A few weeks ago I went on a little spring break trip to visit my family in Los Angeles. A few things happened, followed by a few more, and so on. Here's a multiple-part photo journal of events that mattered to me while I was there. Enjoy!

After years passing this sign millions of times (at least) since the age of 6, I finally decided to indulge my curiosity and visit the mysterious highway exit known as Zzyzx Rd. Originally known as a government outpost Soda Springs, CA was rechristened Zzyzx in 1934. Zzyzx was founded by a crackpot evangelist who split his time between hosting a radio show in L.A. and managing his health spa and hotel in Zzyzx. Its strange name was claimed to be a real word, which he used to properly name his spa so that it would be "the last word in health".

Kelso Dunes as seen from Zzyzx.

After the federal government dubiously "reclaimed" the land on the technicalities of mining claim laws, the Cal State university system took the land over in 1976 and manages it to this day. CSU nows operates a Mojave Desert research center in the converted health spa and hotel facilities that the original owner built. Soda springs still exists on the grounds of Zzyzx, and is actually the last existing habitat for the endangered Mohave Tui Chub, the only fish currently native to San Bernardino County.

After taking my sweet time at Zzyzx, I decided to extend the usual, tedious trip between L.A. and Vegas into an extended field trip. Next stop: Vasquez Rocks.

While most recognize this place from scenes in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey and a plethora of other films of varying quality, the Vasquez Rocks were initially known for being a favorite hideout for the notorious Tiburcio Vasquez. As a kid, the Vasquez Rocks were a favorite boy scout hiking spot of mine, to the point that I was pretty well-versed in the history of their infamous namesake.

Despite growing up in within the educated Spanish ruling class, at age 17 Vasquez descended into a outlaw lifestyle which included ample amounts of robbery, theft, prison breaks, and womanizing. Since he was usually on the run, he found the canyons around the Vasquez Rocks to be an ideal hiding place.

Siltstone conglomerate in the foreground. CA Hwy 14 and the San Gabriel Mts in the background.

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