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The Wheel Inn - The passing of a legend

On what had been the original routing of US 101 (The 101 Freeway for most southern California residents) where Oxnard overlooks the Santa Clara River, is a California legend. The Wheel Inn was a warm cozy motor hotel catering to travelers of all sorts driving into and out of Los Angeles from the north.



Elvis has left the building [13 behind the cut] )
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The Scary Dairy (Part 2 of 2)


A clarification. The Camarillo State Hospital started closing down wards in the late 1980’s. The hospital was closed down completely in the 1990’s.

The past is written on the walls of time [13 behind the cut] )
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Rancho Palos Verdes House #2

The hesitance that I had about going to this house was that it was possibly still being lived in. As we looked around the place, it became apparent that despite the frantic attempts to prepare the house for a move, they gave up and like the first house, abandoned it to the mercies of nature and the use of others who could briefly enjoy the beautiful view.


Looking into the living room and up to one of the lofts

Slip, sliding away [19 behind the cut] )
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Rancho Palos Verdes House #2

[livejournal.com profile] fynoda and I wandered along the coast road. Our intent was to drive past the remains of Marineland of the Pacific and then find the wreck of the SS Dominator, which went aground off Whites Point. We never made it there. Instead we found two victims of the Portuguese Bend Slide area. Like the area around the Sunken City (San Pedro), the land is meeting the sea somewhat faster than the residents appreciate. In Los Angeles, one of the most expensive areas in the county is by the Pacific Ocean. The better the view, the higher the value. We were in million dollar territory.



Sliding slowly under the waves [8 behind the cut] )
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Rancho Palos Verdes House #1

[livejournal.com profile] fynoda and I wandered along the coast road. Our intent was to drive past the remains of Marineland of the Pacific and then find the wreck of the SS Dominator, which went aground off Whites Point. We never made it there. Instead we found two victims of the Portuguese Bend Slide area. Like the area around the Sunken City (San Pedro), the land is meeting the sea somewhat faster than the residents appreciate. In Los Angeles, one of the most expensive areas in the county is by the Pacific Ocean. The better the view, the higher the value. We were in million dollar territory. The slides have reduced the value of this and a second home we found.



Slip sliding away [20 behind the cut] )
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Fort MacArthur

At the southern end of Los Angeles lays the remains of the city’s military past. Fort MacArthur guarded the main sea approaches to San Pedro Bay. The Fort’s days as a defensive position ended in 1974 when the NIKE missile air defense site was deactivated. The upper and lower reservations of the fort were turned over to Los Angeles as parks. One of the most unique aspects of the former military site is the remains of the WW 1 era shore batteries. At one time, two pairs of 14 in (355mm) “disappearing rifles (canons)” were positioned to throw 1200 lb (544 Kg) anti-ship rounds as far as Catalina Island 18 miles (30 Km) distant. Two gun emplacements and their associated fire director building have been turned into a museum. [livejournal.com profile] fynoda and I started our abandoned site hunt amidst the abandoned shore batteries.



Memories of hot steel [13 behind the cut] )
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Ok to clarify, in September of 2007 I took my last expedition with [livejournal.com profile] badgerphone. After we departed the ruins east of Lancaster we headed make in and one of us remembered a burned adobe ranch that was supposed to be redeveloped by the city. The ranch had been a gift to the City of Lancaster and dated back to the 1920’s. Unfortunately the city once again proved it’s utter inability to preserve anything of historic value. Vandals or transients got into the site and burned it down.

The Ruins


the long and winding road [16 images behind the cut]  )
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Ok to clarify, in September of 2007 I took my last expedition with [livejournal.com profile] badgerphone. Soon after that we parted company due to personal issues. On that September afternoon, she snuck out from her apartment and we proved the old adage that you could drive a few miles in any direction from Lancaster and find sites. As another acquaintance commented to me, “ah good times..”

The Ruins
The first site we found was actually a dump site, a very illegal one, but one that included an abandoned set of work trailers.


This slow boat to oblivion caught our attention. What is about boats in the desert. At least it was pointed towards the ocean ..

Slow boat to Hades.. [13 images]  )
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Without a doubt, the site had seen far better days. Given it’s condition and Los Angeles County’s aggressive policy towards abandoned and seriously damaged sites, it will likely end up meeting the same fate as Felicia’s tow (nearby) haunts. Until then the site has become a haven for the flighty.. some good birds of a feather, some bad.

The Burned Ranch (Part 2)


Turn out the lights before you go (main house)

The wicked winds of change.. [11 images]  )
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While I’m taking a break from unpacking the household, I thought I might offer something new site wise..

In June, just prior to my relocation east to Alabama, I had the pleasure of going on two hunts with the new [livejournal.com profile] socal_abandoned co-moderator [livejournal.com profile] fynoda. The first site we found was but by pure happenstance. After exploring the campground, we drove up into the desert near my former community to scout out a ranch complex I’d spotted back in March. The main house of the ranch had burned and the outlying trailers had since been heavily stripped.

The Burned Ranch



The wicked winds of change.. [11 images]  )
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While I’m taking a break from unpacking the household, I thought I might offer something new site wise..

In June, just prior to my relocation east to Alabama, I had the pleasure of going on two hunts with the new [livejournal.com profile] socal_abandoned co-moderator [livejournal.com profile] fynoda. The first site we found was but by pure happenstance. “The Oasis” campground was one of many 1950’s and 60’s era canyonland ‘resorts’ that catered to Los Angelinos who wanted a place to park a trailer and spend a relaxing time away from the city. Based on what we found there, the site apparently closed as a resort in the mid 1990’s, but it continues to be lived in by some families. While we stuck to the old sections, once we discovered this, we promptly left. Here’s what we saw before departing.

