Salt Lake City – September 2022 – Random Views

Some random views of an evening in downtown Salt Lake City.

Trolley Square was once a trolley barn for the original streetcars of the city. For 50 years it has been a trendy shopping district (and somewhere with a patio restaurant open for lunch!). The water tower is a highlight of the skyline.

Another in a long line of stupid arena names in the pursuit of a few more dollars – the Vivint Arena. The streetcars however, are a great (re)addition to the city.

While we are going on strange names – the Utah Jazz. The franchise was founded in New Orleans in 1974, playing just 5 seasons there before relocating to Salt Lake City, but keeping the Jazz name, apparently because they switched cities so close to the start of the season they never had time to get new uniforms and advertising completed.

A few murals…

Our hotel for the night had a nice view of downtown for both sunset…

And sunrise….

El Paso – September 2022 – Artistic Morning

With the 3 day Labor Day weekend coming up it was time to get out of town. At first the thought was to make the 6+ hour drive to San Diego, but they were in a heat wave with forecasted highs hotter than Tucson! So we went east to El Paso.

Saturday morning was the perfect time to walk around and check out the downtown neighborhood.

San Jacinto Plaza has always been the heart of El Paso. Starting in the 1950s there was a pond in the plaza that someone had let live alligators loose in. A series of alligators resided there until the 1960s, when it was decided they would be relocated to the El Paso Zoo to keep them safe from morons who abused them.

Today the alligator legacy is remembered with a sculpture.

The El Paso Art Museum, Convention Center, and baseball stadium are all located next to each other. The architecture and public art make for a picturesque setting.

The nearby Union Station train depot is home to a Saturday morning art and farmers market. While small, it had a nice mix of arts and crafts, and local food specialties like salsa.

It was time for a brief stop back at the historic Paseo Del Norte Hotel before setting out to see the rest of the city….

Sonoita, Arizona – August 2022 – From Ranching to Renaissance

After our visit to the Empire Ranch house, we continued to wander the dusty roads to check out the sights. Imagine our surprise when we came across a group of Renaissance Cosplay people.

This event was not one of the more structured Renaissance Festivals that tour the country, rather this is a group of people who like to get dressed up and spend the weekend living in the renaissance period.

After checking with some people near the entrance they assured me we were more than welcome, and that they would be thrilled to have photos taken of them. Say no more!

Mojave & Sonora Deserts, California – July 2022 – Random Views

Our extended weekend took us across miles of desert space, sometimes offering some unusual views.

A canal through the sand dunes along I-8 just west of Yuma, Arizona.

Alfalfa fields in the middle of the desert, with the help of tons of irrigation water.

The town of Twentynine Palms (there were more than 29) has a number of murals.

A church at the edge of town.

Before you leave town headed east you had best take care of all of your business.

In case you are lost there is a sign post at a cross roads along those 100 miles.

I have seen old shoes thrown across telephone wires, but this took that approach to new levels.

Alien/Zombie rock?

Finally we reached the town of Parker, Arizona.

Bombay Beach and Slab City, California – July 2022 – Free Spirits in the Desert

The Salton Sea is a biological nightmare located about 100 miles east of Los Angeles. Created by mistake by people making an irrigation channel from the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley, only to see if massively flooded in the early 1900s, creating this ‘sea’.

By the 1950s the lake should have dried up since it has no natural source of water, but the farmers continued to flood it with diverted water. At this point developers decided this was a perfect spot to create some resorts for the Angelenos to come hang out at.

With contaminated run off from all of the agricultural chemicals being used, and a stoppage of the water flow the lake began to shrink, and become hazardous, thus ending the vacation appeal.

As a result some of the resort towns that had developed eventually became mostly deserted. One of those is Bombay Beach.

Recently though some alternate artists have re-discovered Bombay Beach and moved in, creating a unique setting. Enjoy the views, but stay out of the water.

If Bombay Beach is not unique enough, head on further south another 20 miles until you reach Slab City.

This ‘town’ is completely off the grid, situated on an old WWII Marine Corps based. When the war was over they demolished the buildings, leaving the concrete slabs behind. For a while it was used as a bombing range, but when they stopped doing that drifters moved in.

Today those that reside here (Slabbies) like to think of themselves as the Last Free People of America. It is a funky mix of art, junk and RVs – which are often a combination of the first two things.

Salvation Mountain is one of the more famous sights in Slab City. Created over a 30 year period by Leonard Knight it was featured in a movie called Into the Wild.

The light beam is not a sign from above, it was created when we took the photo through the windshield of the car with this reflection. But hey – if you see something else, c’est la’vie.

Across Arizona – June 2022 – Freeway Art

As you drive around the freeways of Phoenix and Tucson one of the first things you will notice is the artwork along the roadways. With little vegetation growing the Department of Transportation took the approach of incorporating artwork either within the concrete structures or with stone along the banks.

Much of the artwork is based on native cultures. It definitely adds to the usually boring aspect of a freeway.

A big thank you goes to my wife who (wisely) was the photographer for all of these photos, as well as many other ‘moving shots’ on the trip.

The Department of Transportation has a website called ‘The Art of Transportation’ if you would like to get more information and photos. https://azdot.gov/tags/art-transportation

Tucson – May 2022 – Pima Air and Space Museum

The Pima Air and Space Museum is one of the largest non government sponsored airplane museums in the country. While much of their collection is military, with a mix of commercial, I (as usual) focused on the abstract views, rather than document the collection.

Part of the collection has been used as blank canvases for ‘The Boneyard Project’, where they used the old planes for their art.