July 31, 2022

Photo Essay: These Hobbit Houses Are a Long Way from Middle Earth

Its official name is the "Lawrence and Martha Joseph Residence and Apartments." 

But most people know the complex simply as the "Hobbit Houses."

July 24, 2022

Photo Essay: Tail O' the Pup Once Again Unleashes Frankfurters Out of A Giant Hot Dog—This Time on Route 66

The Tail O' the Pup hot dog stand has been in storage ever since I moved to LA in 2011 (technically it got mothballed in 2005).

But I've always felt something of a connection to it. 

Maybe it's because its prior two locations were both in my neighborhood, at intersections I pass on a nearly daily basis (Beverly and La Cienega, basically where the Sofitel is now, and, after 1986, Beverly and San Vicente).

And now it's back in my neighborhood—in a new location on Santa Monica Boulevard, the old Route 66 in West Hollywood. 

July 23, 2022

Photo Essay: Derby House, Lloyd Wright's Mayan Fortress of Yucca In Concrete

I'd seen that the Lloyd Wright-designed Derby House in Glendale, California was for sale last year—and that I'd missed an open house. 

For months, I kept the real estate listing open as a tab on my web browser, just waiting and hoping for another open house to be scheduled. 

And then I gave up—and closed the tab. 

But I still kept my eyes open. 

And then, at the end of June, I had my chance again. And I didn't miss it this time. 

July 22, 2022

Photo Essay: Where Gentlemen Millionaires Gathered & Gambled During Virginia City's 'Silver Seventies'

On the Saturday of my 4th of July weekend trip to Nevada, I had a couple of hours after getting back from my Fly Geyser tour and before the sun would set on Virginia City and the landmarks along its nationally-recognized historic district. 

I'd decided to make my visit to the Comstock Lode former boomtown as touristy as could be—including a stop at the supposedly haunted Washoe Club, where a ghostly woman in a Victorian blue dress reportedly occupies one of its windows on occasion. 

July 13, 2022

Photo Essay: Spending Two Nights In Gold Hill, A Near-Ghost Town Across the Divide from Virginia City, NV

I first heard of Gold Hill when I was researching a trip to Virginia City, Nevada that I ended up not taking last fall. All the travel guides recommended taking the train from Gold Hill instead of trying to find parking in Virginia City. That piqued my interest.

 Gold Hill train depot, built 1872

July 11, 2022

Photo Essay: Pedaling the Rails of the Comstock Lode

I was in the Carson City, Nevada area for the first time ever last weekend for the Great Western Steam Up, in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the completion of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, "Queen of the Short Lines."

It wasn't ever a commercial passenger railway—instead being devoted solely to carrying freight for the mining communities of the first major discovery of silver ore, the Comstock Lode. 

Back then, that part of Nevada—mostly centered around Virginia City—was considered the western part of the Utah territory. 

Naturally, I wanted to experience as much of the V&T as I could while I was in the area.

Although 24 miles of rebuilt tracks are active between Carson City and Virginia City, the operation of those rights of way is somewhat fragmented. There's only one roundtrip train departure from Carson City to Virginia City per day, on Saturdays and Sundays only. 
I decided to ride the rails from Carson City's V&T Eastgate depot in a different way: on a railbike. 

July 09, 2022

Photo Essay: Nevada's Accidental Rainbow Geyser, Near the Burning Man Playa

I'd had a chance to join a group of friends on a nature walk to Fly Geyser back in 2018, the first year it had opened to the public in over two decades.

But on the date of their trip, I was already making up for another trip I'd missed with that same group of friends. 

I feel like I'm always behind on everything. 

Every opportunity taken is a missed opportunity to do something else. 

So only four years later, I managed to nab a reservation through Friends of Black Rock High Rock, the non-profit that controls public access to the natural wonder (with an incredibly restrictive photo policy).