THE AMAZING GRAND CIRCLE OF UTAH


THIS GRAND CIRCLE IS AN AMAZING TRIP WITH UNBELIEVABLE SCENERY. THE ADDED PLUS IS THAT THERE IS A SHORT DRIVE BETWEEN THE PARKS AND THE DRIVE ON THE WAY IS REWARDING. WE WARN YOU THOUGH, THIS IS NO SECRET. EVEN IN MID TO LATE MAY, EVERYPLACE IS CROWDED AND RESERVATIONS ARE A MUST WHETHER YOU STAY IN LODGES, MOTELS OR CAMP. THE PICTURES BELOW ARE A LITTLE OUT OF ORDER, BUT YOU WILL GET THE IDEA!

THE BUS OF TOURISTS STOPS AT A PETROGLYPH LOOKOUT!

BELOW IS A SOLUMN REMINDER THAT HIGHWAY ACCIDENTS CAN BE DEADLY. THIS ONE ADDED TO THE GRIM STATISTICS OF MEMORIAL WEEKEND DEATHS

BRYCE CANYON IS STUNNING, BUT ALSO AN EXAMPLE OF THE WILDWEST. HERE AT RUBY’S INN WE ENJOYED A COWBOY DINNER AND SHOW. TOURISTO FOR SURE, BUT EVERY ENJOYABLE.

ALONG THE WAY ALAN STOPPED TO PHOTOGRAPH WILDFLOWERS.

PROBABLY ONE OF OUR FAVORITE PICTURES. WE HAD LUNCH ON THE NAVAJO RESERVATION IN MONUMENT VALLEY. NO, ITS NOT A PICTURE ON THE WALL, BUT THE VIEW OF THIS MAGNIFICENT PLACE.

BASED IN MOAB AT ARCHVIEW RV RESORT, VISITS TO CANYONLANDS AND ARCHES ARE A SHORT DISTANCE. WHETHER YOU WANT LONG HIKES, DRIVES ON QUESTIONABLE ROADS, OR STUNNING VIEWS, THERE IS MUCH TO SEE. ALSO, EACH PARK HAS A VISITOR CENTER WITH INFORMATIONAL SHOWS AND GIFT SHOPS! IF YOU ARE A SENIOR, BE SURE TO GET YOUR SENIOR PASS AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR TRIP. IT WILL SAVE YOU A LOT OF MONEY. ALSO, ENTER THE PARKS EARLY. THERE CAN BE DELAYS LATER IN THE DAY BECAUSE OF TOO MANY VISITORS.

WE LOVE CAMPING, AND EATING INSIDE OR OUT. ALONG ON THIS TRIP WAS MY SISTER CASEY AND HER HUSBAND GEORGE. THEY RENTED A 20 FOOT TRAILER AND WE CARAVANED. WORKED OUT PERFECTLY!

 

AND YES, IN UTAH YOU CAN GET ALCOHOL. LODGES HAVE NICE RESTAURANTS. BELOW IS LUNCH AND A BLOODY MARY.

AT ZION TRAMS RUN EVERY 15 MINUTES AND THOUGH THERE ARE SOME EXCEPTIONS, YOU CANNOT DRIVE INTO THE UPPER PART OF THE PARK. LEAVE YOUR CAR AT THE VISITOR CENTER AND CATCH A TRAM. YOU CAN GET OFF AND ON AS DESIRED. WE WENT TO THE END AND HIKED TO THE NARROWS. IT RAINED THE WHOLE TIME – TO OUR DISMAY BUT TO THE DELIGHT OF THE FLOWERS.

SHOOTING STARS AND COLUMBINE

THERE ARE NO TWO TOWERS ALIKE.

