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L.A. - Palm Springs - Las Vegas

L.A. - Palm Springs - Las Vegas

Sometimes in the winter you just need to go somewhere warm. I considered going to a tropical island, someplace with a beach and pina coladas - but for whatever reason I just thought - THE DESERT. So this itinerary (that I was able to take advantage of with some of my free airline miles) came to me, and I was able piece together some unusual stops along the way.

Los Angeles

I landed in LA and picked up my rental car (a tip - I took an uber to nearby Santa Monica to pick up my car, it was an easy out at the airport, a quick pickup with no waiting, and saved me over $150). I started the trip out at the Pacific and took a drive to the Santa Monica Pier. I played ski ball in the arcade and took in the beautiful views (and sea lion vocalizations.

I went to the Getty (I’ve been watching both Trust and All the Money in the World) and while I was certainly interested in the collection - the view alone is worth the price of admission (which is free).

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Next day, I did the quickie road tour of Los Angeles (Sunday morning is a great time to try to drive around without traffic) Rodeo Drive, TCL Chinese Theatre , Griffith Park Observatory and then a non highways drive across LA to Orange County to visit the Richard Nixon Library and Museum. It was Pat Nixon’s Birthday so free admission(!) - as someone who’s read a lot about Nixon and Watergate it was really a fascinating place.

Palm Springs

On the open road again, heading West towards Palm Springs. Possibly my favorite stop on the trip were the “World’s Biggest Dinosaurs” in Cabazon. CA (As seen by me in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and The Wizard) . WOW also to the simply gigantic wind farm here - expect a painting in the future!

Stayed the night in Indian Wells - I could live forever by the pool of The Sands Hotel - and got ready for a day long adventure in the desert.

Back on I-10 to CA62 for a stop in Pioneertown! The town was constructed in the 40’s as sort of a living breathing film set of the Old West, tons of tv and movie westerns have been filmed there.

back in the car, through wonderful rock formations, to Yucca Valley, 29 Palms and a sharp left up into the Mohave National Preserve. We passed rock formations, blooming desert flowers, cacti and the worlds largest forest of Joshua Trees. We also took a short cruise on part of historic route 66 and visited the abandoned railway depot in Kelso before connecting with the Interstate again near the Nevada border. One knows one is in Nevada by the sudden explosion of giant casino theme parks on the side of the road.

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Las Vegas

The final leg of the trip was in Las Vegas, NV. I saw Mr. Las Vegas himself Wayne Newton live at Caesar’s Palace and dined in the eiffel tower at the Paris and in an Italian piazza at the Venetian. I tried crapless craps at the Stratosphere and somehow came out $100 ahead overall in gambling for the trip. I walked from the strip down to the downtown casinos on Freemont Street and back. It was surprising to go the short distance from the jam packed strip to a pretty busy downtown and have the area in between be so empty - there were large portions of that walk without other people or cars.

Florida Keys

Florida Keys

A quick winter getaway to the Florida Keys...

stayed in an awesome beachside, old school motel....

went kayaking through the mangroves - definite inspiration for future paintings.

A visit to Key West, with its free range roosters (who were having a fight over a hen in a parking lot) 

And a visit to the Ernest Hemingway house and its famous 6 toed cats!

For my recommendations on restaurants: check out my Trip Advisor reviews

Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island

Newport is only about two hours away from my house. So its the kind of place where I have stopped by but have never really spent time at. So with one weekend, I tried to do Newport, and see it particularly through the eyes of two movies I enjoy that were filmed in the area, Irrational Man and Moonrise Kingdom

So first, some of the standard Newport sites on a beautful weekend in August...

Newport's famous Cliff Walk.

Newport's famous Cliff Walk.

a dinner of oysters and a beautiful sunset among the yachts.

What's more Newport than sailing?

What's more Newport than sailing?

Plus we visited many filming locations - several parks, public areas and a great bar visited by characters in Irrational Man including this one:

And for Moonrise Kingdom, we visited lighthouses, the church that stood in for the one on St. Jack Wood and of course the best find of them all, Moonrise Kingdom itself:

Mile 3.25 Tidal Inlet from  Moonrise Kingdom

Mile 3.25 Tidal Inlet from Moonrise Kingdom

For my recommendations on restaurants: check out my Trip Advisor reviews

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Taking time out of my busy money losing plan to draw the bright lights of Vegas.

snapshot from the plane ride

snapshot from the plane ride

Philadelphia, PA, USA

Philadelphia, PA, USA

I have always wanted to go to Philly - and its so close by train I can't believe it took me so long! This is definitely a city that goes out of its way to make people feel welcome. I ran up the Rocky steps, visited the gorgeous Barnes Collection, the liberty bell, Ben Franklins museum & grave, fun outdoor beer gardens, mini golf in the shape of the city, a delicious Amish breakfast at the Reading Terminal Market, cheese steaks and a taste of famous philly food trucks. Plus a side trip to Atlantic City - all in less then 48 hours. 

Plus a side trip to AC!

Plus a side trip to AC!

Hogwarts & Diagon Alley

Hogwarts & Diagon Alley

After many years of being an obsessed Harry Potter fan I finally visited Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. I rode the Hogwarts Express. I bought a wand at Ollivanders and did magic. I drank butter beer and talked to a goblin. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. 

Hogwarts a history

I also stopped by Springfield...

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

A drawing tour of Chicago on a hot August weekend, stops for gold coast hot dogs and (despite the heat) deep dish pizza - an excellent time! I also toured the Art Institute of Chicago, the Navy Pier, the Shedd Aquarium, and viewed a taping of "Wait, Wait Don;t Tell Me. "

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA

For as long as I can remember my family has been visiting fabulous P-town. I proudly went to grad school at the Fine Arts Works Center in Provincetown, MA from 2006 to 2008.  Wandering the National Seashore, drawing on the beach and the wharf, pounding the pavement around town and just soaking it in was such a treat. I created so many works that are of and about Provincetown- here are just a small sampling.