U.S. Tour 1: Alabama – California

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Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Alabama - Encircle Photos

1 Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Alabama

The name Mobile, Alabama, is derived from its first settlers, the Mobila Indians. It was colonized by the French in 1702, followed by the British and then the Spanish before seized by the United States during the War of 1812. Mobile’s prosperity has risen and fallen based on the health of its cotton, ship building and paper industries. These trades leveraged the city’s position on the Mobile River where their Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center now stands.

1 S Water St, Mobile, AL 36602
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First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama - Encircle Photos

2 First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama

On January 21, 1861, Jefferson Davis resigned as a U.S. Senator. Within a few weeks, he was inaugurated as the President of the Confederate States of America. This 1835 home became the First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama. After four months, the White House was moved to Richmond, Virginia, until it was seized by Union troops on April 2, 1865. The Confederate Cabinet dissolved on May 5, 1865. Davis was captured five days later.

644 Washington Ave, Montgomery, AL 36130
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Anchorage Museum and Common in Anchorage, Alaska - Encircle Photos

3 Anchorage Museum and Common in Anchorage, Alaska

The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center has an extensive collection of historical objects, artifacts, art and photographs that are on display or part of their archives. Collectively, they tell the rich stories of the state’s past citizens. These include the Indians, Eskimos, Russians, gold prospectors and pipeline builders. Two floors are devoted to the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964.

625 C St, Anchorage, AK 99501
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Ghost Forest along Seward Highway in Alaska - Encircle Photos

4 Ghost Forest along Seward Highway in Alaska

The Seward Highway is a wonderful, scenic drive for about 127 miles between Anchorage and Seward. Stop at several turnouts to enjoy the mountains, valleys, waterways and glaciers. If you are lucky, you might spot a whale, sea lion or a moose. Especially fascinating is the Ghost Forest in the Girdwood Valley at mile post 90. This Tidewater Slough was created during the Great Alaska Earthquake in 1964 when the elevation dropped dramatically below sea level. The seismic event wiped out the original town of Girdwood and turned this row of trees a ghostly white.

Seward Hwy & Alyeska Hwy Girdwood, AK 99587
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Hubbard Glacier Dam Site of Russell Fjord in Alaska - Encircle Photos

5 Hubbard Glacier Dam Site of Russell Fjord in Alaska

The dark rock on the right is the tip of Gilbert Point. Behind it is the mouth of the 35 mile long Russell Fjord. Twice during the last 30 years, the glacier blocked this opening. This transformed the fiord into a giant lake. When the dam broke in 1986, the gushing water was equivalent to 35 Niagara Falls. The dramatic flood was the largest lake outburst in history. Because Hubbard Glacier advances 80 feet a year, a new dam will form in the future. The narrow sheet of ice extending down the center of the photo is Valerie Glacier.

Disenchantment Bay, Alaska
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Nugget Falls Cascading into Mendenhall Lake near Juneau, Alaska - Encircle Photos

6 Nugget Falls Cascading into Mendenhall Lake near Juneau, Alaska

As the Nugget Glacier melts, forming Nugget Creek, the water rushes down a mountain within the Tongrass National Forest until it plummets 377 feet during two stages into Mendenhall Lake. The result is a spectacular roar of mist. From there, the fresh water joins with the runoff of Mendenhall Glacier and travel towards the Mendenhall River. This eventually empties into the Inside Passage of the Pacific Ocean.

Mendenhall Glacier Interpretive Visitor Center E Glacier Trail, Juneau, AK 99801
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Floatplane Taking Off at Sunrise in Ketchikan, Alaska - Encircle Photos

7 Floatplane Taking Off at Sunrise in Ketchikan, Alaska

No roads lead to Ketchikan, Alaska …literally. The only ways in and out are by boat, ferry, commercial plane or a floatplane like this one taking off at sunrise. Most of these seaplanes are used for air tours over the Tongrass National Forest and for transporting fishermen and campers to ideal locations. Local residents also use these single prop taxis as the fastest means to get to neighboring islands.

