Special Event – Desert Visionaries 2: Llano del Rio, St. Andrew’s Monastery, Angeles Crest Creamery & Aldous Huxley’s Pearblossom Ranch – March 17th


Bus Tour Description

By popular demand, we offer a second day-long excursion to explore the Southern California dream as it has manifested through creative residents of the Antelope Valley over the past century.

Tour stops include:

  • Llano del Rio colony ruins (two sites not visited on Desert Visionaries 1)

  • St. Andrew’s Abbey (hosted lunch, tour of the grounds and art pottery studio, plus a gift shop stop)

  • Angeles Crest Creamery (educational walk with the mother and baby goats at this experimental animal husbandry facility)

  • Aldous Huxley’s Pearblossom Ranch (with new stories for our second visit to the literary landmark)

ANTELOPE VALLEY RESIDENTS: No, you don’t have to drive to Los Angeles to join the tour! There will be a pickup and drop-off location for locals, in Pearblossom. Please contact us before buying your ticket, so we can send you special meeting instructions.


Llano del Rio was a hard work socialist co-operative colony founded by the lawyer and philosopher Job Harriman, who very nearly became Mayor of Los Angeles in 1911. On May Day, 1914, Harriman’s friends moved en masse to the Antelope Valley, settling a 2000-acre village site along progressive, socialist ideals. In late 1917, most of the colonists walked away from their desert home, with many residents continuing on to New Llano, Louisiana. The evidence of their desert adventure still survives.

Joining us as we explore the ruins of Llano del Rio are two expert guides: historian Paul Greenstein (co-author of Bread & Hyacinths: The Rise and Fall of Utopian Los Angeles) and artist-archivist Karyl Newman (2016-2017 Research Fellow at the Beinecke Library and co-founder of hinterculture). They will tell stories of the colonists’ colorful adventures set against a backdrop of the conservative Los Angeles power structure, personified by Job Harriman’s arch-nemesis, Los Angeles Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis. And Karyl will share new research on Alice Constance Austin, a feminist city planner engaged by Harriman to implement her ideas at Llano–structures created to eradicate domestic housework, situated to offer privacy and tranquility, yet connected to facilitate tasks communally–decades ahead her time. 


St. Andrew’s Abbey is a male Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of the Annunciation located in Valyermo. The monastery’s history is a rich one. In 1929, St. Andrew’s Abbey in Bruges, Belgium founded St. Andrew’s Priory in China, where the monks of the Priory conducted missionary work. In 1953, during the Cultural Revolution, the monks were expelled from the county, along with all other foreign religious workers. In 1955, they purchased the Hidden Springs Ranch, and have made their home in the high desert ever since. The purpose of St. Andrew’s Abbey is to carry on the ages-old tradition of the Order of St. Benedict: Prayer and Work. The Abbey serves as a retreat center, and is noted for its distinctive line of ceramic wall hangings, launched in 1965 with designs by Father Maur van Doorslaer, O.S.B. (1925-2013). We will enjoy a home-cooked lunch at the Abbey. After lunch, Father Patrick will give us a tour of the grounds and the pottery, and you’ll have an opportunity to purchase souvenirs.

Abbey website

The Ceramics of Father Maur van Doorslaer, O.S.B


Owner Gloria Putnam says: “Angeles Crest Creamery a small-scale regenerative goat ranch & dairy located on private land within the Angeles National Forest. Our focus is on research and education, specifically relating to low-input dairying in Southern California. By selecting the right animals for the environment, in this case goats, and using traditional practices like shepherding, we are exploring to what extent it is possible to reduce inputs (primarily hay) while producing clean, delicious and humane meat & dairy. In order to carefully monitor impacts on our mountain wilderness landscape, we keep the herd size small—too small to support a commercial dairy operation. Our research is supported by our educational events and ranch stay vacations.” 

At this stop, Gloria will take us on an educational walk with the mother and baby goats, tell us about her research and answer questions. In addition to Gloria and her goats, you’ll probably meet the Great Pyrenees dogs who protect the herd, the chickens, and Henry the donkey. 

Learn more about Angeles Crest Creamery


In 1941, the English author Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) settled into an old farmhouse at Pearblossom Ranch, near Llano del Rio. In 1944, he wrote the allegorical children’s story, The Crows of Pearblossom, as a gift for his young niece and nephew. Although Huxley’s original manuscript was destroyed in a fire at his Hollywood Hills home, a copy survived to be posthumously illustrated by Caldecott Award-winning artist Barbara Cooney and published by Random House in 1967. We will visit Huxley’s Pearblossom Ranch, which is maintained much as it was when he lived there and is now a popular filming location. Jim and Anne are passionate caretakers of this historic site, and have many tales to tell. Perhaps we will even see the crows! 


Please note that this is a Special Event, and vouchers and discounts good on our regularly scheduled bus adventures are not accepted for this tour.

Check in for this tour is 9 am for a 9:30 am sharp departure. We will return around 6:30 pm. There are no paper tickets: your name will be on a list at the bus door. A vegetarian-friendly lunch will be served at St. Andrews Abbey. We will supply coffee, donuts and water at various points along the way. Bring any snacks or (non-alcoholic) beverages you’ll need during the day. Please dress appropriately for our on and off bus adventures in the desert, including sturdy closed-toe shoes. This tour occurs rain or shine.


We are recommending that all attendees park in the parking lot listed below, because we are returning after dark. No other nearby pay lots will be open when the tour begins.

Paid lot parking is available directly across the street from the Daily Dose Cafe, at the Perfect Parking, Inc. lot at 1805 Industrial Street. Parking is market rate and can be $10 or more. Reserve in advance with Perfect Parking, Inc. at least 48 hours before arrival to secure $7 all day parking by contacting Sergio.

The Daily Dose is a great place for breakfast, but we recommend that you arrive about half an hour before check in (by 8:30am), so that neither you nor the cafe is rushed.

Need to reach us on tour day? Please phone Richard at 213-915-8687 after 8am.

No audio- or videotaping without permission. We regret that there are no refunds for passengers who miss the bus.

[shopify product=https://esotouric-bus-adventures.myshopify.com/products/desert-visionaries-march-17th image_size=”medium” destination=”cart”]


The Daily Dose Cafe
1820 Industrial Street
Los Angeles 90021


View Larger Map