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May 2007

My Laura Ingalls Wilder Tour -- After the Prairie

After DeSmet I continued to drive west toward Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood and the Badlands. I drove to Pierre, South Dakota (The capital, and by the way, do you know how to pronounce it? You say "Peer") to see the Oahe Dam and the manmade resovoir/lake Oahe. You can read more about this rolled earth dam here. Here's the visual:

The sun sets so late in the summer that I didn't wan to stop driving so I decided to press on further west and found a B&B to stay in between Pierre and the Badlands near a town called Philip. I stayed at the Triangle Ranch Bed & Breakfast and loved it! The house was built in the 1920s from a kit out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog! It is a GORGEOUS house -- here is the history of it.

Out front there are the proprietors: Kenny and Lyndy. I was the only guest that night and they were very welcoming and we chatted for a long time. Kenny had just recenlty been on his first plane trip ever. And he was not a young man. Fascinating and wonderful. Breakfast was HUGE and set me on my way to the Badlands. When I got there I took a 10 minute helicopter ride which I highly recommend! (Click for bigger images.)

More to come on Deadwood, Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse.....

But for now, two random photos. This first was somewhere in South Dakota. There was this GINORMOUS pheasant statue and this was the best shot I got -- click to make it bigger -- Driving While Photographing.

And it was the summer of 1998 and I had been working on Godzilla all year and even went to the GINORMOUS premiere in New York City at Madison Square Garden. So imagine my wide grin as I'm cruising through a seriously small town in SD and see this sign. I had to turn around and go back and take the photo. Click the photo:

My Laura Ingalls Wilder Tour (Part 4)

You have all been so patient, I know you were just on the verge of writing to me about when would I finish my posts about Laura. If you want to refresh, here are the previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

So I spent the morning in De Smet, driving around town, taking a tour of the Surveyor's House, even went to the cemetary. But I couldn't put off going to the homestead any longer. I knew there would be no house there (it was long gone) but just being on that spot I had read about over and over made me nervous and excited.

I drove the mile out to the site and again, I was all alone.

The trees were planted by the Ingalls in the 1880s. And the road to town is the road that Laura watched on Sundays when waiting for Almanzo to come pick her up for a buggy ride.

I think what makes/made the trip so exciting is that these books were so a part of my imagination. What were your favorite books growing up? Nancy Drew? Black Stallion? Lord of the Rings? Imagine loving and reading those books over and over then someday being able to go to the places that are locked into your memory and imagination. That's how magical this trip was for me. She was a real person. It was all real and I could go and see where it happened.

Here she is with Almanzo not long after they got married:

(They were married August 25, 1885, Laura was 18, Almanzo was 28.)

This photo was taken right after the Long Winter. Laura is standing on the right, she is about 14. Mary is seated and about 15 and Carrie is standing on the left. Carrie is about 10 and never fully recovered her health after practically starving to death during the winter.

I can't wait to go back.

(more to come on the rest of my trip -- out to Deadwood and Crazy Horse...)

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Highland Park Afternoon

I spent a lovely afternoon with my good friend Shana today, starting with lunch at El Huarache Azteca #1 in her neighborhood of Highland Park. (Click on that link to go to Jonathan Gold's review of it. He didn't win a Pulitzer Prize for nothing!)

We returned to her house where we found her sweet housemate, hanging out (click to see her up close):

It reminded me of the nest sitaution (and minor tragedy) at Will's house in Los Feliz a short while back. You can read all about it here and here and finally, here.

In Shana's backyard is a peach tree:

I have never eaten a peach right off a tree and my oh my, how delicious it was! Shana sent me home with a bunch of them (as well as a big bag of lemons -- thanks Shana!) so I could do this with them for dessert tonight. I had to stop and get some vanilla ice cream as well. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I came home and put them in a bowl so you can ogle the sexy fruit.

You can click on all the images to make them bigger. Can you smell those peaches? Wow, they make the kitchen smell heavenly.

....some people call me the space cowboy.....some call me the gangster of love....

Now, why on earth is that song stuck in my head?

; - )

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Al and Harry

On the left is Al Gore. On the right is Harry Shearer. See? Ummm, we were kind of far up in the balcony.

Last night Harry Shearer interviewed Al for Writers Bloc. (Highly recommend getting on their mailing list if you aren't already.) Mr. Gore has a new book out called The Assault on Reason that came out yesterday. The conversation was lively as Harry Shearer does not pander to ANYONE which is why I love to listen to him. He asked tough and pointed questions and Mr. Gore responded well. I didn't know about the book previously and am curious about it now.

Fascinating evening.


I lived in Seattle for a year and loved it (but had to come back to LA because I love making/working in the movie more.) A friend who grew up in Port Townsend sent me this from his camera phone on a recent visit home. Gorgeous Seattle Day!