1245 Tongass Ave Ketchikan, AK 99901
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Malaspina Glacier on Saint Elias Mountains in Alaska - Encircle Photos

8 Malaspina Glacier on Saint Elias Mountains in Alaska

This view of the Malaspina Glacier is at the intersection of the Gulf of Alaska and the entrance to Yakutat Bay. The giant sheet of ice flows down from the Saint Elias Mountains which peaks at 18,000 feet. This piedmont glacier – meaning it remains in a valley and does not reach the water – is the world’s largest. Malaspina Glacier covers 1,500 square miles. The maximum depth is about 2,000 feet. When 66 feet of that depth melted between 1980 and 2000, it raised the world’s sea level by a half a percent.

Yakutat Bay, Alaska
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Bald Eagle at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage, Alaska - Encircle Photos

9 Bald Eagle at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage, Alaska

This bald eagle’s combative stance and angry cry was impressive. It was demonstrating why they are the largest raptor species in North America, meaning they hunt and feed on animals and fish. This eagle, along with several breeds of very large animals native to Alaska, can be seen at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage. This is a perfect visit for the whole family.

Seward Highway & Portage Glacier Rd, Portage, AK 99587
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WP&YR Caboose Platform in Skagway, Alaska - Encircle Photos

10 WP&YR Caboose Platform in Skagway, Alaska

Imagine reading a headline from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 1897 exclaiming gold had been discovered in the Canadian Klondike. With dreams of riches dancing in your head, your adventure begins on a steamer. After arriving in the Port of Skagway, you must carry a ton of supplies through 40 miles of a treacherous mountain pass. Then you board another boat at Bennett, British Columbia, for a 70 mile ride down the Yukon River. If you survive, you discover most of the land has been claimed and the gold is gone. This hideous ordeal was the inspiration for building the White Pass & Yukon Route railroad to accommodate prospectors.

231 2nd Skagway, AK 99840
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Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla, Alaska - Encircle Photos

11 Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla, Alaska

Behind the doors of this log cabin in Wasilla, Alaska, is the Iditarod headquarters. Here you can learn how Joe Redington, Sr. founded “The Last Great Race on Earth” in 1973. See historic memorabilia from the 1,150 mile sled dog race and take your own short ride behind a dog team. If you are daring, sign up for the next event in March. Be forewarned: your brutal travel from Anchorage to Nome may be in blizzard conditions with wind chills of -100° F. That endurance test lasts 9 to 17 days.

2100 S Knik-Goose Bay Rd, Wasilla, AK 99654
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Overview of Casa Grande Ruins in Coolidge, Arizona - Encircle Photos

12 Overview of Casa Grande Ruins in Coolidge, Arizona

Around 5500 BC, the Archaic people were the first inhabitants of the Casa Grande area in south-central Arizona. The Hohokam arrived in 300 AD. Also called the Ancient Sonoran Desert People, they were master architects of building canals from the Gila River for irrigation. When channeling water became increasing difficult, these Native Americans moved out circa 1450 AD. The ruins they left behind are fascinating. An example is the Great House seen in the background. On the right are the remains of another structure in the compound. In 1892, President Harrison signed into law the first federal protection of a prehistoric site in the U. S. The Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge, Arizona is managed by the National Park Service. The park is well worth a detour in order to visit.

1100 W Ruins Dr, Coolidge, AZ 85128
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Bicyclist with a Band-Aid Mural on Absolute Bikes by Lyle Motley in Flagstaff, Arizona - Encircle Photos

13 Bicyclist with a Band-Aid Mural on Absolute Bikes by Lyle Motley in Flagstaff, Arizona

This mural of a bicyclist with a Band-Aid on his knee and a boy starring from a passing car was voted Best Public Art in the Editor’s Choice Awards by Flagstaff Live in Flagstaff, Arizona. This is a detail of a larger mural on the Absolute Bikes’ building. If you’re interested, it is fun to watch the time-lapse, on-line video of how Lyle Motely created it in 2007.

202 Historic Rte 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
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The South Rim from Yavapai Point at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona - Encircle Photos

14 The South Rim from Yavapai Point at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

The word “grand” is inadequate to describe the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in Arizona. Carved by the Colorado River and 1.7 billion years of erosion, it extends 277 miles. Although ten miles across, it requires a 250 mile drive around it. This view from Yavapai Point is the shallowest at 2,400 feet. The canyon is 7,800 feet deep at the North Rim. Nearby is the Yavapai Geology Museum where park rangers provide interesting facts using a scaled model of the canyon.

