Scenic_Potpourri

The Scenic Potpourri page contains 84 images of sunrises and sunsets, lakes, waterfalls and scenery
from California’s Sierras and New York’s Catskill Mountains, Carmel Mission, Santa Barbara Mission,
and the Santa Barbara Presidio, and assorted images from California, Wolfeboro NH, and Vancouver.

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BuncheBeach_Sunrise_1145


Bunche Beach Sunrise 1145

Foliage alongside Bunche Beach in Fort Myers, Florida is painted by the rising sun in late November.

Bunche Beach is named for Ralph Bunche, a political scientist and diplomat who received the Nobel Prize
in 1950 for mediating the Arab-Israeli conflict in the late 1940s. Bunche was the first person of color to have
received the prize, and the historically black beach on San Carlos Bay in Fort Myers was named in his honor.

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Bunche Beach Sunset 1829

A spectacular Florida sunset over San Carlos Bay, taken from Bunche Beach in Fort Myers.

Bunche Beach is part of a wetlands preserve which provides a home for a wide variety of birds.
Images of a number of these birds are displayed in the Egrets and Herons Wildlife Study section.

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Vashon Sunrise 8159

Sunrise over Vashon Island in Puget Sound, Washington. Vashon Island is the largest island in Puget Sound
south of Admiralty Inlet between Seattle and Tacoma, and was named in 1792 by explorer George Vancouver
after his friend in the Royal Navy, James Vashon. Vashon island is a hilly, woodsy land mass about the size of
Manhattan, but with only 10,000 residents in an unspoiled, quaint little town where shopkeepers greet patrons
by name and small family farms still sell produce and eggs in unmanned farm stands using the honor system.

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Hollywood Sign X7327

The Hollywood Sign below the crest of Mount Lee, taken near sunset in February.

The Hollywood Sign was first erected in 1923 to advertise for the Hollywoodland real estate development.
The original Hollywoodland sign was lit by thousands of bulbs and was a high profile beacon over the city.
Each of the original letters was 30 feet wide and about 43 feet tall, made from 3 x 9 foot metal rectangles
rigged together by a framework of scaffolding, pipes, wires and telephone poles, and there used to be a
35 foot diameter white dot which was lit with perimeter bulbs on the hill below the sign to attract attention.

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Hollywood Sign at Sunset X7409

The Hollywood Sign taken from the steep hillside just below the sign at sunset in February.

In 1932, just after the conversion to talking pictures, New York stage actress Peg Entwistle
tried to parlay her Broadway success into a Hollywood dream and moved in with her uncle
on Beachwood Drive just below the sign. Unfortunately she did not do well, and after a long
summer of constant rejection she climbed up the hill and scaled a workman’s ladder to the
top of the H, where she jumped to her death. A Hollywood legend says that a letter arrived
the day after her death that offered her the lead in a play about a woman driven to suicide.

More images of the Hollywood Sign are on the Hollywood and Assorted LA Scenic page.

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Pacific Sunset 7035 16x9

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean, taken from a trail in the Verdugo Mountains above Burbank, California.

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Sunset Ballona Creek HS6166

A spectacular Pacific sunset over the mouth of Ballona Creek south of Marina del Rey, California.

Ballona Creek used to be a part of the Los Angeles River, but during the major flood of 1825,
the Los Angeles River changed its course to its present location and Ballona Creek became
a separate waterway, draining the area from Rancho Las Cienegas to the Pacific between
Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey. Around 1820, Augustine Machada, a mestizo rancher,
was grazing his cattle on the Ballona wetlands and claimed a 14,000 acre Mexican land
grant which was named for Baiona in northwestern Spain, where his family originated.
Many of the minor tributaries have been paved over or lost to development, but the
major tributaries still exist and have been kept open in case they are needed to
transport lava to the Pacific, as seen in the Tommy Lee Jones film “Volcano”.

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Sunset Ballona Creek HS6170

The low angle rays of the sun paint the clouds and Ballona Creek a deep red-orange at sunset.

The wetlands area at the mouth of Ballona Creek are designated the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve.
This is one of the last significant wetlands areas in the Los Angeles Basin, and is named for Ballona Creek,
which runs through the area as a flood control channel. The wetlands and Ballona Creek are a haven for
 for shorebirds, pelicans, egrets and herons. Images can be seen in the Bolsa Chica Wildlife section.

