Stylish street art in a dark, unexpected place.

Elegant street art found on Highway 163 underpass wall.
Elegant street art found on Highway 163 underpass wall.

I was surprised to discover this polished bit of street art in a place where few venture in Mission Valley:  in the darkness under Highway 163, along Camino de la Reina, among graffiti and windblown litter.  Joggers and the homeless pass through here, but not very often.  Who was the artist?  Why did they paint a stylish image in this location?  It’s a mystery!

UPDATE!!!

This morning, February 5th, exactly one day after the first photo was taken, I walked to work again and the street art and graffiti were painted over! I don’t know if this is pure coincidence, or the result of my blog yesterday…

The street art has been painted over!
The street art has been painted over!

Colorful pics from Greatest Generation Walk.

Family walks from the Aircraft Carrier Memorial.
Family walks from the Aircraft Carrier Memorial.

The Greatest Generation Walk, roughly between the USS Midway Museum and the Fish Market Restaurant, is always a hub of activity during the weekend.  There’s a huge load of stuff to do and see!  Lots of people were out and about yesterday!

Bikers and tour bus in parking lot on Embarcadero.
Bikers and tour bus in parking lot on Embarcadero.
People look at USS San Diego Memorial.
People look at USS San Diego Memorial.
Guys check out the USS San Diego Memorial.
Guys check out the USS San Diego Memorial.
Photo being taken of USS Midway aircraft carrier.
Photo being taken of USS Midway aircraft carrier.
In concrete. I shall return. General Douglas MacArthur. 1942.
In concrete. I shall return. General Douglas MacArthur. 1942.
People in a tiny Go Car enjoy a GPS tour of San Diego.
People in a tiny GoCar enjoy a GPS tour of San Diego.
Falun Gong activist holds up sign on sidewalk.
Falun Gong activist holds up sign on sidewalk.
Falun Gong poster on sidewalk near Unconditional Surrender statue.
Falun Gong poster on sidewalk near Unconditional Surrender statue.
Mingling among bronze soldiers at the Bob Hope Tribute.
Mingling among bronze soldiers at the Bob Hope Tribute.
Fishing from a small boat near USS Midway Museum.
Fishing from a small boat near USS Midway Museum.
Small cute dog enjoys a ride on a San Diego pedicab.
Small cute dog enjoys a ride on a San Diego pedicab.

Art, music and fun on San Diego’s waterfront!

Street performer on a bench plays guitar and sings.
Street performer on a bench plays guitar and sings.

Enjoyed my walk today. Took a bunch of pics. Street artists and performers use their talents to add zest to the colorful San Diego waterfront.

Silver robotic mime and a frozen high five.
Silver robotic mime and a frozen high five.
Resting on the grass, waiting to sketch a tourist portrait.
Resting on the grass, waiting to sketch a tourist portrait.
Playing a bluesy guitar near Seaport Village.
Playing a bluesy guitar near Seaport Village.
Passersby talk with a funny caricature artist.
Passersby talk with a funny caricature artist.
Man with horn plays Mariachi tunes near the USS Midway.
Man with horn plays Mariachi tunes near the USS Midway.
Little girl on wall awaits a cool twisted balloon creation.
Little girl on wall awaits a cool twisted balloon creation.
Hand painted names make memorable souvenirs.
Hand painted names make memorable souvenirs.
Caricature artist at work on a sunny San Diego day.
Caricature artist at work on a sunny San Diego day.
Birds perch on guitar-playing white statue-man.
Birds perch on guitar-playing white statue-man.
Captain America patrols San Diego's Embarcadero.
Captain America patrols San Diego’s Embarcadero.
Sax player entertains people on San Diego waterfront.
Sax player entertains people on San Diego waterfront.
Artist sells space art and handmade crafts on the Embarcadero.
Artist sells space art and handmade crafts on sidewalk.
A beautiful day by the water put to music.
A beautiful day by the water put to music.

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The dynamic, spiritual chalk art of Steve Mac.

Steve Mac, chalk portrait artist at Seaport Village.
Steve Mac, chalk portrait artist at Seaport Village.

Artists abound along the Embarcadero near Seaport Village. They’ll paint a quick portrait for a modest donation. Today during my walk, I stopped for a bit to chat with Steve Mac.

Steve uses his talent to capture the essence of his subjects. He has a philosophical outlook on life, shunning the material and the ego for the beautiful essence found everywhere around, and within us. About a year and a half ago he had a profound spiritual experience not far from where we spoke, and he woke up from a state of worry and confusion to a spirit-filled life in the now.

Here are a few of his works he had out on display:

Chalk art contains symbols of yin and yang, and the four elements.
Chalk art and symbols of yin and yang, and the four elements.
Serene face between wolves of creativity and destruction.
Serene face between wolves of creativity and destruction.
Sample of colorful double portrait rendered in chalk.
Sample of colorful double portrait rendered in chalk.
Amazing abstract chalk art captures life's essence.
Amazing abstract chalk art captures life’s essence.

I promised to link to his Facebook page.

Seeley Stable’s stagecoaches and freight wagons.

Front of the Seeley Stable Museum in Old Town.
Front of the Seeley Stable Museum in Old Town San Diego.