Yavapai Point Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
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Entry to the Upper Canyon of Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona - Encircle Photos

15 Entry to the Upper Canyon of Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona

Enjoy a rugged ride across a desert in a four-wheeler driven by a Navajo Nation guide to the Upper Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona. Then, stand in awe at this entrance. This majestic mouth to the Corkscrew Canyon is continually carved by wind and flash floods. Inside is a twisting path of narrow fissures. The changing light creates a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes. Antelope Canyon is a photographer’s wonderland.

Indian Rte 222 and AZ-98, Page, AZ 86040
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Phoenix Old City Hall in Phoenix, Arizona - Encircle Photos

16 Phoenix Old City Hall in Phoenix, Arizona

In 1927, the decision was made to construct a conjoined building for the Phoenix City Hall and the Maricopa County Courthouse. That was the easy part. Afterwards, the city and county had a tough time agreeing on anything (imagine that!). The Mission Revival structure was finished in 1929. The terracotta panels glisten with a warm hue in the Valley of the Sun. Flanking the Old City Hall entrance are sculptures of a phoenix. This mythical bird that rises from the ashes was adopted as the official seal when Phoenix was incorporated as a city in 1881. Then it had less than 2,500 residents. Today, Phoenix is the sixth largest U. S. city with a population over 1.5 million.

125 W Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85003
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Entertainment Alternatives in Scottsdale, Arizona - Encircle Photos

17 Entertainment Alternatives in Scottsdale, Arizona

If you get bored during your vacation in Scottsdale, then you never left your hotel room. There are plenty of alternatives for fun. Serious shoppers enjoy Scottsdale Fashion Square. Arizona’s largest mall features over 225 stores. Also visit the Scottsdale Waterfront for more shopping plus restaurants or a stroll along the Arizona Canal. The Art District is filled with galleries. They display a range of styles and artists suitable for the budget-minded to the experienced collector. Old Town is where you can walk along the wooden storefronts, peek into the boutiques and, if you get tired, sit a spell with this pigeon-toed cowboy. Finally, the Entertainment District is the place to go for nightlife.

7240 E Main St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
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Stagecoaches along Historic Allen Street in Tombstone, Arizona - Encircle Photos

18 Stagecoaches along Historic Allen Street in Tombstone, Arizona

Tombstone, Arizona’s motto is, “The Town Too Tough to Die.” However, many of its gunned-down, hung and lynched former residents are buried in Boot Hill. Also gone forever are the 100 saloons, dozen gambling halls and the busy brothels that once served the pioneer townsfolk. Today, Tombstone replicates the silver boom years of 1879 through early 1880s. The population of about 1,300 lets tourists experience the Wild Wild West. This includes the chance to ride a stagecoach down Allen Street at the core of the Historic District.

414 E Allen St, Tombstone, AZ 85638
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Arizona Barrel Cactus Blooming in Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona - Encircle Photos

19 Arizona Barrel Cactus Blooming in Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona

It seems logical Arizona would name a national park after its state flower, the Saguaro Cactus Blossom. Located in Tucson, the 90,000 acre park protects various cactus species. One is the Arizona Barrel Cactus. This succulent blooms with small yellow and orange flowers on the top in the spring. Cars are only allowed along an eight-mile loop. There are also many hiking trails for you to enjoy, assuming you can tolerate the heat.

Signal Hill Picnic Area, Signal Hill Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743
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Old Pulaski County Courthouse and Stephens Buildings in Little Rock, Arkansas - Encircle Photos

20 Old Pulaski County Courthouse and Stephens Buildings in Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas and home of the William Clinton Presidential Library. Among the city’s mix of architecture is the 1889 Old Pulaski County Courthouse featuring a Romanesque Revival design. Attached is the “new” courthouse, built in 1914. Both are still in use. In the background is the Stevens building, a financial services firm.

400 W 2nd St, Little Rock, AR 72201
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Bugatti Parked at House of Bijan in Beverly Hills, California - Encircle Photos

21 Bugatti Parked at House of Bijan in Beverly Hills, California

This impressive Bugatti retails for well over $1 million. It is one of several extravagant cars Bijan Pakzard always parked in front of his very, very expensive menswear boutique on Rodeo Drive. He was an Iranian fashion designer for some of the world’s richest and high-profile men.