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Carmel Mission at Dawn X0247

The facade of the Carmel Mission Chapel with its original bell-tower dome is vignetted
by foliage over the entry gate at dawn. Mission San Carlos Borromeo del rio Carmelo
is on the Monterey Peninsula at Carmel-by-the-Sea, and was the headquarters of the
California Missions presided over by Father Junipero Serra until his death in 1784. It
is the only one of the California Missions which still has its original bell-tower dome.

Carmel Mission was originally established in nearby Monterey and was named for
Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan (later St. Charles, see San Carlos al Corso).
When the mission moved the original mission operated as the Royal Presidio chapel
and later became the Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo. Father Serra had decided to
move the mission to distance the Indians from bad treatment by Spanish soldiers and the
military Governor (Pedro Fages) at the Presidio, and to take advantage of better land for
agriculture. Father Serra and Governor Fages were involved in a bitter power struggle
 at the time, and Fages was eventually removed from his office as Governor in 1774.

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Carmel Mission at Dawn 3729

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Carmel Mission at Dawn 3741

Carmel Mission Chapel facade and bell tower dome at dawn, and the courtyard fountain and Junipero Serra statue
standing next to the restored Padre’s Quarters, which today houses artifacts from the early Mission days at Carmel.

Mission Carmel was Father Junipero Serra’s favorite, and as it was closest to Alta California’s capital of Monterey,
it served as his headquarters. When he died in 1784, he was interred beneath the floor of the chapel. The Chapel was
rebuilt in locally quarried stone by Father Fermin Lasuen (Serra’s replacement) and was the first Mission Church to be
built of stone. The other stone churches are at San Juan Capistrano and Santa Barbara (further below), all of the other
18 mission churches were built of adobe. In 1821 Mexico gained independence from Spain and took over the Mission.
In 1834 they closed the Mission, took over the land, and sold much of it to new settlers. The mission decayed to ruins.
In 1846 California won its independence from Mexico, and in 1850 it became a State. In 1859, the US government
returned the ruined Mission to the Catholic Church, and restoration began slowly in 1884. In 1933 Harry Downie
was put in charge of restoration, and much of the restoration was his work. Due to Downie’s dedication and
research, the Carmel Mission Church is one of the most authentically restored of all mission churches.

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Stone House Carmel Highlands Dawn 3774

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Stone House Carmel Highlands Dawn 3779

Seaward, the D. L. James Craftsman House in Carmel Highlands, designed by architect Charles Greene.
Built of locally quarried stone, construction began in 1918 and lasted for five years. The house is perched
on a steep rocky promontory just west of Highway 1 in Carmel Highlands. Charles Greene pioneered the
Arts and Crafts architectural movement in California, producing numerous masterpieces including the
1908 Gamble House in Pasadena, and other “ultimate bungalows” in Pasadena such as the 1907
Blacker House and the 1909 Thorsen House. He also built several Arts and Crafts cottages in
Carmel, where he moved in 1916, establishing a home studio where he painted, wrote, and
designed projects for his clients until his death in 1957. One of few major projects which
Greene designed in Carmel was Seaward. Exterior stonework is local golden granite
from nearby Yankee Point, and was inspired by the ruins of Tintagel Castle, a 13th c.
Norman castle on the Cornish island of Tintagel built atop earlier fortifications dating
back to Romano-British times. The exterior walls were built to appear as if they were
growing out of the cliff, and the house features arched windows and a tiled roof which
reflect a Mediterranean influence. Doors and windows were made from “Siam” teak.

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Stone House Carmel Highlands X0246

The D. L. James House “Seaward”, a masterwork by Charles Greene on the cliffs at Carmel Highlands,
as viewed through the native pines just west of the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) south of Carmel.

D. L. James was an amateur writer and a wealthy Kansas City china, silver and crystal retailer who owned a
spectacular parcel of cliff-top land overlooking the Pacific Ocean. When Charles Greene was contemplating
abandoning architectural practice after moving to Carmel, James offered him a commission he was unable
to resist, to design and build a vacation home without cost or time constraints where he could act as artist,
architect and contractor. He created a rambling exterior enclosing an orderly interior with Mediterranean
influences and carved marble and wooden. Interior walls were plastered with sand from local beaches
and left unpainted. Stone blocks support massive redwood ceiling timbers, which themselves support
the redwood ceiling hand-carved by Greene. The house also features hand-carved limestone ceiling
moldings and hand-carved marble gulls, seaweed and shells as well as several carved wood items
such as a built-in fall-front desk of white oak. Greene was later commissioned to build the library in
1936. Due to slow work by carvers it was not completed until the 1950s, after D. L. James death.

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Red House Wolfeboro NH 5671

A distinctive red house on the Back Bay in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

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Wolfeboro Bay at Twilight 5829

Homes along Wolfeboro Bay glow beneath a darkening sky in the waning twilight.

