December 23, 2019

Top Posts of 2019

If you're new to my site this year, welcome and thank you for taking the time to discover something new through my travels and adventures.

If you're a returning visitor, thanks as always for your loyalty and attention. I read all comments on this blog and on social, as well as all emails that come in (though I may not reply right away).

This site has always been a passion project for me. I have a few Google Ads enabled and just installed a digital "tip jar" to help fund the research that goes into these posts—but my blog was never meant to become a business on its own.

I am, however, grateful that it's become a powerful online portfolio of my work, which has led to a longstanding gig as "SoCal Wanderer" for KCET in addition to occasional contributions to the public media company's "Lost LA" and "Artbound" columns.

Some challenges this year—at least, on the technical side—included the permanent shutdown of Google+ in April (which really negatively impacted my traffic from both social and organic search) and the Photobucket power outage at the end of December that rendered nearly all of my images temporarily broken.

Regardless, I think 2019 was a good year for both writing and photography, so I'm proud to share the Top 10 posts of the year (for now, without photos):

  1. The Worst of the Superbloom, At Walker CanyonMy heart sank. "People are the worst," I thought, as I climbed higher and away from the crowds.
  2. The Tam O'Shanter: The Storybook Inn That Fed Walt Disney (And His Imagination)Disney animators used to eat there so often, they nicknamed it "the studio commissary."
  3. Photo Essay: Inside the Fence at Surfridge Ghost Town, LAX AdjacentIt's nice to see something good come out of something bad for once.
  4. Photo Essay: The Forgotten Highway Between LA and BakersfieldIt's actually not that easy to follow the entirety of the Old Ridge Route because, like Route 66, its alignment did change—and portions of it were even buried with the construction of the California Aqueduct.
  5. Lost Spirits: The Disneyland of Distilleries (After the Fire)Some things are never really lost, if you can clone them later on.
  6. Photo Essay: The Warehouse Restaurant, A Marina Eatery for 50 Years and CountingOnce a celebrity hangout, The Warehouse appears to be in the capable hands of its current owners, who bought the business in 1996.
  7. Banned from Boeing? Post-Woolsey Fire Edition (Updated)Boeing couldn't possibly be blacklisting me because they didn't want journalists showing up, could they?
  8. Photo Essay: The Town That Built The Hoover DamIf you were going to build something big—really big—in the middle of nowhere, you couldn't expect your workforce to commute.
  9. Reenacting Western Migration, On the Brutal Stagecoach Route Between LA and San DiegoBy all reports, the journey was, quite simply, treacherous—replete with annoyances, discomfort, and plenty of hardship. 
  10. Photo Essay: Riding the Tijuana-Tecate Tourist Train, Upon the 100th Anniversary of "The Impossible Railroad"
    The Tren TurĂ­stico is for tourists like me—and it no longer freely crosses back and forth across the U.S.-Mexico border.

I used to set a goal for myself of writing a new post every other day—or, on average, 15 a month, or about 180 a year.

I achieved that goal every year from 2011-15, and came up just a little bit short in 2009-10 and 2016-18.

This year, I had to revise my goal to 2 or 3 posts per week, or somewhere around 100-150 posts for the year. I'm going to come somewhere within that range, though it still feels like I'm falling way short.

If you're hungry for more content than that, I've got a lot of past posts that I continue to update as needed. You can start with my Top Posts of All Time and then move on to the prior years' Top Posts, below.

Related Posts:

Photo Essay: Top Posts of 2018
Photo Essay: Top Posts of 2017
Photo Essay: Top Posts of 2016
Photo Essay: Top Posts of 2015
Photo Essay: Top Posts of 2014
Photo Essay: Top Posts of 2013
Photo Essay: Top Posts of 2012


  1. Many thanks for all your posts. You have taught and entertained me tremendously. My personal favorite of your posts this year was the one on James Turrell's "Akhob". I had never heard of it until I read your post and now I'm planning a visit in May 2020. I never would have got to see if without reading your experience. Thanks for all you do!!

    1. Awesome that's so great to hear! Make sure you call the reservation line far in advance to secure your spot. It's free so it's always fully booked months ahead.

    2. Hey Sandi,
      I was just reading your 2021 Valentine's Day essay. I just wanted to let you know that I did make reservations to see Akhob in May 2020, but I had no idea that the pandemic would shut my plans down. I had a trip planned to have my annual motorcycle rally in Alamo, Nevada, then Las Vegas for Akhob, then the North rim of the Grand Canyon. All had to be cancelled. But I am healthy and have not forgotten. When Akhob reopens, I will be there. Until then, I am making the best of it. A few days ago, I tried to visit Ruddy's General Store Museum in Palm Springs, but it was closed. I believe you have been there. But I did get to visit the Cabazon dinosaurs, Palm Springs Visitors Center, the Palm Springs Babies, the Living Desert, and Shields Dates. And this afternoon, the South Coast Botanic Garden.

      As always, many thanks for the inspiration and education!

    3. Go get 'em Doug! I just love love love the way the dinos have been painted for the holidays and hope they continue that tradition. It's a challenge getting to see anything indoor these days (and yes Ruddy's is worth a visit when it's open) but it can be incredibly rewarding to find new stuff. And I can see you're up for the challenge! Stay safe out there and keep your spirits high.

  2. Cuz, your posts are wonderful! Keep them coming as I know what and how you're doing. Mark

  3. Happy New Year to you, and thanks the fascinating blog. I certainly didn't know several stories you recounted here even though I have spent my whole life living in SoCal. I've greatly enjoyed your writing and stop by often.