Bringing in the New Year in Pismo Beach, Morro Bay and Cambria

After a number of extraordinary desert trips, we opted to spend New Years on the coast with the family.  Cold but clear with afternoon sun warming us.

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FROM  PISMO TO MORRO BAY – A RIDE IN THE BAY ON THE TIKI WITH A STOP ON THE ISLAND TO LOOK FOR PIRATE COINS.  OTTERS AND SEA LIONS WERE CONSTANTLY WITH US.

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MOONSTONE BEACH AND CAMBRIA –

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DEATH VALLEY 49ER ENCAMPMENT & BEYOND

CELEBRATING THE 62ND 49ER ENCAMPMENT AT FURNACE CREEK DEATH VALLEY.

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STRANGEST THINGS OUT HERE IN THE DESERT – AND EVEN STRANGER AS WE TOOK OUR FRIENDS PETE & CHARLOTTE FRIES TO RHYOLITE AND THEN THROUGH TITUS CANYON.

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dv.tc1dv.tc dv.tc3  BACK AT CAMP, ALAN TAKES OFF BEFORE SUNRISE TO GET PHOTOS OF ZABRISKI POINT JUST AS THE SUN PEAKS OVER THE SCENE.

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clampersECV MARCHES IN THE 49ER ENCAMPMENT PARADE.  PLATRIX CHAPTER SHOWS UP TO DO THEIR PART!

HUNKERING DOWN IN SHOSHONE WE WAITED OUT A FIERCE WINDSTORM THEN DROVE THROUGH BAKER, 29 PALMS, JOSHUA TREE AND CAMPED AT THE SALTON SEA.  THE SEA NEVER DISAPPOINTS!

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DUARTE PARTIES AT THE WIGWAM ON ROUTE 66

GETTING IN THE MOOD FOR DUARTE’S SALUTE TO ROUTE 66 PARADE (SEPT. 26) WE PARTIED AT THE WIGWAM IN SAN BERNARDINO, OR IS THAT RIALTO? BELOW THE WIGWAMS SERVE AS A BACK DROP TO JOHN WESTS 1932 FORD.

HOLIDAY HELLER, JOHN WEST AND BJ CASAREZ, HAILEY AND ALEXIS.  THAT LOVELY CAR IS JOHN WEST’S 1932 FORD!

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Happy birthday Zoe and Mary!  Cake by Sweet Nothings in Duarte.

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CURIOSITIES OF THE CALIFORNIA DESERT: Historic, Offbeat & Forgotten Attractions

THE BOOK LAUNCHING PARTY ON OCTOBER 23, 2015 – 6:30 P.M. AT THE DUARTE HISTORICAL MUSEUM, WAS A GREAT SUCCESS.  MANY BOOKS WERE SOLD AND A PORTION OF THE PROFITS WERE DONATED TO THE MUSEUM.

us.2cover.smallTO ORDER YOUR SIGNED COPY, SEND CHECK PAYABLE TO CLAUDIA HELLER 277 OPAL CANYON ROAD, DUARTE, CA 91010 ($25.00 COVERS BOOK AND POSTAGE).  A COPY WILL BE MAILED TO YOU RIGHT AWAY.  FREE DELIVERY WITHIN DUARTE IS AVAILABLE.  BELOW ARE A FEW OF THE ADVENTURES FEATURED IN OUR BOOK.

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ADVENTURES OF THE WEST ON A 3-WEEK ROAD TRIP

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iT WAS A 3 WEEK ROAD TRIP UP THE CALIFORNIA COAST TO MOSS LANDING, NORTH TO ARCATA AND THEN ON THE KLAMATH RIVER ROAD TO THE TOWN OF HAPPY CAMP, POPULATION SOME 950 PLUS.  WHEN THERE WAS A MORATORIUM PUT ON THE LOGGING OF THE OLD GROWTH FOREST, HAPPY CAMP SUFFERED THE LOSS OF MANY RESIDENTS.  IN THE HEART OF BIGFOOT COUNTRY, IT IS WHERE MY SISTER LIVES – 180 ACRE RANCH BORDERED BY THE MIGHTY KLAMATH.  IT IS VACATION TIME GALORE WITH THE HOSPITALITY OFFERED!

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SAID OUR FAREWELLS AND SENT OUR THANKS TO THE CHAMBERS FAMILY AND HEADED OFF TO WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE KLAMATH FALLS.  SAW A CAMPING SIGN AND TOOK AN UNEXPECTED LEFT TURN WHICH TOOK US TO WHAT IS NOW ONE OF OUR FAVORITE PLACES!  ROCKY POINT ON THE UPPER KLAMATH LAKE.