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Catskills Sunrise 2083

Sunrise cuts through the fog in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

Long a haven for artists and a favored getaway for residents of New York City,
the Catskill Mountains are home to resorts which have provided opportunities
for many comedians over the years, and many artists and musicians live in the
area. The Woodstock Festival at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm near White Lake, NY
occurred in 1969 and brought 500,000 people to the area for the 3-day concert.

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Catskills Windmill 2257

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Catskills Windmill 2244

A quaint little windmill off High Peak Road near Silver Lake in East Windham, New York.

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Catskills Windmill 2212

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Catskills Windmill 2259

The windmill is just across High Peak Road from the covered bridge at the southwestern end of Silver Lake.

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Covered Bridge Catskills 2229

The covered bridge over the southwestern end of Silver Lake, in the Catskills near East Windham, New York.

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Covered Bridge Catskills 2226

There are more than 200 covered bridges in New York. Most were built during the horse and buggy days between 1825 and 1912. In the early days, bridges were made of wood to take advantage of local materials and labor and due to the speed of construction, and they were covered to protect the interior supporting timbers from moisture. This covered bridge over the southwestern end of Silver Lake is arched and supported from below, suspended between two piers. Wider crossings required multiple spans and/or complex truss systems, and in the 1800s there were several patents given for revolutionary truss designs, culminating in William Howe’s 1840 design that lightened the weight of trusses and was later used in railroad bridges. The Howe trusses were pre-assembled at a remote location, then loaded onto flatcars for final construction at the building site, and were an early example of pre-fabrication.

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Covered Bridge Catskills 2234

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Kaaterskill Creek 1972

Kaaterskill Creek, in Kaaterskill Clove, a deep gorge in the eastern Catskills west of Palenville.

This section of the creek is just below Kaaterskill Falls (shown below). Kaaterskill Clove is reputed
to be the area in which the fictional Rip van Winkle from the Washington Irving short story played at
nine-pins with a group of bearded men in antique Dutch clothing just before the Revolutionary War,
discreetly sneaking a drink of their liquor, only to awaken what seems to be the next morning to find
his gun has rotted and rusted, his beard grown over a foot long, and his dog Wolf missing. When he
returned to his village, he found that he recognized no one and discovered that his friends had died
in a war or left the village, his wife had died, and someone else was called Rip van Winkle (his son,
who had grown up). It turns out that the men Rip found in the amphitheater-like hollow were ghosts
of Henry Hudson’s crew, and that Rip had slept for 20 years. Irving’s story was published in 1819.

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Kaaterskill Falls 1984

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Kaaterskill Falls 1978

Kaaterskill Falls is a 231 foot two-drop waterfall in Kaaterskill Clove which was made famous by
the Hudson River School of painters. One of America’s oldest tourist attractions, it appeared in a
number of books, poems and paintings of the early 19th century and set the wilderness ideal for
American landscape painting. These images were taken in mid-July, when the flow is reduced.
Kaaterskill Falls is New York’s highest and one of the highest in the Eastern United States.

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Kaaterskill Falls 1990

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Kaaterskill Falls 1999

Kaaterskill Falls became famous when Washington Irving mentioned it in his 1819 story
about Rip van Winkle. The game of nine-pins took place in the amphitheater shown below,
although the falls were not present during the game, but afterward when Rip awoke after a
twenty year nap resulting from his drinking the liquor from his bearded companions’ keg.

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Kaaterskill Falls 2011

Kaaterskill Falls drops into the amphitheater which was made
famous in the 1819 Washington Irving story of Rip van Winkle.

The pioneering Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole was inspired by
the story, and traveled to Kaaterskill Clove in 1825. His paintings made the
front page of the New York Evening Post and created a tourist rush, as well
as making Kaaterskill Clove and the Falls an artist’s pilgrimage for the first
generation of truly American artists. Nearby Palenville is considered to be
America’s first artist colony, and the Catskill Mountain House hotel near
Palenville was famous for sweeping views of the Hudson River Valley.

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Desolation Kern County 0080

While driving towards Paso Robles and on to San Simeon (taking the inland route from Highway 5),
I encountered a weathered shack which summed up the desolate feeling of that part of Kern County.

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Solvang Farm Maid Statue X6240

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Solvang Old Mill Loft Windmill X6238

A farm maid statue in a small shopping plaza and the Old Mill Loft Windmill in Solvang, California.