Perhaps my favorite part of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is the Seeley Stable Museum.

The huge old barn and surrounding area were once owned by Albert Seeley, who ran the San Diego-Los Angeles Stage Line from 1868 to 1877.  His Concord stagecoaches left San Diego at 5 am, stopped overnight at San Juan Capistrano, and arrived in Los Angeles at 4 pm the next day.  Eventually competition with the railroad put him out of business.

Sign on the Blacksmith Shop behind Seeley Stable.
Sign on the Blacksmith Shop behind Seeley Stable.

Behind the Seeley Stable is a cool blacksmith shop, where tourists can watch skilled hobbyists demonstrate the shaping of red hot iron.   The hammers ring loudly and the sparks fly!  Unfortunately it wasn’t open the day I took these photos.

Covered wagon, anvils and relics of the Old West behind Seeley Stable.
Covered wagon, anvils and relics of the Old West behind Seeley Stable.

Across from the blacksmith you’ll find this.  Very cool!

Several unrestored wagons.
Several unrestored wagons.
Peering through old wagon wheels.
Peering through old wagon wheels.
Donkey awaits young visitors to historic Seeley Stable.
Donkey awaits young visitors to historic Seeley Stable.

On the south side of the stable you’ll find a couple of donkeys, which are used by park rangers to teach children about life in the Old West.

Stagecoach from the Los Angeles and San Diego route.
Concord stagecoach from the Los Angeles to San Diego route.

Finally, we’re inside the museum!  You can see many different wagons and stagecoaches inside the dark old barn, plus other artifacts from life one and a half centuries ago.

Museum display with horse and saddles recreates the old stable.
Museum display with horse and saddles recreates the old stable.
Huge freight wagon on display at Seeley Stable.
Huge freight wagon on display at Seeley Stable.
Old Wells Fargo wagon once used to transport the mail.
Old Wells Fargo wagon once used to transport the mail.
Old Town San Diego park ranger chats with ticket window lady.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park ranger chats with friendly lady at the ticket window.

The Seeley Stable Museum is free!

UPDATE!

Here are a few more interesting and informative photos that I took inside the museum in August 2017…

Roscoe E. "Pappy" Hazard was a developer and rancher who collected stagecoaches, carriages and wagons from the Old West. Many are displayed in Seeley Stable.
Roscoe E. “Pappy” Hazard was a developer and rancher who collected stagecoaches, carriages and wagons from the Old West. Many are displayed today in Old Town’s Seeley Stable Museum.
In 1869, Albert L. Seeley transformed the nearby Bandini adobe into the two-story Cosmopolitan Hotel, which became Old Town's stage depot and social center.
In 1869, Albert L. Seeley transformed the nearby Bandini adobe into the two-story Cosmopolitan Hotel, which became Old Town’s stage depot and social center.
Photo of Seeley Stable's barn and yard taken from Presidio Hill in 1872. The Cosmopolitan Hotel can be seen on the right.
Photo of Seeley Stable’s barn and yard taken from Presidio Hill in 1872. The Cosmopolitan Hotel can be seen on the right.
Map shows important stagecoach routes, including the Butterfield Overland, and the Birch's Line from San Antonio to San Diego.
Map shows important stagecoach routes, including the Butterfield Overland, and the Birch’s Line from San Antonio to San Diego.
Signs and old photos concerning freight wagons in the Old West, which often employed large teams of mules.
Signs and old photos concerning freight wagons in the Old West, which often employed large teams of mules.
Spaniards introduced mules to America along with the horse. Hardy pack mules were used by trappers to haul furs, and by gold miners to move supplies and equipment.
Spaniards introduced mules to America along with the horse. Hardy pack mules were used by trappers to haul furs, and by gold miners to move supplies and equipment.
This delivery wagon was brought to San Diego by Frank Kimball in 1868. It was used to show passengers land that he had for sale in National City.
This delivery wagon was brought to San Diego by Frank Kimball in 1868. It was used to show passengers land that he had for sale in National City.
This old Park Wagon was used by rancher Walter Vail. He owned land in Arizona, Santa Rosa island off the coast of California, and Warner's Ranch northeast of San Diego.
This old Park Wagon was used by cattle rancher Walter Vail. He owned a land in Arizona, Santa Rosa island off the coast of California, and Warner’s Ranch northeast of San Diego.
How part of the stable might have once appeared. Stable hands had many chores, including feeding, watering and grooming animals, and cleaning stalls.
How a corner of the stable might have once appeared. Stable hands had many chores, including feeding, watering and grooming animals, and cleaning stalls.

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Photos from Old Town San Diego’s central plaza.

A carefree day near the center of San Diego's Old Town!
A carefree day near the center of San Diego’s Old Town!

