The Museum of Western Film History...

As far as I'm concerned, no stop in Lone Pine is complete without a mesmerizing visit to The Museum of Western Film History.

This amazing space honors the men and women of the silver screen who interpreted the lives of the American Cowboy; the legendary iconic movie and TV heroes and heroines of America’s 19th and 20th centuries.
In addition, the museum collects and shares more contemporary movie making in the regional area of Inyo County, such as sci-fi genres and other cinematic references to the local landscape.
Hollywood first came on location in Lone Pine in 1920, using the unique scenery in more than 400 feature films since. Actually the Alabama Hills, the Sierra Nevada and the Owens Valley are still being used in movies and car commercials. Most recently, scenes for the Academy Award-winning Gladiator, Disney's Dinosaur, G.I. Jane, Maverick and The Shadow were shot in the Alabama Hills. The natural scenery remains unspoiled and unchanged since that first film in 1920, a silent Western for Paramount called The Round Up with Fatty Arbuckle.
Part of what makes this museum so interesting to me is the technology of filming making it shares. For instance, Technicolor. Wow. The introduction of Technicolor’s three-color camera in 1932 represented a major advancement in motion picture technology. The camera required an entirely new design, although it utilized many of the same principles already developed for two-color photography, such as a beam-splitting prism. The camera captured crisp, vibrant colors that were then recombined in printing.

The Technicolor three-strip camera captured separate color records onto three strips of film. Light entered the camera through the lens and was divided by the beam-splitting prism into two paths. One strip of film recorded the green record onto black-and-white film, while the other two records were exposed onto two black-and-white film strips in “bipack” (sandwiched together); the front film was blue-sensitive only, while the back film was sensitive to red. I said it was 'interesting'. I didn't say I understand it.

This piece of my childhood evoked incredible memories. I, to this day, still wax nostalgic for the drive-in movies.
The museum guides you through the decades of cinema magic.
Its collection of memorabilia is beyond impressive. 

Thirty years ago, the movie Tremors was filmed here. The museum just hosted an anniversary celebration for this 1990 American monster comedy film.
It starred Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, and Reba McEntire. It was a success spawning five films over the years.

In the film, tired of their dull lives in the small desert town of Perfection, Nevada, repairmen Val McKee (Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Ward) try to skip town. However, they happen upon a series of mysterious deaths and a concerned seismologist Rhonda (Carter) studying unnatural readings below the ground. With the help of an eccentric couple Burt and Heather Gummer (Gross and McEntire), the group fights for survival against giant, worm-like monsters hungry for human flesh. Gripping! It's on our 'watch list' on Netflix currently.

Director Quentin Tarantino was here in 2012 to film his Oscar winning film Django Unchained.
Turns out Mr. Tarantino loved this museum and Lone Pine so much he donated a number of artifacts from the movie and has returned on numerous occasions. Wow.
This museum, in the little town of Lone Pine (pop. 2,035), offers so much to cinephiles. If you blink, while passing by, you could miss it. Don't!

"Let me just pause a minute and drink in this moment.
And if you film it, I’ll be able to get free refills for life."
-Jarod Kintz

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Scenes from 395...

The Eastern Sierra possesses some of my most favorite scenery, making the 473 mile drive fly by.

We broke up the drive into two days with an overnight in the town of Lone Pine.
The locale made for a spectacular sunrise.

“What it takes to realize everything is fine around you?
A road trip to the mountains where your soul dwells
in the echoes of the winds that carry fragments of clouds with them.
What it takes to realize the world is going back to chaos and infinite hurry?
End of the aforementioned road trip.”
–Crestless Wave

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Grub Stop at Sharkey's Casino...

As we migrated south on 395, we made a breakfast connection with our friends, Steve and Laura. One of our favorite diners is in the historic town of Gardnerville, Nevada.

Early Gardnerville served the farming community and teamsters hauling local produce to booming Bodie. The first buildings were a blacksmith shop, a saloon and the Gardnerville Hotel. Starting in 1898, Spanish and French Basque shepherds tended thousands of heads of sheep in Carson Valley. After 1918, several Basques opened inns and restaurants which flourished during the Prohibition years (Basque restaurants are still here- next time!).
We chose to dine at what began as The Corner Saloon, constructed on this site in the late 1890s.
Eventually it became known as the Golden Bubble until it was purchased by Mr. Sharkey Begovich in 1972. Mr. Begovich (1926-2002) was an icon of the gaming industry and a large part of Nevada gaming history. He owned and operated this iconic spot, Sharkey's Casino, for thirty years until his death in 2002. Did I mention how I love to dine in history?
Not only was the spot ideally situated, it has really great food, fabulous prices and a cool vibe. I fueled up on Sharkey's Special: Pancakes, two eggs and two sausages for a whopping $4.99. Oh and a bottomless cup of strong coffee costs only $1. Yes, delicious and a deal.

