Wa:k Pow Wow in Tucson

March 11 & 12, 2019

On the way to Tucson, we stopped for 2 nights near Gila Bend, at Painted Rock Petroglyph Site. We visited there last year and really enjoyed it. This time, Sheila and the girls came with us. There is nothing quite like boondocking on the desert.

March 17, 2019

The pow wow was held on the Tohono O’odham Nation San Xavier Indian Reservation. The San Xavier Mission is the prominent building on the reservation. This church was constructed between 1783-1797.

The dancing and costumes at the pow wow were impressive. There was so much energy! There are several annual pow wows in our home province of Saskatchewan, but we have never attended one. We will definitely attend one in the future.

And let’s not forget the fry-bread. Mine was stuffed with delicious summer squash.

Modernism Week Yard Sale

February 24, 2019

The Yard Sale is the final event of Modernism Week. I was impressed by the prices. Yes, deals could be found. You just need a way to transport the goods home — maybe bring an empty Spartan Manor?

I did find a few tiny things at the yard sale, but I really would have loved some of the furniture. However, when you live in an Airstream, it come furnished.

Fortunately, in one of the shops in Palm Springs, I found a new dinette light. It is exactly what I was looking for!

Modernism Week Vintage Trailer Show

February 23, 2019

Well, it’s about time that I updated this blog. The highlight of our time in Palm Springs was the Vintage Trailer Show.

1969 UltraVan “The Whale”
It was a dream-come-true to finally see one of these in real life. Oh, it’s so adorable!

1963 Kenskill
This trailer is in original condition. No restoration was performed.

1960 Shasta
This trailer is also original, except for the curtains

This Airstream is exquisitely decorated in a Southwest theme. It reminds me of my parents’ Trillium trailer, which has a stagecoach theme.

Caveman Camper
I had never heard of this before. The windows are fabulous and provide lots of natural light.

Holiday House
Yes, the Holiday House is being manufactured again, but it is nothing like the original. This one has won several vintage trailer awards.

1951 Roadmaster

1967 Airstream Safari

Aero Flite
This is a show-stopper. I still can’t get over the beauty.

1964 Streamline Travel Car
This is pretty fabulous. Check out the back patio. However, it needs a restoration.

Aloha
I love the Franciscan Pottery “Starburst” pattern on the outside and inside.

1959 Traveleze

Spartan (Royal Manor? Executive Villa?) Mobile Home
This trailer is H U G E. It must have been parked first and all the rest filled in around it.  What an stunning specimen! I’d sell my Airstream in a heartbeat to have this. Yes I would!

Canned Ham
I have no idea what make and model this is (Shasta?), but it is so lovely. Look at that Orla Kiely wallpaper. Doesn’t it make you happy?

1954 Airstream Flying Cloud

1950 Westcraft Coronado
Another astounding restoration

1962 Trailorboat
This is a unique RV — it’s a boat and a teardrop trailer. The boat gets flipped upside down on the roof of the teardrop for transport. Years ago, one of these showed up at our Prairie Egg Gathering (bolerama), a rally for fiberglass trailers.

If you like the Trailorboat concept, Happier Camper brought their new prototype. Happier Camper makes unique fiberglass trailers based on the original bolers, but with modular furnishings and clever designs. Here is the prototype of their American Dream:

Happier Camper
Although these are not vintage, they deserve a spot at the Vintage Trailer Show. This company started as a restoration company for bolers, Trilliums, and other fiberglass trailers. This blossomed into manufacturing their own little eggs. Who wouldn’t be a happier camper in one of these?

They also brought 2 prototypes of their new longer model:

Believe it or not, this is just a tiny sampling of the trailers on display. Thank you to all the owners who opened their doors to let the hoards of people peek inside.

Modernism Week CAMP

Camp is Atomic Central during Modernism Week.

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Inside the big tent:

There are a few more vendor displays outside the tent. One of our favourites is Alpod.  This is a small aluminum pod house (410 sq ft). It is aluminum inside and out . . . remind you of anything?  It’s impressive.  The company is Chinese, and it has worked with the California and US governments to meet their standards; however, it does not have CSA approval from what we can tell.  There are actually 2 Alpods on display. We saw the first one behind The Rowan on our first day in Palm Springs.

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Alpod beside MW CAMP

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Alpod behind The Rowan (see the reflection?)

