The latest episode of the California Now Podcast takes listeners to infinity and beyond, exploring night sky tours in the desert, mid-century modern buildings you can see from the street, and some of the best bike routes in the state.
Astronomer and tour operator Dennis Mammana lives in Borrego Springs, an International Dark Sky Community located two hours east of San Diego that just happens to be one of the best places in the world to experience the night sky. As Mammana explains on the podcast, he wants his guests to better understand what they’re seeing when they gaze up at a sparkling canopy of celestial bodies.
"Our program consist of initially me introducing my guests to both the environment on the ground, Borrego Springs and the park, and the environment in the sky," Mammana says. "We talk a little bit about the light pollution issues. We talk about the stars, the star groupings, planets, whatever happens to be in the sky that night. I like to try to get people to appreciate what it is they are actually seeing with their eyes. Then, we take people to the telescope."
Also in this episode, former pro cyclist Phil Gaimon explains why California is his favorite place to ride and he points out some idyllic locations for casual pedal-pushers and serious cyclists.
"Man, you can't go wrong on Pacific Coast Highway," Gaimon says. "I do a ride with my friends through Malibu every Saturday morning and on the way back I do a thing on Instagram—I do a dolphin watch. As you're riding along the coast at some point you're going to see a dolphin and I'll stop and go Instagram Live and just narrate the dolphins for a few minutes and leave.
"How is that real? Dolphins every Saturday morning. You can't get better than that."
The episode rounds out with author Sam Lubell discussing a few of the many retro futuristic buildings worth visiting in the Golden State. Lubell, author of the Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide, suggests starting in San Diego, working your way up the coast to Los Angeles, and then veering east to Palm Springs.
"Modernism Week is in Palm Springs," Lubell explains, "and there's some incredibly insane amount of people that go—40,000 to 50,000 people a year—so this is not a small little blip. This is a huge trend."