IMG_1141MET STEPHANIE AND ERIK HERE ON THIS PIER –  HE HAD CAUGHT TWO FIVE POUND TROUT.  SPENT HOURS ON THIS LAKESIDE BOARDWALK WATCHING A BALD EAGLE CIRCILE.

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RIGHT AT THE CAMPGROUND IS A BEAUTIFUL RESTAURANT CALLED THE ROCKY POINT RESORT LODGE RESTAURANT WITH WONDERFUL FOOD, GREAT SERVICE, TERRIFIC CREATIVE DRINKS AND A VEIW TO DIE FOR! AFTER DINNER WE DRANK OUR BAILEYS ON THE ROCKS AROUND OUR CAMPFIRE WITH OUR NEW FRIENDS

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FROM ROCKY POINT IT IS A COUPLE OF HOURS TO CRATER LAKE.  THE SKIES WERE STORMY AND WE WERE WORRIED WE’D HAVE A REPEAT OF OUR LAST VISIT THERE WHEN THE LAKE WAS SO FOGGED IN THAT WE COULDN’T SEE IT.  THIS IS WHAT WE FOUND:

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CAMPING AT LAVA BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT WE SPENT A DAY AT THE TULE LAKE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE – ALAN, HEATHER AND I HAD THE BEST DAY BIRDING EVER!  WE WERE ESPECIALLY THRILLED TO SEE THE WHITE FACED IBIS AND THE BALD EAGLES.  THE EAGLES POSED FOR US, SEEMINGLY UNDISTURBED BY OUR PRESENCE AS THOUGH THEY KNOW THEY ARE PROTECTED!

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LAVA BEDS IS MODOC COUNTRY!  IT IS WHERE TENSIONS AROSE BETWEEN THE MODOC AND SETTLERS, SPARKING THE MODOC WAR OF 1872-1873.  ALAN AND I HIKED TO CAPTAIN JACK’S STRONGHOLD – NOT A FUN HIKE IN THE ROCKY TERRAIN, THERE ARE ALSO PLENTY OF LAVA CAVES TO EXPLORE.

IMG_1267 IMG_1249 IMG_1234 IMG_1229 IMG_1289AN OVERNIGHT TRIP TO LASSEN RESULTED IN AWESOME SCENERY AND EVEN SNOW AT THE SUMMIT.

IMG_1301 IMG_1323 IMG_1325 IMG_1375 IMG_1381 IMG_1385 IMG_1389 IMG_1391 IMG_1399 IMG_1407 IMG_1416 IMG_1421 IMG_1431 IMG_1434 IMG_1440 IMG_1444 IMG_1454 IMG_1457ABOVE WE CAMPED AT LASSEN AND TOOK THE LOVELY DRIVE OVER THE SNOW COVERED SUMMIT.  HEATHER LOBBED A SNOWBALL AT ALAN WHICH LANDED ALMOST ON HER FOOT.  THE WILDFLOWERS WERRE SO PICTURESQUE AND THE MUD POTS WERE BOILING!.

 

 

 

 

 

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THE HAUNTING BEAUTY OF NEW MEXICO

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Taos Pueblo is an ancient pueblo belonging to a Tiwa-speaking American Tribe of Native Americans puebloans.  The town of Taos nearby is full of traffic, construction, congenstion, tourists shops and restaurants.  The Pueblo, however, is quietly enveloped in its history.

OUR TOUR WAS LED BY A STUDENT NAMED SUMMER. SHE WAS A LITTLE NERVOUS BUT AFTER A WHILE SHE LOOSENED UP AND EXPLAINED THE HISTORY OF THE PUEBLO. BELOW IS THE SAN FRANCISCO de ASIS MISSION CHURCH.

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AN EATERY IN THE PUBELO SERVES BLUE CORN TORTILLAS AND HONEY.

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Still in use, these ovens are used to bake bread and other food items.

  CHACO CANYON

A STARK CONTRAST TO TAOS WHERE NATIVE AMERICANS STILL LIVE, IS CHACO CANYON, NOW KNOWN AS CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK.  IT IS THE LARGEST CONCENTRATION OF PUEBLOS IN THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST.

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The park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote canyon. Containing the most sweeping collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico, the park preserves one of the United States’ most important pre-Columbian cultural and historical areas.[2]

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To walk through these silent ruins, is to visit history and stand where these ancient puebloans once stood.

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FOR A CHANGE OF SCENERY WE SPENT A DAY IN LAS VEGAS NEW MEXICO – A GREAT LITTLE ROUTE 66 TOWN WITH LOTS TO SEE.  THEY WERE MAKING A MOVIE IN THE PLAZA THAT DAY.