Inside:

Also near Camp is the Walker Guest House and the creepy babies by David Černý:

The cost to tour the house is $10. The terrifying babies are free for the viewing!

More Modernism Week fun-seeking to come! Stay tuned.

Palm Springs was a Wash!

February 11-17, 2019 (Week 1)

I tried and tried to get an RV site within Palm Springs, but this is prime time, and no one was cancelling. Since we have friends who own a site in a park in Desert Hot Springs, we were able to stay there. Sheila came along with us for a few days to see some of the sights. On Tuesday and Wednesday, we walked the strip (Palm Canyon Drive). We couldn’t help ourselves and had lunch both days at Sherman’s Deli. Oh man! Giant matzo ball soup! This restaurant is a landmark, and there is always a line-up, but it’s worth it.

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My new Palm Springs house! OK, it’s a tissue box.

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On Wednesday night, it started to rain.

On Thursday, we were awakened by the phone screaming and the words “Flash Flood Warning for your area.” OK. Stay out of the washes. No problem. We decided to tour some of the other cities in the Coachella Valley. It rained all day, but it didn’t seem too outrageous. While we were in one shop, two clerks were talking about how Palm Springs was shutting down. The roads were impassable, and it was too dangerous. People were being sent home. What? Come on. It wasn’t that bad. Well, as we made our way back to Desert Hot Springs, there were some flooded sections of road where the roads crossed washes. We drove through slowly. Then, we came across some closed roads, so we took detours. That was a good thing because cars had been swept away for not heeding the warnings!

On Friday, the rain had stopped. Sheila returned to Yuma while we returned to Palm Springs for the Modernism Week festivities. Oh my! Exciting, but not festive. We met road closure after road closure. It was madness! The washes were full and overflowing their banks, taking sections of roads with them.

Unbelievable! This storm was in the top 3 storms in recorded history (approximately 100 years). We also learned that the RV park that I kept pestering to get into had to be evacuated during the storm. We were very thankful that we had brought Poppy with us that day because it took us 2 hours to get back to Desert Hot Springs. Since then, we’ve taken her everyday, much to her dismay. The weather has been too unpredictable to leave her alone. Nevertheless, she gets lots of attention from strangers and shop clerks. Palm Springs is very pet friendly.

Here is the road leading to the tramway. There is helicopter there because it had just surveyed the road damage leading up there.

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Of course, Palm Springs was only a “wash” in the desert sense.  It rocks!

We found a perfect midcentury modern (MCM) cone lamp for the Airstream. Updates on that will come when we return to Canada. It will require some drilling and other fun, so Paul wants to have access to his tools.  This is the interior of the shop where we found the lamp.  I’m obsessed by the capsule shaped mirror on the far right (Hang 1 Capsule mirror by Blu Dot, but alas, it is too rich for my budget).  It would be perfect in the Airstream bathroom.  It resembles the shape of the window in there.  In front of the green dog is a water bowl.  Every shop has a water bowl for dogs, of course.

Now, let’s look at some far out architecture.

Tramway Gas Station (Albert Frey & Robson Chambers, 1965). It is now the visitors’ centre. Once you filled up there, you must have felt like you were ready to enter orbit. What a dramatic roofline!

Sante Fe Federal Savings & Loan (E. Stewart Williams, 1961).  It is now the Art Museum. I adore the metal screens.

Coachella Valley Savings & Loan (E. Stewart Williams, 1961). It is now a Chase bank. Can columns be more graceful?

The Rowan (November 2017).  OK, I’m obsessed with this building. It’s new, but it could be 60 years old! Look at the metal work and the yellow accents. I admire it every time I walk by.

BevMo! I don’t believe this building has any historical significance other than the fact that you’ve seen a building like this as some point. It is simple and lovely, but buildings like this were torn down long ago across North America. However, in Palm Springs, it has value. I love the way the roof mirrors the concrete blocks.

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From Fun to Fabulous on the Salton Sea

February 9, 2019

Fun at The Ski Inn at Bombay Beach

As we saw last year, when we visited the Salton Sea, it’s a deplorable situation. Really California? Where are the environmentalists? Nevertheless, we had a terrific time visiting the Ski Inn at Bombay Beach. At one time, people could waterski up to the Inn for lunch, but that was during a different era. Today, the Ski Inn is still a popular spot for lunch and a beer. As soon as we strolled in, Paul called out “Hey, Les!” What a small world! Les and Susan live in our RV park in B.C. I guess they can find the classy joints like we can! They were having lunch with a friend, so Paul, Sheila and I joined them, and then afterward went to visit them at Fountain of Youth RV park.

