Monday, November 19, 2012

Reckless Abandon: THANKful for Deserted Domiciles

It is that time of year again when we Americans show our gratitude for the abundance with which we live through a glorious display of gluttony and greed.  First we gorge ourselves on a disgraceful amount of food and then we trample each other for discounted electronics that we cannot afford anyway; seriously, every year the news is chock full of footage of people injuring (sometimes killing) their fellow human beings to get a TV/cell phone/video game console with built-in obsolescence.  Can you tell that I am a bit of a humbug when it comes to the contemporary holiday tradition?  Having worked in retail for many seasons, I like to count my blessings as far away from shopping malls as possible.  The furthest locale for my kind of gratitude is the desert and the places that remind me to be grateful for all that I have are the decaying, abandoned houses along the highway. 

There comes a moment in every fervent search for a very particular abandoned, desert house when one realizes that in the search, one has driven past a hundred abandoned, desert houses - all worthy of exploration.  As it turns out, the desert isn't just untamed winds and prehistoric flora, it is a vast frontier of never ending opportunities for exploring abandoned properties.  The combination of the feeling that you're doing something naughty with the opportunity you have to make up a history for the property and its former occupants turns what is really an innocuous activity into something very exciting.  So, with reckless abandon we set out to explore these abandoned wrecks.  

"Danny was here"

Our first stop was this abandoned house in Yucca Valley, Twenty Nine Palms???  Wherever it was, it was a sweet little house.  Based on the remaining fixtures and the style, the house appears to have been built in the late 1940's/early 1950's.

You know those times when you jokingly pretend you're modeling and
the result is a super-uncomfortable photograph that you insist on sharing
 with the world anyway?  This is not that...obviously.
Decorating by paintball - interesting choice.
The scalloped trim and the radius shelves made we want to move
 in and save this place.
Some wallpaper was still intact because it was on the kitchen ceiling.
A large service porch had a sink and room for washer,
dryer, ironing board, and storage.  Is it weird that I have turned
this into real estate shopping rather than a gritty examination
 of this abandoned, and undoubtedly haunted, shack? 

Speaking of all things haunted - even in the full light of day,
 the house was a little spooky and came complete with the obligatory
disembodied doll arm.


The landscaping and lawn ornaments were atmospheric
but all in all they left something to be desired.
I did bring a souvenir home - the Frigidaire name plate.

The climbing tree was pretty awesome though

And then there was the fiberglass go kart body
parked in the breakfast nook and another on the side yard.

It is hard to find logic in an abandoned desert home but we just couldn't get over the go karts; why were they there?  Were the previous residents professionals on the international go kart circuit?   Were they working on a fossil-fuel-free transportation system for city residents?  Were these rejects from Autopia that Disneyland was stashing in the desert?  The answer came a short while later when we followed the lighthouse in the distance.

Our beacon
Even in a defunct state, this stately architecture lit our way to our next abandoned location - a family fun center!

Complete with racetrack and more go karts!!!

Mr. Tiny had the bright idea to bring a bit of the lighthouse
 home but what does one do with a gable full of termites and
rusty nails?

Man, oh man, would I like this for the backyard though.
You know I love a good water feature.

A short but challenging course.

Smith's Ranch, while technically not abandoned, fell into the "abandoned" category because it was desolate when we found it; the dusty floor of this primitive drive-in theater combined with the fierce winds definitely lent a feeling that no one had populated its grounds in many years.

Smith's Ranch plays up-to-date pictures

While there are still plenty of flickers yet to be played at Smith's Ranch,
it seemed like a screening of The Last Picture Show would be entirely apropos.

We were feeling so high on our abandoned adventures that we thought nothing could bring us down...

And then Mary was taken out by a giant arrow.

Whether your celebrations find you heading to the middle of the desert or to the comfort of your family home, we wish you a functioning wacky wagon, a roadside filled with wonder, and a very Happy Thanksgiving - you turkeys!!!  

(Source)

We have much to be thankful for and while we are in a thankful frame of mind, we must again thank you for all of your support!  Thanks for following along and thanks especially for your wonderful comments.  In our next post, we will have an exciting announcement and an opportunity to show our gratitude with a GIVEAWAY!


Cheers!

Mr. Tiny

27 comments:

  1. I can't believe you can find abandoned houses like that along the roadways in the desert!! Makes me wonder what happened to the occupants ... But it does look like fun out there poking around. Mary getting done in by the giant arrow was funny!! I always enjoy your jaunts - I never know where you are going to get up to next!! LOL Happy Turkey Day to you, too!!!!

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    1. Thanks RS, it's always an adventure out here and everyone is welcome to join in! Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

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  2. The Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles has a "thing" about the big arrows often seen on old newpaper pix... usually indicating some form of doom (approaching, or already-occurred.)

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    1. She should have seen it coming.

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    2. "Cupid, draw back your ICBM launcher..."

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  3. I completely agree with you as I watch the news and see how people turn into complete animals and kill over material things, I shrink back from society a little more. The empty house is so sad, whenever I go to estate sales, I look at the people's homes and always feel bad that no one wanted to keep their memories, but then I think they would appreciate how much I love their treasures I find!

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    1. It is crazy because it happens on every level. I will see the same behavior (on a smaller scale) at thrift stores even!!! What could any of us possibly NEED that badly? You know I love my "stuff," but I am not willing to lose my dignity/life over it! Houses like this are sad and endlessly fascinating to me because I really do make up an entire history of the lives lived there - so much fun!