420 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
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Fog along Cliffs, Road and Crashing Surf on Big Sur Coast, California - Encircle Photos

22 Fog along Cliffs, Road and Crashing Surf on Big Sur Coast, California

Big Sur was one of the most inaccessible coastlines in the U.S. until the 90 mile Carmel-San Simeon Highway was finished in 1937. Prisoners labored 18 years to construct this incredible seaside road. Today, you can enjoy its unspoiled natural beauty as California Route 1 twists and turns between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean.

Cabrillo Hwy & Plasket Ridge Rd, Big Sur, California
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Minnie Mouse as Stewardess at California Adventure in Anaheim, California - Encircle Photos

23 Minnie Mouse as Stewardess at California Adventure in Anaheim, California

Your fun-filled day in Anaheim may start with a greeting from Mickey Mouse at Disneyland and end with Minnie Mouse at California Adventure. Here she was singing and dancing in a show called Minnie’s Fly Girls at Candor Flats. Both of these lovable characters first appeared in “Steamboat Willie.” The 7:45 minute, black and white cartoon was released in 1928.

Condor Flats, Anaheim, CA 92802
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Carmelite Monastery Chapel in Carmel, California - Encircle Photos

24 Carmelite Monastery Chapel in Carmel, California

In 1602, Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno sailed three ships along Alta California. He named some of his discoveries after his vessels: San Diego, Santa Barbara and Monterey. Three Carmelite friars who were aboard called this area near Point Lobos after our Lady of Mount Carmel. Over three hundred years later, this Carmelite monastery was established by Bishop Bernard MacGinley. Since 1925, this location on Monastery Beach has been the home to the Sisters of the Sea. They are a community of cloistered Catholic nuns.

27601 CA-1, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923
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Louis Armstrong Playing Trumpet Mural at Arkley Performing Arts in Eureka, California - Encircle Photos

25 Louis Armstrong Playing Trumpet Mural at Arkley Performing Arts in Eureka, California

The puffed cheeks and expressive eyes of Louis Armstrong playing his trumpet are perfectly painted by Randy Spicer as part of the long Arkley Performing Arts Mural in Eureka, California. This detail of Satchmo is one of several performing figures. Others include a Shakespearean look-a-like named “Willy,” a clown and hands playing a piano. The wall painting is a delightful composite.

404 H St, Eureka, CA 95501
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Fannette Island in Lake Tahoe at Emerald Bay State Park, California - Encircle Photos

26 Fannette Island in Lake Tahoe at Emerald Bay State Park, California

Emerald State Park is along the western shore of Lake Tahoe in California. In the center of gorgeous Emerald Bay is Fannette Island. The uninhabited piece of granite rises 150 feet accented with sparse timber and brush. On top are the remains of a “Tea House” where Mrs. Knight entertained friends. Then, in 1929, she commissioned a stunning, Scandinavian castle with 38 rooms and a staff of 15. Her former summer home is available for tours. She and her husband also financed Charles Lindberg’s solo trans-Atlantic flight.

Emerald Bay State Park, 138 Emerald Bay Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
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Sandy Beach at Low Tide in Grover Beach, California - Encircle Photos

27 Sandy Beach at Low Tide in Grover Beach, California

Grover Beach is a small town of 13,000 people on Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean. Their sandy beach is the perfect place for a solitary stroll during low tide. Savor the beauty of the rolling waves and swirling clouds.

1 W Grand Ave, Grover Beach, CA 93433
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Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California - Encircle Photos

28 Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California

Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks – a married couple who were also movie stars – were part owners of Grauman’s Chinese Theater when it opened in 1927. The palace movie theater is a Hollywood icon. There are over 200 sets of hand and feet impressions in front. The tradition of celebrities placing their footprints in the sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard apparently happened by accident when the concrete was drying during the theater’s construction. In 2013, this landmark was renamed the TCL Chinese Theater.

6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028
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Coachella Valley Historical Museum in Indio, California - Encircle Photos

29 Coachella Valley Historical Museum in Indio, California

In 1926, Dr. J. C. Tyler built this combined house and dental office. The locals called it “Smiley Place.” In 1965, the Coachella Valley Historical Society was established. The Smiley-Tyler House has become the centerpiece for their two-acre Coachella Valley Historical Museum. You will enjoy learning about Indio’s past going back to the Cahilla People. An interesting story is how Dr. June McCarroll was the first person to paint a white line down the center of a highway in 1917. In 1924, she successfully lobbied the California DOT to make this marking a standard. World War II history buffs should also tour the nearby General Patton Memorial Museum.

