The Tatton Park Stars and Stripes American Car Show, Knutsford, Cheshire, England.

2019 was my fourth time to the Stars and Stripes American car show at Tatton Park. I’m not overly enthusiastic about cars in general, but I do like old America cars, especially from the 1950s and 1960s, and they make great photography subjects.

The show has been going for 30 years and is one of the biggest America car displays in the UK, with around 2,500 vehicles on display. There are also trade stands, mostly selling car parts, but there was a variety of other stalls, selling everything from clothing to tools.

Like many UK shows, the food choices were poor. No healthy options at all. There was a choice of burgers, fish and chips, Tex Mex and pulled pork sandwiches etc. There was also one coffee stand which was extremely overpriced as the cups were tiny.

Every year the Lone Star old west re-enactment group perform stories of the old west. We attended on the Saturday, the weather was pretty miserable in the morning, but by the afternoon it cleared up and was nice and sunny.

Lone Star old west re-enactment group
Lone Star old west re-enactment group
Lone Star old west re-enactment group
Lone Star old west re-enactment group

I couldn’t photograph everything, but here are a few of my favourite cars. Apologies, my car knowledge is limited, but I’ve done my best to identify what I can :).

1964 Ford Thunderbird
1970 Chevrolet Camaro
Pontiac Catalina
1955 Vauxhall Velox
Lincoln Continental
1957 Cadillac Coupe DeVille
1969 Dodge Charger
1969 Dodge Charger
1977 Lincoln Continental
1935 Ford Model 48
 Lincoln Continental
1956 Studebaker E Series Transtar
1960 Chevrolet Apache Pick-up Truck
1953 Ford F100
Chevrolet
1947 Dodge
Chevrolet
Chevrolet
SVS 546 1942 GMC CCKW 353 Cargo
1971 Cadillac Eldorado
1999 Chevrolet
Cadillac
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 429 Cobra Jet Four Speed
Ford ‘Hot Rod’ Coupe
1955 Ford F100
Dodge Charger
Chevrolet Bel Air
Pontiac
Dodge
Ford
Ford Mustangs
Trucks
Bikes
Chevrolet
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
Lincoln Continental Coupe
Pontiac GTO
Chevrolet Camaro Z28
1969 Ford
1959 Chevrolet Impala
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air
1958 Buick Super

Useful Information

The show is usually held over a Saturday and Sunday in early July, 09:30 – 16:00.

In 2019, adult entry was £9 and parking was £7 even if you are a National Trust member.

The Abandoned Arne’s Royal Hawaiian Motel and Baker, California, USA.

Arne’s Royal Hawaiian Motel opened in 1957 and closed in 2009. There is not a great deal of information about the motel, but it is currently for sale at a price of $390,000. I first saw Arne’s on a YouTube video and so when we were driving through Baker, I had to stop off for a look. 

The town of Baker was named after Richard C. Baker, president of the Pacific Coast Borax Company and the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad.

Baker has some other cool places to stop including; The Mad Greek Cafe, The World’s Tallest Thermometer and Alien Fresh Jerky.

The World’s Tallest Thermometer

The thermometer is 134 feet tall in honour of a 134 degree Fahrenheit (56.67 degrees Celsius),recorded in nearby Death Valley on July 10, 1913. The thermometer was built by the Young Electric Sign Company of Salt Lake City, Utah in 1991 for a man named, Willis Herron, a local businessman who spent $750,000 to build the thermometer next to his Bun Boy restaurant (now closed).

Alien Fresh Jerky

Luis Ramallo opened his first Jerky shop in Crystal Springs, Nevada, in the year 2000. In 2002, he moved the store to Baker, CA.

Rhyolite Ghost Town, Nevada, USA.

On the way to Beatty, Nevada sits the once booming town of Rhyolite.  Today, there is nothing much left of Rhyolite apart from a few ruins, the bottle house and the old station.  Nevertheless, it remains one of my favourite ghost towns.  I first visited Rhyolite back in 2016, and then returned in 2017. Unfortunately, in the space of a year, I noticed more graffiti and the old truck near the bottle house had gone. 

In 1904, Frank ‘Shorty’ Harris and Eddie Cross discovered gold in the nearby Bullfrog Hills.  By 1908, it is said that Rhyolite had a population of around eight to twelve thousand people. Although the mine produced more than $1 million in bullion in its first three years, by 1910, it is estimated that the population fell to just under seven hundred people.  The last Rhyolite resident passed away in 1924.  Many of Rhyolite’s buildings were relocated to the nearby town of Beatty.  The Miner’s Union Hall in Rhyolite became the Old Town Hall and many other buildings were used to construct a school. 

Rhyolite gets a mention in Ian Flemming’s 1956 novel, Diamonds Are Forever.  

Spectreville is a fictional place but there is a Specter Range near Amargosa Valley in Nevada.

