Thursday, January 24, 2013

Looking at Old Pictures & Wondering, “Where Was This?”

I thought it might be interesting to dig around my old photo albums (yes, I’m talking film here) for some vintage Vegas pictures. I seem to have every photo I’ve ever taken, so I hoped I'd find some gems.

I sorted through my albums, searching for pictures of Vegas in days gone by. The yield was grim. In those pre-digital, pre-blogging days, I was foolishly taking pictures of my friends instead of documenting the city (and desert) that would soon disappear.

However, I did uncover a bonus of sorts: photos of travels from many years ago, so many years ago, in fact, that some of my photos left me wondering, “Where was this?”

I Knew It Was At Lake Tahoe, But…

Thanks to a diligent Google search, I’ve identified this as the Tallac Historic Site in South Lake Tahoe

I knew the picture was taken at Lake Tahoe, but that was the only thing I remembered about this photo's location. My memory of this entire trip is dreadfully dim. (Excessive drinking was involved.) At any rate, I do recall the incredible beauty of Lake Tahoe and an afternoon hike to find this place, which I remember as being not so well-known at the time I explored it (well before it came under the oversight of a public-private partnership in 1996).

A Santa Barbara Mission

Which mission? Beats me.

The interior of the mission was silent, dark, and creepy. I much preferred taking pictures of the photogenic, non-creepy exterior.

During my trip to Santa Barbara, my visit to this mission was one of the few things I did with a companion. For about a week, I spent every day walking about Santa Barbara blissfully alone, taking pictures and doing whatever I pleased. Ah, the memory makes me smile.

I Suspect It’s Slide Rock

When I first drove through Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona, “Hotel California” was selling strong and I was not of legal age to drive a vehicle. The number of trips I’ve taken to this area, over such a long period of time, are so numerous that they’ve run together somewhat—which is why I’m pretty sure this is Slide Rock, but really, I’m not 100%. I love the picture, though.

Not Exactly Red Rock Crossing

I thought I knew the name of this place. As it turns out, I only had it half right.

When I took this picture, finding Red Rock Crossing (outside of Sedona) felt like an accomplishment. Today, it’s not so off-the-beaten-path (like all of Sedona). Thinking about how long ago this picture was taken, I thought I’d better verify that I had the name right.

As it turns out, the rock formation in this picture is Cathedral Rock, and Red Rock Crossing refers to the area where this picture was taken—and specifically to a giant bar of sandstone in Oak Creek.

Somewhere, in one of these albums, there’s a picture of that, too.

Do you ever find pictures that leave you asking yourself, "Where was this?" 

Or am I the only one?
All pictures by Terrisa Meeks

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Extra Local Las Vegas News

What’s “extra local,” you ask? Well, mostly it’s the only phrase I could think of to describe the assorted Las Vegas news tidbits I’ve been collecting recently, like warnings that coyotes will eat your little pets and an announcement about the Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival. Read on:

Don’t Let Fido Be Coyote Chow

From the Peccole Ranch HOA’s newsletter, Pony Express;

If they don’t get your attention with the opening sentence (“We do have coyotes in Peccole Ranch,”) later on they hit you with this: “Coyotes kill and eat small dogs and house cats.” That’s after the explanation about how coyotes come into Peccole Ranch from nearby golf courses, which offer them an abundant supply of bunnies—but, obviously, Fluffy will also do nicely.

--"Coyote sightings at Peccole,” January/March 2013 Issue

Cheap Electronics and...

“Fry’s Electronics has pulled permits for remodeling work at Boca Park, but construction work has not yet begun on what would be Fry’s second store in Las Vegas….” Do you hear the collective groaning, Fry's? We’ve been waiting since 2011. This borders on cruel.

--Summerlin South View, January 8, 2013 Print Issue

...Rescued Trees

Also from that same Summerlin South View, this headline: CraigRanch Park expected to be finished by July.” And I understand 6,000 of the original trees were saved (from the original golf course, built in 1962)—a victory for preserving something (anything) in Las Vegas with history.