Solvang was founded in Santa Barbara County by a group of Danes in 1911 on 9000 acres of the
Mexican land grant of Rancho San Carlos de Jonata to create a Danish colony and avoid the brutal
Midwestern winters. The town features windmills and Danish Provincial architecture as well as shops
with Danish and other European antiques and collectibles, arts and crafts, food, pastries, wines, etc.
There is a half-size copy of the Little Mermaid statue from Copenhagen harbor atop a rock in the
center of town, a museum dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen, and many other attractions.

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Santa Barbara Presidio 5671

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Santa Barbara Presidio 5672

The guard tower over the soldiers quarters at the northeast corner of the Santa Barbara Presidio.

El Presidio Real de Santa Barbara (the Royal Presidio) was a Spanish military installation built in 1782
to defend the Second Military District in California (from the Old Pueblo of Los Angeles north to Lompoc).
The whitewashed buildings were made of sun-dried adobe bricks laid atop a sandstone boulder foundation.
The buildings formed a quadrangle enclosing a central parade ground with an outer defense wall and two
cannon bastions. Today only two sections of the original quadrangle remain: El Cuartel was the family
residence of Jose Valenzuela, the soldier assigned to guard the west gate into the Plaza de Armas;
the Canedo Adobe was named after the soldier to whom it was deeded after the Presidio became
inactive. El Cuartel is California’s second oldest structure after the Chapel at San Juan Capistrano.

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Santa Barbara Presidio 5674

A view across the northern section of the Presidio from the Chapel towards the northeast, showing
the reconstructed Padre’s quarters (center left), the end of the Lieutenant’s quarters (center right),
and the guard tower. Reconstructions were done with adobe bricks as used in original structures.

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Santa Barbara Presidio 5677

From left are the north end of the reconstructed Comandante’s quarters, Chapel, Padre’s quarters,
and the Lieutenant’s and soldiers quarters with their guard tower at El Presidio de Santa Barbara.

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Santa Barbara Presidio Chapel 5673

The reconstructed Santa Barbara Presidio Chapel facade.

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Santa Barbara Mission Chapel 5712

The north bell tower of the Santa Barbara Mission Chapel.

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Junipero Serra Santa Barbara Mission X0439

The statue of Junipero Serra and original Camino Real Bell. This is one of 100 life-size statues erected by William Hannon in various places important in the life of Junipero Serra. The bronze statues were sculpted by Dale Smith and fabricated at the Studio America Foundry in Oroville in the 1990s.

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Santa Barbara Mission Chapel X0443

The south bell tower of the Santa Barbara Mission Chapel. The chapel was the fourth built by the early missionaries. The earlier three were built progressively larger of adobe, but after the 1812 earthquake destroyed the existing buildings the new chapel was rebuilt in stone and completed in 1820.

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Santa Barbara Mission Chapel 5683

The Chapel at Mission Santa Barbara is a Neo-Classical building designed based on De Architectura,
an architectural text written c. 25-15 BC by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius. The three statues atop
the pediment represent Faith, Hope and Charity. The niche statue of Santa Barbara was added in 1927.
Mission Santa Barbara was the tenth mission founded (1786) and the first by Father Fermin Lasuen after
the death of Father Junipero Serra at Mission Carmel in 1784. The Santa Barbara Mission was the first
cathedral in California (only cathedrals are allowed to have two matching bell towers), and it is one of
only three Missions with stone churches (others are at Carmel Mission and San Juan Capistrano).

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Santa Barbara Mission Pottery Shed 5705

The remains of the 1808 Pottery Shed in Mission Park to the north of the Mission grounds.

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REO 1908 Runabout 7552

A 1908 REO Model B Runabout on the streets of Pasadena, California.

The peaked extension of the hood above the radiator identifies this REO as a 1908. The REO Model B Runabout had two individual front seats and a folding rear seat known as the mother-in-law seat. The buggy top did not extend to cover the rear seat, leaving the mother-in-law in the rain. The 106 cubic inch single-cylinder 8 hp water-cooled horizontal side-cranked engine had a single camshaft driven by spur-gears. It powered a planetary two-speed drum transmission, and used a new style of clutch with four bronze discs rather than the earlier, single leather-faced disc. The REO Runabout would “run about” 30 miles per hour comfortably. The REO Runabout used a wheel for steering rather than the tiller used on the earlier Curved Dash Oldsmobile Runabout. The contemporary Oldsmobile Touring Runabout cost $100 more, which made the REO popular among the buying public. By 1908, its 4th year of production, REO was America’s third largest in sales after Ford and Buick.