The Bottle House (known as Tom Kelly’s Bottle House) was restored by Paramount pictures in January of 1925 for the filming of a silent movie, The Air Mail. For some reason, and I have no idea why, I did not take a picture of the house.

The movie, The Island (2005) starring Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor was partially filmed in Rhyolite as was Six-String Samurai in 1998.

Ruins of the School Building
H.D. and L.D. Porter Store
H.D. and L.D. Porter Store
The Train Depot (privately owned)
Ruins of the John S. Cook and Company Bank Building 
The Train Depot (privately owned)
Ruins of the John S. Cook and Company Bank Building 

Useful Information:

Rhyolite is a mixture of private and federal land.

Entry is free and the ghost town is open 24/7

Remember, be respectful and take nothing but pictures.

Happy exploring!

Goldwell Open Air Museum, Nevada, USA.

Next to the ghost town of Rhyolite sits the Goldwell Open Air Museum.  The museum began in 1984 when Belgian artist, Charles Albert Szukalski installed ‘The Last Supper’.  I must admit, I don’t know much about art and sculptures. However, the sculptures are said to be designed within the context of the desert landscape that it is situated in. The sculpture of the miner and penguin is a tribute to Frank “Shorty” Harris. Harris, along with his partner, Ernest Cross founded Rhyolite along with many other mining towns around the Death Valley area.

Fred Bervoets, Tribute to Shorty Harris.
Charles Albert Szukalski, Self Portrait.
Charles Albert Szukalski, Self Portrait.
Charles Albert Szukalski, The Last Supper, 1984.
Dr. Hugo Heyrman, “Lady Desert: The Venus of Nevada” 1992.
Sofie Siegmann, Sit Here!
Charles Albert Szukalski, Ghost Rider, 1984.

The museum is open 24/7.

Happy exploring!

RAF Cosford Air Show 2019, Shropshire, England.

This was my first time at Cosford Air Show and only my third air show in total.  I must admit, I have started to really enjoy air shows and I have become increasingly interested in aviation history and heritage, just from accompanying my partner to museums and shows. 

The day before the show I felt a little apprehensive about the weather.  On route to our hotel, we briefly stopped at the museum.  The weather was wet and cold and I was dreading spending a day outside if it was going to rain and be miserable.  On the day of the show, there must have been a miracle as the weather was predominantly dry and sunny, with only small spitting of rain.  I was unprepared for sun and ended up getting sunburnt.  Macmillan was giving out free sun cream samples, I definitely should have got one. 

We stayed in nearby Shifnal, at the Park House Hotel.  I paid £78 for 2 people bed and breakfast through ebookers.  The hotel was nice and only a short drive to the air show.  My advice, if you plan to stay here is to bear in mind that breakfast doesn’t start until 8am on a weekend and the air show opens at 8am.  If you plan on getting to the show for opening, you may have to miss breakfast. 

On approach to the show, we followed the yellow signs for parking.  The signs took us to the back of the base, not to the usual museum entrance.  We arrived at approximately 8.45am and got pretty much in and parked with no hold up’s.   Considering how many people were attending the show, I was very impressed with the traffic management.  I have read online that some other people found getting in and out of the show a nightmare, I suppose it depends on which entrance you use and at what time you were entering/exiting. 

We paid for entry into the Cosford Club which was £65 each plus a booking fee of £1.50.  Standard adult tickets to the show cost £29 and accompanied under 16s are free (based on the 2019 show).  The Cosford Club gets you entry into a tent, a programme and a seating area with a view of the central fly line, with chairs and tables provided.  If you book the Cosford Club my advice would be to get there early in order to get a table near to the front, especially if you want to take photographs.  If you have general admission, the show was packed, again, there are some spaces that offer a clear view of the runway, but you have to get there early if you want to bag one of these. 

I thought the show overall was great, but I personally feel that certain aspects could be improved for next year.  The main thing for me is the food choices.  I’m not a big meat eater and I like to eat relatively healthy when I can.  I felt that the healthy and vegetarian food options were very limited and if you are a vegan they were non-existent.  The only food stands that I saw were burger, fish and chips and pastie stands, along with some sweet and cake stands.  I think a wider variety of food outlets would be welcomed, especially for people that are vegan/vegetarian/ gluten free etc.  In the Cosford Club, there was a toastie van, which I got something from.  It was nice, but a little greasy and definitely not healthy.  Apart from the poor food choices, the only other thing that I was a little disappointed with was that there was not enough time to look around all the exhibits as well as watching the entire flying displays.   After the flying finished, the grounds stayed open for another hour and a half-ish, until about 7pm. However, many trade stands started to pack up after the flying had finished and as there was so much to see, there wasn’t enough time.