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    2. I myself have gone through old abandoned houses too, I always try to picture who lived there before and what it might have looked like brand new. My cousin just sent me a photo of two tents in front of Best Buy, they are already camping outside of the stores, it's insanity.

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  4. Hi Mr. Tiny. I've been reading your blog for a few months now (silently, like a big, creepy weirdo) after seeing a link to you on my friend Tasha's blog (by gum, by golly!). I just wanted to say hello and wish you and Mary a Happy Thanksgiving.

    I also love those sad, forgotten houses out there in the dessert. Whenever my husband and I drive to Las Vegas, we have our favorites that we look for on the side of the road, decaying a bit more each year. We've never stopped to look inside though, so this was rather exciting to see what they look like closer up!

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    1. Hahahaha...if anyone is a big, creepy, weirdo here, it is ME! I'm so glad you found us; Tasha's blog is one of my favorites. Next time you drive to Vegas, I encourage you to stop and safely explore! Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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  5. Hi Chris,
    I know your Thanksgiving Days are always filled with loving family & friends like mine are. I never go near a mall anytime of the year except for Crystal Court Ruby's and Sees Candy!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family,
    Janet

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    1. Thanks Janet! The mall (with a few exceptions) is absolutely unnerving to me; I'm glad you are able to stay away. Happy Thanksgiving to you and the whole family!

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  6. I am LOVING your birthday vacation photos! Go karts and non-living dromedaries in the desert?! Crochet museums?! You guys hit some amazing roadside stops. So glad you shared it all!

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    1. Thanks Tasha - I'm glad you're enjoying them! Happy Thanksgiving to you and Mel!!!

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  7. You guys go on SO MANY fun roadtrips, and discover so many cool, off-the-beaten-path places! I want to join in the adventuring!

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  8. Gahhh! Abandoned houses! <3 <3 <3! I would have had some serious moral dilemas because I would have wanted to steal everything!!!

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    1. It's a tough one...I hate to think of myself as a looter, but when a house is abandoned that's fair game, right? Right? Okay, maybe I'm a looter.... Happy Thanksgiving!

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    2. Totally fair game. Across the highway from South Of The Border is an abandoned Family Inns motel. I will neither confirm nor deny that a pretty cool abstract nautical vintage picture and vintage pool tile was acquired there. Had my pick up truck been bigger so would have everything in the rusted outer space themed rocket ship play ground. :)

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  9. And a happy Thanksgiving to you Mr. Tiny & Mary! Not to take you to literally, but "The Last Picture show" was filmed in Archer City Texas which is 20 miles from where I work/live I get to visit "Anarene Texas" on a weekly basis when in deliver (how fitting) to the Archer City Funeral home!

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    1. Thanks Mick! That is so cool! I never get tired of Hollywood stuff - even when it comes from TX. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving at Casablanca!

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  10. i would have been tempted to stick one of those cute go karts in my car. and how awesome would it be to have that mill in your backyard! when we went to this crazy old golf course is gatlinburg (the mecca of tacky) travis started scheming ways to make our very own concrete backyard castle! i wish he had followed through!

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    1. If we had been equipped with an appropriate vehicle, I wouldn't have put it past us either. Don't let the dream die; you NEED a backyard castle!

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  11. I had a friend, in grad school, who would take me through abandoned farm houses in central Illinois. Sometimes it looked like people had fled in the middle of the night and everything was left behind, devoured, of course, by the weather and vandals. I remember clothing that was smashed and hardened to the floors and pianos that had been burned, smashed windows, and broken china. It was so odd looking, like a happy home that was now an abandoned relic of the past. I loved it and it made me sad all at the same time.

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    1. Yes, I think that is the what I like it the most - the conflict. In thinking of the family/families who have lived there, I get to think of the great celebrations (Thanksgiving included) and happy times that were had there and also the sad possibilities for why the house was left abandoned. It sounds corny, but we are so often attached to computers that the opportunity to use my imagination is so refreshing and fun! I love to explore but I do wonder where the need to vandalize comes into play; it seems it is a very common feature in abandoned properties. I hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving!

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  12. Here's a story: I had a friend who LOVED to go into (sometimes even 'break into") old abandoned and condemned houses just to snoop around. There was a small cluster of just such houses (very old brick-built houses probably dating from the early part of the 20th century or even earlier) in the Spadina Circle in Toronto, and he told me he had gotten into one of them and was poking around on the second or third floor when he clearly heard a voice say "Get out of there!" He looked around and saw nobody, so he dismissed it as a figment of his imagination and continued looking around. Then, he heard it AGAIN: This time it said "Get out NOW!" He decided to pay attention and quickly walked out of the room he was in...the moment he did so, the whole floor disintegrated and went crashing DOWN; had he not listened to that strange warning, he might very well have been badly injured or killed, and nobody would have found him for gawd-knows-how long!

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    1. YIKES! Firstly, that is a CRAZY story and I am glad that your friend heeded the call (from wherever it came) and made it out safe and sound. Secondly, it is a good reminder to use caution in these situations. I am actually kind of a chicken and do my best to avoid trouble and injury at all costs. BE CAREFUL OUT THERE EXPLORERS!!!

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