Cool art and history in Solana Beach.

A woodie with surfboard under palm trees and a shining sun. This mosaic greets people walking down the sidewalk in Solana Beach.
A woodie with surfboard under palm trees and a shining sun. This mosaic greets people walking down the sidewalk in Solana Beach.

During my visit to Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach last weekend, I walked around the area of Lomas Santa Fe Drive, South Cedros Avenue and Highway 101 searching for cool sights.

I found some colorful art and images of local history which I’ll now share!

Nearby Fletcher Cove was named after “Colonel” Ed Fletcher, who developed Solana Beach and contributed in the early 20th century to the history of San Diego. As businessman and politician, he was the driving force behind many important accomplishments. He created Lake Hodges and other area reservoirs; he built the plank road through the desert that connected San Diego to Yuma, Arizona; he helped save Balboa Park’s temporary buildings from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition from destruction; he raised money to purchase land for the Naval Training Station on Point Loma; he also acquired a statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo that was a gift to California from Portugal–an iconic sculpture that now stands at Cabrillo National Monument overlooking San Diego Bay.

A fascinating electrical box at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Plaza Street contains photos of Solana Beach’s origin and early history.

Grill in sidewalk marks historic U.S. Route 101 (also known as Pacific Coast Highway) where it passes through Solana Beach.
Grill in sidewalk marks historic U.S. Route 101 (also known as Pacific Coast Highway) where it passes through Solana Beach.
An electrical box celebrates the origin and early history of Solana Beach in San Diego's North County.
An electrical box celebrates the origin and early history of Solana Beach in San Diego’s North County. Pictured on the right is Ed Fletcher.
Fletcher Cove opened on July 4, 1925, giving Solana Beach easy access to the shore. A celebration was held that included horse races along the sand.
Fletcher Cove opened on July 4, 1925, giving Solana Beach easy access to the ocean. A celebration was held that included horse races along the sand.
Early photo of Solana Beach, which was developed by Ed Fletcher as a commercial center for nearby Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar.
Early photo of Solana Beach, which was developed by Ed Fletcher as a commercial center for nearby Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar.
Old photos decorating the electrical box were provided by the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society.
Old photos decorating the electrical box were provided by the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society.
Horses race along the beach as the opening of Fletcher Cove is celebrated.
Horses race along the beach as the opening of Fletcher Cove is celebrated.
Cool mosaic artwork on Pacific Coast Highway shows marine life in the nearby ocean.
Cool mosaic artwork on Pacific Coast Highway shows marine life in the nearby ocean.
An octopus.
An octopus.
A graceful fish.
A graceful fish.
Another beautiful fish made of small ceramic tiles.
Another beautiful fish made of small ceramic tiles.
Nostalgic artwork on an electrical transformer on South Cedros Avenue shows people on the deck of a luxurious ship.
Nostalgic artwork on an electrical transformer on South Cedros Avenue shows people lounging on the deck of a luxurious ship.
More cool street art decorates a utility box on Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach.
More cool street art decorates a utility box on Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach.
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Sunlight, smiles, and colorful Urban Trees.

Cool public art is now located at Ruocco Park, right next to Tuna Harbor on San Diego Bay.
Colorful public art is now located at Ruocco Park, right next to Tuna Harbor on San Diego Bay.

During my early evening walk along the Embarcadero today I noticed that four Urban Trees sculptures owned by the Port of San Diego have recently been moved from the front of the Cruise Ship Terminal to Ruocco Park.

I was taking photos of the play of sunlight on boats and buildings, and snapped a few pics of these public sculptures as I walked past them. At the time it didn’t occur to me that I’d devote tonight’s blog post to these images. But I like how they turned out!

Perhaps you recognize these sculptures. I’ve shown them two or three times over the years on Cool San Diego Sights. The Port of San Diego acquired a number of these Urban Trees sculptures for their public art collection, and they are moved about every so often. Urban Trees was a series of public art exhibitions along the Embarcadero years ago, before I began to blog.

Smiley face on a pedicab heads toward four Urban Trees. The Port of San Diego public sculptures were recently moved from the Cruise Ship Terminal to Ruocco Park.
Smiley face on a pedicab heads toward four Urban Trees just before sunset. These unique Port of San Diego public sculptures were recently moved from the Cruise Ship Terminal to Ruocco Park.
Orange Tree, by artists Guy and Ellen Mayenobe, 2007. Originally exhibited on the Embarcadero during Urban Trees 4.
Orange Tree, by artists Guy and Ellen Mayenobe, 2007. Originally exhibited on the Embarcadero during Urban Trees 4.
Closer photo of late sunlight on A Different But Loving Pair, by artist Cecilia Stanford, 2005. Originally exhibited during Urban Trees 2.
Photo of late sunlight reflecting from section of A Different But Loving Pair, by artist Cecilia Stanford, 2005. Originally exhibited during Urban Trees 2.

For a more complete look at A Different But Loving Pair, click here.