What fun to do our final friend connect here in Gardnerville with Steve and Laura. On to the next stop along the way.
"You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy good food."

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Last Night in Tahoe...

The only place I was allowed to venture to was Bob and Jenny's lovely lakeside home. We had the best welcoming. As we drove down their street the most beautiful bald eagle swooped down in front of our truck. We stopped instantly while he circled around and swooped even closer. Such a Tahoe image. Wow.

Unfortunately, the only image taken of the four of us is this very blurred one. It is what it is and since it evokes wonderful memories, here it is!
Delicious food, competitive dice playing, lots of catch up, bird ogling and lots of just fun friend time... It was the ideal conclusion to our brief Tahoe sojourn.
“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die,
life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”
-Langston Hughes

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Fabulous Friends: NorCal Edition

One of the main reasons for returning to South Lake Tahoe, on this current roadtrip, was to reconnect with friends. What a soul nourishing endeavor!

Jan and Chris came with delicious pumpkin bread and big hugs.
 Sue arrived with enviable travel tales, stew and additional big hugs.
Janet shared encouraging words, muffins and gifted the amazing bottle in my hand. Oh and more big hugs.
Author Kim shared a sneak peek of her recently finished novel, news of her life and needed big hugs.
Paula and Diana stayed for tea and filled us in on all the goings on in South Lake Tahoe. They also got us excited for what's coming this summer. Again hugs all around.
Casey arrived with a cough and instead of canceling, we dined on the front porch. Now this felt like home. More hugs ensued. It is the friends that make a place home. Boy do we have exceptional friends.

"The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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More Japanese Fun...

So as you know, I love most things Japanese. This notepad has to be one of the coolest items I've seen in a very long time.

Produced by Japanese company Triad, whose main line of business is producing architectural models, the Omoshiroi Blocks feature various notable architectural sites in Japan. The blocks are composed of over 100 sheets of paper and each sheet is different from the next in the same way that "individual moments stack up together to form a memory."

But despite the declining cost of laser-cutting technology, the Omoshiroi Blocks are still quite expensive and range from around 4000 yen to 10,000 yen (100 ¥= $1), depending on their size. What an art form and so very Japanese. Wow.

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Crafting with Karen...

My super creative, talented friend Karen visited today. She not only came with a delicious lunch, delectable cookies and an awesome greeting card to teach, she brought along our friend Mary Jo, too.

Mary Jo recently slipped on black ice and shattered her wrist, thus her needing a ride. Steve has limited any outdoor time, for me, due to the very real (and extremely dangerous) fear of falling on said ice. So Karen really made a special day for us two damaged gals.
Isn't this an amazing design for a card? I can't wait to make this into something special. What fun to spend the day being crafty with friends. It has been way too long.

"There is something special
when creative people get together."
-Joy Mangano

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Fairfield with Friends...

As we headed back to Tahoe, we had a quick connect with our friends Lee and Margaret in the historic little town of Fairfield.

Founded by clipper-ship captain Robert Waterman in 1856 and named for his hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut. Waterman founded the town following failed attempts to establish a port city at nearby Bridgeport/Cordelia. Eventually, it became the county seat of Solano County.

However, Fairfield had much more to offer than just its government center. Following its incorporation as a city in 1903, a bond measure was passed that created much- needed improvements, and with the re-routing of the Lincoln Highway through the town in 1915, Texas Street finally developed into a bustling center.
One such business on Texas Street was where we had lunch (currently Joe's Buffet). At the business’ grand opening in 1953, it was called the Fairfield Delicatessen. I love eating in history!

The county was named after this man, Sem-Yeto (1798- 1851),  a leader of the Suisunes, a Patwin people of the Suisun Bay region of northern California. Baptized as Francisco Solano and also known as Chief Solano, he was a notable Native American leader in Alta California because of his alliance, friendship, and eventually the support of his entire tribe to General Vallejo of Sonoma. He allied himself with Vallejo, and assisted him in quelling Native American uprisings north and west of Sonoma between 1836 and 1843. He was somewhat controversial. History can be found in some interesting places.
I've decided the backside of statues can be as interesting as the front.
And how amazing is the Old Courthouse (1911) perfectly situated in the middle of town?
Since it was Martin Luther King Day all government businesses were closed. I would have loved to have explored inside.
Originally designed by E.C. Hemmings in 1911, this two-story, 29,900-square-foot courthouse is an outstanding example of Beaux Arts architecture.

We delighted in just strolling the grounds. Steve is on a special platform commemorating Free Speech. All so interesting and such a surprise to find here.
The winged statue of the goddess Victoria was added in January of 1920, to commemorate Solano County's fallen soldiers of World War I. Their names are listed on the pedestal. I was surprised at the quantity.
We have driven past Fairfield dozens of times over the years and never once stopped to learn some of its history. It is one of those towns to which we will return. Thanks to Margaret for the suggestion.

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