Road Trip Up Mt. Baldy


At 10,065 feet Mt. Baldy rises above the San Gabriel Valley, home to nearly 1.5 million of which I am one. The highest mountain in Los Angeles County, every day she looms in the distance quite visible from my front yard. For months last winter, she remained snow capped, sometimes with snow half way down the mountain.

People seemed shocked when they discovered I had not yet driven up the mountain. Yesterday, as I was driving up Monte Vista, I decided it’s time and continued past Baseline where Monte Vista becomes Padua. At the traffic light, I turned right onto Mount Baldy Road. Up I went. You know it’s going to get steep when signs telling slow traffic to turn off ahead show up regularly.

I pulled off about half way up and took these two photos.

A bit farther up, signs appear saying they will tow your car if parked in the way of snow plows. It is about the same time that super sharp switchbacks start. I have driven all over the mountain West and this road has some of the most extreme switchbacks I’ve ever experienced. I kept thinking, “This would not be much fun in the snow.” Keep going and the road ends at a parking lot of the ski resort so they must do a good job keeping the road clear in winter. I stopped off and on to take photos. Up this high there are ponderosa pines and fir trees.

A lot of trees like the one on the left grow everywhere. Not sure what kind of evergreen they are.

I drove as far as cars can go, to the ski resort parking lot, adjacent to the ski lift which goes to a restaurant farther up the mountain. I’ll try that another day.

After all this driving, I decided to stop at a restaurant by the side of the road in Mt. Baldy Village. I wanted to eat on the patio but no eating outside yesterday–yellow jackets.

Near where I parked, I took a few photos of the community church and the village.

Another Day at The Huntington


Decades ago three of us attended the same two room elementary school, Clay Center, located at the corner of the intersection of two gravel, country roads, surrounded by rolling farmland in Northwest Missouri.

On Wednesday morning, we strolled though part of The Huntington Gardens and one of the art galleries there.

Ramona, the youngest one of us, is visiting her brother, Craig, who lives in Palm Springs. She loves succulents so we headed to that part of the gardens first.

Ramona and my daughter strolling along one of the wider pathways.

I have been here at least six times in the last six months. I see something new and fascinating every time.

After the succulent and cactus area, we headed to one of the art galleries. When I was here before Blue Boy was on loan. Yes, this is the genuine Blue Boy. Craig was so excited to see him and loved this gallery, all of it.
Ramona wanted to see the Chinese Gardens so we passed by this portion of the Japanese Gardens on the way.
A little water fall.

A tiny bit of the Chinese Garden.

The lake in the Chinese Garden was full of water lillies in bloom. Most were flat on the water but not these.
The three of us together for the first time in decades.

Road Trip to Palm Springs


Life brought me to the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California late last summer. A few months later, my childhood friend from elementary school in the farmlands of Northwestern Missouri moved back to Palm Springs. Today I drove out to the desert to see him, Craig Prater. I arrived a little early so drove around, took a walk downtown, and took some photos. We were so intent on catching up and visiting, I forgot to take a photo of Craig and me together. Here are photos I took as I walked and drove around.

Palm Springs shopping area.

Desert mountains surround Palm Springs. It is hot compared to where I live. When I returned to my car after lunch, the thermometer said 121. It really was not quite that hot, only 103. 1.25 hours later when I arrived back home, it was 87 at my house.

I took this to include parts of the palo verde tree and the mountains. Palm trees are everywhere as you can see from the photos.

This is one of the largest palo verde trees I have ever seen. I want one for my backyard. You see them everywhere in the desert. Now that LA County has water restrictions, it would seem to be a good choice.

Palm Springs is Mid-Century Modern architecture country. This photo and the following photos are some examples of the types of houses I saw as I drove around.

While some houses still have grass, the trend is desert landscaping to save water.

There is a house behind all this desert vegetation.

An Afternoon at Laguna Beach


Every year Laguna Beach has a Garden Tour. We decided to take a look and celebrate Mother’s Day one day early–my daughter, grandson, his girlfriend, and I. To be honest the tour was a bit disappointing but Laguna Beach itself definitely was not. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and will return.

