Friday, August 24, 2007

The Big Trip, Part 1 (July 25th - 30th)

Desert mystics, dinosaurs and Palm Springs! Part 1 of our 1,700 mile trip out west.

I had editing help from the lovely and talented San Francisco Fussygirl. So when you read something by the editor, that's her. Thank you, Kelly, for making me sound smarter than I am!

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Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Art at Las Vegas Airport, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

We flew into the Vegas airport and were greeted by large animals at the terminal. Got to the house about 1am (we are lucky enough to own a house in Vegas).

Thursday, July 26th
Many of our Vegas plans revolve around food. First on our list was Broadway Pizza. Atlanta had lots of good food, but good pizza was hard to find. Not here in Vegas.

I hit the Red Rooster antiques market and bought this vintage cookbook with a retro-fantastic cover. No stereotypes here!

The evening was spent with much-missed friends. Dined at the lovely Ichiza sake and Japanese restaurant where lots of good food and drink was had for less money than one would think. It's always like that there and the reason we always go.

Friday, July 27th
Our time in LA was spent celebrating the 10-year wedding anniversary of friends. They went all out with a 3-day extravaganza of which we attended two days. Day 1 consisted of munchies, drinks and a massive chocolate buffet.

Chocolate Table 1, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

The dizzying array of sweets was a result of world travel and the sampling of regional sweets. The stranger-tasting confections included salt-laden chocolate and one with curry (-- And coconut! -- Ed.) It was an interesting experience; I'll stick to the more traditional styles.

I love the culture that Los Angeles is home to, but damn if I don't hate the traffic. If I were rich I would have a driver to handle the nightmare that is LA drivers. That being said, why the hell was Lindsay Lohan at the wheel at all!? If I were her I would have a chauffeur-driven nightclub so I could snort all the coke I wanted while cruising the streets in safety and unmolested by press and police. Kids these days!

Saturday, July 28th

Day 2 was hosted at the Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax Street. In between marriage-themed silent movies, singer Janet Klein serenaded the guests with songs from the '20s and '30s.

Silent Movie Theater 1, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

She was accompanied by Bob Mitchell, a 95-year-old organist who began playing for the silent movies when he was 12. He wasn't the clearest of talkers but put him in front of a keyboard and he shined.

Oil Wells at Drew's 1, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

We were staying with a friend outside of LA. He had oil wells behind his apartment complex. By day they looked ugly, but by night I thought them beautiful.

Sunday, July 29th
We headed out from LA with Palm Springs as our next destination. This was the beginning of The Road Trip. Much planning and internet research had provided me with many destinations that demanded viewing. Large, strange things, created by men (always men) with visions of dinosaurs or Jesus or weapons that would kill enemies on a mass scale.

These were to be our destinations.

The missus was the one who planned all our hotel accommodations, and the theme for these motels/hotels was mod-kitsch. Because we were traveling during the off-season, we benefited from low rates as a result of few people traveling in the summer heat.

It was damn hot!

Halfway into our drive, the valley started to fill with massive windmills, some at dead stop but many spinning away, providing power and amusing the oil industry. An unplanned stop at the roadside outlet mall scored many cheap clothings for the missus. More driving on the highway that cut through the fields of windmills. And there they were.

Cabazon Dinosaurs 4, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

The Cabazon Dinosaurs! Two of them just hanging out. A close look made it clear that they were nicely built, well-painted and huge. A closer look and it was clear that these were god-fearing, Jesus-worshipping, creation-believing dinosaurs. (Sigh. :-/ I was so disappointed to discover this, when I visited the dinos in Jan 06-- Ed.)

This former kitschy roadside attraction now had a greater purpose, to explain why evolution was wrong, geology and plate tectonics needed revision and what the bible meant when it was talking about leviathan. The gift shop inside the larger (an apatosaurus-- Ed.) was full of such things for purchase. The monsters had been bought by bought and repurposed, and while I don't believe in their message, the Christian owners have been taking good care of these guys since they bought them in 2005 (so says wikipedia.)

Our late arrival at Palm Springs provided little clue of what the city was like. We arrived at the charming and kitschy Caliente Tropics Resort. The resort has the second largest pool in Palm Springs, and it was quite lovely after the drive.

Monday, July 30th

Desert Christ Park 2, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

This day was spent driving around the city with a side trip to Desert Christ Park in Yucca Valley, CA. This park was one of two religiously-based attractions on the trip. Many of the white-washed statues had suffered damage in an earthquake, but I found them even more appealing because of how they now appeared.

Palm Springs Homes 14, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

Palm Springs Homes 3, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

The preconception I had of Palm Springs did not match what I was seeing on my first time there. While there were the many lovely mid-century modern homes the city is known for, they were often surrounded by boring and bland neighborhoods, or worse, genuinely bad architecture. Before leaving we ate some very good food, courtesy of Thai Smile, would recommend it.

Left Palm Springs going southeast. Drove the desert full of homes of wealthy retirees and snowbirds. (Did you know "snowbird" is also a slang term for a cokehead?-- Ed.) Continued south through poorer communities and into vast fields of date palms and towards the accidental body of water called the Salton Sea.

The Salton Sea, CA2, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

A short stop near the sea had us walking the smelly-but-beautiful beach which was made up of fish bones.

We headed out to Niland, CA for a viewing of Leonard Knight's Salvation Mountain, where he hosted us and showed us around his 20+ year project.

The mountain is three miles away from the main road, and needs to be walked around to take in the full beauty of the lifelong passion.

Salvation Mountain - Niland, CA 19, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

Coming up next entry: abandoned bridges, blimps, pyramid-shaped memorials and the Burlesque Hall of Fame.

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