Rock-A-Hoola Waterpark

After Zzyzx, we hopped back on the freeway and continued south. Our next stop was an abandoned waterpark, along the 15 in the Mojave Desert.

Lake Dolores Waterpark was built in the 1950s as a private resort. In the 1960s, it was opened to the public until it closed in the 1980s. In 1998, the park was re-opened as “Rock-A-Hoola Waterpark.” Since then, the park has changed names and owners several times. But all attempts to re-open the park eventually failed, and in 2004 it was closed for good.

Most of the waterslides have been removed from the park, but there are still several structures standing. There is no surrounding town, so very much like The Salton Sea and Bombay Beach, the scene seems almost post-apocalyptic. My kinda place.

Next stop, Bottle Tree Ranch

Zzyzx

I just spent a week in Las Vegas for work. At the end of the week, I carpooled back to Los Angeles with my friend and coworker, Anne. We made a road-trip out of it, and stopped a few places along the way. Our first stop was Zzyzx, CA. I’ve passed the sign for “Zzyzx Rd.” many times in the past on my way to Vegas, but this was the first time I’d actually stopped to check it out.

We ventured off the 15 Freeway and followed the two-lane Zzyzx Road. As the pavement gave way to a dirt road, we went around the “Road Flooded” signs and kept on our way. At the end of the road there is definitely some X-Files shit going on a small park and a desert research center along the banks of what appeared to be a dried mineral lake.

Next stop, Rock-A-Hoola Waterpark

Downtown Ontario

This past weekend, my brother-in-law and I took a walk down Euclid Ave. in Ontario, CA to take some photos. Below are some of my shots from the trip.

Christmas at Rose Hills

Last weekend, Alanna and I went to Rose Hills with her family. Like many others there, we cleaned up and decorated grave sites for family members no longer with us. Some of the memorials were really ornate, as seen in the photos below.

Proud and humbled to be a part of all this.

It’s been a year of highs and lows, but one thing is certain: all of us at WordPress.com’s parent company Automattic are proud of what this community has accomplished in the past year. Your work is supported by a company of more than 500 people in over 50 countries, dedicated to democratizing publishing. We hope we’ve helped to bring your ideas, your creativity, and your businesses to life on the web.

To celebrate 2016, we’re excited to share our Automattic Year in Review — where you’ll find stats and fun facts about all of our work over the past year for WordPress.com, as well as WooCommerce, WordPress.com VIP, Jetpack, .blog, and more.

Continue reading: WordPress.com in 2016: A Year in Review

Wedding Photos — Ryan & Alanna

After years of trying, I finally tricked Alanna into marrying me back in October. We just got our pictures back from our photographer, Eve Rox. They came out great – the entire weekend went by in the blink of an eye, so it’s nice to look back through the pictures and relive it all. You can check out the gallery on our wedding site here: Wedding Photos — Ryan & Alanna

Bear Ranch Hike

Alanna and I spent Thanksgiving up at Bear Ranch. We went for a hike this morning around the property. Our commanding officer forgot his belt and fired all of us, but we still managed to secure the perimeter. Read More

Reblog: RyLanna Wedding — Mr. Cowles

We’re still waiting on the pictures from our photographer, but my Dad posted some photos from our wedding week in the meantime. You can take a look at his post to see the gallery. We also posted our Photobooth photos on RyLanna.com.

Thanks to Ryan and Alanna, for a few magical days in October we all lived on the Queen Mary. Their wedding was nothing short of magnificent. I didn’t shoot a lot at the ceremony and reception. I was just into being a part of the wonder of it all. I’m sure their photographer will have […]

via RyLanna Wedding — Mr. Cowles

Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms

After exploring the Salton Sea, Bombay Beach, Slab City, and Pioneertown, we made our way to Twentynine Palms. We had to follow a few dirt roads with spotty GPS to get there, but we made it to our rental house – a rustic 1950s-style cabin in the middle of the desert. We settled in for our first night, fired up the BBQ, and watched the stars from the hot tub in the backyard.

The next morning, we set out for a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Two deserts, the Mojave and Colorado, come together in the park, and create a very unique setting. We didn’t see much wildlife, aside from a few hawks and vultures, but the landscape was beautiful – full of Joshua Trees (go figure) and vast rock formations. We made our way through the park, stopping often to hike and explore.

We spent the next couple days relaxing at the house. We drank coffee on the porch in the morning and watched the stars around the fire at night. We found some time between to explore some of the abandoned structures scattered across the desert.

This was my first real trip to the desert (aside from Vegas) and I couldn’t have imagined a better week. After the wedding, spending time with Alanna to relax and recharge was amazing – and I look forward to our next adventure together.

tl;dr: honeymoon + desert = 👍

Pioneertown

From Slab City, we made our way north to Pioneertown. Built in the 1940s, Pioneertown was created as a live-in Old West motion picture set (#). Filming has declined over the years, but the town still has a population of about 340 (341 according to a sign we saw).

We took a walk down Mane Street, but most of the businesses were closed, and we didn’t see anyone else around. Still, the drive alone made the visit worthwhile, and the buildings and shops lended themselves to photo ops. We didn’t spend too much time in Pioneertown, and soon set out for Joshua Tree.