Ransom Eli Olds was a pioneer in American automobiles, and he experimented with steam-powered vehicles in the late 1880s. In 1896 he built his first gasoline-powered car, and by 1901 he had perfected the Curved Dash Oldsmobile runabout, which was
the first automobile that was mass-produced and built on an assembly line. This was the best-selling car in America by 1902. In 1904 Olds left the company he founded due to disagreements about company control and created the R. E. Olds Motor Car Company (changed to REO to avoid a threatened lawsuit). REO did quite well, but the Olds Motor Works would have failed if it had not been bought by William Durant and absorbed into General Motors in 1908.

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1953 GM Futurliner 2490

A 1953 GM Futurliner, converted to an Art Deco motor home by Bob Valdez of Sherman Oaks.

General Motors Futurliners were a group of 12 stylized buses designed by Harley Earl for GM’s
Parade of Progress, which traveled the US exhibiting new cars and technology. The Futurliner was
built in 1940 to replace eight 1935 Streamliners, designed for the first Parade of Progress in 1936.
They were used from January-December 1941, and after a hiatus for World War II, were used in a
1946 Detroit parade commemorating the 50th anniversary of the invention of the automobile. They
were refurbished in 1953 and used from 1953 to 1956, when Parades ended due to television.

1940 Futurliners had a clear bubble canopy, which was changed in 1953 to the roofed unit as
is seen above due to heat from the sun and no air conditioning. Futurliners were 33 feet long,
with dual front wheels, 8 feet wide and nearly 12 feet tall. The Futurliners were powered by a
four cylinder overhead valve GMC deisel engine and a 4 x 4 mechanical transmission, and
 were used to transport and display dioramas and exhibits like microwaves and television.

In 1953, the Futurliners were refurbished by changing the bubble canopy (similar to canopies on
P-51 fighter planes) to a roofed canopy, changing the engine and transmission to a 302 inline six
cylinder overhead valve diesel engine with a four speed Hydramatic automatic transmission and
another two speed gearbox (giving the driver eight forward speeds), coupled to a three speed
PTO gearbox at the rear. The driver would exit the vehicle (presumably while it was stopped)
and walk to the rear to manually select one of three gears for a total of 24 gear combinations.
The Futurliner had 19 access and display doors, including two massive 16 x 5 foot clamshells
that opened to expose the displays enclosed within the sides of the vehicle. A 16 foot lighting
panel on each door illuminated the display, and a 16 foot light bar rose 7 feet above the top
of the bus to illuminate the entire area around it (powered by a 200 KW diesel generator).

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1953 GM Futurliner SXL

A 1953 GM Futurliner, converted to an Art Deco motor home by Bob Valdez of Sherman Oaks.

The Parade of Progress was cancelled in 1956 due to lack of attendance caused by the advent of television, one of the innovations that the Futurliners displayed along with jet engines and microwaves. It was determined that the Futurliners would no longer be needed, and nine were sold. Two were donated to the Michigan Police, who repainted them in their colors and called them Safetyliners, using them as a traveling display to promote safety and law enforcement until 1967. One Futurliner was bought by Oral Roberts, renamed the Cathedral Cruiser and used on evangelical tours. Peter Pan Bus Lines of Springfield Massachusetts has two Futurliners, and Fido the Canadian Futurliner was originally one of the two Safetyliners (number 11). This unit sold at auction in 2006 for a record $4,320,000.

Futurliner #8 found its way to Sweden and will be restored (it is the only Futurliner in Europe).
Futurliner #10 is in the National Automotive and Truck Museum (NATMUS) in Auburn Indiana.
Futurliner #3, the Allison Jet display, was restored to original condition (completed late 2014).

Futurliner #9 above, which was acquired by Bob Valdez of Sherman Oaks California in 1984
and converted at a cost of $100,000 into a motor home, has been displayed at motor shows
and has been featured in a number of publications. Bob did most of the restoration himself.
The interior features leather and chrome, and a curved gray and maroon velvet rear seat.

More antique cars and examples of automotive art are in the Concours d’Elegance section.

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White Winds Lonsdale Quay 8563

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White Winds Lonsdale Quay 8572

White Winds (1980), created by Gerald Gladstone in Lonsdale Quay Plaza, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
The image above left was taken just as the magenta lights faded to blue (this required several attempts).

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White Winds Lonsdale Quay 8575

White Winds, a 1980 sculpture by Gerald Gladstone
in Lonsdale Quay Plaza, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

White Winds is intended to represent sails leaning into the wind.
Gerald Gladstone created numerous sculptures, both public art in
Canadian cities and sculptural pieces in public and private collections.

