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Uncommon Places and Haunted Sights

We have many sights here in Southern California that deserves a look and some that are downright, well—different. Listed are places that you should stop by if you plan to be in that area.

Farmers Market
This is one of the great fun places in LA. Over fifty places to eat with all kinds of food from all over the world. Over thirty shops selling everything from kitchen gadgets, flowers to toys, bath soaps, hot sauces, jewelry, stickers and much more. You will enjoy the day there, when you have seen all the market has to offer go next door to “The Grove” This is an upscale mall with many restaurants and lots of great shops. To many to list, so check out their web site. They have a huge fountain that dances to music and grass lawn that makes you think that you are in a park while you shop. A double deck street car takes you from one end to the other plus stopping at the end of the farmers Market. There is a large parking garage that’s several stories high providing plenty of parking. Both are located Third and Fairfax.

China Town Los Angeles
Located at Hill and Broadway Streets, LA. China town is just that. You can shop for just about anything oriental. They have fresh fish, frogs, crabs and many other live things. Herbs, teas and all kinds of Chinese food are in abundance here. Many great restaurants dot the area. The smell is strong and inviting. Walking by the seafood stores you will notice that they have a scent all to themselves and it’s a strong one.

The shops are somewhat newer in the Mandarin and Chinatown Plaza’s and amazing in their variety. If you go into one of the herb and tea stores you could get a potion to help or ease most ills and aches. Olvera Street is just two blocks to the southwest. When you see something in the window or show case and you don’t know exactly what it is, don’t be afraid to ask, smile when you do. The storeowners like that, but then, who doesn’t.

The Dinosaurs of Beaumont/Cabazon
If you travel on Highway 10 past Banning/Beaumont going south, on your left you will see two very large Dinosaurs. Claude Bell built them on his property where he had a roadside stopover for tourists. He began working on the first of two in 1964. Mr. Bell was a small wiry man and has been an artist all his life. Known to the residents of Cabazon, the figure in the flower-printed cat is so identified with his creation that he was recognized the “Dinosaur Man.” Mr. Bell lived with his life in a spartan cabin near the construction site when he was in town. He used to say that he would get a little of his investment back by charging admission to the museum he planned to install in the belly of the large beast. Profit had little to do with it, people said that, “If all he wanted to do was make money, he would have that lizard up in a year or so.” Bell worked on his dream every free minute he had. Working week after week, Bell scrounged what he could and paid for the rest. He collected steel from a washed out bridge and concrete for the foundation from a road-builders surplus. He figured construction would only take a couple of years. Although it stretched to many years and never was fully completed to his satisfaction. After building the second dinosaur, Claude Bell died in 1989. The dinosaurs are considered the world’s largest dinosaur structures. You can sit on the six-foot toes on the 55″ of the tall Tyrannosaurus Rex. Or walk into the belly of the “Dinney” a 150″ long Apatosaurus, where you will find Southern California’s most unique gift shop “Dinosaur Delights.” Open everyday of the year. 5800 Seminole Dr, Cabazon (909) 849-8309 just off the 10 highway.

Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood sign was built in 1923 as an advertisement for a real estate development. Originally it read Hollywoodland but over the years it was shortened to what it is today. There are motion detectors around the sign to keep graffiti artists away. A starlet jumped/fell to her death off the “H”, why she did that was never known. The best view of the sign is on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Bronson Ave in downtown Hollywood.

La Brea Tar Pits
Located on Wilshire Blvd in Hancock Park, L.A. This is the site of prehistoric animals that literally got stuck in the tar some 40,000 years ago. These and many other artifacts are on display in the Page Museum. Over 600 species of insects, reptiles, plants, birds and mammals have been found in this area. (213) 936-2230

LTA (lighter then air) Blimp Hangers Tustin
Two Blimp hangars were built in 1942 for the military. The hangars housed blimps that were used for observation and anti-submarine warfare. The hangers could hold 4 four blimps plus ground support equipment. They are over 400 yards long, over one hundred yards wide and 18 stories high. Constructed from wood that was sent pre-cut from Northwestern saw mills, these hangars consisted of the center wooden arch and the two doors structures on each end. They were scheduled for decommission in 1997. This writer was in one of the hangers when a small plane took off and flew in a circle then landed without leaving the building. That’s a big room folks! As of this writing the people in charge are talking about tearing them down but they are getting a lot of flak from the public. They are located in South Santa Ana-Tustin area. They can best be seen from the 261-toll road going west or Jamboree road going east. Try not to miss these jumbo garages they could be torn down someday.