Just some random pics taken around the central plaza of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park…

Shoppers emerge from pottery shop in Old Town central plaza.
Shoppers emerge from pottery shop in Old Town central plaza.
Silver jewelry, beef jerky and root beer!
Silver jewelry, beef jerky and root beer!
The Robinson-Rose house is the park Visitor Center.
The Robinson-Rose house is the park Visitor Center.
Tall flagpole at the center of historic Old Town.
Tall flagpole at the center of historic Old Town.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant.
The Rust General Store with patriotic red, white and blue.
The Rust General Store with patriotic red, white and blue.
Folks walk past historical buildings in Old Town's plaza.
Folks walk past historical buildings in Old Town’s plaza.
Tourists pose for a picture in an old covered wagon in Old Town.
Tourists pose for a picture in an old covered wagon in Old Town.

Walk from Old Town to the San Diego Presidio.

Old Presidio Historic Trail leads up hill from Old Town.
The Old Presidio Trail leads up a steep hill from San Diego’s historic Old Town.

Please join me as I walk from San Diego’s Old Town up a short but very steep trail to Presidio Park. We’ll see all sorts of interesting monuments, views, and of course, the location of the old Spanish presidio, whose ruins are no longer visible. The top of Presidio Hill is now home to the Junipero Serra Museum. Follow me!

We begin near the trailhead, beside the small Presidio Hills Golf Course, on the east edge of historic Old Town.

One of several signs along the Old Presidio Historic Trail. This one explains that soldiers and families used to walk down from the Spanish presidio to tend gardens and livestock near the Casa de Carrillo, around the location of the present-day Presidio Hills Golf Course.
One of several signs along the Old Presidio Historic Trail. This one explains that soldiers and families used to walk down from the Spanish presidio to tend gardens and livestock near the Casa de Carrillo, which is now the pro shop at Presidio Hills Golf Course.
The Indian sculpture by Arthur Putnam in Presidio Park.
The Indian sculpture by Arthur Putnam in Presidio Park.

The first interesting thing we see is this sculpture, titled The Indian.  It was created by famous American artist Arthur Putnam in 1905 and placed at the site of an ancient Indian village.  The small village was discovered and named San Miguel by the explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542.

Cross marks where Junipero Serra established California's first mission.
The Padre Cross was erected near the spot where Junipero Serra established California’s first mission.

Up the hill from The Indian stands the Padre Cross. It was raised in 1913 by the Order of Panama and is made up of tiles from the Presidio ruins.  The cross marks the strategic location overlooking San Diego Bay where Franciscan friar Junipero Serra chose to establish a Spanish Catholic mission in 1769. (The mission was moved several miles up the San Diego River 5 years later.)

Bronze statue titled The Padre by Arthur Putnam.
Bronze statue titled The Padre by Arthur Putnam.

Nearby among some trees we find a memorial to the mission’s friars. It’s a bronze statue titled The Padre, completed in 1908 by renowned sculptor Arthur Putnam.

The old presidio rises beyond billowing Spanish flag.
The Serra Museum rises beyond billowing Spanish flag.

Our legs are starting to feel the climb as we reach three flagpoles overlooking Mission Valley.

Looking down at a red trolley in Mission Valley.
Looking down at a red trolley in Mission Valley.

Turning north for a moment, we see the trolley!

View of the old Spanish presidio in San Diego.
View of the Serra Museum on Presidio Hill in San Diego.

Now we’re getting close to the Serra Museum, which was built in 1928 on this historically very important hill. The museum was built, and the land containing Presidio Park was purchased and preserved for posterity, by philanthropist George Marston.

San Diego was born in 1769 at the old Presidio, a Spanish fort in a desert-like wilderness very far from European civilization.  It was located just below the Serra Museum.

Serra Museum employee watches as I approach old presidio.
Serra Museum employee looks down the grassy hill.

Not many people are about at the moment.  Most tourists never venture up this way.

The Serra Museum is packed with numerous historical exhibits.  You can climb the tower for views of San Diego Bay, the San Diego River and Mission Valley.

Row of Spanish Colonial style arches.
Row of Mission Revival style arches.
Large wine press outside the old San Diego presidio.
Large wine press outside San Diego’s fascinating Junipero Serra Museum.
Looking downhill from atop grassy Presidio Park.
Looking downhill from atop grassy Presidio Park.

Now we’ll wander along the hilltop to nearby Fort Stockton, the short-lived camp of the famous Mormon Battalion.

Where a cannon once overlooked Old Town at Fort Stockton.
Where a cannon once overlooked Old Town at Fort Stockton.

Decades ago, when I was a young man, I remember seeing a cannon set in this concrete overlooking Old Town.  I believe that same cannon is now on display in the nearby Serra Museum. Given the name El Jupiter, it was one of ten cannons that originally protected the old Spanish Fort Guijarros on San Diego Bay at Ballast Point.

(A second surviving cannon from the fort is named El Capitan. Today it can be found near the center of Old Town San Diego’s Plaza de las Armas.)

Mural at Fort Stockton of the Mormon Battalion.
Mural at Fort Stockton of the Mormon Battalion.

In 1846, President James K. Polk asked Brigham Young of the Mormons to send a few hundred men to San Diego to help in the Mexican-American war effort.  On January 29, 1847 five hundred men and about eighty women and children arrived at Fort Stockton after a very difficult 2,000-mile march from Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Mormon Battalion Monument by Edward J. Fraughton.
Mormon Battalion Monument by Edward J. Fraughton.

I hope you enjoyed our walk!