On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

This weekday feature is for Juicers who are are on the road, traveling, or just want to share a little bit of their world via stories and pictures. So many of us rise each morning, eager for something beautiful, inspiring, amazing, subtle, of note, and our community delivers – a view into their world, whether they’re far away or close to home – pictures with a story, with context, with meaning, sometimes just beauty. By concentrating travel updates and tips here, it’s easier for all of us to keep up or find them later.

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Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

First up, a picture from valued commenter hedgehog the occasional commenter.

I wandered up to Civic Center Park for lunch (there are a variety of food trucks there during the summer), and I was struck by the blue sky and the bright, colorful flowers. Good reminder to slow down and actually LOOK at things.

Taken on 2017-08-24

Taken from Civic Center Park.

The Colorado State Capitol and part of the Civic Center Gardens, taken on a recent lunch break.


It looks mighty different than last time I saw it, with 2 feet of snow covering everything! I so dearly miss Colorado – coming from the lush DC area, everything first looked brown, but as my eyes adjusted, I began to see the variety of colors and that light…I miss it every day!  Thanks!

Today, pictures from valued commenter 🐾BillinGlendaleCA.

Watts Towers

The Watts Towers are located in the southern Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles about a block south of the 103rd Street station of the Metro Blue Line. An Italian immigrant named Simon Rodia came to Watts in 1920, finding his perfect triangular shaped parcel of land bounded by railroad tracks(the only other parcel of land like this is at the current intersection of Wilshire Blvd and Santa Monica Blvd in Beverly Hills). He began construction of the towers in 1921 and over the next 30+ years the towers rose next to his home. He mixed his own special type of concrete and collected various materials(the bottoms of glass bottles, tile, etc) that would adorn the towers. Then in 1954, he stopped his work on the towers and moved away. His house burned down the next year and the City of Los Angeles condemned the property and wanted to tear down the towers. The local community had grown rather fond of the towers and managed forge an agreement with the City to keep the towers if they were structurally stable, so the City did a stress test on the towers with crane providing increasing amounts of pressure pulling on the towers, reaching a maximum pressure of 10,000 pounds. This proved the towers, which only have a 2 foot foundation to be structurally sound. The area has become a historic park with an art museum and an area for public performance adjoining the towers.

I’d encourage anyone either living in LA or visiting to see the towers, they’re a true treasure. I waited much too long to visit them.

Overview of Watts Towers

Taken on 2016-09-09

Watts, Los Angeles, CA

This is an overview of the towers from the old railway right of way, now an amphitheater. There’s some scaffolding to the left where they are doing some restoration work.

The three main towers(now in infrared!)

Taken on 2016-09-09

Watts, Los Angeles, CA

There are not that many trees by the towers and you really need trees for infrared. Again you can see the area where they’re doing some restoration work.

Closer view of the 3 main towers.

Taken on 2016-09-09

Watts, Los Angeles, CA

While Simon Rodia never said what inspired him to build the towers, it’s often thought that it was probably a ship. These would be the masts for sails.

Historical designation markers.

Taken on 2016-09-09

Watts, Los Angeles, CA

Historical designation markers from both the City of Los Angeles and the US Government. These are at the entrance to the towers.

Small wedding cake style tower.

Taken on 2016-09-09

Watts, Los Angeles, CA

This is just inside the entrance after passing by the garage door for the house that’s no longer there.

At the base of the 3 towers(now with more fisheye).

Taken on 2016-09-09

Watts, Los Angeles, CA

This picture give a pretty good idea how tall the towers look up close.

Wall outside the towers.

Taken on 2016-09-09

Watts, Los Angeles, CA

This is the wall at the southern edge of the towers. It’s got some nice tile mosaic and the arches are signed with “SR”.


Thank you so much 🐾BillinGlendaleCA, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

27 replies
  1. 1
    opiejeanne says:

    Thanks Bill. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never been there nor to the La Brea Tar Pits, and I’m a native Angeleno.

    So much of what I remember of the Southland has changed so much since I was a child that I wonder where the landmarks were that I remember from that time.

  2. 2
    Mary G says:

    The detail in the towers is amazing. It’s quite an achievement for one guy to have done. Great pics Bill.

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:

    Bill, thanks for the pictures. Had heard of the Towers. Nice to see them up close.

    Hedgehog, thanks for the picture😄

  4. 4
    opiejeanne says:

    Hedgehog, that Capitol building is impressive. I like that the park has flowerbeds in the lawns. It looks like a nice place to visit.

  5. 5

    @opiejeanne: I’ll admit, one of my first memories of news was the Watts riots of 1965, and that probably delayed my visiting the towers. I’m glad I got over that.

    I guess I’ll have put up some pics from my visit to the tar pits next😀. I went there last year, but I’d been with madame and when I was a Cub Scout(I think). I think the same year we also traveled to Downtown LA to ride Angel’s Flight before the shut it down in 1969. As you know they’ve reopened it again.