Michelle Caverns Natural Preserve Mojave
Called the EL Pakiva & Tecopa caves, Mitchell Caverns was ran as a tourist attraction starting around 1930. Jack Mitchell, a part time miner, opened the mines for people to see the large rooms of stalagmites and get out of the desert heat. The caves had remains of a ground Sloth that roamed the area 15,000 years ago. The summer temperature stays around 65 degrees in the caves as the outside hits 100 and up. Mitchell caverns holds much history and can be obtained at the state visitors center. This is similar to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, just somewhat smaller. To get to the caverns take the Interstate 15 to Barstow then east on Interstate 40. Go about 80 miles to Essex Road turn off. Go N.W. on Essex road 16 miles to the state recreation area. Around 10 miles you will pass an intersection with roads going every which way. Just go straight though that area. When you get to the visitors center you will find brochures on the caverns and many other things. Daily tours run in the winter, summer tours run on weekends only. This is a one of our favorite places to visit. Mitchell Caverns (760) 928-2586

Midway Aircraft Carrier
The Midway was used in WW 2 also was the flag ship in Desert Storm. The ship is loaded with aircraft used in long run the ship had. This is a great experience for people of all ages. You can stand on the flight deck and look out at the water, you can get a little of the feeling that thousands of Navy personal felt.

Nixon Library & Museum, Yorba Linda
The Richard Millhouse Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace is located at 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd. Yorba Linda. Go east from freeway 57 on Imperial Hwy. He was born here and his final resting place is here also. Buried next to the President is his wife Pat Nixon. His dog buried on the property as well. The house that he was born in is on the property. The library was built and maintained without any federal funds. The gardens are beautiful. Five past Presidents attended his funeral. (714) 993-3393

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
This is a tram that goes from the desert floor at 2,643 feet to 8,500 feet to the high Mountain Station on Mt. San Jacinto. When we took the ride to the top it was 80 degrees in the desert. As we drove up the short road to the tram it started to get cooler. As we stepped into the ‘gondola’ (that’s tram talk, we love it when we hear tram talk) we could hardly see the top. It’s quite a ride. By the time we arrived it was 29 degrees. Take a jacket! They have a restaurant on the top plus you can hike and play in the snow while there. The ride is just under 15 minutes and we held on to each other the whole way. The Tram was built in 1963 and is known as an engineering marvel around the world. Located at 1 Tramway Road just west of Palm Springs off of Highway 111. (760) 325-1449

Reagan Library & Museum
Built in the museum is a recreation of the oval office and the cabinet room. Also there is a 60×20 ft scale model of the white house. One of the old “air force one’s” is sitting there for visitors to tour. Some of the thousands of gifts that were given to the President and His wife Nancy are on display. Located at 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley (805) 522-8444

Scotty’s Castle
Not wholly in Southern California still this area needs some mention. If you ever get a chance to visit Death Valley, Scotty’s Castle is a must. Walter Scott was born in Cynthiana, Kentucky in the early 1870’s. He was in the Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show prior to his leaving in 1902. Some how Scott found his way to Death Valley. He told people he met there that he had a working gold mine but he needed money to maintain it. Scotty learned to make money many different ways. The man had a way with people and knew enough about the business world to keep his alleged gold mine working. He finally met up with Julian M. Gerard and later Albert Johnson both of which helped Scotty by supplying him with money and moral support. Johnson loved Death Valley and had a spot in his heart for Scotty. He was an insurance executive in the Midwest so money came easy to Scotty. Johnson made Scotty his pastime, and helped him build the castle. It was started in 1924 and never completed, with a cost of $2,000.000 it something to see. Try not to miss this great landmark. Winter would be the best time to tour the castle, as the Death Valley gets very hot in the summer. The State runs tours of the castle; there is a gift shop and a gas station close by. The castle or “Death Valley Ranch” lies in the northeastern part of Death Valley.

