Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tale of Two Cities - Divided Between Anchorage And LA

Ice Wall Seward Highway south of Anchorage

It was several degrees below zero (Fahrenheit) when we left Anchorage just after midnight Christmas morning.  It was ridiculously warm (on the way to mid 80s) and clear as we arrived into LA almost 40 minutes early around 8 am.  (There'd been a stopover in Seattle)

So this post is going to mix some leftover Anchorage photos from a great sightseeing day with New York based film maker Thanachart Siripatrachai mid December with photos of flying into LA today.  That jumble of hot and cold, wilderness and urban has been the last year as we try to spend as much time with my mom in LA as possible, yet maintain our Anchorage activities.  So why shouldn't you go back and forth between the two too?

Anchorage sunset Dec. 12, about 3:45 pm returning from Glen Alps.

Flying into LA Christmas Day, looking south toward Palos Verdes with Catalina Island very clear in the background.  LAX in the foreground.  We were early and spent some time flightseeing over LA.

Benz (Thanachart) checking out mostly frozen Turnagain Arm.  It was about 10˚F (-7˚C) that day and while it was mostly clear when we left the house, twenty minutes later it was mostly cloudy in the Arm and soon began to snow lightly.

And there was a brisk wind.  We walked around Beluga Point checking the ice formation on the water.  It was getting really cold with the wind.  So it was a little surprising when we saw three people get out of a car.  She was wearing lots of white. They climbed over the barricade and over the railroad tracks.  She pulled off her shawl and they started taking wedding pictures.  He had on an overcoat and scarf.

We came into LA, just north of the airport headed east (earlier photo above) came back a bit, and then looped around north with this view of downtown and all the mountain backdrops clearly displayed.  When we completed the circle we were headed west right over the Coliseum.

It was the 1984 Summer Olympics that made me realize what a huge part of my life the LA Coliseum had been.  From Boy Scout jamborees to rodeos,  early Dodger games and UCLA football games - I'd been to the Coliseum for various events all my early life.

Click to see map better

And at the LA Sports arena (the white oval)  I saw Lyndon Johnson nominated to be the vice presidential candidate with John Kennedy in 1960.  Someone had given my mom tickets and we were way up near the rafters, but we were there.  And I watched the UCLA basketball team in 1963 beat number one Michigan there - getting 16 points in a row at the beginning of the game - to go on for their first undefeated season and the beginning of their dynasty.  I also spent a lot of time in the museums and rose garden there at Exposition Park as a kid.  Followed by my graduate studies next door at USC.  Lots of my formative years spent in these few square blocks below us in the airplane yesterday morning.

 After we stopped at Bells Nursery (previous post on Christmas trees) Benz and I drove up to Glen Alps and walked to the Powerline Pass trail.

We're closing in on the airport here.  I'm looking north as LA stretches to the hills.  It stretches even further over the hills in the valley.  And south out the other side of the plane.  And east.  But you can't see it quite this clear most days. 

This part of Chugach State Park is about 20 minutes from downtown Anchorage.  Nothing out there but nature- trees and bushes, a few trails, moose, bear, and other smaller critters. 

Here's Benz, tanning, Anchorage winter style. 

To put the top ice picture into perspective, I thought I better add this one Benz sent me.  All these are sharper if you click them.


  1. LA's own winter wonderland. Amazingly clear, but a little windy. My parents' neighbor took his dog for a walk in the Santa Monica Mountains Christmas morning and the dog chased a deer for two canyons. Of course the deer won the race.

  2. Don't think I've seen LA air look so clear. Was it wind pushing pollution away or are environmental regs really making that much difference? A bit of both seems likely, but what's going here?


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