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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Freedom Tour -- Half-faced Selfies Revisited

Well I'm a-standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona...

In Winslow, on historic Route 66, there is a downtown corner dedicated to the line in the iconic Eagles song but it was crawling with visitors when I was there -- a total tourist trap where photo opportunities with a statue plus stores selling tacky souvenirs abound. So in the selfie above I decided to pay my own respects in a more authentic way, simply going a few blocks farther to a less busy corner.

That was the first selfie I took on my Freedom Tour. I decided I wanted it to be more about the location and less about me so I cropped it to show only half of my face, then posted it on Facebook. A ritual was born!

For the selfie below, I walked a good, long way to get from Route 66 outside Amarillo in the Texas panhandle to be close enough to Cadillac Ranch to take this selfie. Over the years visitors stole the tailfins and other car parts and graffitied the caddies, which was perfectly OK with the property owner, an eccentric billionaire. 

I snapped this image from my car to show how far from the road Cadillac Ranch really is:

After visiting with my cousins Cab and Kelly Craig for a day and a night in Edmond, Oklahoma, I got back on Route 66 and, at their recommendation, stopped by Pops in Arcadia. It's part gas station, part diner and part craft soda pop emporium.

I decided on an orange soda for the road. This is just a fraction of the brands of orange soda available at Pops!

I had to leave historic Route 66 to head east instead of following it toward Chicago. In Little Rock, my cousin Cynthia Ragan took me to the William J. Clinton Presidential Center. I took this selfie in front of Bill Clinton's iconic saxophone

In Memphis, Tennessee, I met up with my sister Charlou and our lifelong friend Joanna. Joanna was visiting Charlou in Bella Vista, Arkansas, when they decided to come to Memphis because Joanna had never been to the South before.

We went to the Port of Memphis for a two-hour cruise aboard the Island Queen.

Here she is in all here glory. Many locals call the Hernando de Soto Bridge in the background the Dolly Parton Bridge. I can't imagine why!

Two days later, when Charlou and Joanna returned to Arkansas, I headed over to Graceland with the goal of visiting SiriusXM's Elvis Radio and meeting one of the DJs, Big Jim Sykes. Jim has been one of my warriors during my adventures in breast cancer. This may seem unlikely to many -- a radio DJ in Tennessee, whom I had never met, cheering me on throughout my battle -- but Facebook sometimes brings people together in unlikely ways.

It was just wonderful to finally meet him, and he gave me the biggest hug and warmest welcome! By the way, his wife is a breast cancer survivor, God bless her.
In Nashville I visited the Grand Ole Opry and took a fun backstage tour.

Near Hodgenville, Kentucky, I visited the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. That memorial in the background was constructed long before the one in Washington, D.C. I included my visit in this blog post.

The massive Kentucky Floral Clock is a public art installation in Frankfort, Kentucky.

A few miles outside of Frankfort, I came across the historic Switzer Covered Bridge that spans the north fork of Elkhorn Creek. It was built in 1855 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

With so many baseball fans among family and friends, I had to stop by the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum when I was Louisville, Kentucky
Each of the regulation bats begins with a piece of Northern White Ash grown in proprietary forests on the New York/Pennsylvania border.

The windiest day of my Freedom Tour by far was in St. Louis, Missouri, but I got the money shot anyway -- windswept hair and all!

I went south to Bella Vista, Arkansas, in the spectacular Ozark Mountains for a visit with my sister Charlou and her husband Bill. It was great to get together with my cousins Bonnie Sutton, Judy Galloway and Judy's husband Ken as well. I shot this selfie from the upstairs deck at Charlou's house, which is on beautiful Lake Avalon

In South Dakota I stopped in Sturgis. The annual motorcycle rally isn't until next month so there wasn't much going on but at least I can say I was there.

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota is quite dramatic and was an emotional experience.

On the way down the mountain I came across George Washington's profile.

Along a lonesome two-lane highway in Wyoming I saw a sign for Devil's Tower and couldn't possibly pass up the 20-mile side trip. I didn't have any close encounters of the third kind, though.

The Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad were joined in an engineering feat in 1869 at Promontory Summit in what was then the Utah Territory, completing the final link of the Transcontinental Railroad. My visit to the Golden Spike National Historic Site was another long side trip that was well worth the drive. 


The Great Salt Lake between Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah, is the largest salt lake in the western hemisphere. That's not shoreline you see in the background; it's an island. The lake spans nearly 2,000 square miles. 


In Ely, Nevada, my namesake restaurant, lounge and casino is for sale. It's still open for business, though.

If I ever need to supplement my retirement income, there may be a job available at this brothel in Amargosa Valley, Nevada, not far from Area 51.

My last selfie: Death Valley, which was not exactly teeming with tourists in the middle of July!


I loved my Freedom Tour!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events July 23 to 29


Here are events scheduled Saturday, July 23, to Friday, July 29.

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare say there's nothing to do in Pasadena!

The Classic Films of Mexico Festival/Festival del Cine Clásico Mexicano presents "¡Ay, Jalisco... no te rajes!" (1941, NR) starring Jorge Negrete and Gloria Marín Saturday, July 23, at 2 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. A boy with a vengeance over his parents' deaths grows up and romances a young woman about to marry a wealthy man to save her father from financial ruin. Spanish with English subtitles.

Albert Lee will perform rockabilly Saturday, July 23, at 8 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion. A pre-concert festival will begin at 6:30 p.m. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park.