I thought the show had something for everyone and every age.  There was a variety of stands and exhibits.  Some were related to aviation and others weren’t.  There was also a small fairground and things for children.   If you are considering applying to join the RAF or other British forces, there are stands where you can find out more information.  Also, companies like Rolls-Royce and BAE systems had a presence at the show.

Some of the static aeroplane exhibits on display had open cockpits for people to sit in, there were quite large queues for these though.  As well as the static displays, other attractions were the RAF Zone, STEM Hangers, Helicopter flights and the Vintage Village.  More information on these can be found on the air show website.

Other than the flying displays, I thought the Vintage Village was the best part.  I’m a history lover so I enjoyed seeing the people dressed up in WWII attire as well as The Bluebird Belles vocal harmony trio.

As for the flying displays, the Red Arrows were spectacular as was the Avro Lancaster B1 and the Supermarine Spitfire IX Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. I also enjoyed seeing the Boeing Chinook HC6.  A few of the displays had the added effect of pyrotechnics which was fun to see.

Overall, I really enjoyed Cosford Air Show and can’t wait for next year.

Additional Information:

  • The Air Show is an advance ticket only event and it is the Royal Air Force’s only official air show.
  • Next year’s date is Sunday 14th June 2020.

Cosford Air Show website

Park House Hotel website

Royal Air Force Hawker Siddeley/BAe Harrier (Retired)
Royal Navy British Aerospace Sea Harrier FA2
Royal Air Force Auster AOP.9
Royal Air Force Percival Provost T1
Jet Provost Strike Master
Czech Air Force SAAB JAS-39C Gripen
German Navy Lockheed P-3C Orion
Royal Air Force Westland Whirlwind (Retired) – XJ729 is the only air worthy Whirlwind remaining in the world
Czech Air Force AERO L-159 ALCA
Swiss Air Force McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet
Swiss Air Force McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet
Hispano HA-1112 Buchon (Messerschmitt) & Royal Air Force Hawker Hurricane
Royal Air Force Red Arrows aerobatic team (BAE Systems Hawk T.1)
Royal Air Force Supermarine Spitfire
Royal Air Force Avro Lancaster (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight)
Army Air Corps Westland WAH-64 Apache
Royal Navy Hawker Sea Fury
(Civilian Owned) United States Air Force North American P-51D Mustang
(Civilian Owned) United States Navy Boeing Stearman
Royal Air Force Shorts Tucano
Royal Air Force Falcons parachute display team
Royal Air Force British Aerospace Hawk T.1A
Royal Air Force Westland Wessex

Thank you for reading.

Anchor Brewing Company, San Francisco, USA.

1705 Mariposa St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
https://www.anchorbrewing.com/

I have to admit, I’m not a beer or ale fan and going to Anchor was my boyfriend’s choice.  However, I really enjoyed it.  We were in a small group of about 10 people.  You get to walk around the brewery, see the whole brewing process and learn about how Anchor Steam is made, as well as learn about the history of the company.

The Anchor Art Deco Building.

The Anchor Brewing Company dates back to the 1890s and was the creation of German brewer, Gottlieb Brekle.  In 1965, to save it from closure, Frederick Louis Maytag III purchased the company.  In 1979, Anchor moved to its current location on Mariposa Street.  The building was once a coffee roaster and is a wonderful example of Art Deco architecture.  

Our tour guide was super enthusiastic and from seeing the staff in the factory, it looks like a great place to work.  The tour was $25 but I would say you get that in beer if you want it.  As I’m not a huge beer fan, I only had a taste, but you get to sample a lot of their different beers. The tour talks about their past, where they are now and their vision for the future. As well as how they are trying to keep the history and their methods of brewing alive.  Anchor Brewing is community minded and supports local initiatives as well as California State Parks from the sale of their California Lager.

Grist Mill. This was used until Anchor moved their new location in 1979. The date is unknown, but according to the Anchor website, the design dates it to the late 1800s.
2018 Christmas Beer

Useful Information:

  • Guided public tours every day
  • Approx. 1.5 hours long
  • Tours are $25 per person
  • Beer tasting included
  • Booking is advised
  • Don’t forget your ID

Stovepipe Wells & Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley, California, USA.

I was going to do one long post about my time in Death Valley but I feel that it will go on and on and so, I decided to split it up.

I first visited Death Valley in 2016 and instantly fell in love.  On my first visit, I stayed at the Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel.  To be honest, for the price, I thought that the hotel was awful.  I paid about £170 for one night, room only for two people.  The room was dark and had loads of small fruit flies in it.  The air conditioning was noisy and it smelt like the drains needed cleaning.  The hotel is rated a three-star, I would probably give it one or two and the actual rooms looked nothing like the pictures on their website.  The area around the hotel is cool though, there are a few old vehicles and things to have a look at and at night, it was beautifully quiet. There is a gas station and a general store, I would advise to full up before entering Death Valley though as gas prices were expensive.