The Ski Inn has tasty sandwiches, but the best part is the staff. What a friendly bunch! We felt so welcome. Also, the décor is really fun! How much money is on the walls and ceiling?!

After lunch, we strolled along the beach and took picture of some of the derelict local RVs. Les and Susan explained that in the last few years, the town has really cleaned up the beach. There used to be abandoned and weathered trailers on the beach, but those are long gone. We didn’t see any last year either. My sister got some pictures a few years ago. Apparently, real estate has been slowly climbing as artists are moving in. However, by no means is this an expensive place to live. Lot prices were around $5000, but they are getting closer to $10,000 now. It’s still very cheap, but you take the risk of living on the shores of an environmental disaster. Don’t let its beauty fool you!

February 11, 2019

Fabulous Frey at North Shore

On our way to Palm Springs for Modernism Week, we had to stop to see our first building designed by the fabulous Albert Frey. It is the North Shore Beach & Yacht Club, built in 1958. North Shore is another mostly abandoned community, but this mid-century wonder has been preserved. What a magnificent structure!

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Back of building:

The front is where the fabulousness is:

Also on this site is one of the art exhibits from Desert X. Desert X is an annual art exhibition that is held on sites throughout the Coachella Valley. You can drive or take a bus to all the installations. It’s kind of like geocaching for art! We just chanced upon this one. You can download a map or app and travel the valley, seeking out contemporary art.

Then, back on the road to mid-century heaven — Palm Springs!

Slab City 2019

February 4-11, 2019

We had a wonderful time at Slab City last year, so we were excited to return again. Sheila had never been there before, so we wanted to visit all the attractions and more. Last year, we were in the Chinook, but this year, we are in the Airstream. It’s a good thing because we had 2 days of wind and sand storms. We could, at least, spread out in the Airstream while the wind buffeted the trailer.

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Salvation Mountain

Our camp (Can you see the Airstream Bambi behind us?):

Instead of repeating much of what I wrote last year, I’ll add hyperlinks to previous posts.

First, let’s look at the remarkable housing that the locals have created. Some are on the original slabs for which the area is now named.

 

Salvation Mountain

No trip to Slab City is complete without a visit to Salvation Mountain. In fact, people from around the world come just to see this masterpiece. This year, we could not climb the mountain due to damage from the rain. An artist was hard at work repairing the damage and repainting the repaired areas. If you look on the left side of the mountain, you’ll see where a large portion of the mountain has fallen.

East Jesus

East Jesus is registered with the California Museum Association. The artists are trying to purchase the land from the government to ensure its permanence. This year, they had t-shirts and bumper stickers for sale to raise funds. Paul got a t-shirt and I got a bumper sticker. I would have liked all four stickers, but I settled for:

DO BIG FUN
(First Church of the Chocolate Martini)

These were the 4 tenets of the founder:

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This artist greeted us and told us about the fundraising. He was quite the character.

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This sign really makes me laugh:

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I searched for the wheel, but I couldn’t find it. I’ll just have to come up with my own sources of debauchery. I’m imaginative.

Playground of Horror?

Hey, we found a new house. It’s a fixer-upper, but we’re handy. Debauchery lives here!

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Blooming fun!

Due to all the rain this winter, the desert is blooming.

The girls enjoyed their walks. Bunnah (Scottie) and Kenzie (Westie) tried to imagine that they were walking in Scottish heather:

The Coliseum

Slab City even has its own coliseum. Well, not really, but these old tanks are now referred to as the coliseum.

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Pet Cemetery

Actually, we found 2 pet cemeteries. This seems to be the first one.

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Just look at the care and attention given to these graves. One (Winnie) was only a few weeks old, and Poppy took a special interest in it.

Hot Spring and Shower

Yes, there is even a hot spring. It’s about 15 feet deep and you can see the bubbles coming up through the centre. Before a young guy disrobed, he said, “This is clothing optional, so I hope you won’t be offended.” No offence taken!

After jumping in, he told us where to look for the “shower”, so off we went.

Let’s play “Spot the Airstream” one more time!

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Hint: It’s in the middle

Once again, we had a fabulous time at Slab City.

Next stop: Palm Springs
Why? MODERNISM WEEK! The Atomic Pod will land at Atomic Central!