We decided to do the cardio tour–yes, that is what they called it. The shuttle drops everyone off at Garden 1, you follow a map, and walk the rest of the tour. The option is to take the shuttle just about everywhere. We did not do that. Here are a few photos I took along the way.


The rest of my family in front of me walking one of the cardio sections.

A door I loved in an alley along the way.

Laguna Beach is very hilly. Many houses are not only like those above but perched at the top of the hills.

Some interesting flowers along the way.

The final street of the tour was the street closet to the ocean.

Looking through the gate at the side of one the elegant houses along the sea.

Some people apparently prefer more privacy.

I found this undulating grass quite fascinating.

This and the following photo are of Shaw’s Cove, a rather hidden public beach with waves crashing against rocks and only a few locals. There is a series of steps that lead down to the Cove.

Afternoon at the California Botanical Garden


Unlike The Huntington where you can find plants from all over the world, this garden focuses on plants native to California.

Near the entrance.

Not sure you can see here, but the mountain top has a tiny bit of snow left even though in the 80s in the garden.

Many of the plants are labeled. This one was not.


This is the sycamore mentioned in the previous photo.
These large trees are everywhere. I did not see a label.
Channel Islands Bush Poppies. I have not made it to Channel Islands National Park yet.
In this photo the snow on the mountain is evident. Much of this garden is forested and cool.
California Iris
Poppies and Firecracker Penstemon.
Wild Iris blooming everywhere.
A small Coastal Redwood forest. Redwood trees grow better if more than one so they can join roots and communicate. I have one in my yard and no space to plant another to keep it company.
One of the mountains often referred to as sisters.
At my house all the squirrels are brown. Here I saw both grey and brown.
California Buckeye. The flowers emit an intense heavenly perfume.
The flowers. If I had space in my yard, I would plant one.
Wild strawberries.
The edge of a sculpture garden with some interesting sculptures.
Poppies and Iris.
More Iris .
Many flowers, many colors growing together.

The Huntington Gardens–Part Two


In the last six weeks I have travelled to these gardens five times, two alone and three with house guests. Amid all the turmoil in the world today this is a place where nature continues its grand display, instilling a sense of peace and quiet.

My son headed to the Chinese and Japanese gardens.
Earlier photos were the walk to arrive here at the Japanese Gardens.

Depending on how you walk through the gardens, you walk to Japanese first, then Chinese, then back to the Japanese Gardens. This and the following few photos are the Chinese Gardens.

The Chinese Garden is filled with various sizes of limestone that looks like sculptures but is natural. The next time I go, I am going to learn what is written on many of the pieces of limestone.

In many places you can see the San Gabriel Mountains which are not far away.
The pond is filled with fish.
My son enjoying the waterfall.
I sat on a bench and stared at this for a long time, wondering how they do this without messing any of it up. There are doze
Looking back as we are on the way out.
And finally something European as we headed toward the parking area.

After five times, I have seen most of the gardens–next post will be some photos of the Australian area–and the two art galleries. Never made it to the library yet.

The Huntington–Gardens, Part One


Where have I been? Entertaining my son whom I had not seen in more than two years. One of the things he wanted to do was visit The Huntington in Pasadena after seeing some photos I took on a visit in January. Unless you get there as soon as they open and stay all day, it is impossible to see everything in one day. I have been there four times and only seen the gardens. The library and art gallery await for another time. Here are the photos from the first excursion with my son, Erik.

Erik took a lot of photos. This set is mostly in the desert garden section filled with cactus and succulents.
Yes, those are thorns sticking out of the trunk.

In many place in the gardens you can see the San Gabriel Mountains in the background.

I found the colors and texture of the trunk of this tree quite a contrast to many in the desert area. This photo and several that follow were taken in the Australian section.
Some of these trees are too huge to get all the tree in a photo.
On the way out. The rest had to wait for another day.