    Hedgehog, great pic of the Colorado Capitol Building. I used to travel to Denver a bit when I worked for Satan and had a chance to visit the Capitol(the Mint too). But no camera…sigh.

  6. 6
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    A wedding cake, Dog willing and the creeks don’t rise I’ll be scarfing a little bit of one down soon.

    Also, the fisheye at the base of the towers works real well. Probably accidental but the head in the upper left corner is a really nice touch.

  7. 7
    Quinerly says:


  8. 8

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks, but being on a guided tour(the only option) it’s impossible to get a shot without the rest of the group showing up with a wide angle lens.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    Continued excellence.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Don’t get ahead of yourself, grasshopper.

  12. 12
    Butch says:

    I lived in Colorado for 19 years before I came back to the Upper Midwest. I couldn’t even think about moving back there without emptying the retirement account given what’s happened to housing prices there, but it is a beautiful place.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    eclare says:

    All great pictures. Had never heard of those towers, impressive.

  15. 15

    @eclare: Thanks, they’re a true treasure.

  16. 16
    MomSense says:

    The tile mosaics are so cool.

  17. 17
    cgordon says:

    I’ve heard that the Watts Towers are the tallest structures ever built by one individual.

  18. 18
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Well, I like it. He is singled out by his face being against mostly blue sky without being silhouetted. Normally I suspect I would find it distracting but in this case It adds a nice human touch to counter balance the otherwise abstract.

  19. 19

    Hey, I’ve been to Denver!

    Saw Obama speak in that park in a 2008 rally when I was working for the campaign, afterwards we went to Wynkoop Brewery for lunch and the mayor (now governor) gave us a beer he’d brewed, the Obamanator Doppelbock.

  20. 20
    ChiGail says:

    That daang ad is back! This one is even more annoying than the woman and her dog. Going off line for the day. Not BJ’s fault.

  21. 21
    meander says:

    @opiejeanne: I have been to Los Angeles for vacation a handful of times, and the La Brea Tar Pits is always a stop I make. It helps that it is next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and also on Wilshire Blvd, a major east-west route.

    The Tar Pits have other nearby attractions, like the Page Museum of anthropology and paleontology (?), the relatively new automotive museum, and these two free art installations:

    1) The big rock behind LACMA called Levitated Mass. It’s a multi-ton boulder suspended over a passageway that you can walk through. It’s open during the day and until 7 or 8 PM, no museum admission required. There’s a great documentary about that rock and how it got to LACMA called “Levitated Mass.”
    2) The streetlight installation called “Urban Light” by Chris Burden outside of LACMA on Wilshire. Burden installed 100+ vintage streetlights in a grid. Naturally, it’s best to go after dark when they are lit.

  22. 22
    glaukopis says:

    Heading off to NYC this morning. Then on to Madrid on Friday. Pretty excited and I’ll try to send some photos.

  23. 23
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    I used to picnic at Watts Towers couple of times a month when I was at USC back in the 1800’s. It is amazing both from an architectural aspect as well as a work of art. It’s captivating. Clearly the creation of a beautiful mind (possibly mad). I never knew anyone to come away unimpressed. After spending so much time there, I came to scoff at all those theories that the builders of the Pyramids and the Great Wall had to have had extraterrestrial help. If nothing else, the Watts Towers are a standing testament to what one motivated human with a trowel can accomplish.

    @opiejeanne: I lived in LA for over twenty years, and I too must confess I’ve never been to the Tar Pits. I think it has something to do with the name. Or maybe it’s something deep down in the ol’ lizard brain that recalls that bad things happen in tar pits.

    There’s a Starbucks across the street if that’s motivation for either of us.

  24. 24
    Aleta says:

    Incredible. I had no idea. And the photo in infrared also moved me somehow.

    On ytube there’s a 1952 documentary by Billy Hale with more closeups and some footage of the artist working (or recreating some actions) starting around 3:24.

    (I like Bill’s infrared pictures a lot. Each one is different. Sometimes I get an actual visual sensation of seeing in an invisible dimension. (I think before now I looked at infrared photos in a similar way, like: oh, infrared.) This one of the towers I can’t explain, only that it made me feel very emotional about the tower work itself.)

  25. 25
    Aleta says:

    Some more about the life of the artist Sam Rodia and the story of the towers. Saved by an initial group of artists I think. (I didn’t check whether there’s agreement on all the info, so fwiw.)

  26. 26
    Aleta says:

    Also it’s cool to put together hedgehog’s beaut of a photo of the Colo. statehouse with the Watts Tower photos. Geometries of the US.

  27. 27
    hedgehog the occasional commenter says:

    Thanks, everyone, for all the kind words. Bill, your photos amaze me.
    rikryah, the Capitol building is in the middle of a renovation–all the gold on the cupola was replaced.
    Major4, I did not get to hear Obama speak, but he did stay at the hotel across from my building :) No sightings, tho. Le sigh.
    Alain, thanks again for doing this, and thanks to all the contributors.

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