Olvera Street
This is one of our favorite spots in Southern California to shop and eat. This is Mexican town, although they don’t call it that. There is a China town and Little Tokyo but they don’t call this Mexico anything. This is the birthplace of los Angeles. The oldest building in Los Angeles still stands here. We have been south of the border many times and you can believe us that Olvera Street is very authentic. You can buy most of the same things you find on the street of Tijuana Mexico right here in Olvera Street. This is also the place where you find the best Taco in Southern California. The restaurants all have good food but we think the little stands in the middle and the N.E. end has the best walk around Tacos. We like a little place called Rodolfos. It’s about in the middle of the area. Olvera Street is located just across the street from huge Spanish style Union Station (Trains, Buses and Subway). The station is a trip in it’s self. You can also get there on the Metro Link train. Check out our link for fun public transportation. China town is just two blocks to the northeast. Hollywood Blvd. and Highland hold most of them. (323) 469-8311

Palm Springs Walk of the Stars
There is also a Walk of stars in downtown Palm Springs. It’s smaller but growing. It has many of the people that wrote, directed, produced and generally made the entertainment business what it is today. Some of the biggest talent is enshrined in the sidewalk.

Spreckles Outdoor Organ San Diego
Located in Balboa Park, San Diego. The Spreckles Organ Pavilion holds the largest outdoor in the world. It was built in 1915 during the Panama-California International Exposition witch was build to commemorate the completion on the Panama Canal. The organ gave free recitals on Sunday afternoon and has ever since. The sound is something you will never forget. Summer concerts are held every Monday though Thursday evenings. The area around the Pavilion is beautiful and worth the trip alone. You can find out the all kinds of information on this and other things in beautiful Balboa Park by calling the visitors bureau at (619) 232-3101

Walk Of Fame Los Angeles
The walk of fame is the sidewalks of Hollywood with hundreds of granite stars inlaid in the concrete sidewalk. Each have a bronze medallion set in the center. On each medallion is a name of a famous or celebrated person that worked within the entertainment industry. People called star polishers clean the stars for free and this keeps the walk looking new and exciting. Some have faded from the public’s memory and some are idolized to this day. There is more the 2,500 to look at. You can stand on one of them knowing that the person whose name is on that star most likely once stood where you are. Vine Street, La Brea Blvd.

Watts towers
A man named Simon Rodia was a tile setter who came to California from Italy. He lived in Watts, a suburb of Los Angeles. Around 1921 he started to build the first of three towers. Rodia did all the work. He used cement, pipes, and metal debris, glass and basically just about anything he could find. The towers are decorated on the out side with colored glass, pottery and over 70.000 seashells. He worked on his towers until 1954. The towers are impressively tall and to look at them you could not see how one man could do that by himself. The area is now a State Park and cultural center. Day times are the best to visit, as the nighttime is somewhat unsuitable. 1727 E. 107th Street. L.A. Take the interstate 110 to interstate 105 East. Turn north at South Central Ave then right on 108th street then left on Graham Ave.

Electricity Producing Windmills, Palm Springs
Just west of Palm Springs is phenomenon sometimes called the windmill farm, along both sides of highway 10 stands close to 4000 windmills producing electricity from the wind that blows though the area. The blades of the windmills are driven by the high winds that are created by the canyons walls that crowd the wind into high velocity. The windmills come in all sizes from somewhat tall to some that are 120 feet in the air. The larger ones have blades that reach fifty yards in length. This is a sight to see. Lately some has been built in smaller bunches in other locations but Palm Springs has the most in one area in the world. You can take a 90-minute tour of the windmills by calling “Windmill Tours” (760) 251-1997