A dog plays with someone near the base of Fish Tree, by artists Zbigniew Pingot and Toby Flores, from the Urban Trees 2 waterfront exhibition years ago.
A dog plays with someone near the base of Fish Tree, by artists Zbigniew Pingot and Toby Flores, from the Urban Trees 2 waterfront exhibition years ago.

You can see all of Fish Tree by clicking here.

Like crystals shining in the sun. The top of Tap Root and Growth, by artist Christopher Lee, originally exhibited during Urban Trees 3.
Like crystals shining in the sun. Looking up at Tap Root and Growth, by artist Christopher Lee, originally exhibited during Urban Trees 3.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Spring flowers shine in the May gray!

An overcast May gray day.

After work I walked through Balboa Park. The clouds were gloomy, no sun in sight. But the park’s many spring flowers were reservoirs of light.

I found shining beauty wherever I turned.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Cool mural overlooks Solana Beach train tracks!

An Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train heads south, passing a cool mural titled Myths at Play, just south of the Solana Beach station.
An Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train heads south, passing a cool mural titled Myths at Play, which can be seen just south of the Solana Beach station.

Yesterday I observed that a super cool mural overlooks the train tracks near the Solana Beach station. Before walking to Fiesta del Sol, I headed a couple blocks south on Pacific Coast Highway in order to take photos.

A little internet research revealed this colorful mural was painted by artist Lindu Prasekti. The building is the David Alan Collection gallery in the Cedros Avenue Design District. The giant mural painted on the building’s west side is titled Myths at Play. It appears to playfully incorporate designs and symbols representing primitive art.

A photo of the colorful Myths at Play mural, painted by Lindu Prasekti.
A photo of the colorful Myths at Play mural, painted by Lindu Prasekti.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Photos of Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach!

The Rockademy performs on the main stage at Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach.
The Rockademy performs on the main stage at 2018 Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach.

Today I rode the Coaster train from downtown San Diego up to Solana Beach to experience the annual Fiesta del Sol street festival!

I’d never been to Fiesta del Sol, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I found was a lot of family fun, live music, a tasty chicken quesadilla, and a perfect bench overlooking the event where I could read and gaze out at the beach and Pacific Ocean!

This cool event continues through the weekend. You’ll find it just off the Pacific Coast Highway, right next to Fletcher Cove Beach Park!

Fiesta del Sol, presented by the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce, takes place beside Fletcher Cove Beach Park. The festival continues through the weekend.
Fiesta del Sol, presented by the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce, takes place beside Fletcher Cove Beach Park. The street festival continues through the weekend.
Thousands turn out for a fun community event on a spring day in Solana Beach.
Thousands turn out for a fun community event on a spring day in Solana Beach.
Lots of tasty food could be found.
Lots of tasty food could be found.
Lots of art, too.
Lots of art, too.
This guy recycles surfboards.
This guy recycles surfboards.
GC Dance Company performs at Fiesta del Sol.
GC Dance Company performs at Fiesta del Sol.
Photo of Fletcher Cove Beach Park from Overlook Park. I found a nice bench where I sat and read a book.
Photo of Fletcher Cove Beach Park from Overlook Park. I found a nice bench where I sat and read a book. (After visiting the food trucks to grab a mouthwatering lunch!)
I wandered down to Fletcher Cove and looked north along the cliffs. Not many people were on the beach this overcast, slightly chilly day.
I wandered down to Fletcher Cove and looked north along the cliffs. Not many people were on the beach this overcast, slightly chilly day.
A stand up paddle surfer was out on the Pacific Ocean looking for the perfect wave.
A stand up paddle surfer was out on the Pacific Ocean waiting for the perfect wave.
Walking back up from the beach toward the colorful festival.
Walking back up from the beach toward the colorful festival.
A cool Solana Beach sign above the tops of tents at Fiesta del Sol.
A cool Solana Beach sign above the tops of tents at Fiesta del Sol.
Some people checked out a vendor's old school music for sale.
Some people checked out some old school music for sale.
Another vendor had all sorts of cool wooden items, including some awesome model ships.
Another vendor had all sorts of unique wooden items, including awesome model ships.
The Solana Beach Civic Historical Society had a fascinating display of old photos. I learned about their Heritage Museum in La Colonia Park, which I'll visit someday!
The Solana Beach Civic Historical Society had a fascinating display of old photos. I learned about their Heritage Museum in La Colonia Park, which I’ll visit someday!
Teenage rock band The Elements gets ready to perform at another stage.
Teenage rock band The Elements gets ready to perform at another stage near Pacific Coast Highway.
More food!
More food!
This artist with lots of cool surf images displays his art at various festivals. I remember seeing him at the Ocean Beach Street Fair.
This artist surrounded by cool surf images displays his artwork at various festivals. I remember seeing him at the Ocean Beach Street Fair.
These super long skateboards are Blue Murphy's original Wonderboards! Murphy was a very friendly guy!
These super long skateboards are Blue Murphy’s original Wonderboards! Murphy was a very friendly guy!
On my way back to the Solana Beach train station to catch the Coaster, I spied this friendly stiltwalker. She was telling passersby about a new gallery down the street in the Cedros Avenue Design District. (There's a glimpse of street art on a utility box. Stay tuned for much more!)
On my way back to the Solana Beach train station to catch the Coaster, I spied this friendly stiltwalker. She was inviting people to a gallery down the street in the Cedros Avenue Design District.
Lots of folks were having a great time today at Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach!
Lots of folks were having a great time today at Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A short story about regret and redemption.

