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Tom Kitten

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 7,079

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When I was staying in Santa Ana I learned about a reptile zoo nearby...this interested me and so I went, and found that this was indeed true, they do have an interesting collection of reptiles. I took a lot of pictures of these reptiles but when I saw them I was disappointed because all they were just pictures of interesting looking reptiles in glass cages at a reptile zoo...but my sister pointed out that they captured a little something, they showed personality perhaps? So I thought I'd show the most expressive- lizards!

I wanted to post this in Solly Mack's animal thread, because...lizards!

But that thread is getting big and this is a rather large post.

The Portland Gasco Building, to be demolished by Halloween

This is Portland's most famous vacant building, the office and admin building for Portland Gas & Coke, the forerunner to NW Natural Gas. Since 1957 it's just sat here, vacant, ever since, but last month the gas company says it costs too much to maintain even the way it is, it so they're tearing it down.
Which is a shame, it's a beautiful Gothic Victorian built around 1912 or so.
It's hard to get a good view for photography, the public isn't allowed to get near it. It's surrounded by private roads and gas tanks and other heavy industry operations, plus the whole area is a Superfund site. I went there at 1:30 pm and it was already in shadows, I had to do some post processing to get a reasonable view of it.

Most pictures turned out dark like this

Post process

Scenes from my Desert Road Trip- the First Day

Seeing the posts Solly Mack and Fizzgig did of their road trips inspired me to post this!

The last two years I spent part of the winter in Santa Ana, California. One thing I really wanted to do was go out into the desert and just experience it. (Not much desert around Portland!) In Jan. last year I visited my cousin in the Phoenix area and took a roundabout way, spending a day around Palm Springs and then going south to see the Salton Sea. Here's some photos from day one, I was very much a tourist!

Going through San Gorgonio Pass, one of the windiest areas in the country. You go through the Cabazon wind farm, over 3000 wind turbines, producing enough power for 300,000 people.

The Cabazon Dinosaurs are also located here. Of course I had to stop!

You can see how windy it is, look at the palm trees... it was hard to stand up straight.

A young family, I thought this was a cute picture

One last photo of the Brontosaurus, there's a store inside, but it wasn't open. The dinosaurs are now the site of a "creationist museum", I didn't have the time or inclination to see it...

Next stop was the Cabot Yerxa Pueblo, built by the town founder and discoverer of the hot springs. Now a museum, over 20 years he built this 30 room adobe. There's a tour to go inside but I missed it so I just wandered around the grounds. It's shady here which is nice (even though it was January it was like 90 degrees here). There's a good museum/gallery here focusing on Native American arts, it was nice and cool inside.

The sculpture here is called Waokiye by the artist Peter Wolf Toth. It stands 43 feet tall

A view of Desert Hot Springs from the pueblo. Somewhere in this picture the San Andreas fault runs through, which created the hot springs. Also on the horizon you can see some of the thousands of wind turbines. I really liked the town, about 25,000 population.

There's a lot of cool mid century architecture in this area. This place was for sale.

On the road to Palm Springs I was stopped at a red light and this was the scene. So I took a picture! I don't know why but I like this picture.

So, in Palm Springs, I wandered around. Then I found the Marilyn Monroe statue (it's not there anymore,I guess it travels around the country. Now in New Jersey)

In case you're wondering, yes I took pictures of her butt and no, I'm not going to post any! This is as close as you get.

And across the street was this sculpture of Lucille Ball.

Down the street, Sonny Bono...

I went into the residential area, the movie star colony. I could not believe how lush the landscape is here, out in the desert. It seems there isn't the water shortage as much here, Palm Springs sits on a giant aquifer.

Across the street is the Robots Sculpture Garden, by artist Kenny Irwin, Jr. Two acres of robots, aliens, Christmas and Islam. You can tour by appointment, I didn't know this so just took some pictures from outside. I'm sure someday I'll go back and see what's inside!

It was after 3 pm by this time, I had a long way to go so I hit the road again. I stopped at a Tiki motel, where I could have gotten a room for 45$, unfortunately they had no vacancies...But here's a picture of their lobby...

So I drove 30 miles to Indio and spent the night, which turned out OK, I had a lot of mileage to go and a lot more to see. The next day I started out at 8 AM, visited the Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain, went through the dunes and arrived at my cousin's house at 10 PM. But that was the second day.

Ugh! Smoke from all the wildfires covers Portland today

No one I talked to today has ever remembered a day like today in Portland. The winds shifted to from the east and smoke covered the area. The smell of burning filled the air. Unhealthy air alerts in some ares. Plus it was 87 today. I hope this isn't the new normal.

Panoramas of Bodie, California

Since panoramas are this month's contest theme and people are thinking about them, I thought I'd share these I took when I visited Bodie in Sept. 2013. I spent a day there and took hundreds of photos but I haven't posted any (well OK one once)...

So here are some views of what the place looks like, maybe a nice overview. It is the largest surviving completely ghost town in the US, now a state park. It was a very enjoyable experience, I'd recommend anyone to visit if they are in that neck of the woods. It is remote but only 13 miles from Hwy 395, about 80 miles south of Lake Tahoe, near Mono Lake. It is about 8800 feet in elevation and has a sub-polar climate... I heard it described as a 50-50-50 zone in the winter- that is, 50 feet of snow, 50 mph winds, and 50 degrees below zero! 135 years ago almost ten thousand people lived here, during the height of the gold rush boom. Two fires over the years destroyed 95% of the town, and this is what is left.

To the left is the main part of the remaining downtown area. To the right, the gray building is the stamp mill, where they processed the raw ore and turned it into gold bars they shipped to Carson City, Nevada. It operated through the 1930s.

The stamp mill is on the far left. The large building next to it is the schoolhouse. You can look in the windows and still see the desks, chalkboards, maps etc., lots of artifacts remain in some buildings.

A view of what remains of "downtown"...the roads still go to places, like Aurora, another ghost town, but you need a high clearance 4wheel drive to get there.

I think the stone ruins on the left was once a warehouse, where they kept all the whiskey (this town was legendary for its rowdiness). The large building with the bell tower is the firehouse. Unfortunately they weren't able to stop the fires. During both fires the firemen went to the hydrants and when they opened them, only a trickle of water came out. It turned out rocks and debris had blocked the intake valves and all they could do was form a bucket brigade. After the second fire, in 1932, most people gave up and left.

A view of the road, leaving Bodie, with the high Sierra on the horizon. The last three miles of the road (like here) is unpaved and very bumpy... it took almost half an hour just to travel these three miles.

The town's isolation and difficulty in reaching it is one reason it has survived in such relatively good condition over the years. Now that is a state park, it is always occupied by park rangers, I was told 27, and 7 stay over the winter. So, in a way, there are still people who live there.

If anyone is interested, in the future I can post more photos from this place, including from inside the stamp mill. If you like "steampunk", here you can see some early technology in the Old West, including a generator built by Tesla himself!
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