82616 Miles Ave, Indio, CA 92201
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Namesake Tree at Joshua Tree Park, California - Encircle Photos

30 Namesake Tree at Joshua Tree Park, California

The namesake for this national park is the Joshua tree. The largest of the yuccas can reach a height of 40 feet. It is indigenous only to the Mojave Desert. The spikey evergreen can live over 150 years. This odd-shaped yet picturesque member of the agave family has several names. The Cahuilla Indians called it hunuvat chiy’a or humwichawa. The scientific name is yucca brevifolia. In the mid-19th century, the Mormons observed the outstretched limbs resembled the Biblical Joshua leading the Israelites during the Exodus. They named it the Joshua tree.

64102 Park Blvd, Joshua Tree, CA 92252
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La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California - Encircle Photos

31 La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California

One of the finest beaches within San Diego is La Jolla Cove. Although it is small, the water is clear with up to thirty feet of visibility. This Pacific Coast shoreline is a favorite among snorkelers. At the top of the sandstone cliff is the grassy, tree-lined Scripps Park.

1160 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037
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Charming Old Town La Quinta, California - Encircle Photos

32 Charming Old Town La Quinta, California

The Old Town of La Quinta is small – only a few blocks along Main Street – yet big on charm. The stores are housed in whitewashed buildings with Spanish features reminiscent of the Mediterranean. In the springtime, the structures are accented with blooming red bougainvillea. This sidewalk is one of several Patio Passageways. What a perfect place to sip coffee while reading a newspaper during your relaxing vacation.

78100 Main St, La Quinta, CA 92253
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Angels Flight and Skyscrapers in Los Angeles, California - Encircle Photos

33 Angels Flight and Skyscrapers in Los Angeles, California

When Angels Flight opened in 1901, it had the distinction of being the shortest railroad. The two passenger cars – named Sinai and Olivert – traveled slowly up and down a 33% grade hill for 315 feet. The landmark funicular served for almost 70 years. In 1996, the narrow-gauge railway was moved a half block. The famous ride of LA closed for a while after a series of accidents then reopened in 2017.

356 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
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Monterey Canning Company in Monterey, California - Encircle Photos

34 Monterey Canning Company in Monterey, California

Chinese fishermen arrived along Monterey Bay during the 1850s. Yet it wasn’t until 1908 when the first commercial sardine cannery opened. Others quickly followed. These operations thrived during WWI. However, toward the end of WWII, they began to disappear as the fish did. Soon the waterfront was abandoned. In 1968, the Sardine Factory restaurant opened. Then more entrepreneurs converted old buildings like the 1918 Monterey Canning Company into magnets for tourists.

711 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940
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Flock of Birds around Fishing Boat in Morro Bay, California - Encircle Photos

35 Flock of Birds around Fishing Boat in Morro Bay, California

The Morro Bay Harbor and the nearby Pacific Ocean is a favorite among commercial and recreational fishermen. When they return to port, a flock of birds is always there to greet them. Many local restaurants serve a fresh catch of halibut, albacore, sole and salmon.

1185 Embarcadero Morro Bay, CA 93442
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Green Globe in McFadden Square in Newport Beach, California - Encircle Photos

36 Green Globe in McFadden Square in Newport Beach, California

The City of Newport Beach is very affluent. The medium household income is well over $100,000 and a medium home price exceeds $1 million. This makes the city the eighth most expensive real estate market in the country. To celebrate the success of their first hundred years, this green globe was placed in McFadden Square in 2006. The artist, Hank Kaminsky, created bas-relief images of historic landmarks, residents and activities that have made this resort town great. A centennial timeline of major events is also revealed in the stones surrounding the artwork.

70 Newport Pier, Newport Beach, CA 92663
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Clock over Lionel J. Wilson Building in Oakland, California - Encircle Photos

37 Clock over Lionel J. Wilson Building in Oakland, California

The Lionel J. Wilson Building in Oakland, California will catch your attention if you love wedge-shaped buildings. Many believe this triangular style was inspired by the flatiron (clothes iron). The most famous is the Flatiron Building in New York City. When the Lionel J. Wilson Building was built in 1907, it was the First National Bank Building. The clock above the door is exquisite. It also makes a perfect pigeon perch.

