Archive for the ‘California’ Category

Three hours on Alcatraz.

Posted: November 21, 2019 in California, History, USA

Reminds me of my last visit to SanFrancisco about 12 years ago when Sue and I visited the Island. So close to the city yet there are no records of a successful escape, only 1 prisoner who escaped and was never recaptured, but he is presumed to have drowned in the bay. Despite its location very lonely and very atmospheric.



No trip to San Francisco would be complete without a visit to Alcatraz Island. Just over a mile offshore it is windswept and battered by swift tides.

Alcatraz was a federal prison that housed some of the countries most dangerous criminals including Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly. Since its closure in 1963 it began to fall into disrepair but this and its location led to its becoming a major tourist attraction.

We caught the ferry from Pier 33 for the short crossing to the island and did the guided audio tour. We were able to look at the very basic cells.



Outside there was a bare recreation area from where you could catch a tantalising glimpse of the mainland. So near yet so far away.




It was a fascinating tour. Part history and part Hollywood with clips from the Clint Eastwood film.

But, three hours was quite enough time…

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Today in 1902 Thomas Tally reportedly opened the first permanent movie theatre in the USA on S Main, Los Angeles. Although movies had been shown prior to this date, Tally had been operating in Los Angeles since 1896, this was the first time they had been shown in a building dedicated to showing movies.
Tally’s claim to the first dedicated movie theatre has been challenged as some researchers say records show that a dedicated movie theatre had existed in both New York and Buffalo since 1896.

Thomas Tally (1915)
By The Moving Picture World – The Moving Picture World, July 10, 1915 (page 263), Public Domain,

In 1912 he was the first exhibitor to show a colour film in Los Angeles. Tally was also involved in an early organisation distributing films between exhibitors in major American cities.

The First McDonalds

Posted: May 15, 2018 in California, History, USA

Today marks the 78th anniversary of the opening of the first McDonalds store in San Bernadino, California. It was the first of 36,615 outlets (and still rising) around the world. Richard and Maurice McDonald has previously run a hot dog stand and decided to open a store specialising in BBQ, McDonald’s Bar-B-Q. Within 10 years they had revamped the menu and the BBQ was gone and the focus was on hamburgers. They dropped the reference to bar-b-q in the name and it became known as McDonald’s.

The first McDonald’s restaurant in San Bernadino


Fondly remember these guys from my visits to California



A male Anna’s Hummingbird watching over his territory. These shoots are all so from California.


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Shortly after posting that excellent picture of Anna’s Hummingbird yesterday, I came across these pictures which if not mistaken were taken on our trip to Monteray bay in California 8 years ago.

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Californian Sea-Lions

Californian Sea-Lions

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

That was a memorable trip which included visiting the most northerly wintering site for Monarch butterflies.

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Butterflies