At night, the sculpture is lit by a succession of magenta, red, blue and white light.
Capturing the light spectrum in the optimum order required a difficult timing shot.

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Spitting Fish X7591

A low angle closeup of the fountain in front of Burbank City Hall.

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Lake Shrine 9015

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Lake Shrine 9042

The Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in
Pacific Palisades, California. The Lake Shrine was built in Santa Ynez Canyon, where silent films
were shot by the pioneering film producer/director Thomas Ince (Father of the Western) in Inceville
Studios, located on the property from 1912 to 1917. Ince died two days after meeting Marion Davies
on William Randolph Hearst’s yacht in 1924 under mysterious circumstances. Rumors that Ince was in
an affair with Davies and was shot by Hearst (who used his wealth and power to cover it up) persisted
for years, spawning stories, a novel (Murder at San Simeon) and a Bogdanovitch film (Cat’s Meow).

The property was later sold to Alphonso Bell, the oil magnate who created Westwood, Bel Air and
Pacific Palisades. Bell refused to sell land in Bel Air to Hearst for a home to house his mistress
Marion Davies, causing a vendetta that caused Hearst to attempt to drive Bell out of business.
During the development of Pacific Palisades, much of Santa Ynez Canyon was filled in. This
created a large basin that quickly filled with water from the springs in the area, creating the
only natural spring-fed lake in Los Angeles: Lake Santa Ynez. The swamp-filled property
was acquired by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer construction superintendent H. Everett McElroy
in 1940, who created a lush paradise around a double-deck houseboat on the lake.
He later built a new residence modeled after a small mill house, then an authentic
reproduction of a 16th century Dutch windmill. Both structures remain today.

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Lake Shrine 9019

The Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in
Pacific Palisades, California. The wall-less temple is on the edge of a natural spring-fed lake in
the midst of a lush garden framed by natural hillsides, and houses a thousand year old Chinese
sarcophagus which contains some of the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi. His ashes were scattered
in nearly every important river and sea in India, but the only ashes outside India were the ones
sent to Lake Shrine founder Paramahansa Yogananda not long after Gandhi’s death in 1948.
The sarcophagus in the golden Lotus-topped memorial is flanked by two statues of Guanyin.

Paramahansa Yogananda founded the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in 1950.

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Woodland Waterfall 2445

A small woodland waterfall in the Camellia Forest of Descanso Gardens in La Canada/Flintridge.

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Sonora Dune Salton Sea 1306

A sweeping sand dune in the Sonora Desert at the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge, Salton Sea, CA.

The Salton Sea is a rift lake located on the San Andreas fault, 40 miles north of the Mexican Border in the
Colorado Desert section of the Sonora Desert. The Salton Sea was accidentally created in the early 1900s
when irrigation canals were dredged to bring water from the Colorado River into the Salton Sink, which was
once a part of a vast inland sea covering a large part of Southern California and which periodically was a
dry lake bed or occupied by multiple lakes, depending on river flows and evaporative loss. When it was
irrigated, it became fertile for a while, allowing farmers to plant crops, but the Imperial Canal was soon
flooded with silt from the Colorado River. Engineers attempted to remove the blockage, to no avail,
and in 1905 a flood on the Colorado River overran the headgates, breached the dike, and poured
the entire volume of the Colorado into the Salton Sink. Lack of drainage created the Salton Sea.

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Sonora Dunes Salton Sea 1318

Sand dunes in the Sonora Desert at the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge, Salton Sea, CA.

Continued intermittent flooding of the Imperial Valley from the Colorado River created the idea of a
dam to control flooding on the Colorado, and in 1922 a survey party explored the river for dam sites,
eventually leading to the creation of Hoover Dam in Black Canyon between 1929 and 1935. The high
salinity of the inflow and lack of outflow in the Salton Sea has increased the salinity of the water to well
beyond the salinity of seawater, and efforts to save the Salton Sea are ongoing. Sonny Bono was a
major proponent of these efforts when he was a Congressman, and the Refuge was named for him.

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Gnarly Wood LACMA 3033

Gnarled and twisted Melaleuca Trees in the Cantor Sculpture Garden outside the LA County Museum of Art.

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LACMA Japanese Pavilion Tar Pit 7975

A life-size fiberglass female Columbian Mammoth sinking in the tar at the LA Tar Pits in Hancock Park.
At the far left is an American Mastodon, in front of the Japanese Pavilion of the LA County Museum of Art.

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LACMA Japanese Pavilion Tar Pit 0749

The LACMA Japanese Pavilion reflected in the water of the Lake Pit in Hancock Park.

