I have a map and I know how to use it. Well... not entirely. I have a tendency to make wrong turns, map or no map. Fortunately iPhone GPS is there to save my directionally challenged arse. Though, good things might come out of bad turns. I would have never found this field across the llama farm if I didn't go down the wrong road. By the way, can you really make a living llama farming? Who buys llamas? For what purpose?
Living in The Valley the quickest way for me to get out of town is going North, to the San Gabriel Mountains, through Angeles National Forest. I usually just look at my Thomas Guide and pick a road. Yesterday it was Lake Hughes Road. There are several lakes up there, Castaic, Hughes and Elizabeth.
There are odd little settlements along the roads. Some, like Green Valley, are actual towns, others are just clusters of houses along two-lane highways. Same as when I drive along Old Topange Canyon Road to the coast, I wonder what do the people living there do? Do they commute two hours a day into the city? There don't seem to be a whole lot of job opportunities locally. There definitely seem to be a contingent of artist types.
This is the Bouquet Canyon Reservoir. No people allowed.
A few weeks ago I took a long meandering trip with a friend to Acton and thereabouts. We were driving down on Soledad Canyon Rd. when we spotted this crazy miniature western town. It is like a shabby Hollywood set for kids in the middle of nowhere.
There were also some horses, two teepees, gallows, and a gumball machine at the premises. This is what I like about Southern California: The most unusual is totally normal here.
Right next door there is Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve. It deserves a little explanation. You might remember Tippi Hedren from Hitchcock's Birds, or as the mother of Melanie Griffith. In the 70's Tippi and her husband at the time, Noel Marshall, produced, filmed a movie called Roar. The film took 11 years to finish, cost $17 million, and made only $2 million worldwide - it's been called "the most expensive home movie ever made." The movie is about a family living in Africa (?) with a couple of elephants and dozens of big cats - lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs. During filming several cast and crew members were attacked by the big cats, but miraculously nobody died. After filming Tippi Hedren set up the Roar Foundation which now cares for abandoned and rescued big cats.
By the way, next to the mini Deadwood, there is a camp ground. We chatted up the lady in the office and she told us that at night they can hear the lions roar.
PS. According to the L.A. Times Tippi had a hand in (nyuk-nyuk) the nail salon business being dominated by Vietnamese Americans.
2 weeks ago