracted a ladder and attempted to reach the bird unsuccessfully.  It flew off and circled the area, a graceful and magnificent sight!

Later the bird’s owner checked her phone and headed to the area.  As she arrived, the bird flew down and landed on her shoulder.  She left immediately.  Happy ending.  These MacCaws are super expensive and are seldom allowed to escape.  When they do, the owners set out to find them and protect their financial and emotional investment, or someone else finds it and takes it home.

It was a fun and exciting day in this Fish Canyon neighborhood of Duarte.

 

 

 

 

 

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FIRE TOO CLOSE

AS THE BLUE CUT FIRE DESTROYS THE SUMMIT INN (SEE POST BELOW), WE FEEL FORTUNATE NOT TO LOSE OUR NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE FISH FIRE JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO.  OUR MOUNTAIN IS CHARRED, BARELY A LIVING THING LEFT, BUT AT LEAST IT CAN’T BURN DOWN AGAIN FOR A WHILE.

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SUMMIT INN, R.I.P.

ENJOYED MANY MEALS AT THE SUMMIT OVER THE YEARS.  I REMEMBER THE DAYS WHEN HILDA FISH WITH HER BEE HIVE HAIR DO WOULD CHAT WITH US ABOUT THE “GOOD OL DAYS.”  SHE WAS THE MANAGING WAITRESS FOR MANY YEARS, RETIRED IN 2002 AND IS NOW DECEASED.  HOW SAD TO LOSE THESE TREASURES OF THE P AST.  AS THE SUMMIT SMOLDERS, THE OWNERS TALK OF REBUILDING.  CAN IT BE DONE?  inside inside2 summit.good summit1 summit2 summit3 Continue reading

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AMERICAN SOUTHWEST 2016

FROM ROUTE 66 TO SANTA FE NEW MEXICO, COLORADO, UTAH, NEVADA TO THE EASTERN SIERRAS, CALIFORNIA.  UNPARALLELED BEAUTY AND ADVENTURE.

Starting the trip off – pina coladas at the Avi Hotel

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GETTING OUR KICKS ON ROUTE 66 – SELIGMAN

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HOLBROOK

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GRANTS

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Winslow
Albuquerque

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Duarte Museum Bird walk lands bald eagle!

On the Museum’s Spring Bird Walk led by Kimball Garrett, collections manager at the Los Angeles County of Natural History, the group spotted 47 species of birds and then drove up to the San Gabriel Dam on Highway 39 above Azusa to get a look at a nesting immature bald eagle.

The walk began at the Duarte Museum in Encanto Park and took the birders along the bioswale trail, across the Puente Largo Bridge and north on the bike trail to the first weir.  A few of the birds spotted included Yellow Chevroned Parakeets, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Red-crowned Parrots, Hooded and Bullock’s Orioles, Western Tanager, Townsends and Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Orange-crowned Warbler and a Red whiskered Bulbul.5.1.16.2 Yellow warbler photo by Candace Dougherty.

The Duarte Museum sponsors birdwalks in the Fall and Spring each year.   candace1

eagle1.baby SG Eagle1 008 5.1.16 parrots1 HAWK

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