California

Sequoia National Forest and Sherman Pass

We spent a secluded weekend at Rodeo Flats in the Sequoia National Forest, at the southern tip of the Sierra Nevadas. As a fun side trip, we took the Sherman Pass Road from Kennedy Meadow Road, down to the Kern River. The scenic road is remote, 4×4, fun, and after cresting at 9,200′, drops rather quickly down to the Kern River Highway.

Carol got in a quick ride on one of the dirt bike trails. As it turns out, dirt bike trails have lots of sand and whoops - not so good for mountain biking. Instead of riding, I got to watch my broken back heal.
Carol got in a quick ride on one of the dirt bike trails. As it turns out, dirt bike trails have lots of sand and whoops – not so good for mountain biking. Instead of riding, I got to watch my broken back heal.
Our dispersed camp site near Rodeo Flats, sans tourists.
Our dispersed camp site near Rodeo Flats, sans tourists.
The east/top end of the Sherman Pass Road.
The east/top end of the Sherman Pass Road.
After skirting the north side of Sherman Peak, the road begins to drop off, revealing some spectacular views. A majority of the trees had been killed from a recent wildfire.
After skirting the north side of Sherman Peak, the road begins to drop off, revealing some spectacular views. A majority of the trees had been killed from a recent wildfire.
A couple times, when the road dropped off fairly steeply, Carol decided that walking was better than riding. The burned trees gave us great views that we'd otherwise not have (read: high anxiety).
A couple times, when the road dropped off fairly steeply, Carol decided that walking was better than riding. The burned trees gave us great views that we’d otherwise not have (read: high anxiety).
The walking continues ...
The walking continues …
Bald Mountain fire Lookout.
Bald Mountain fire Lookout.
Minutes before we arrived at the Bald Mountain LO, a nearby wildfire had erupted. The ranger told us that little fires like this are fairly common during the summer months. Many times, the fires are so remote and non-threatening, that they're left alone, to burn out on their own.Minutes before we arrived at the Bald Mountain LO, a nearby wildfire had erupted. The ranger told us that little fires like this are fairly common during the summer months.
Minutes before we arrived at the Bald Mountain LO, a nearby wildfire had erupted. The ranger told us that little fires like this are fairly common during the summer months. Many times, the fires are so remote and non-threatening, that they’re left alone to burn out on their own.
Grumpy Bear's restaurant and bar. The lady in the box cooks the food you order, which, by the way, she can't make because they're out of everything you'd like to order. The lady on the right was watching the rain out the window and thoroughly enjoying the afternoon, if we catch our drift.
Grumpy Bear’s restaurant and bar. The lady in the box cooks the food you order, which, by the way, she can’t make because they’re out of everything you’d like to order. The lady on the right was watching the rain out the window and thoroughly enjoying the afternoon, if we catch our drift.
Sunset at Rodeo Flats in the southern Sierras.
Sunset at Rodeo Flats in the southern Sierras.

Bradshaw Trail

We headed to the desert to celebrate President’s Day weekend. Our venue was near the east end of the Bradshaw Trail, four miles west of Wiley Well, and 12 miles south of Interstate 10, in southeastern California. Two state prisons are located behind our camp site, over the Little Chuckwalla Mountains.

