On Historic Route 6
A few miles south of Independence, I visited the Manaznar National Historic Site, where 11,070 American citizens of Japanese ancestrywere imprisoned. All of these people – adults and children alike – were taken from their homes and placed in similar camps all over the west. Not one was charged with a crime, yet some were confined for as long as 3 ½ years. Newscasts of the day called the packed trains to the camps a “voluntary migration,” and most who were instructed to go were told that they were being evacuated for their own safety, as animosity towards Asians skyrocketed after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This was our country’s dirty little secret until President Ronald Regan signed a Bill of Restitution in 1988, calling these “war relocation centers” a “big mistake.” The Visitor’s Center is a must-see – with a 20-minute documentary that will break your heart. The land is so windy and bleak, I’m amazed that the prisoners there created schools, social societies, orchestras and the most gorgeous water-gardens. That they made the most out of their imprisonment is testament to the importance the Japanese place on culture and education.
|Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine|
Film History, Lone Pine, CA
|Indian Wells Brewing Co.|
|Red Rock Canyon SP|
Bordering Edwards Air Force Base, Lancaster is primarily an aerospace city, though it fell on tough times. In order to “bring Lancaster back” city officials decided to invest in downtown – to beautiful effect. Main Street – now renamed “The Boulevard” –looks like a tree-shaded park, and though not entirely pedestrian, it has the feel of a pedestrian mall.
The Lemon Leaf, and had the best pizza since I left Connecticut. (Sorry Lemon Leaf – no one can top Pepe’s in New Haven, CT in my opinion). Across the street, the really funky, factory-like Bex (“Be Extreme”) serves “extreme” pub food; “extreme salads, extreme sandwiches” – and downstairs in the darkly atmospheric Underground Bowling Lounge you can try for strikes on neon-lit lanes. (Why are strikes good in bowling but bad in baseball?). On a Tuesday night, the place was pretty quiet, but I’d imagine (and would hope) it’s hopping on weekends. Outside, a live band was playing to a big group of bikers (Bike Night) and kids swung on tire swings in a clever side-walk space playground. A new Museum of Art and History is nearing completion, and the whole street has a very inviting vibe. Lancaster, CA plans to capitalize on the fact that Judy Garland got her acting chops here as a little girl when her family moved here from the Midwest. The small theater near her elementary school still stands (though it’s now a warehouse with a nice façade), and some city boosters would like to see it come back to life.