Closing Time: The Beat Coffeehouse

Cleverly-named specials. Quirky events. Friends behind the counter who knew my name.

The Beat was the independent Vegas coffeehouse that reminded me of my favorite hangouts in Rochester, NY. I think my first visit was in 2011, back when my friend Tiffany and I would grab lunch after we hit the neighborhood farmers market. That was also when you could park on the street for free.

It wasn’t long before I began fantasizing about opening a tiny spa office inside Emergency Arts (the building that housed The Beat). The former exam rooms (the building had been a JC Penney, then a medical clinic) were the perfect size to allow me to serve the community, one relaxing spa treatment at a time. My dream became a reality when I signed my lease in November 2012, and I’ve been running Feetish Spa Parlor ever since.

In July 2016 we tenants were told that The Beat would be closing at the end of September, and the 1st floor tenants (galleries, studios, pretty eyelashes) would need to leave to make room for a new restaurant that would be taking over the majority of the space. Luckily Feetish is located on the 2nd floor and for now she’s able to remain where she is, but I’m still saddened (to a surprising degree, actually) by the loss of The Beat and friends.

I wanted to explore the vacant 1st floor before the wrecking crew came in to gut and rebuild the entire thing. The other afternoon Paul, Jim and I went creepin’, and here’s what we saw…

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Chasing Clowns and Burial Grounds

Are you ready for photos from the Tonopah Clown Motel?

Welcome to Part II of my photographic journey from Vegas to Vallejo, CA!

First, let's warm up with some photos of some ruins and abandoned buildings from the ghost town of Rhyolite, NV that I visited on my way to Tonopah.

First, let’s warm up with some photos of some ruins and abandoned buildings from the ghost town of Rhyolite, NV that I visited on my way to Tonopah.

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Clown Motel!

Clown Motel!

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The rooms are pretty normal (aside from a couple of framed sad clowns hanging over the headboards). Let's take a little tour of the magic that awaits in the motel's lobby, shall we?

The rooms are pretty normal (aside from a couple of framed sad clowns hanging over the headboards). Let’s take a little tour of the magic that awaits in the motel’s lobby, shall we?

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The lobby features a selection of old treasures available for purchase, as well as Clown Motel mugs, tees and postcards.

The lobby features a selection of old treasures available for purchase, as well as Clown Motel mugs, tees and postcards.

Then there's the old Tonopah Cemetery conveniently located right next door to the Clown Motel!

Then there’s the old Tonopah Cemetery conveniently located right next door to the Clown Motel!

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Did you know there's ANOTHER cemetery just down the street from the Clown Motel? It's the new Tonopah Cemetery!

Did you know there’s ANOTHER cemetery just down the street from the Clown Motel? It’s the *new* Tonopah Cemetery!

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Crazy Tonopah-related urbex near Benton, CA.

Destruction and Tonopah-related graffiti over the border near Benton, CA.

Are you cravin’ more creepin’? The journey to Vallejo continues…stay tuned!

On The Road To Tonopah

I’m writing this from the guest bedroom belonging to my ladyfriends in Vallejo, CA. It has been more than three years since I last made my way up to the Bay Area for a visit and I was way overdue. (My ladies just opened a cafe here, so if you’re ever in the ‘hood do yourself a favor and enjoy some quiche and coffee at LEAF on Marin St. in Vallejo.)

I drove up here, opting to take a meandering route north of Vegas and west/northwest of Tonopah, stopping at several ghost towns along the way. I even spent one night at the infamous Tonopah Clown Motel (those photos deserve their own post…stay tuned!).

Here are some unedited photos of some old cemeteries and abandoned places located between Las Vegas and Yosemite National Park. I hope you enjoy Part I of this who-knows-how-many-parts trip to Vallejo!

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Armagosa Desert Memorial Cemetery, NV

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Lizard in Armagosa

Lizard!