Broadway & 14th St. Oakland, CA 94612
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Brief History of Palm Springs, California - Encircle Photos

Brief History of Palm Springs, California

The Cahuilla people have lived in the San Jacinto Plain for over 500 years. In 1862, the first non-Native American to settle in the area was a stagecoach station operator named Jack Summers. Eighteen years later, Mathew Bryne and William Slyke – a pair of developers – began purchasing land from the local tribe. They called their investment the Palm City Land and Water Company. John McCallum followed their lead in 1885. People started showing up in the early 1900s, attracted by the springs and wintertime temperatures. When movie stars arrived in the late 1920s, the town bloomed as a resort community. This further attracted rich retirees and members of the mob. Today, Palm Springs has about 45,000 residents. It is a hotbed for tourism during the winter and just plain hot during the summer.

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Ghost Tree at Sunset on 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, California - Encircle Photos

38 Ghost Tree at Sunset on 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, California

The 17-Mile Drive from Carmel to Monterey is one of California’s most scenic routes along the Pacific Ocean. If you reach Pescadero Point around sunset, then this Ghost Tree looks especially haunted. The dead cypress is rumored to attract a supernatural “Lady in Lace.” She has been seen wandering along this Pebble Beach shore on foggy nights. And the massive waves out front have killed even experienced surfers. So enjoy the Ghost Tree’s shadowy and eerie beauty if you dare.

Pescadero Point 3290 17 Mile Dr, Pebble Beach, CA 93953
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People Walking on Beach in Pismo Beach, California - Encircle Photos

39 People Walking on Beach in Pismo Beach, California

Although the average high in Pismo Beach is in the mid to upper 60°s all winter, you can tell these people enjoying the beach are locals because they are dressed as if it is about to snow. Afterwards, in order to warm up, they enjoy a bowl of clam chowder from a restaurant at the end of the pier. The soup is delicious! But then it should be because the town is nicknamed the “Clam Capitol of the World.”

100 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA 93449
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Sunset Burst through Giant Redwoods along U.S. Route 101, Redwood Highway, California - Encircle Photos

40 Sunset Burst through Giant Redwoods along U.S. Route 101, Redwood Highway, California

Stretching from Los Angeles to California’s north border is U.S. Route 101. Along a 31 mile route of the old highway and through Redwood National Forest is the Avenue of Giants. Here you will find mammoth coast redwoods. They can be so thick that they drop the temperature and block the sun. Other times the sun peeks through the massive branches as gorgeous bursts of light.

US 101& Hwy 254, Garberville, CA 95542
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Gold Colored Tower Bridge and Bicyclist in Sacramento, California - Encircle Photos

41 Gold Colored Tower Bridge and Bicyclist in Sacramento, California

In 1935, California’s first vertical lift bridge was built across the Sacramento River. Originally a yellow color, it was repainted as gold in 2002. Sporting a matching shirt is this bicyclist, one of the many who walk, run and ride across it daily since the sidewalks were widened in 2007.

Tower Bridge Gateway, Sacramento, CA 95814
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Woman Surfer Riding a Wave in San Clemente, California - Encircle Photos

42 Woman Surfer Riding a Wave in San Clemente, California

The waves along San Clemente’s beaches are so popular among surfers that the city has become a hub for surfing publications and equipment manufactures. As you would expect, several famous surfers were raised riding these swells on the Pacific Ocean.

225 Avenida Califia, San Clemente, CA 92672
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California Bell Tower at Balboa Park in San Diego, California - Encircle Photos

43 California Bell Tower at Balboa Park in San Diego, California

The 200 foot California Bell Tower’s cupola and lantern is accented with a starburst. The tile design has become an iconic symbol of San Diego. This three-tier, Spanish and Mexican tower welcomes visitors arriving at Balboa Park through the El Prado entrance. The California Building was created for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Inside is the anthropology Museum of Man.

1350 El Prado San Diego, CA 92101
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Columbus Tower and Transamerica Pyramid Buildings in San Francisco, California - Encircle Photos

44 Columbus Tower and Transamerica Pyramid Buildings in San Francisco, California

San Francisco’s tallest icon is this 853 foot, white and winged, four-sided building at the end of the financial district: Transamerica Pyramid. On the right is Columbus Tower. Also known as Sentinel Building, this copper-green, flatiron building was built in 1907. Its tenant is American Zoetrope, a film studio founded by George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. Since 2000, this location has produced some of the highest awarded and biggest box office films.