DINNER (above) AT THE SUNSET GRILL IN MOAB IS A MUST. NO REERVATIONS, BUT SITTING IN THE GARDEN AND ENJOYING THE VIEW IS WORTH A WAIT. DON’T TRY TO GET A DRINK OUT THERE – AFTER ALL, THIS IS UTAH. BE SURE TO ARRIVE AROUND SUNSET AND ASK TO BE SEATED IN THE PATIO. THEY DO SERVE ALCOHOL THERE. THE STORY OF THE MAN WHO ONCE LIVED IN THE TOWN IS FASCINATING AND YOU CAN READ ABOUT HIM ON THE BACK OF THE MENU.

THIS MAKES IT OBVIOUS THAT THE ANASAZI WERE VISITED BY EXTRA TERRESTRIALS!

PEOPLE AROUND MOAB ALL LOOK LIKE THEY JUST GOT OUTFITTED AT REI. THEY ARE BIKERS, CYCLISTS, RIVER RAFTERS, RUNNERS, HIKERS, CLIMBERS AND ADVENTURERS. THE TOWN HAS A VIBRANT AIRE ABOUT IT AND PEOPLE SEEM BUSY. WE SIGNED UP FOR A COWBOY DINNER AND A CRUISE ON THE COLORADO AT NIGHT. IT WAS EDUCATIONAL AS THE OLD GUY LECTURED ON THE HISTORY OF THE AREA. THEN THE MUSIC BEGAN AND A LAZER SHOW ON THE ROCKS ROUNDED OUT THE EVENING. TOURISTO, YES. FUN, YES.

LAZER SHOW ABOVE.

A STOP IN BLANDING BROUGHT US TO A WONDERFUL MUSEUM. OUT BACK IS A KIVA AND A KOKOPELLI


TURNED OFF ON THE BUMPY ROAD TO SEE NEWSPAPER ROCK. IT WAS WORTH THE JAUNT. PROBABLY SOME OF THE BEST PETROGLYPHS WE SAW ON OUR TRIP

NEAR FLAGSTAFF ON ROUTE 66 IS TWO GUNS. THE STORY OF THIS AREA IS FASCINATING. FROM THE APACHE DEATH CAVE TO THE ROADSIDE ATTRACTION WITH VARIOUS ANIMALS INCLUDING MOUNTAIN LION. WE KICKED AROUND THE AREA, EXPLORED THE RUINS AND SAW THE OPENING TO THE CAVE WHERE SO MANY APACHES DIED.

LOTS TO SEE IN FLAGSTAFF! WE HAD DINNER AT BLACK BARTS WHERE THE WAIT STAFF ENTERTAINS BY SINGING OPERA. ALWAYS A FAVORITE FOR US.

AND OF COURSE WE HAD TO STOP AT METEOR CRATER. ALAN LIKES IT THERE BECAUSE HE THINKS HE WILL SEE STAR MAN.

OUR DRIVE TO AND FROM THE UTAH/ARIZONA LAND OF ROCKS AND NATIVE AMERICANS, WE ENJOYED ROUTE 66 AND OTHER FAVORITE SITES. SELIGMAN, WILLIAMS, HACKBERRY – OPEN AIR OUTSIDE MUSEUM TOWNS PAYING TRIBUTE TO THE MOTHER ROAD.

A STOP AT ROUTE 66’S HACKBERRY

AND A STOP IN KINGMAN FOR LUNCH AT MR. D’S WITH AUTHOR AND ROUTE 66 CHAMPION JIM HINCKLEY.

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WILDFLOWER TREK TO ANZA BORREGO

WITH THE PROMISE OF AN EPIC WILDFLOWER SHOW, WE HEADED OUT TO  CALIFORNIA’S LARGEST STATE PARK: ANZA BORREGO. TAKING THE DESERT ROUTE, WE HIT 60 MPH WINDS, NOT FUN WHEN YOU ARE PULLING A TRAILER. THE WINDS HOWLED INTO THE NIGHT AND THE POOR WILDFLOWERS WERE SUFFERING. WEREN’T SURE WHAT WE WOULD FIND THE NEXT DAY WHEN CALM RETURNED.
OUT IN HENDERSON CANYON, THE COLORS WERE SHOWING AND BESIDES LOVELY FLOWERS, WE WERE GREETED BY HUNDREDS OF CATERPILLARS, THE SPHINX MOTH.