The lake pit is the remains of Henry Hancock’s asphalt mine at the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits.

The La Brea Tar Pits are a group of pits from which natural asphalt (brea in Spanish) seeps up
from the ground and is covered by a coating of rainwater. For tens of thousands of years, animals
would come to the tar pits to drink and become mired in the tar. Predators such as saber-toothed
cats, dire wolves and American lions would come to feed and also become mired in the tar. Their
perfectly preserved bones, turned dark brown by the asphalt, have been excavated for 100 years.

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LACMA Japanese Pavilion Tar Pit 9179

An American Mastodon and the LACMA Japanese Pavilion reflected in the Lake Pit in Hancock Park.

The local Chumash Indians made a reputation for themselves as California’s finest boat builders by
lining the cracks between planks in their wooden canoes with asphalt from the La Brea tar pits. The tar
was later used by settlers to seal the roofs of their dwellings. In 1901, Union Oil geologist William Orcutt
was the first to recognize that the bones recovered from the tar pits were Pleistocene fossils. The tar pits
have yielded thousands of fossils from dozens of species: animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and plants.

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Mammoth La Brea Tar Pit 0751

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Mammoth La Brea Tar Pit 9178

The fiberglass sculpture of a female Columbian Mammoth trapped in asphalt at the Lake Pit in Hancock Park.
On the shore nearby are a baby and adult male Mammoth, watching helplessly as the female sinks into the tar.
The sculptures were created between 1967-68 by Howard Ball and towed to Hancock Park behind a VW Bug.
The scene of a 1958 Volkswagen Beetle towing a full-size Columbian Mammoth through the streets of LA was
a minor sensation which made the covers of the Los Angeles Times newspaper and Life Magazine in 1967.

The fiberglass sculpture of a female Columbian Mammoth was the first mammoth to be stuck in the Tar Pits
for over 10,000 years. The only human remains recovered from the asphalt were those of La Brea Woman,
a 20 year old woman who was discovered in 1914, interred with a domestic dog about 10,000 years ago.

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LACMA Japanese Pavilion 0745

An American Mastodon sculpture standing at the edge of the largest La Brea Tar Pit, in front of the Japanese Pavilion of the LA County Museum of Art in Hancock Park. A detail shot of the American Mastodon sculpture is at right.

The Hancock Park development was built around the La Brea Tar Pits in the 1920s by George A. Hancock using profits derived from oil drilling in the Rancho La Brea area. George Allan Hancock, who was born and raised in a home next to the tar pits, created a development of architecturally distinctive homes around the Wilshire Country Club. Besides the LA County Museum of Art and the La Brea Tar Pits, the park itself (within the development) is the site of the Page Museum, which displays fossils recovered from the archaeological site.

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Mastodon La Brea Tar Pit 0754

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LACMA Japanese Pavilion 0763

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LACMA Japanese Pavilion 7235

Two other views of the Japanese Pavilion at the LA County Museum of Art, designed by architect Bruce Goff.
The Pavilion for Japanese Art contains art and artifacts dating from 3000 BC to the present. The translucent
fiberglass panels allow the paintings and other artworks to be safely lit by diffused natural sunlight, creating
conditions similar to original viewing conditions, revealing dimensionality in gold leaf which cannot be seen
under artificial light. The core of the art displayed in the Pavilion is the Shin’enkan collection of over 300
Japanese scroll and screen paintings, donated by Joe D. Price and his wife Etsuko Yoshimochi along
with $5 million to create a building to house them. The Japanese Pavilion was completed in 1988.

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Totem Pole Silver Spoon Hwy 50 0935 M

A Totem Pole off Highway 50 south of Lake Tahoe near the Silver Spoon Cafe.

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Bristlecone Pine White Mountains 3189

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Bristlecone Pines White Mountains 3088

The trees of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains 15 miles east of Bishop are the oldest living things on earth. A millennium older than the Giant Sequoias in the nearby Sierras, many are well over 2,000 years old and the Methuselah tree in Schulman Grove is dated at more than 4,846 years old. There is an even older Bristlecone Pine in the area which is over 5,064 years old (discovered in 2013). These trees were young and growing at the time stone axes were being used in Europe, the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) was being built, and cuneiform clay tablets were being used in northern Syria.

Bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva and aristata) grow in the White Mountains at elevations 9,000 to over 11,000 feet. The oldest trees grow on outcrops of dolomite, an alkaline, low nutrient soil. These are Great Basin Bristlecone Pines (longaeva), which live far longer than the other two species (aristata and Foxtail Pine balfouriana) and grow in twisted, gnarled shapes.