Abandoned Armagosa

Abandoned Armagosa

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Desert Hills Cemetery, Beatty, NV

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Bullfrog-Rhyolite Cemetery, Rhyolite, NV

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Just outside of the cemetery fence in Rhyolite...

Just outside of the cemetery fence in Rhyolite…

A single(?) grave pet cemetery!

A single(?) grave pet cemetery!

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Goldfield Cemetery, Nevada

Goldfield Cemetery, NV

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Silver Peak Cemetery, NV

Silver Peak Cemetery, NV

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Orbiting Baker: Zyzzyx, Rock-A-Hoola, and Daggett Pioneer Cemetery

Jon and I spent quite a while exploring Arne’s Royal Hawaiian Motel in Baker, but we still made time during our Southern California jaunt to satisfy our other creepin’ curiosities.

What’s off Zyzzyx Road, you ask? We’re going back to explore the structures; until then, here are some photos from the salt flats:

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Plus a few from Instagram, featuring Jon:

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IMG_20150508_215759After Baker we found our way to Rock-A-Hoola/Lake Dolores water park. The photos are few, but I will say this: You know you’ve made it in urbex when you’re chased off property by a trailer-dwelling gentleman and his barking dog.

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rockahoola3loresOur last stop of the day was Daggett Pioneer Cemetery. The juxtaposition of ornately decorated modern graves surrounded by older graves belonging to miners and other townsfolk made for a visually (and historically!) interesting afternoon.

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Train!

Train!

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daggett12loresUntil next time…

Mid-Century Creepin’ in Baker

It’s challenging to find gobs of information online about Arne’s Royal Hawaiian Motel in Baker, CA.

A recent real estate listing states that the expansive property was an active motel from 1957 through 2009. Progressive photos and videos posted online show a noticable decline in upkeep since the property last sheltered a registered guest, however everything about the place — from the peeling palms painted on the side of the main structure to the waterless pool dominating the concrete courtyard — still suggests a carefree vacation on California desert soil.

Not long ago Jon and I visited Baker to stock up on delicious Alien Jerky. It turns out we were the aliens, traveling through space and time and ending up here…

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I developed a deep fascination with the multitude of old chairs strewn about the place.

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Bunny in the pool.

Bunny in the pool.

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Before '50 Shades of Grey' we had 'Jailbait & The Studs', copyright 1983.

Before ’50 Shades of Grey’ we had ‘Jailbait & The Studs’, copyright 1983.

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Ladytime at Love Canal

Exploring the toxic wasteland of Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY was my sister’s idea. She wanted to research the barren remains of the 1950’s industrial chemical dumping ground for an upcoming writing project, and of course Amanda and I couldn’t wait to join her.

Online research told us that the abandoned houses had been demolished a few years back, so we weren’t sure what we’d see. Fields? Barbed wire? Angry hoards of cyclopean feral cats?

Here’s what a March, 2015 visit held in store for three creepin’ babes with cameras. Enjoy!

Welcome to Love Canal!

Welcome to Love Canal!

Fences? Check.

Fences? Check.

Barricades? Check.

Barricades? Check.

Circling turkey vultures? Check.

Circling turkey vultures? Check.

Wait, a house?

Wait, a house?

A CONDEMNED house!

A CONDEMNED house!

A locked side door.

A locked side door.

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A pane of the glass.

Just inside the porch door (the only one that allowed entry).

Just past the porch door (the only one that allowed entry).

The garage was wide open and held many treasures.

The garage was wide open and held many treasures.

A trunk in the main part of the garage.

A trunk in the main part of the garage.

The trunk held a few old photos and greeting cards, some written in German.

The trunk held a few old photos and greeting cards, some written in German.

What's up?

What’s up? A ladder in the back room of the garage.

Cat food cans abound.

Cat food cans abound.

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In the garage’s back room.

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Fun and games.

Turning back time.

Turning back time.

Friday the 13th in Kelso: An Analog Annal

Kelso, CA, March 2015.

