Tehachapi Road Trip 2015 Part 1
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Tehachapi Road Trip Spring 2015 Part 1
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Memory Lane Images

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A windmill-covered ridge overlooking Tehachapi at dusk on 2 April 2015. I must confess that I repositioned the full moon slightly!

My Original House That I Grew Up In

A trip down memory lane: This is the little house in Arcadia where I grew up & played with ants during the 2nd millennium. It was built by my father, a U.S. Navy Seabee during the 2nd World War. See My 1st Affair With Ants

10 years old (1951)
An Ant That Triggered My Interest
In Natural History & Biology

by Wayne P. Armstrong 21 Nov 2013
During the early 1950's I spent many hours each day observing various insects and spiders at my home in Arcadia, CA. I was especially interested in an ant colony at the edge of a Bermuda grass lawn in my backyard. The major and minor workers became agitated with the slightest disturbance and gave off a distinctive odor. Unfortunately, most of the ant species I observed as a child in suburban southern CA have been replaced by the ubiquitous Argentine ant supercolony. Now that I am in my 70's, I decided to study ants again, and hopefully identify the ant species I played with as a child, especially those marvelous ants in my backyard.

  See Page About My 1st Ant  
On November 19, 2013, I finally confirmed the identity of the ants that sparked my interest in natural history more than 60 years ago. They were big-headed ants of the genus Pheidole. I base my conclusions on a nest that I recently discovered on Owens Peak in San Marcos, CA. Not only do the workers have the same general size, shape and color, they even emit the same peculiar odor when agitated that I clearly remember as a child. I was an avid collector of "kinds of things," including rocks, sea shells, pine (conifer) cones, bullet shells (casings), match books, and even nails. But I truly believe that the big-headed ants that fascinated me during my formative years were a major factor leading to a career in biology.

My Parents Cabin Near Wrightwood, CA

My father built a quonset hut cabin on this 4 acre parcel in the 1950s along the road to Wrightwood, CA. It was later destroyed by fire and it took almost 50 years for the pinyon woodland to fully recover.

A wildflower called "blazing star" (Mentzelia veatchiana) near the charred foundation of our cabin. This species also grows on Volcan Mountain in San Diego County.

Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain

The Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain in South Pasadena has been on this site since 1915. Although I grew up in the nearby city of Arcadia, I never visited this historic landmark until March 2015!

Old Soft Drink Bottles At Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain

Remember When: Old soft drink bottles on shelf at Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain in South Pasadena. From left: Bireley's*, Nehi, Orange Crush, Squirt, Coca-Cola and 7-Up. Other old soft drinks include Royal Crown Cola, Dr Pepper, and Delaware Punch. This historic landmark has been at this location since 1915. * Note: I added Bireley's to the image because it was my favorite noncarbonated beverage as a child.

Remember The Old Wigwag Railroad Crossings

Do you remember the wigwag (pendulum-type) railroad crossing signals? Photographed at the Tehachapi Railroad Museum (5 April 2015).

All images on this page copyright © W.P. Armstrong