Not only was it President's Day weekend, but it was Valentines Day, uh, weekend.
Not only was it President’s Day weekend, but it was Valentines Day, uh, weekend.
Robert and Henri stoke the fire while Sandy, KT and Carol try to keep warm.
Robert and Henri stoke the fire while Sandy, KT and Carol keep warm.
KT tears up the desert on her TTR.
KT tears up the desert on her TTR.
The maiden voyage of the new Mac Motorsports flag. The flagpole was also equipped with solar-powered string lights.
The maiden voyage of the new Mac Motorsports flag. The flagpole is equipped with solar-powered string lights.
Steve takes advantage of a bike stand, and lays out a snack tray for everyone.
Steve takes advantage of a bike stand, and lays out a snack tray for everyone.
Sandy and Carol enjoy the campfire ...
Sandy and Carol enjoy the campfire …
... while Henri and Robert deliver a little more ironwood and mesquite firewood.
… while Henri and Robert deliver a little more ironwood and mesquite firewood. And yes, you can see our firepit from the satellite images on Google Maps.
Sting lights on the flagpole aid over-served campers find their way back to camp in the darkness.
String lights on the flagpole aid over-served campers find their way back to camp in the darkness.
Exploring a wash which was filled with recent rain water.
Exploring a wash which was filled with recent rain water.
Mr. Bill and Carol, on the way to our Indian Pass geocache (the oldest geocache in Imperial County).
Mr. Bill and Carol, on the way to our Indian Pass geocache, the oldest geocache in Imperial County, thank you very much.
Matt and Carol are at the top of the hill, replacing our weathered geocache container. The location is northwest of Yuma and experiences some brutal summer temperatures.
Matt and Carol are at the top of the hill replacing our weathered geocache container. The location is northwest of Yuma and experiences some brutal summer temperatures.
The view down Indian Pass, toward the Rio Colorado. The hills/mountains in the distance, are in the Yuma Proving Grounds, in Arizona.
The view down Indian Pass, toward Picacho State Park and the Rio Colorado. The hills/mountains in the distance, are in the Yuma Proving Grounds, in Arizona.

40 Years to Glory

These photos are from the static display at SCORE International’s “40 Years to Glory” — a wing-ding at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center commemorating the 40th running of the Baja 1000. Parnelli Jones was not part of the static display.

Bruce Meyers stands next to the revolutionary Meyers Manx. It was produced by his Fountain Valley, California company from 1964 to 1971, in the form of car kits applied to shortened chassis of Volkswagen Beetles.
Bruce Meyers stands next to the revolutionary Meyers Manx. It was produced by his Fountain Valley, California company from 1964 to 1971, in the form of car kits applied to shortened chassis of Volkswagen Beetles.

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Malcom Smith's Husky.
Malcom Smith’s Husky.

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Parnelli Jones climbs out of Big Oly.
Parnelli Jones climbs out of Big Oly.
Ivan Stewart's Trophy Truck.
Ivan Stewart’s Trophy Truck.

Laurel Lakes

Carol and I were taking a day off from mountain biking and decided to travel up the 4×4 road to Laurel Lakes – two lakes at 10,000′ in the Sierras. The road stair-stepped up the moraine near the bottom, then once the road began to parallel Laurel Creek, it got narrow and rocky. Several of the switchbacks required 10-point turns, rendering the road big truck-unfriendly.

Opening the barbed wire gate at the bottom of the road.
Opening the barbed wire gate at the bottom of the road.

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The road arrived above Laurel Lakes - the final descent was through a series of switchbacks.
The road arrived above Laurel Lakes – the final descent was through a series of switchbacks.
Carol found a killer  campsite on a pseudo island in the lake.
Carol found a killer campsite on a pseudo island in the lake.
Relaxing at the upper Laurel Lake.
Relaxing at the upper Laurel Lake.

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Cerro Gordo and the Salt Tram

On the way to Mammoth, Carol and I decided to take a detour to the old silver mining town of Cerro Gordo in the Inyo Mountains. After that, we took a 4×4 road to visit the Salt Tram Crossover Station, then drop down the mountain to the town of Swansea, on the eastern shore of Owens Lake.

The front porch of the American Hotel, which isn't open for business, due to some silly fire code issues.
The front porch of the American Hotel, which isn’t open for business, due to some silly fire code issues.
The American Hotel on the main street of Cerro Gordo (Fat Hill).
The American Hotel on the main street of Cerro Gordo (Fat Hill).
Inside the general store.
Inside the general store.

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One of the rentable private residence houses in town.
One of the rentable private residence houses in town.