We were creepin’ in the abandoned house when the battery in my Rebel T2i conked out. I grabbed my Polaroid from the back seat and loaded it with a fresh cartridge of black and white round frame goodness. Here are all eight shots from that pack, fuck-ups and all…

Kinda, huh?

YES

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7-UP

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So Tired

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🙂

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Oodles of Poodles

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MOM

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Shake the Shot

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Back Door Cam

Friday the 13th in Kelso: A Digital Diary

After Jon and I visited Cima, CA, we made our way to Kelso. This ghost town also has active railway tracks running through it, and attracted far more tourists than our previous stop had.

We checked out some old west exhibits at the museum and were hoping to find some chow at the depot’s restaurant, but alas, it’s closed until further notice. A dozen or so random people wandered around the area surrounding the depot/museum and the abandoned post office across the street.

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Yup, it’s an old post office.

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Upon closer inspection, we discovered that the post office’s two large front windows served as a mass grave for unfortunate birds and insects.

We can do it!

On an old hearth next to the post office. 

After playing post office, we decided to double back and visit an abandoned house we saw just down the road.

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The front porch.

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The small amount of graffiti on the walls was actually rather pleasant.

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All the best things: broken windows, old doors, peeling wallpaper, and a ceiling that now serves as a floor.

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I a-door this room.

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The Fates

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I was happy to see so much silly, vintage wallpaper still stubbornly clinging to the walls.

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A surprisingly colorful view from the back room.

A surprisingly colorful view from the back room.

The only person who approached us during our shenanigans was a park ranger who wanted to make sure we weren’t causing trouble. We asked her about local cemeteries (as we hadn’t seen any in Cima or Kelso). She told us she had heard of one where Chinese immigrants who built the railroad were buried, but she didn’t know where it was exactly. I suspect this may be the one she was talking about. I know where I’ll be creepin’ next time I’m in Kelso!

Now You Cima, Now You Don’t

Jon and I hadn’t realized we’d experienced Cima until after we’d already taken photos of the desert-worn ruins, train cars and shrine — and continued on down the desolate road, finding a whole lot of nothing in our path. That’s how small and unassuming this southern California ghost town really is.

We were there for a few hours in the early afternoon of Friday the 13th, March of 2015. Infrequent cars and motorcycles whizzed by on their way to somewhere else, while passing trains and a friendly kangaroo rat supplied the bulk of the activity. Other than that — despite the presence of a nearby compound surrounded by barbed wire fencing and large pipes — we failed to spy a single soul (shotgun wielding or otherwise).

After our adventures in Cima, the Shenanigods led us to Kelso, CA. I hope to have those photos posted within the next week, so please check back when you can. Thanks, and enjoy!

Collapsed ruins.

Collapsed ruins and enough lens flare to make J.J. Abrams blush.

Melted glass.

Melt-i media.

Tetanus fest.

Tetanus fest.

Someone was hot in bed.

Someone was hot in bed.

Hole-y shit!

Hole-y shit!

This shrine bears no identifying markers.

The shrine bears no identifying markers.

If you Google "Cima California shrine" you can view the different offerings placed here over the years.

If you Google “Cima California shrine” you can view the different offerings placed here over the years.

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Cima, California shrine offerings.

Bunny, bottle, dental floss.

Bunny, bottle, dental floss.

A wind chime hangs from the massive Joshua Tree.

A wind chime hangs from the massive Joshua Tree.

Choo choo!

Choo choo!

Piles of wire at "the compound".

Piles of wire at “the compound”.

Roaches and mattress springs will outlive us all.

Roaches and mattress springs will outlive us all.

A old trailer! Can we see inside?...

An old trailer! Can we see inside?…

Noted...

Noted…

An unlocked door, then this.

An unlocked door, then rat poop a-go-go!

Trailer trash.

Trailer trash.

Now that's what I call bad aim.

Now that’s what I call bad aim.

Ding Dongs R Us

Ding dongs.

Details.

Details.

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I was kind of obsessed with this red fire extinguisher.

The end?…