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ABOVE IS THE PLAZA HOTEL, BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED BY THE SAME OWNER OF OUR FAVORITE HOTEL IN WINSLOW, THE LA POSADA, AND ALSO THE UNDER-RENOVATION IN LAS VEGAS NM – THE CASTENADA HOTEL (below)

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Across from the Plaza Hotel is the lovely plaza.  Kept free of crowds because of the filming, one could only imagine the plaza in the evening with live music, dancing and picnicing New Mexicans.

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Above is El Sanctuario de Chimayo where you can get holy dirt for free!

CASINO

 

 

 

 

 

Above is the foyer of the Twin Arrows Casino where you can lose your money for free!

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A stop in Winslow took us to our favorite hotel, the La Posada!  The eclectic art, the martini bar and 5 star restaurant, the trains chugging by at the hotel’s rear entrance and Route 66 in the front! (below)

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AND WHILE IN WINSLOW IT IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST THAT YOU STAND ON THE CORNER.

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AND WHAT ELSE DID WE FIND IN WINSLOW?  A BIG SURPRISE.  HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE TRAIL OF THE WHISPERING GIANTS?  LOOK IT UP  – IT IS A FASCINATING STORY.  AND WE FOUND ONE RIGHT THERE IN WINSLOW!

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ANOTHER QUEST IN OUR TRAVELS IS TO FIND THE FIBREGLASS PEOPLE REMINISCENT OF ROUTE 66 ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS.  WE WERE SURPRISED TO FIND ONE IN GALLUP DEPICTED AS COWBOY MAN!  (he has a brother at the Salton Sea).

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IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO FIND MORE BEAUTIFUL COLORS THAN IN THE PAINTED DESERT.

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ALWAYS HAVE TO STOP IN HOLBROOK TO VISIT THE WIGWAM HOTEL.  THERE IS ALSO ONE ON THE RIALTO/SAN BERNARDINO BORDER IN SO. CAL.

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SF.1.CHURCHSANTA FE: CHURCHES, PLAZAS, STATUES, GREAT FOOD,NATIVE AMERICAN JEWELERY, GEORGIA O’KEEFE MUSEUM. A GOOD PLACE TO SPEND ALOT OF TIME.. ABOVE ANOTHER OLD CHURCH, THIS ONE IN ALBUQUERQUE

 

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‘Miracle Tree’ poses fire hazard in Duarte

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It was touted to be the “miracle tree,” a sure opportunity to get rich quick. It was the turn of the century and with redwood forests quickly disappearing at a time when re-planting was not the norm, future building was threatened. Enter the Eucalyptus tree, imported from Australia, with promises of solving the problem. It was said to produce medicinal and industrial oils, excellent timber and fuel. It would grow quickly in a variety of conditions and when felled, its roots would quickly sprout another tree. A frenzy of orders for this magical tree began and countless acres of Eucalyptus groves were planted with promises of tidy profits. More than 100 companies became involved in the industry and this craze changed the landscape of California.

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Once they realized that eucalyptus were not strong enough for building, leached a poison that threatened native trees and created a fire hazard because they are extremely flammable, eucalyptus farmers abandoned their groves. The city of Duarte has hired the fire department to remove the diseased and dying trees in a canyon on the Duarte mesa.  Work crews cut and remove the trees during certain months of the year.

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Above, evidence of burrowing beatles is found in limbs of a eucalytus log.

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The canyon is lovely — a Shangri-La. It is designated as watershed and wilderness land and is not open to the public. Because it is in a canyon, there is a downdraft, which increases the fire problem.  The work crews are chopping down diseased and dying eucs and clearing brush away. There are remnants of the old euc farm. We have photographed the artifacts for history’s sake. They are quite interesting, and some are puzzling.

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Tamara Hanna, deputy forester, pointed out where bears have clawed a tree. These marks were made by a very large bear! See below:

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One of the artifacts of interest is a ten foot section of a narrow gauge rail.  Was there a railway there?  Was it brought in for scrap metal?  It is a mystery – see below.

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ZOE OSBURN OF THE DUARTE HISTORICAL SOCIETY INVESTIGATES A FOUNDATION THAT REMAINS AS EVIDENCE OF PAST ENDEAVORS

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a red velvet ant goes about his business

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A modern piece of equipment seems out of place.  Presumably it will be used when the work crews continue clearing the area.

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HANG’N TREE MYSTERIOUSLY COLLAPSES

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ONCE THE TREE PROVIDED SHADE TO THE AUTO COURT ABOVE.  IT ALSO GREW AROUND THE OLD OAKLEIGH MOTEL, DESTROYED LONG AGO. THEN FOR YEARS THE TREE STOOD IN THE COURTYARD OF A CONDO COMPLEX ON HUNTINGTON DRIVE (Route 66) JUST EAST OF THE 7/11 AT HIGHLAND.

