California


I'm showing just a few areas of this big state. Having been there many times, I have hundreds of pictures!

A couple years ago, my friend Michael and I traveled through the southwest in a convertible. This was the entry into California near Death Valley.


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This is a snowy mountain view in the obviously named Sierra Nevada. During the trip, we went from a road blocking avalanche in the mountains to the utterly dry Death Valley. It was weird to have your mouth dry up in seconds - luckily we had lots of water with us. If I had been an early settler crossing this - I would have headed back to the east coast.

 

I took a trip down the coast one December. This is a view along the beautiful Coastal Highway.


One of my namesakes watching the sunset along Big Sur. (My last name is the Russian word for seagull.)


The Golden Gate bridge (need I say more?)


Out in the bay lies the escapeproof Alcatraz Prison. This was the cell of Al Capone, who served time here for the only foe he couldn't beat - the IRS and the crime of tax evasion. (Being a Chicago area native, I had to get this picture.)


The very cool looking Palace of Fine Arts at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.


Miles and miles of hilltop windmills. I was impressed by the great use of renewable energy.


A big redwood tree in Yosemite. The tree was split from a lightening strike. These trees are so big, it's impossible to get a single picture of them (using a standard camera anyway.)


A mountaintop view in Yosemite National Forest with Half Dome near the middle. The grandeur of Yosemite is impossible to photograph or describe. It was beautiful even in the snowy winter. This picture was taken in the summer - two of my friends got married in the chapel there - a beautiful place for a wedding!


Film legend Bela Lugosi's old house in Los Angeles. We joined a Grave Line tour, we were taken around in a tricked out hearse to see all the locations where people died or people who are now dead once lived. Another cool house on the tour belonged to Johnny Weissmuller (probably the best-known movie Tarzan). The house was not in good shape during our tour a few years ago, having been abandoned. But it was surrounded by a swimming moat - with all the overgrown trees and underbrush - it looked junglelike. (I found out later that this isn't true - see http://www.mergetel.com/~geostan)


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Artists creating works for me along Venice Beach in L.A. - the man on the left is adding my name in Chinese characters to his ink drawing.

 


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The Winchester House in San Jose was built (and built and built...) by the widow of the heir to the Winchester fortune. Her daughter died in infancy and her husband died young. Supposedly, the grieving widow was told that the spirits of the people who were killed by the Winchester guns were seeking revenge. She moved west, bought an old farmhouse and hired builders to continually build to her specifications. This resulted in a huge rambling house with some odd features - like a staircase leading to the ceiling, a window in the floor, a second floor door to the ouside with no stairs, etc. But it was also a house that was technologically advanced for its time. Sarah Winchester had modern heating and sewer systems, gas lights that operated by pressing a button, and three working elevators installed. She also spared no expense - her workers were highly paid and details like Tiffany glass windows were installed.

 


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