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Leaving town, we decided to follow the Cerro Gordo-Keeler Road, which runs along the side of the Inyo Mountains with spectacular views of the Eastern Sierras and Owens Valley. We'd eventually bump into the Crossover Station for the Salt Tram, a turn-of-the-century tram which hauled salt from the Saline Valley, over the Inyo Mountains, and down to Owens lake (in the background). Once at Owens Lake, the salt was loaded onto ships and taken across to the railhead on the west side for shipment.
Leaving town, we decided to follow the Cerro Gordo-Keeler Road, which runs along the side of the Inyo Mountains with spectacular views of the Eastern Sierras and Owens Valley. We’d eventually bump into the Crossover Station for the Salt Tram, a turn-of-the-century tram which hauled salt from the Saline Valley, over the Inyo Mountains, and down to Owens Lake (that’s the “lake” in the background). Once at Owens Lake, the salt was loaded onto ships and taken across to the railhead on the west side for shipment.
The Salt Tram Crossover Station on the spine of the Inyo Mountains at Daisy Pass (8,700'). The building on the left is the tram operator's quarters.
The Salt Tram Crossover Station on the spine of the Inyo Mountains at Daisy Pass (8,700′). The building on the left is the tram operator’s quarters.
Due to strict union regulations, all of the Tram's stations were required to have an over-sized chair.
Due to strict union regulations, all of the Tram’s stations were required to have an over-sized chair.
Looking east into Saline Valley - the source of the salt. Saline Valley is located in Death Valley NP.
Looking east into Saline Valley – the source of the salt. Saline Valley is located in Death Valley NP.
A few of the tram's remaining towers on the west side of the mountains.
A few of the tram’s remaining towers on the west side of the mountains, leading down to Swansea.

“Tough Guys” in Taylor Yard

In circa Spring 1986 I was employed as a Locomotive Engineer for the Southern Pacific Railroad, based out of Taylor Yard in Glendale. One day I got called from the Engineer’s Extra Board to work as a Fireman on a “Hollywood Train” in Taylor’s Reefer Yard for the filming of the Touchstone movie, Tough Guys. I was warned beforehand, that I’d be “working” on an old steam engine (SP4449), of which I knew nothing about – I was showing up to satisfy union requirements. As it turned out, I worked the job for several days, sitting in a beach chair and eating every time the film crew ate. The train set did very little actual moving; I did a lot of eating.

The film crew was lighting up the train for an interior shot in the first passenger car.
The film crew lighting up the side of the train for an interior shot in the first passenger car.
As an actual working Fireman, I met the Engineer who was a nice guy. Like me, he did lots of sitting and waiting waiting for the film crew to set up for the next shot.
As an actual working Fireman, I met the Engineer Doyle L. McCormack who was a nice guy. Like me, he did lots of sitting and waiting for the film crew to set up for the next shot.
The floor of the 4449 was embossed with the SP "Drumhead" logo.
The floor of the 4449 was embossed with the SP “Drumhead” logo.
Just so the real train wouldn't get damaged during police shoot-outs, the film crew constructed a fake cab and mounted it to a flat car.
Just so the real train wouldn’t get damaged during police shoot-outs, the film crew constructed a fake cab and mounted it to a flat car – the Engineer actor could lean out the window while the film crew easily filmed.
We got to watch the movie good-guy/bad-guy shoot out, where an LAPD car was riddled with bullets. The movie people had rigged the car with squibs, which did an realistic job of simulating gun fire.
We got to watch the movie good-guy/bad-guy shoot out, where an LAPD car was riddled with bullets. The movie people rigged the car with squibs, which did a realistic job of simulating gun fire (not that I see a lot of police cars get shot-up).
At one point, we got to watch a police car ram the side of the train. Actually, they inched up the car, with lots of direction, so there was no chance the train would get damaged or even scratched.
At one point, we got to watch a police car “ram” the side of the train. Actually, they inched the car up, with lots of direction, so there was zero chance the train would even get scratched.
Filming a police shoot-out while Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas hang out the door of the baggage car.
Filming a police shoot-out while Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas hang out the door of the baggage car.
The 4449 in Taylor Yard.
The 4449 in Taylor Yard sporting Coast Daylight colors.

Tough Guys Trailer
Two elderly gangsters are released from prison only to find they have trouble fitting in as old men who still take no guff from anyone. Does anyone still rob trains?