Rubel Castle in Glendora
Field Trip Coordinator Heidi da Silva led this tour of Rubel Castle. Yes, it’s a castle, complete with a tower and a drawbridge, horses, chickens, dogs and cats, all in the middle of a very nice quiet neighborhood. Many of those on the tour who live in the neighborhood never even knew it existed.
The castle was established in Glendora, California, by Michael Clarke Rubel, and is currently owned and operated by the Glendora Historical Society. The tour, led by two most knowledgeable and delightful guides, were friends of the late Michael Rubel and participated in the castle’s construction which began in 1968 in an empty abandoned 1,000,000 gallon concrete reservoir. Using cement and (lots of) discarded champagne bottles, the project lasted twenty years. With help of many friends and relations, the castle grew to be thousands of square feet with towers five stories high. Rubel and his associates built the structure without architectural plans, utilizing salvaged river rock, cement, steel, aluminum, telephone poles and wine bottles. There is a train set in one room, a metal room where one wall is lined with hammers, and, of course, a bottle room.
There is also a cemetery with rejected marble tombstones (but no graves), which we were told is quite a hoot on Halloween.
Seabiscuit Tour at Santa Anita Park
Besides having such a great time on the tram and walking tour with a guide who owns and trains horses, so much was learned on this trip led by Family Liaison Janet Jackson. For instance, did you know that the jockeys and horses live at Santa Anita Park? There is a community of approximately 400 individuals who inhabit the park 24/7. Or did you know that nervous horses are sometimes given a goat to be their companion? The goats live in the stall with their horse and even travel with them. But goats come with their own problems; they eat everything and anything so the horse’s food must be kept on a high shelf out of their reach. And when the goat is left in the stall alone while the horse is training or racing, the goat cries… loudly!~ Check out the 2003 movie “Seabiscuit” and see where some of the scenes were shot.
LA Times Editorial Building and Printing Press
Long before there was Facebook or Twitter or emails or Instagram or YouTube, there was (and still is) the Los Angeles Times. When people sought information on current news, or weather or sports or entertainment, they went to the LA Times.
This two-part tour began in the Editorial Building where such historical front page stories as the Hindenberg disaster, the first moon landing and the assassination of JFK can be viewed.
The second part of the tour took place several hours later at the Los Angeles Times Olympic Print Plant where not only the LA Times newspaper is printed but, according to our knowledgeable guide, Darrell Kunitomi, also the Wall Street Journal, Orange County Register and the Daily Breeze. We watched as robots moved the enormous rolls of paper around and managed to keep clean walking around the vats of dye.
Palm Springs Aerial Tram
A great way to beat the heat (106 degrees+) if you’re in Palm Springs is the Aerial Tram. It takes you up Jacinto Mountain to the top where it was a most comfortable 70 degrees. The view up, in the rotating, tram was spectacular. A cafeteria style lunch at the Pines Café gave everyone a chance to get acquainted. The high altitude made you slow down on the hiking trail and the limited cell phone reception was relaxing.