MOVING ON WE VISITED SOME OF THE BEAUTIFUL STATUES CREATED BY ARTIST RICARDO BRECEDA. THERE ARE A FEW HUNDRED SCATTERED ABOUT GALLETA MEADOWS, LAND OWNED BY THE LATE DENNIS AVERY.

AFTER A FUN JAUNT IN THE DESERT, THERE WAS ONLY ONE THING TO DO: CACTUS MARGARITAS ON THE LOVELY PATIO OF POBLITOS.

PALM CANYON RV RESORT & HOTEL IS A GREAT PLACE TO STAY. THERE ARE PREMIUM RV SITES, VINTAGE TRAILERS FOR RENT AND HOTEL ROOMS. ALSO TWO POOLS AND HOT TUBS, A RESTAURANT WITH OUTSIDE PATIO. WE HAD DINNER AT THE HOTEL AND ONE NIGHT COOKED IN THE GROUP AREA WITH A BIG BON FIRE.



ZOE LED A SING-ALONG AROUND THE FIRE. WE ALL ENJOYED OUR CARNE ASADA –

HAD A FOND FAREWELL BUT NOT UNTIL A JAUNT TO THE APPLE PIE TOWN OF JULIAN.
ON OUR WAY HOME WE SPENT A NIGHT AT THE PALA RV PARK & CASINO. FROM OUR CAMPSITE ALAN SNAPPED PHOTOS OF A WESTERN BLUEBIRD.

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SPRING WILDFLOWER SUPERBLOOM ARIZONA

ORGAN PIPE CACTUS NATIONAL MONUMENT OFFERS A STUNNING DISPLAY OF SAGUAROS, FLOWERING CACTUS, WILDFLOWERS AND BIRDS. WE ALSO FOUND A VARIETY OF BIRDS IN MADERA CANYON.

IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER

GETTING AWAY FROM THE NATURAL BEAUTY WE WALKED THROUGH THE CHARMING TOWN OF TUBAC WHERE ALAN STOPPED FOR A CIGAR.

AND A FUN TREK THROUGH OLD TOWN TUCSON

WE ENJOYED THE COVE CAMPGROUND IN BLYTHE ON THE COLORADO RIVER WHERE WE JOINED WITH THE DESERT EXPLORERS ANNUAL RENDEZVOUS. NEARBY ARE THE BLYTHE INTAGLIOS.

ABOVE WE STROLLED THROUGH THE TOWN FAIR IN AJO.

SADLY THIS RESTAURANT IS NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC BUT DOES OPEN FOR PRIVATE EVENTS. ACROSS THE PARKING LOT IS A GOOD COWBOY RESTAURANT WITH GREAT PRIME RIB BUT NO BLENDED MARGARITAS.

ABOVE IS THE TROGON WE WANTED TO SEE, BUT DIDN’T. WE DID SEE AN HEPATIC TANAGER.

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FACING MANDATORY EVACUATION, WE FLEE TO THE DESERT

Its Dallas and the megadopler warning us the storm of the century is on its way to Duarte and we live in the ground zero area for mudslides.  So, pack up the trailer and head for the desert.

QUARTZSITE:  We notice right away, something is wrong.  We are a bit late for the big crowds but we find much of the area closed down and parking is plenty.  So, we head onto BLM land and set up camp.  Vendors later tell us the crowd this year was disappointing and blame it on the Canadians going to Mexico instead of Arizona.