I wrote another short story. This one is titled The Firefly.

It’s about regret and redemption.

And hopelessness and release.

And hurt and freedom.

If you’d like to read this small work of fiction, click here.

Photos of historic centennial U.S. Air Mail flight!

A vintage biplane is almost ready to embark on an historic flight.
A vintage biplane is almost ready to embark on an historic flight.

Today I witnessed a bit of history. I headed to the Allen Airways Flying Museum at Gillespie Field to watch three vintage Stearman Speedmail biplanes take off on the first leg of the old Contract Air Mail 8 (CAM 8) route.

The very special six-day event marks the centennial of United States Air Mail service, which began on May 15,1918 with a flight from Washington D.C. to New York. Today’s flight, endorsed by the U.S. Postal Service, was the beginning of a 1200 mile journey up the West Coast that will include 12 stops, finally ending at Paine Field in Everett, Washington.

Many hobbyists, pilots and history enthusiasts were on hand to see the trio of vintage biplanes begin their commemorative flight. I read that only seven Stearman Speedmail airplanes survive today; 41 were originally built to transport the U.S. Mail by air.

As the planes taxied down the runway for takeoff, a friendly gentleman provided me with a little more history. I learned the original CAM 8 route up the West Coast took about two days, depending on the weather and the wind. He explained how the highly dependable Stearman Speedmail planes have a powerful 450-horsepower engine, and we observed how they took to the air very quickly. In the early days of aviation, before modern airports with lengthy runways, this was a requirement.

I also learned that many other owners of vintage aircraft flew in for today’s event, parking their colorful planes outside the Allen Airways Flying Museum. The museum itself is home to a variety of cool, historical aircraft, and welcomes visitors by appointment.

Here come some photos!

One of three Stearman Speedmail biplanes which will fly from San Diego to Seattle to commemorate the centennial of U.S. Air Mail service.
One of three Stearman Speedmail biplanes which will fly from San Diego to Seattle to commemorate the centennial of U.S. Air Mail service.
Mail collected at a USPS table is put into a canvas airmail bag. Each piece will be postmarked at the 12 stops along the 1200 mile flight.
Special mail collected at a USPS table is put into a canvas airmail bag. Each piece will be postmarked at the 12 stops along the 1200 mile flight.
The City of El Cajon issued a proclamation to mark the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Airmail Service.
The City of El Cajon issued a proclamation to mark the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Airmail Service.
A Ford U.S. Air Mail truck was on display during the event, courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
A vintage Ford U.S. Air Mail truck was on display during the event, courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
Loading a sack of official U.S. Mail into a cockpit of one Stearman Speedmail biplane.
Loading a sack of official U.S. Mail into the front of one Stearman Speedmail biplane.
Another plane participating in the event awaits nearby.
Another plane participating in the event waits nearby.
People roll the biplane off the grass so that it can taxi away from the Allen Airways Flying Museum.
People roll the biplane off the grass so that it can taxi away from the Allen Airways Flying Museum.
These two planes are ready to safely head out onto the Gillespie Field runway.
These two planes are ready to safely head out onto the Gillespie Field runway.
It's almost 11:45, the time the three planes will start their U.S. Air Mail centennial celebration flight.
It’s almost 11:45, the time the three planes will start their U.S. Air Mail centennial celebration flight.
The first Stearman Speedmail biplane taxis out onto the runway.
The first Stearman Speedmail biplane taxis out onto the runway.
It slowly heads down the runway to prepare for takeoff.
It slowly heads down the runway to prepare for takeoff.
The second Stearman Speedmail aircraft follows.
The second Stearman Speedmail aircraft follows.
And here comes the third. An historic flight will soon begin!
And here comes the third. An historic flight will soon begin!
The trio of vintage biplanes heads down to the end of the airport's runway.
The trio of vintage biplanes heads down to the end of the airport’s runway.
People watch as the Air Mail centennial celebration flight begins in San Diego!
People watch as the Air Mail centennial celebration flight begins in San Diego!
A vintage biplane plane flies north, beginning a 12-stop 1200-mile flight that retraces the Contract Mail 8 (CAM 8) air mail route.
A vintage biplane flies north, beginning a 12-stop 1200-mile flight that retraces the Contract Mail 8 (CAM 8) air mail route.
A wonderful day in El Cajon, and a bit of history, too!
Today many enjoyed a fun celebration of American history at Gillespie Field in El Cajon!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!