Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

Three Countries In Three Hours Golden Gate Park – San Francisco While visiting San Francisco, my buddy Kim said, “How’d you like to visit three countries in the next few hours?” Not having brought my passport, I didn’t think it would be possible, but Kim told me not to worry.  “We can do this without even leaving Golden Gate Park,” he quipped. Scoring a fantastic parking space on JFK Drive near the DeYoung Museum, Kim and I (along with Mary and Tracy) started our journey toward our first country.  Along the way, we viewed what looked like a large spider. As the fog and clouds scuffled with blue skies, we caught a glimpse of Sutro Tower (well, part of it … Read more…

Grace Cathedral – San Francisco

Bay Area Treasure Grace Cathedral – San Francisco Visited: May 2019 During the April 2019 fire at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, I learned that San Francisco and Paris are Sister Cities, and that Grace Cathedral was constructed in Notre-Dame’s same French-Gothic style.  What I didn’t know was that a section of its interior is patterned after another famed and beloved Paris religious site, and there were also doors that would transport us back to Florence, Italy. The history of the Episcopalian Grace Cathedral dates back to the Gold Rush Days, when in 1849 Grace Chapel was built on Powell near Jackson.  In 1860, Grace Church was started at California and Stockton. It was consecrated in 1868 and destroyed by fire … Read more…

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (Garden Edition) – San Marino

The Indoor/Outdoor Museum Experience Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (Garden Edition) – San Marino Last Visit: March/April 2019 With the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino (just south of Pasadena) celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019, I thought it would be a good time for Travels With Mai Tai Tom to revisit what I consider one of the greatest museums not only in California but the world.   It helps that we’re Huntington members because that way we have photos of nearly the entire complex from our numerous visits.            There are a lot of things I appreciate more as an adult than I did as a kid.  They include Mozart, a good bottle … Read more…

Valley Relics Museum – Van Nuys

A Trip Back Through Time Valley Relics Museum – Van Nuys The Valley Relics Museum has long been on our radar to visit, and luckily our procrastination (I’m a pro when it comes to that) turned out to our advantage because this unusual museum recently relocated to a space more than twice the size of the original.  If you’re into nostalgia or especially neon, you’ve got to check this place out.  The museum is the brainchild of Tommy Gelinas, who opened its Chatsworth location in 2013.  However, with 15,000+ relics, he needed a bigger place, so late in 2018, the Valley Relics Museum moved to two hangars at the Van Nuys Airport.  Gelinas is now able to display 45% of … Read more…

The Getty Villa – Pacific Palisades

Antiquities With An Ocean View The Getty Villa – Pacific Palisades Last Visit: February 2019 Situated atop a hill in Pacific Palisades with commanding views of the Pacific Ocean lies a seaside villa housing one of the greatest collections of antiquities in the United States.  Tracy and I had visited The Getty Villa back in 2010, but since then it has been remodeled, complete with a reinstallation project that, according to its director, “aims to more fully capture the history of ancient art.” J. Paul Getty was the founder of Getty Oil Company, who also happened to become enamored in art and antiquity collecting.  It was in 1938, while living in Rome, that he began his quest of collecting classical … Read more…

Mount Wilson Observatory – Mount Wilson

Hail Hale! Mount Wilson Observatory – Mount Wilson Tracy and I had talked about visiting the Mt. Wilson Observatory on numerous occasions. However, we wanted to wait for a clear day to make the trek up Angeles Crest Highway in the San Gabriel Mountains to see it.  This being Los Angeles, we had to wait for a while. That day recently arrived, so we hopped in the car and, dodging speeding motorcycles, bicycles and vehicles at every turn along the way, survived the 45-minute drive from Pasadena to this famed astronomical landmark located at an elevation exceeding 5,000 feet.  Although not as clear as we had hoped, the views of the Los Angeles basin weren’t too bad on the drive. … Read more…

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) – San Francisco

Modern Times San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) – San Francisco Visited: August 2018 While not exactly connoisseurs of Modern Art, Kim and I were offered tickets to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) from his daughter, who also happens to be a member and big fan of the museum.  We, of course, accepted. On our overseas excursions, Kim and I (along with our better halves) have visited a handful of modern art museums together and have usually walked out unanimously unimpressed.  For example, after a quick walkabout of the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, my better half Tracy looked at the “Exit” sign and stated, “That’s the best thing I’ve seen here today.” Now to be fair, I … Read more…

Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum – Yorba Linda

“I’m Not A Crook!” Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum – Yorba Linda Visited:  August 2018 When Tracy asked me what museum I wanted to visit recently, I answered, “Nixon’s the one!”  We had visited the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum five years ago on the 100th birthday anniversary of our 37th president, and since an unimpeachable source told us that a new renovation project had taken place since our last visit making it worth the trip, we decided to see what was new. The library first opened in 1980 and immediately received negative reviews from historians who regarded it “as more of a whitewash than a faithful retelling of his presidency,” when it came to reliving the Watergate … Read more…

Angels Flight Railway – Los Angeles

Taking Flight Angels Flight Railway – Los Angeles Tracy and I had not visited Angels Flight Railway since 2010, a time long ago when I was skinnier, had darker hair and actually not embarrassed to wear San Diego Padres gear in public.  Angels Flight has an interesting, and even tragic, history.  It remains one of the few local architectural icons that developers have not ruined, yet.                                     In 1901, in an effort to connect the downtown Los Angeles shopping district below with the posh residential district of Bunker Hill, replete with Victorian frame houses above (see historical photos), the Los Angeles Incline Railway was … Read more…

King Tut Los Angeles: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh

“He Gave His Life For Tourism” King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh – Los Angeles Visited: April 2018: Although no “condo made of stone-a” could be found, Tracy and I recently had the opportunity to witness more than 150 ancient Egyptian artifacts from the tomb of the world’s most famous pharaoh, King Tutankhamun, at the California Science Center (or as they spell it, “ScienCenter”) in Los Angeles.  King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh has been dubbed “the largest King Tut exhibition” ever!                                          King Tutankhamun died around 1323 BC at the age of 19, and was virtually lost to history until 1922 when British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered his tomb in the Valley of the Kings in … Read more…