Is a Mohawk Mandatory?

Downtown Las Vegas, NV

“Three days and four nights of outdoor festivals and late night club shows overtake the Downtown Fremont East District with more than 70 bands performing throughout the weekend, many special guests, reunions and rare appearances. With 1,000 punk rock bowlers competing for over $15,000 in prize money during the day, over 1,000 downtown hotel rooms, pool parties, comedy shows and a poker tournament….” This has been going on for over a decade and I just now noticed?

--From a press release

I The X-Train

I love the idea of the X-Train even more now that it has announced it's partnering with Today in Las Vegas to produce an onboard magazine: “The Vegas X Train, with planned luxury rail service between Southern CA and Las Vegas, NV, will be co-branding this publication for their passengers' in-seat convenience…” Why do I want to ride a train to and from LA so badly? I have no idea, but I do. I just do.

--From a press release

Photo information: We're far from the only urban area with coyotes, as this photo taken in Arizona attests. This photo, "At Home in Scottsdale," is courtesy of Dru Bloomfield.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Las Vegas Day Trips & Staycations

Despite the ridiculously cold weather here in Las Vegas (38 degrees at 10:30 a.m.… seriously?), I was out and about today. I gave a talk at the Summerlin Library about Las Vegas Day Trips and Staycations—one of my favorite topics.

Luckily, I had my husband with me, because later on—on the drive to lunch at Due Forni—I got to ask him, “Did I mention that Death Valley is the largest National Park in the Lower 48?”

“No,” he said, "You missed that," which opened the door for us to talk about all those little details that I had intended to share, but had missed during my talk. What can I say? So many fabulous places to describe, so little time.

If you were at the talk today, here are some extra details, along with links to the official sites for all the places I talked about. And if you weren’t at the talk, well, just imagine a slightly out-of-breath woman is reading the text to you, and it will be kind of like you were there.

In the late 1970s, the BLM issued permits for oil drilling in Red Rock, but fortunately that idea was squashed.

The Park hosts Civil War reenactments every year for Nevada Day, and throughout the year they regularly hold living history and pioneer events. (Interesting side note: Since our State Day is October 31, I grew up thinking Halloween was a holiday. One of the many oddities of being raised in Las Vegas.)

Twenty-four of Ash Meadows’ plants and animals can be found nowhere else on earth, giving Ash Meadows the highest concentration of endemic life in any local area in the United States.

Experts now say that St. Thomas, the town that was under Lake Mead for over 60 years, is not expected to ever be underwater again.

Grafton was part of what was known as the Mormon Cotton Mission, an unsuccessful attempt at cotton farming along the Virgin River. 

Okay, you already know that it’s the largest national park outside of Alaska. But did you know that the famous Harmony Borax Works were only open for 5 years?

Curtis Howe Springer named his spa Zzyzx because he wanted it to be “the last word” in health (which might have been really catchy, except that he was a fraud.)

Links to information about the other places I talked about today:

Lake Las Vegas hotels: Ravella, Westin, Aston MonteLago

How many of these places have you visited?

Many thanks to the library and everyone who came to my presentation!

All pictures by Terrisa Meeks

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

China Ranch Date Farm in Tecopa

A few years ago, I made a solo trip to the China Ranch Date Farm in Tecopa, California.

Technically speaking, it’s not a good idea to go traipsing about in the desert alone—but I’m a trained professional. I’m supposed to go do that kind of stuff. Really.

At China Ranch, I walked all over the grounds—so picturesque—and discovered I still don’t like dates.

 Away from the rows of palms, I followed an unmarked trail that led me into beautiful, wild desert.

And since I was alone, I got to stop and take all the pictures I wanted without the non-stop background commentary (also known as complaining) from my son about how many pictures I was taking (like one below of a gnarled bit of weathered wood).

One of these days, I’ll make it back to Tecopa and the Date Farm. Maybe next time I'll even bring someone with me.