In the mid winter of 1983 I made my second road trip to California, this time joined by a fellow Ryerson Polytechnical Institute alumni and photographer friend of mine. It was in many ways a very different trip than the first road voyage I'd done only five years earlier. We took a completely different route and also never stopped to camp or hike along the way largely because it was winter and even in the southern U.S. states it was still too cold for those options. In some ways it was more of a straight drive to get there and then enjoy California rather than to enjoy the drive along the way as my first trip had been. We starting out driving south through the central U.S. states and on into New Orleans where we stayed for one night. That was the first where we partied in the French Quarter and enjoyed ourselves ... despite the fact that I had my Jeep towed and impounded while (illegally) parked just off Bourbon Street. After that night in "The Big Easy" we continued westward on interstate 10 passing through Texas stopping only briefly in El Paso for a night and then we pushed on into New Mexico where we stopped once again only briefly to visit Carlsbad Caverns. From there we drove to Arizona and visited the Grand Canyon so I could capture a few images of it with a nice snow covering. Then we crossed over the Hoover Dam into Nevada and Las Vegas to spend two nights doing a little gambling (I lost a whole $50 playing blackjack). From there we wound our way back down through lesser highways into California and into Los Angeles. Once comfortably ensconced in L.A. we re-visited many of the sites I'd seen five years earlier. In Long Beach we got a sneaky "free" tour of the Queen Mary ocean liner/hotel by scampering up the exit gangway leading off of the boat avoiding the entrance fee. While walking around the deck I made a phone call to my mother in Toronto from a pay phone booth (curiously placed on the upper deck) and when she heard where I was calling from she said that as a sixteen year old girl she had sailed with her family on the Queen Mary when they had all emigrated to Canada from Scotland. What a unique and pleasant surprise it was to learn that story from her while standing on the very boat she sailed to Canada on. As a lark we drove up to the base of the "Hollywood" sign in the Hollywood Hills to have a peak at and photograph the iconic landmark. While there we hiked the short distance up to the base of it and to my surprise there were no barriers surrounding it. In fact there were ladders up the back of each of the letters just asking to be climbed. So, I dutifully climbed up and casually sat atop the first "O" of "WOOD" in "Hollywood" snapping photos of the city of Angels below. On our way back to Canada we made a point to pass by the "four corners" geographical marker indicating the only place in the United States where four state borders intersect at one place. Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico all share the common corner border point. While this was my second road trip to California I have been there many times since and there are other more images in other galleries on this website recording those trips.
© Steve Tambosso - "The Wandering Fireman"