Old Pasadena Summer Cinema presents "Little Shop of Horrors" (1986, PG-13) starring Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene Saturday, July 23, at 8:30 p.m. at Central Park. A nerdy florist finds his chance for success and romance with the help of a giant man-eating plant that demands to be fed. Come as early as 7 p.m. for DJ music. Bring a beach chair or blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park.

Old Pasadena Summer Cinema presents "Pride and Prejudice" (2005, PG) starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen Saturday, July 23, at 8:30 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado. Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets the wealthy and proud Mr. Darcy, Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice?

A Noise Within presents The American Dream: A Resident Artist Reading Festival Saturday, July 23, and Sunday, July 24. Staged readings will include "Angels In America, Part One: Millennium Approaches" by Tony Kushner, "27 Wagons Full of Cotton" by Tennessee Williams, "The Actor's Nightmare" and "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You" by Christopher Durang and "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry. Reserve your general admission seat here.

The Playhouse District Summer Jazz Series presents The Collective Sunday, July 24, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the courtyard outside Vroman's Bookstore.

Louie Cruz Beltran will perform Afro Cuban and Latin jazz Sunday, July 24, at 7 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion. A pre-concert festival will begin at 5:30 p.m. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park.

Old Pasadena Summer Cinema presents "Strictly Ballroom" (1992, PG) starring Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice Sunday, July 24, at 8:30 p.m. at Central Park. A maverick dancer risks his career when he decides to perform an unusual routine with a new partner, Come as early as 7 p.m. for DJ music. Bring a beach chair or a blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park.

In recognition of National Carousel Day, admission will be free to Pasadena Museum of History's exhibition Flying Horses & Mythical Beasts: The Magical World of Carousel Animals Monday, July 25, from noon to 5 p.m. 

Pasadena Senior Center's Concerts in the Park presents the Pasadena Summer Youth Chamber Orchestra Tuesday, July 26, at 6 p.m. in the band shell at Memorial Park. The concert will include works by Mozart, Handel, Dvorak and Beethoven. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park. You do not have to be a senior citizen or a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

Pianist Junko Ueno Garrett will perform Wednesday, July 27, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. for the popular Music at Noon recital series at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.

"The Longshots" (2008, PG) starring Ice Cub and Keke Palmer will be shown Wednesday, July 27, at 1 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. An 11-year-old becomes the first girl to play in a Pop Warner football tournament. Based on a true story.

Activities for Pasadena Public Library's Read for the Win! Summer Reading Club include the following (and much more!):
  • For children 12 and younger: The funny and interactive show "Sherlock Homerun: A Whodunit Musical" is a wacky mystery filled with friendship and intrigue! See it Thursday, July 28 at 10:30 a.m. at Linda Vista Branch Library or 3 p.m. at Santa Catalina Branch Library.
  • For teens 13 to 19: Laser tag -- you're it! Join the fun Thursday, July 28, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library.  All equipment will be provided. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Call 626-744-4246 or email jgov@cityofpasadena.net to sign up.
  • Download Pasadena Public Library's newsletter for a full list of summer activities.
Rhythm Child will perform reggae, rock and soul for children Thursday, July 28, at 7 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion. A pre-concert festival will begin at 5:30 p.m. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park.

Old Pasadena Summer Cinema presents "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things" (2016) Thursday, July 28, at 7 p.m. in the Scott Pavilion at the Pasadena Senior Center. How might your life be better with less?

Paseo Colorado's Swingin' Under the Stars summer concert series concludes with Aileen Quinn and the Leapin' Liizards Friday, July 29, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. As an added bonus, if you've always wanted to learn swing dancing, instructors from the Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association will offer free lessons from 7 to 7:30 p.m.
Old Pasadena Summer Cinema presents "Touching the Void" (2003, R) starring Simon Yates and Joe Simpson Friday, July 29, at 8 p.m. at Distant Lands. Two climbers embark on a perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. Based on a true story.

David Lindley will perform folk, blues and bluegrass Friday, July 29, at 8 p.m at the Levitt Pavilion. A pre-concert festival will begin at 6:30 p.m. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park.

Old Pasadena Summer Cinema presents "The Truman Show" (1998, PG) starring Jim Carrey and Laura Linney Friday, July 29, at 8:30 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado. An insurance adjuster discovers his entire life is actually a TV reality show. 



Photo credits: Producciones Rodriguez Hermanos, Albert Lee, Geffen Company, Focus Features, A Noise Within, Jazz@Rochester, Louie Cruz Beltran, M&A, Pasadena Museum of History, Pasadena Summer Youth Orchestra, Junko Uneo Garrett, Cube Vision, Harrison Public Library, Rhythm Child, Catalyst, Aileen Quinn, FilmFour, Erik Kabik/Hard Rock Hotel, Paramount Pictures

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Freedom Tour -- Animal Signs

I have seen so many signs warning of animal crossings. The one above is on the way from Bridgeport, Calif., in the Eastern Sierras to Twin Lakes. Click on the photo to see the red nose that I presume a prankster added! 

This sign is in South Dakota not far from Sturgis:



Just outside of Lexington, Kentucky, near Elkhorn Creek:


Outside of Munfordville, which has the largest Amish community in Kentucky:







 On the road between Elko and Ely, Nevada:



Wild burros abound in the Nevada desert:



Owens Valley near Bishop, California:




And then there are human animals...some very bad ones. How awkward would it be if a driver picked up a hitchhiker near this location in Amargosa Valley, Nevada, and then came upon the sign afterward?!



I'm loving my Freedom Tour!