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Bristlecone Wolf 3139

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Bristlecone Chicken 3230

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Bristlecone Pines White Mountains 3213

Bristlecone Pines in the Methuselah Grove high in the White Mountains near Bishop, California.

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Minaret Ritter Sunrise 2209-10 SXL

The Minarets, Mount Ritter and Banner Peak in the Ritter Range of the Sierra Nevadas.

This is a 1600 x 633 version of the SXL Composite (4811 x 1750),
a two-shot panorama taken at sunrise from atop Mammoth Mountain.

The Ritter Range is almost due east of Yosemite National Park in the Eastern Sierras,
and this range within the Ansel Adams Wilderness is greatly enamored by hikers and the
residents in Mammoth Lakes. The John Muir Trail passes by many lakes in the Ritter Range.

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Devils Postpile 2682

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Crystal Crag at Sunrise 2823

At left, the basalt hexagons atop the Devils Postpile near Mammoth Mountain. Devils Postpile
(the name has been officially styled as plural, without an apostrophe, since the 1930s) is a cliff
of dark columnar basalt created by a lava flow less than 100,000 years ago. The lava was very
thick and cooled slowly and evenly, creating hexagonal columns (and some irregular polygons).
A glacier later swept through the area and ground off the top, creating the striated flat surface.

At right is Crystal Crag at sunrise, a dramatic granite monolith on the Mammoth Crest Trail.
When hiking to the top of the 11,000 foot lava dome, Crystal Crag is one of the landmarks.
Mammoth Mountain is a lava dome complex lying within the Long Valley Caldera, one of
the Earth’s largest volcanic calderas. The 12 overlapping domes were formed during a
long series of eruptions which occurred 57,000 years ago. During the winter, Mammoth
is home to the highest ski resort in California, with an average of 400 inches of snow.

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Forest Morning 2228

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Twin Lakes 3608

At left, rays from the rising sun part around a tree in the Ansel Adams Wilderness on Mammoth Mountain.
At right, Twin Lakes from Lake Mary Road, a pair of connected lakes 8,600 feet up on Mammoth Mountain.
Twin Lakes, the lowest of the alpine lakes in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, are at the base of the ski area.

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Split Cedar Moon 2401

A split Cedar with moon on the Shadow Lake Trail into the Ritter Range from Mammoth Mountain.

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Convict Lake 5636

Convict Lake, with Mount Morrison on the left and Mount Laurel on the right, is an alpine lake in
the Sherwin Range at 7,850 feet altitude, off Highway 395 not far from Mammoth Mountain. It was
named after an incident in 1871 when a group of convicts escaped from prison in Carson City, NV.
A posse encountered the convicts near the head of what is now Convict Creek, and posse member
Robert Morrison was killed (Mount Morrison is named after him). The story was fictionalized in the
 1951 Glenn Ford/Gene Tierney film “The Secret of Convict Lake”. The lake is well known for trout.

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June Lake 4355

June Lake is a subalpine trout-fishing lake 20 miles north of Mammoth Lakes, 5 miles south of Mono Lake off Hwy 395.

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Rock Creek 5694

Rock Creek is a high elevation stream flowing through the Little Lakes Valley in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains.

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Chickenfoot Lake 2458

Chickenfoot Lake is at the top of Little Lakes Valley, near Morgan Pass and Sierra Crest at nearly 11,000 feet altitude.

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Mosquito Lake 1567

Mosquito Lake is one of two connected lakes off Highway 4 in the Stanislaus National Forest south of Lake Tahoe.

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Alpine Lake 1572

Alpine Lake is about 6 miles west of Mosquito Lake off Highway 4 south of Lake Tahoe. Also known as
Lake Alpine, the lake is at 7,300 feet and is a popular canoeing, kayaking and fishing site in the summer.

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Dave’s Run with UFO 4649

Dave’s Run from the top of Mammoth Mountain at over 11,000 feet, on a cold and windy Christmas afternoon.
It was 10 degrees below zero with a forty mile per hour wind chill and I rapidly took several images, not seeing
the UFO which appears in this image until later, when I was processing the RAW file (UFO is in the upper left).

This image caused quite a furor, especially amongst the UFO community. I have no idea what it is, but I was
able to find out that there were no reported weather balloons in the area. The object appears in the RAW file.
Below is a 750 pixel detail crop of the Unidentified Flying Object over Dave’s Run on Mammoth Mountain.

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Dave’s Run with UFO 4649 detail
(detail crop  —  no linked image)

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