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Duarteans first heard of the 50 foot tree’s collapse which occurred about 2:00 a.m. on October 8, 2014 when they tuned in to the morning news, recognizing the oak’s familiar branches at first glance.  It is said that the tree may have begun its stately watch over what eventually became Route 66 more than 200 years ago.  Where it got its reputation as a tree employed to execute swift justice during this town’s wild west days is unknown, but widely accepted.

hang.tree.puck.bigTHE DUARTE HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND MUSEUM WITH THE HELP OF KAREN VANCE AND CHUCK TIPPLE SNAGGED A FEW LIMBS AND CREATED A COMMEMORATIVE PUCK HONORING THIS PIECE OF DUARTE HISTORY.

 

hang.tree.mcveyWe’ll miss those graceful branches which stood sentinel over our town for so many years.  But now we can visit the salvaged piece and reflect on our history while paying our respects to that old oak.”

 

ABOVE – JOSEPH MCVEY PERUSES NEW EXHIBIT AT THE DUARTE HISTORICAL MUSEUM – DEDICATED TO THE LOSS OF THE HISTORICAL HANGING TREE.

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The collapse of the hanging tree caused damage to the surrounding townhouses – some balconies and portions of the roof where destroyed.  Within a few days, the tree was sliced up and hauled off.

REST IN PEACE OUR OLD HANGING TREE.  WE WILL MISS YOU.

 

 

 

 

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Morro Bay to San Simeon: Always a good idea!

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A NIGHT AT EMMA WOOD CAMPGROUND BROUGHT US A LOVELY SUNSET

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MORRO BAY HARBOR, CALM, SUNNY AND FEBRUARY!

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THE FAMED ROCK IN THE BACKGROUND

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MAKES YOU WANT TO JUMP IN.

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NITWIT RIDGE. NO ONE HOME!

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A SUNSET WORTH WAITING FOR. WITH MY FRIEND CAROLYN ROBINSON. WE BOTH FELT SO LUCKY TO BE THERE.

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THRILLED TO VISIT THE SEA ELEPHANTS IN SAN SIMEON BUT JUST AS CURIOUS ABOUT THE AMISH FAMILY THERE.

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FEBRUARY IS WHEN THE SEA ELEPHANTS ARE MOST VISIBLE – BOTH MALE, FEMALES AND BABIES.

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UP UP AND AWAY: 5TH ANNUAL LAKE HAVASU BALLOON FEST – 1-16-15

WITH A BURST OF COLOR, THE BALLOONS RISE INTO THE MORNING SKY.  STILL DARK, THE OBSERVERS BUNDLE IN WARM CLOTHES AND SIP HOT DRINKS.  THE DAWN PATROL TESTS THE WINDS AND THEN THE OTHERS FOLLOW.

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VINTAGE CAR SHOWS, CRAFT BOOTHS, FOOD VENDORS, LIVE BANDS,

 

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ULTRALITES, HANG GLIDERS, CROP DUSTERS, BALLOONS, BIRDS, AND DRONES – THE SKY IS A TRAFFIC JAM!

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BIRD’S EYE VIEW

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AS THE BALLOONS DIP INTO THE WATER BELOW THE LONDON BRIDGE, CAMERAS CLICK AND OBSERVERS GIVE APPLAUSE!

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AS THE BALLOONS DIP INTO THE WATER BELOW THE LONDON BRIDGE, CAMERAS CLICK AND OBSERVERS GIVE APPLAUSE!

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THE BALLOON GLOW IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT.  BAL24 BAL23 BAL21 BAL20

ON OUR BOATRIDE ACROSS THE LAKE TO THE CASINO WE PASS THE VW CAMP

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CANADA GEESE AND SNOW GEESE ARE AMONG THE THOUSANDS OF BIRDS AT THE CIBOLA WILDLIFE REFUGE OUTSIDE OF BLYTHE. WE ALSO SAW SANDHILL CRANES

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BURROWING OWLS NEST ALONG THE ROAD

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THANKS TO THIS SIGN, WE FOUND OUR WAY BACK TO CAMP IN QUARTZSITE WITH THE MOJAVE OFFROAD EXPLORERS

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DRY CAMPING IN QUARTZSITE WITH OUR FRIENDS FROM THE MOJAVE OFFROAD EXPLORERS!

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RELATED TO THE FIGURES ALONG ROUTE 66 AND THROUGHOUT THE U.S. COWBOY MAN IS FROM SAME MOLD AS HOT DOG MAN, MUFFLER MAN, CHICKEN MAN.

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KAYAKING THE SALTON SEA – AMONG THE FLOCKS OF WHITE PELICANS

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OUR FAVORITE PART OF SALTON SEA CAMPING IS THE GLORIOUS SUNSETS. SAD TO THINK THIS AREA WILL ONE DAY BE LOST TO US FOR CAMPING AND TO THE BIRDS.

 

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