900 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94133
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Bell Wall next to Serra’s Chapel at Mission San Juan Capistrano in California - Encircle Photos

45 Bell Wall next to Serra’s Chapel at Mission San Juan Capistrano in California

Serra’s Chapel on the left was constructed in 1782. This qualifies as California’s oldest building. The four bells – named the San Vicente, San Juan, San Antonio and San Rafael – used to hang from a campanile in the Great Stone Church. The tower was destroyed in an 1812 earthquake, leaving the ruins on the right. The Bell Wall in the middle was built the following year to hold the bells. They were replaced in 2000 with reproductions created from the original molds.

31641 El Camino Real San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
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Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California - Encircle Photos

46 Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California

A Franciscan friar named Junípero Serra established nine Spanish missions from San Diego to San Francisco from 1769 until two years before he died in 1784. This one in San Luis Obispo was his fifth. Although he selected this location in the “Valley of the Bears,” it was built by Father Jose Cavaller beginning in 1772. The church was constructed 20 years later.

799 Monterey St San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
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Casa del Sol at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California - Encircle Photos

47 Casa del Sol at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California

In the middle of the grand staircase in front of Casa del Sol is an elegant fountain. The centerpiece is a reproduction of the David statue originally created by Italian sculptor Donatello circa 1440. This Spanish Revival guest house is named for its view of the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. There are eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms and three fireplaces within its 3,620 square feet.

Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452
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Downtown Lower State Street in Santa Barbara, California - Encircle Photos

48 Downtown Lower State Street in Santa Barbara, California

Although Santa Barbara was discovered by maritime explorers in the mid-16th century, it would not be settled by Spanish soldiers and missionaries until 1782. The city is located along the Pacific coast and is marketed as the “American Riviera.” This Lower State Street neighborhood stretches for several blocks and is lined with boutique shops, restaurants and nightlife.

1116 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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Walton Lighthouse on Breakwater in Santa Cruz, California - Encircle Photos

49 Walton Lighthouse on Breakwater in Santa Cruz, California

The Walton Lighthouse stands 60 feet above the waters of Monterey Bay at the mouth of the Small Craft Harbor in Santa Cruz. It was named after its major benefactor, Charles Walton. He donated the construction money in memory of his brother Derek who died at sea during WWII. This is the fourth light that has aided marine navigation at the Santa Cruz Harbor since 1964.

616 Atlantic Ave Santa Cruz, CA 95062
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Santa Monica Pier and Beach in Santa Monica, California - Encircle Photos

50 Santa Monica Pier and Beach in Santa Monica, California

The Santa Monica Pier is actually two piers that have been joined together. The longer Municipal Pier in the background was built in 1909. The shorter one in the foreground was called the Newcomb Pier when it opened seven years later. It is now the platform for a two-acre amusement center called Pacific Park. Beneath them is a sandy beach along the Pacific Ocean coastline.

200 Santa Monica Pier A, Santa Monica, CA 90401
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Air Force One Pavilion in Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California - Encircle Photos

51 Air Force One Pavilion in Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California

This Boeing 707 is called Special Air Mission 27000, or SAM 27000 for short. For 29 years, when one of six US presidents was inside, its air traffic control call sign was Air Force One. Nixon was the first to ride in it. After his resignation in 1974, it flew him back to California. When George W. Bush’s presidency ended, it brought him to Texas on August 29, 2001. Then, its last flight was to California where it was dismantled and reassembled at the Air Force One Pavilion in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The helicopter is a Sikorsky VH-3 Sea King, called Marine One. The chopper was predominately used by Lyndon Johnson.

40 Presidential Dr, Simi Valley, CA 93065
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Richard Nixon Home at Nixon Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California - Encircle Photos

52 Richard Nixon Home at Nixon Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California

The first line of the Memoirs of Richard Nixon reads, “I was born in a house my father built.” Francis Nixon built this home using a mail order kit in 1913. Nixon and his four brothers grew up there under strict Quaker rules until 1922. During the home’s dedication in 1990 at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, Nixon said in front of a crowd of 50,000, “Nothing we have ever seen matches this moment – to be welcomed home again.” He and his wife Pat are buried nearby.

18001 Yorba Linda Blvd, Yorba Linda, CA 92886
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