World’s Tallest Thermometer
Located in Baker off the 1-15 at 1-127 just a few miles short of the Nevada border. The thermometer was in 1991 by Young Electric Company. It is 135 feet tall. The reason it was build at that certain height was to commemorate the highest temperature recorded in North America. That was astonishing 134 degrees Fahrenheit in close by Death Valley recorded in 1913. That’s a good trivia question if the subject arises. The thermometer used 125 cubic yards of concrete to secure the foundation and 76,812 pounds of steel to brace plus strengthen the monument against the harsh desert climate. There are 4,943 lamps on the Mojave landmark. You can see the thermometer form miles away. Baker is miles from anywhere but it has things you might need. Mojave Information Center, Bun Boy restaurant, Bun Boy Motel, Wills Fargo motel, Union 76 station, Texaco Station, Del Taco, Country store, Mad Greek restaurant and Drive-through (they have a great breakfast burrito) and some guy at the south end of town selling brass statues and stuff. In the center of town on the north south corner there is a pretty good Mexican restaurant. It looks a little old and shabby but the place is clean and well run and you get real tacos. The general store in the middle of town sold more winning lotto tickets the any other place in California until they built a lotto store just over the California state line.

(((((((( Haunted Places ))))))))

The Whaley House
The Whaley House was built around1850 in Old Town San Diego. It is known as a place that’s haunted and many skeptics have changed their minds about the evidence of ghosts. A few have ran or walked out quickly. Just down the street is the old Campo Santo Cemetery where a number of ghosts have been seen. The court room and the stairway are a place where many people have felt a closeness around the neck. Thomas Whaley’s wife has been seen in the music room and the old master bedroom has many accounts of ghost sightings.

Sweet Lady Jane
The great actor, Orson Welles is know to haunt this restaurant in Los Angeles. People have said they have seen vision of him in his black cape smoking a big cigar. The waiters claim they have smelled the brandy and seeing cigar smoke from his table. The man did love sweets. In the picture are some of the eatable sweets. The restaurant is at 8360 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles.

Her Majesties Ship the Queen Mary

The Queen Mary is said to be haunted . When some place is called haunted it gives off a feeling to some as uncomfortable, while some feel nothing at all. Ghost’s, “the disembodied spirit of a dead person” ( Webster”s) appear to people because some people want to know there are ghosts, while others have seen things knocked off tables and lights turned on and off. The Queen has had many sightings in and around the ship. A friend of ours stayed over night on the Queen just to see or hear ghosts, he said there was nothing, but the he said the food was wonderful.

El Fandango Restaurant San Diego
Senora Maria Antonia Machado De Silva. The El Fandango Restaurant was built on the site of the Machado home that was destroyed by fire in 1858. Originally built in 1838, the Machado estate was partially leased in 1857 to Thomas Whaley for a mercantile business. It is the believed that one of the women belonging to the Machado family was killed in the fire and she likes to haunt the building. Located at 2734 Calhoun Street, San Diego, California 92110.

Hotel Del Coronado
Kate Morgan, a pretty woman in her mid 20s, checked into the alone Hotel Del Coronado on Thursday, November 24, 1892. Many of the employees had frequent interactions with her. Most said she looked ill and sad. She said she was waiting for her brother the doctor, to join her, but never showed up.

A few days after she checked in, she was found dead on an outside staircase leading to the beach. Coroner later said it was determined that she shot herself. She had registered as, Lottie Bernard from Detroit. Many people have said they saw her or felt her presence. Paranormals with high tech equipment have tried to find her but she has eluded them.

There is a lot of skepticism when people talk about haunted places and ghosts.Want to find out yourself? Here is a good test. Find a Mausoleum that will allow you to go in. Most of the bigger/older grave yards have one. Find a bench and sit down, be very quiet. Most of the older building have many people that were placed there in the late 1800’s. Listen to the air, do you hear anything? Feel anything? If not, leave and go have a nice dinner somewhere because you are not a receptor and a dinner would take your mind off of stuff like that. It’s not a bad thing that you don’t feel anything, but at least you can have a nice evening.

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