MORNING ARRIVES AND WE HEAD INTO TOWN TO LOOK FOR THOSE GREAT GOODIES THAT QUARTZSITE IS FAMOUS FOR, SUCH THINGS AS SKULLS AND ROCKS! AND I HAVE TO VISIT MY FRIEND PAUL WEINER, THE BRILLIANT BOOK MAN, ENTERTAINER AND GLUE THAT HOLDS QUARTZSITE TOGETHER. OH, AND HE IS A NUDIST – OBVIOUSLY. ONLY IN QUARTZSITE!

GOING INTO TOWN WE STOP AT THE HI JOLLY MEMORIAL AND FIND THE AREA HAS BEEN EXPANDED AND IS NOW SURROUNDED BY A CEMETERY WHERE WE SPEND TIME READING HEAD STONES AND THINKING ABOUT THE UNIQUE HISTORY OF THIS ARIZONA TOWN.

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OK, ENOUGH QUARTZSITE SO AFTER A NIGHT AT THE BLUE WATER CASINO RV PARK IN PARKER WE ARE OFF TO LAKE HAVASU FOR THE NOT MY PRESIDENT WEEKEND. THE CRAZY HORSE CAMPGROUND WAS VERY NICE AND VERY FULL BUT THEY SQUEEZED US IN ALMOST LAKESIDE. A STORM CAME THROUGH BUT THE FESTIVITIES CONTINUED – FLEA MARKET, ROCKABILLY CONCERT, FIRE WORKS, BOAT ACROSS THE LAKE TO THE CASINO ON THE CALIFORNIA SIDE AND DINNER WITH A VIEW OF THE LONDON BRIDGE.

WE HEAD HOME BUT STOP FOR THE NIGHT AT THE SALTON SEA. NOT AS MANY BIRDS AS WE USUALLY SEE HERE, AND THE SUNSET WAS NOT AS SPECTACULAR AS IT USUALLY IS, BUT WE COOKED A MEAN RIB EYE AND WATCHED THE DESERT COLORS DARKEN AND THEN THE SKY SHOW TOOK OVER.

ABOVE I’M SITTING ON A TABLE THAT IS COVERED IN BARNACLES. LAST TIME WE WERE HERE IT WAS NEARLY UNDERWATER. THE SAGA OF THE SALTON SEA IS A SAD ONE BUT HOPEFULLY SOMEONE WILL SAVE IT.

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RUBEL CASTLE GLENDORA – A HIDDEN ADVENTURE

ONE MAN’S DREAM:
MICHAEL CLARKE RUBEL (April 16, 1940 – October 15,2007)

THIS EXCITING ECCLECTIC HISTORIC CASTLE IS LOCATED IN GLENDORA CALIFORNIA IN THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY. FROM CHILDHOOD MICHAEL RUBEL LOVED TO BUILD AND HIS DREAM TO BUILD A CASTLE GREW AND FINALLY WITH THE HELPO OF HIS FRIENDS ITBECAME A REALITY.  SURROUNDED BY A ROCK WALL WHICH HIDES THE SECRETS WITHIN, THE CASTLE IS OPEN FOR TOURS  ARRANGED THROUGH THE GLENDORA HISTORICAL SOCIETY. THE CASTLE WAS WILLED TO THE SOCIETY BY MICHAEL.  http://glendorahistoricalsociety.org/

A RECENT TOUR SPONSORED BY THE DUARTE HISTORICAL SOCIETY WAS THOROUGHLY ENJOYED BY THE PARTICIPANTS WHO WERE AWESTRUCK AT WHAT THEY SAW. PICTURES ARE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS SO THANKS TO ALAN HELLER FOR DOCUMENTING OUR TRIP.

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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!

gems-lady

gems-stitch

 

 

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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sky-scene

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.

gull-reflect gull-lake

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.

alan-wayne

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

boarding-duarte

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.
cowboyman

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.

the-girls-ab-desert-lillyhotel-abindian

 

 

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.

href=”http://www.insidesocal.com/66/files/2016/10/breakfast-AB.jpg”>breakfast-ab

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!

marbles

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.

marbles-nick-sonmarbles2

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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