The Oasis Campground


Fortunate fame, mirror vain, gone insane, but the memories remain..[16 images]  )
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I thought it was about time to pass the word that I have not fallen off the edge of the world and I shall have photos to post soon. That being said, I wanted to offer some site updates and the transient nature of some of the sites we hold dear. Prior to departing for northern Alabama, I’d planned to write an update on some locations I’ve explored either solo or with companions. Rather than consider it a post-script on my activities in southern California, I look at it was a review.

Originally, I’d planned to make this a in multiple updates on old sites, but in review, I’ll merely hide the stories and photos behind a cut.

Subjects covered: the Quartz Hill Golf Shop, the “Special House” in Bakersfield, the various Felicia sites, the Hawes Communications Bunker, and various Route 66 sites including The Greystone Café. All posts (references) are to my personal journal, mainly because I’m too lazy to pull of the same post I made to the community.

Changes come in shades of gray and black.. [8 images and two slide shows]  )
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Given that southern California used to be a major oil producing region and there are many wells still operating here, I found it ironic to see a 60+ acre gasoline refinery completely decommissioned. The site was eerily quiet and surreal. Here’s the remainder of the site. Sorry for the delay, but getting ready to move is taking a large amount of time and planning.

The Refinery



Industrial decay [13 behind the cut] )
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Given that southern California used to be a major oil producing region and there are many wells still operating here, I found it ironic to see a 60+ acre gasoline refinery completely decommissioned. The site was eerily quiet and surreal. I’m breaking the refinery pictures into two sets merely for size of the download.

The Refinery



Industrial decay [21 behind the cut] )
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Last summer [livejournal.com profile] badgerphone, my kids and I went out to meet and explore a site referred to me by [livejournal.com profile] horizon_eyes - an abandoned oil refinery. Given that southern California used to be a major oil producing region and there are many wells still operating here, I found it ironic to see a 60+ acre gasoline refinery completely decommissioned. We got there before our companions and had the chance to explore three houses which lay abandoned outside the refinery gates.

House 2 & 3



Little (crack) house of horrors [20 behind the cut] )
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The Corvina Café – The Long Road Home

On the drive out, we stopped at another iconic site along the eastern shore of the Salton Sea. The Corvina Café once served travelers along California Hwy 111, and guests of the nearby Corvina Beach resort, campground and RV Park. It appears now that only the RV Park remains. I’ve not been able to find much info on the café, so instead I’ll merely leave you with these images taken before the long drive home.



Drive-In memories (8 behind the cut) )
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Bombay Beach – Long road to ruin

According to the US Census in 1990, Bombay Beach showed a little over 900 residents. By the 2000 Census that is down to 368 residents and stats further show the residents are either retirees, or low median incomes. In simple terms, they’re either to old and stubborn to leave or they’re too poor to find a way out. These are the kinds of folks that endure the smell, the toxic clouds of alkali salt stirred up by wind storms and polluted waters nearby.

As a case in point, after exploring the ruins on the lake side of the levee, we backtracked to a home complex on the “live” side of town. According to a youngster who gave me and [livejournal.com profile] fynoda something of a guide tour of this place, the extended family that had lived here for decades, finally found another place in Riverside and had planned to come back to get the rest of their stuff.. Several years passed and people ransacked the house. See, people don’t sell their houses/trailers here, they abandon them and deny they ever existed.



Paradise lost? (21 behind the cut) )
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Bombay Beach – Long road to ruin

Bombay Beach was founded in Oct of 1928. Originally it was planned as a vacation community for the very rich. The Great Depression sank that hope. Military bases close by and the abundant natural beauty of the place, brought renewed attention in the late 1940’s. By the mid 1950’s, Bombay Beach was growing. The beach resort and trailer campground was constructed and two marinas served the area. At one point the area had over 2000 residents. Times change and by the late 1960’s the Salton Sea was taking hits right and left. To the south, the agricultural development of the Imperial Valley increasing removed more inflow to the Salton and replaced it with tainted farm run-off. The salinity of the Salton continued to increase to the point that only the hardiest saltwater fish could survive.


Suspended in oblivion

If the shoe fits (21 behind the cut) )
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Bombay Beach – Long road to ruin

Bombay Beach is a small community on the east side of the Salton Sea. Originally, it was developed on a low sane. Low is something of an understatement as Bombay Beach is the lowest settlement in North America (-223ft below sea level). It also sits pretty much on top of the San Andreas Fault. While it would not be a far reach to say the town was really poorly planned, Bombay Beach also suffers from several other significant problems. The Salton is broad and shallow, so when the wind blows there, the lake can shift. The surrounding area became marsh and as the salinity of the water increased in the 60’s, these became salt bogs. What should have been the coupe’ de gras for Bombay Beach was a series of serious tropical storms which hit southern California in the winter of 1976 – 77, inundated the southern half of the town (500 lots). A large dike was hastily built to protect the northern half but the damage was done. Now the remains of the southern half of town are slowly but steadily sinking into a salt bog.


Salt crusted remains

Sinking into the depths, 1mm at time (17 behind the cut) )
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The North Shore Motor Lodge

Just a short walk from the Yacht Club was another lingering memory of the Salton’s unique past. The North Shore Motor Lodge and later the North Shore Motel was a typical 1960’s era efficiency motel for vacationers enjoying the beach, the boating and natural beauty of the Salton Sea. The rooms were spacious by today’s standards; there was pool, a snack bar (no restaurant) and well, the Beach in easy walking distance. It didn’t last..



Welcome to the Hotel California.. (20 behind the cut) )

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