Zzyzx Road

by Mike Satterfield

If you have ever driven from Los Angeles to Las Vegas you pass by a road with a strange name, Zzyzx. Like many, I have driven by the sign a number of times. But on my last trip, I decided to take that off-ramp, just south of Baker and see where Zzyzx road goes.

The story is a radio personality and self-proclaimed doctor and minister Curtis Howe Springer built is own health resort, on the claims that the mineral water there had rejuvenating powers. But it turns out that Springer didn't own the land and when the Federal Government caught wind of his plan to sell plots for people to build homes on the property was seized, and he went to jail for falsely advertising his miracle cures.

The Feds turned the property over to the California State University system to use as a desert research center. Today you can visit for free during daylight hours and are free to explore the property, so long as you follow the posted signs and don't bother the students and researchers who live there.

The City of Baker off in the distance

Get directions to Zzyzx below

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Thai-inspired Butternut Squash Soup

Savor this Thai-inspired soup, with a base of creamy coconut milk, rich butternut squash, a hint of spicy peppers and succulent shrimp. For a shortcut, look for peeled and cubed butternut squash in the produce department. Serve over rice or noodles if you like.

2 teaspoons expeller-pressed canola oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon red curry paste, more to taste
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, about 4 cups
2 cups low-sodium gluten-free chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted (optional)
Lime wedges

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry paste, sugar and salt and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in squash, broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and simmer just until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro, sprinkle with coconut and serve with lime wedges on the side.

Nutritional Info:
Per Serving: 250 calories (60 from fat), 7g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 175mg cholesterol, 480mgsodium, 26g carbohydrates, (6 g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 23g protein.

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Artist Profile: Armando Silva

Artist Armando Silva was born in Sombrerete, Zacatecas, Mexico. At five, his family moved to the Northern Colorado area in search of the American Dream. Enamored with American pop-culture, Armando began experimenting with visual and performing arts. He drew inspiration from television, music, and his own family history.

As he grew up he became more comfortable sharing his gifts with the world. To hone his skills he attended The Universtiy of Northern Colorado where he earned a BA in Fine Arts. He first became known for his live painting performance art shows but has recently opened a studio and gallery in his hometown of Greeley, Colorado.

Armando's work is vibrant and each one, as he explained, told an amazing story. His new gallery space is part of a collaboration between himself and Keynote Coffee a local coffee roaster, meaning you can enjoy a great cup of coffee while taking in Armando's work.

Artist Armando Silva

Having his own space has been a dream of his for quite some time. "As a creative, I look for opportunities to present my artwork in order to paint a bigger picture," Armando said. The new gallery in Greeley allows him to do just that. If you can't make it to Greeley you can visit ARTMANDOSILVA.COM where you can purchase limited edition prints and original works.

802 9th st
Greeley, CO 80631

El Nopal

Destination: Ubud

Ubud is a very special place, the cultural capital of Bali, the mountain Kingdom is surrounded by rice paddies, monkey filled jungles, and Hindu temples. It has become one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Southeast Asia. While some people just come up to Ubud for a day, then quickly return to the beaches of Kuta, it's best to spend at least a couple of days taking it all in and exploring the culture and arts of Ubud.

Getting to Ubud:

From Bali's main airport Denpasar, it is about two hour drive, while they do have tourist shuttles, you can add up to two hours to your travel time depending on how often it stops. Tickets will set you back about $12 per person, and most shuttles require a minimum of two people.

Renting a scooter is an option for those who see more adventure in their life, the traffic and erratic driving of the locals means you will need to keep focused. You can rent a scooter for about $10 a day for a 150cc Honda or Yamaha. For a few dollars more you can upgrade to larger scooters and motorcycles from companies like Bali Big Bikes.

Hiring a private driver or a taxi is also common, most hotels can call you a legitimate taxi and driver. A trip to Ubud can set you back around $15-$20 depending on the driver and distance.

Staying in Ubud:

Ubud is such a popular destination there are hotels and hostels for nearly any budget. Hostels in the city center offer dormitory and private rooms for as little as $10 a night. In town there is also a wide selection of more traditional hotels which can be had for between $25-$75 a night. If you plan on staying in the city try to be near Monkey Forest Road or Hanoman Road, so you will have walking distance access to restaurants, shopping, and cultural exhibits.

Outside the city center are  wide selection of resorts that can range from $75-$250 a night on average with some elite resorts and villas charging upwards of $500 a night. Also factor in that you will need to have a rental car/scooter, or a driver take if you plan on visiting the city center.

Food in Ubud:

Ubud is known for it's amazing food culture, from the Bebek Bengil to Warung Babi Guling Bu Oka 3 you can try more traditional Balinese dishes. But because Ubud has become such a hot destination for Expats, you can even get very good Mexican, European, and of course other Asian cuisines.

Things to do in Ubud:

Traditional Shows:

There are several different types of performances common to Bali, the Uluwatu Temple fire show is one of the most popular. There are several to choose from around Ubud and most will cost you $5-10 a person for tickets.

Shopping in Ubud:

If you have ever been to Southeast Asia you know that shopping is a major pastime for locals and tourists alike. However, Ubud is a nice break from the megamalls and packed international boutiques of Kuta. The Ubud Market still has an old market feel where you can shop for products made by local artisans.

Visit the Monkey Forest:

Ubud is famous for it's Monkey Forest, it costs about $4 to enter the forest/temple where hundreds of macaque monkey are waiting to greet you. Watch you hats, sunglasses, cameras, phones, jewellery, well just about anything loose as the monkeys love to grab and go. You can purchase bananas to feed them, if you do be prepared to have a monkey climb on you, don't worry they are very tame.

Get Blessed by Holy Water:

Tirta Empul Tampak Siring is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims. Known as the water temple it's waters are said to have healing properties. Note when visiting temples you must wear a sarong if you are wearing shorts. If you have a change of clothes or if you just don't mind being wet you can join the locals and take part in the ritual.

Bonus Photos from Ubud:

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch on Route 66 is a unique place where salvaged bottles, cars, boats, and even some guns have been turned into an ever-changing work of art. The sound of windchimes fills  the ranch adding a magical soundtrack to this special place. Everything is made from items that Elmer has scavenged from the surrounding desert, from old signs and gas pumps to a Willys Jeep and even a few latrines. 

Located on Route 66,  just east of Victorville, it is a popular stop for tourists from around the world. The Ranch is open from Dawn-Dusk Seven Days a Week, it is free of charge, however, donations may be left in the large Mail Box at the front which reads "TIPS." 

To plan your trip CLICK HERE for the map.