You are cordially invited to join us on a once-in-a-lifetime Esotouric bus adventure: Richard’s 45th birthday road trip. As with past birthday bus excursions, this will be an extended and extraordinary day of Southern California historic exploration and celebration, interspersed with running commentary from Richard’s mother, home movies and cake.
This year our compass points to the Antelope Valley, where we’ll be visiting two very different State Parks for guided tours from expert native guides, and a unique museum run by the City of Lancaster.
First stop on the tour is the Western Hotel Museum, in the city of Lancaster. The Western Hotel Museum is one of the most visible links Lancaster has to its heritage. At the turn of the century, the two-story hotel was a vital part of local culture, accommodating everyone from muleskinners to British lords. After years of different owners and purposes, the hotel fell into a state of disrepair during the 1970s and was condemned. Lancaster residents, rallied to save the once-grand hotel. This resulted in the formation of the Western Hotel Historical Society. Restoration was completed in 1988, and the hotel/museum now houses photographs and artifacts that depict the history of the people who built, worked and lived in the Western Hotel.
Next, we’ll visit the Antelope Valley Indian Museum for a tour of the collection and historic buildings by Peggy Ronning, the Museum’s current curator and Edra Moore, the founding curator.
The Antelope Valley Indian Museum is rich in history and character. Los Angeles cinema scenic artist Howard Arden Edwards and his family homesteaded the land in the 1920s and constructed the fanciful, Germanic buildings as a repository for his amateur collection of American Indian artifacts. While Edwards’ collecting methods and interpretive choices are today controversial, he amassed a remarkable collection, which attracted the site’s next caretaker, Grace Wilcox Oliver. In the 1950s the property briefly was a dude ranch. In the 1960s, Oliver reclaimed the museum and sought a longterm steward for the collection and buildings. In 1979, it became part of the State Park system, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (1990) brought major funding and a renewed focus on stabilizing and cataloging the collection under the supervision of founding curator, Edra Moore. In the early 2000s, curator Peggy Ronning took over management, and began a nearly ten year campaign to restore and stabilize the structure, including creating a geothermal temperature control system.
The museum is 80 years old this year and has never looked better. Join us for an in depth look at how a 1920s roadside attraction and curio stand has been transformed into a viable scholarly resource and cultural attraction.
The last stop on the tour will be The Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park, where Ranger Jean Rhyne will lead us on a guided walk of this preserve, thick with mature stands of Joshua trees and California juniper trees in their native western Mojave Desert habitat. Join us for a glimpse into the Antelope Valley as it was in centuries past.
Instructions for guests: Bring a picnic lunch. We’ll have lunch at the Antelope Valley Indian Museum’s extensive vintage picnic facilities upon our arrival. After the museum tour, we’ll have birthday cake and coffee, then depart on the bus for the Woodland walk. The entire trip from Los Angeles and back will take about 8 hours. We recommend bringing good walking shoes, a camera, a warm coat, plenty of water, your lunch and anything you’d like to snack on during the day.
The tour leaves from the Daily Dose in the Arts District, where there is ample free parking in the neighborhood. Please pay attention to posted street signs. The Daily Dose is a great place for breakfast, but we recommend that you arrive about a half an hour before check in, so that neither you nor the cafe is rushed.
This is a special event. No passes or special discounts apply. Tickets are $47.