Stovepipe Wells Gas Station and General Store
Old cart wheel
Rusty old tractor
Old cart

Stovepipe Wells was the first Tourist town in Death Valley.  In 1926, Bob Eichbaum opened Stovepipe Wells Hotel and operated a toll road.  From looking online, Xanterra Parks & Resorts® used to manage the hotel but don’t anymore.  They do manage the two hotels at Furnace Creek. 

Just down the road from Stovepipe Wells, is Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.  The dunes are easily located, right off Highway 190.  There is a car park, with plenty of spaces.   You are free to walk on the dunes and there are some fabulous photograph opportunities, with lots of dead trees and branches lying around that make great props.

 I have not yet had the chance, but I’ve read that it’s beautiful at sunrise and sunset. Remember, it is the desert so take plenty of water.

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Hardwick Old Hall, Derbyshire, England.

The ruin of the old hall

Bess built Hardwick Old Hall in 1587 on the grounds of her father’s medieval manor house.  Bess intended for both the old and new hall to complement each other.  However, after her death in 1608, the Hardwick estate was passed to her son, William Cavendish who partially dismantled the Old Hall in the 1750s.  

In 1789, the lower rooms were still occupied by the house keeper of the New Hall and a family. In the 19th century lead was removed from the roof leading to the hall’s final demise to a ruin.

Visitor Information

The Old Hall is managed by English Heritage. As of 2019, the hall can only be viewed from the outside but there is a small exhibition and shop. Parking is £5 (free for EH and NT members). The EH website states that entry is £6.80, but there was a sign which said the exhibition was free entry when I visited. I assume when the restoration work is complete, there will be a charge again. The EH website also states that the hall is closed Monday and Tuesday, but as only the exterior is currently viewable, I think as long as the park is open (managed by the National Trust), you can have a walk to the old hall ruins.

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, England.

The main entrance to the hall.

Elizabeth (Bess), Countess of Shrewsbury, built Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire as a display of wealth and power.  However, Bess came from modest beginnings.  Her father was not much more than a yeoman, yet Bess was able to climb the social ladder through a string of marriages to wealthy men.

Bess was first married at the age of 14 and widowed at 15.  Her second marriage was to Sir William Cavendish in 1547.  The couple had 8 children together, one of their grandchildren was William Cavendish, who built Bolsover New Castle.  When Cavendish died in 1557, Bess inherited his fortune.  She then married Sir William St Loe in 1559, on his death in 1565, Bess became one of the richest women in England.  In 1568, Bess married George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury and the richest man in England. They remained married until his death in 1590.  

In 1590, Bess began the building of Hardwick Hall.  The house was completed in 1597 with Bess living there her death on the 13th February 1608, aged 81.

The kitchen
The hall and garden
The gardens
The front lawn

Useful Information for visitors

The hall managed by The National Trust.  Entry to the house and garden is £15 for an adult and parking is £5, garden only entry is £7.50.  The house is open from 11am to 5pm from Wednesdays to Sundays. The garden is open daily from 09:00 – 18:00 and the park is open from Park Dawn to dusk.  There is also a shop and restaurant.

Hardwick Old Hall is managed by English Heritage but it is currently closed for renovation work.

Zzyzx, San Bernardino County, California, USA.

Formerly Soda Springs

I find myself dawn to old places that have fascinating back stories and Zzyzx is no exception. 

Located off Highway 15 in California, Zzyzx is home to the California State University Desert Studies Centre.  However, this has not always been the case.  It was once home to a health spa called Soda Springs.  The spa owner, Curtis Howe Springer was born in 1896 in Birmingham, Alabama.  He worked as an insurance salesman and then a radio evangelist, calling himself “the last of the old-time medicine men.” However, it seems that Springer had no formal medical training.  After making some money through preaching and selling homemade homeopathic remedies, Springer used the money to file a mining claim in the Mojave Desert, which he called the area, Zzyzx.

Springer built a hotel and health spa on his desert land, heating the water with pumps and claiming that the site offered miracle cures.  Soda Springs ran for almost 30 years with people believing they were receiving natural medical treatments.  In 1969,  several customers made complaints and the American Medical Association subsequently investigated Springer, labelling him the “King of the Quacks.”   He was convicted in 1974 of fraud for which he served prison time.  Springer died in 1985 at the age of 88 in Las Vegas.

Only a few of the old buildings remain today but nevertheless, they are a reminder of the obscure story of Curtis Howe Springer and how one man managed to con people for the majority of his life.

Tips for visiting.

We just stopped by on route to Los Angeles. The place was quiet with maybe one more person having a look around. I assume you can walk around at your leisure as we did, but if you want to make sure before visiting, contact the university. http://nsm.fullerton.edu/dsc/desert-studies-center

Happy exploring.