Historic Highway 80 mural on El Cajon Boulevard.

Mural by artist Jonny Alexander at El Cajon Boulevard and Winona Avenue remembers old U.S. Highway 80.
Mural by artist Jonny Alexander at El Cajon Boulevard and Winona Avenue remembers old U.S. Highway 80.

A cool mural in San Diego celebrates old U.S. Highway 80. The street art reads “Cruise Historic Highway 80” and features an image of a motorcyclist crossing desert and mountains to reach the Pacific Ocean. The mural was painted near the intersection of El Cajon Boulevard and Winona Avenue in 2015 by Jonny Alexander.

U.S. Highway 80 was a legendary cross-country route that at one time ran 2671 miles from U.S. Route 101 in San Diego, California east all the way to Georgia. The segment through San Diego was eventually decommissioned in favor of a newly built Interstate 8.

Much of old U.S. Route 80 ran through San Diego where El Cajon Boulevard is today.

A motorcyclist riding west has reached the Pacific Ocean after crossing desert and mountains.
A motorcyclist riding west has reached the Pacific Ocean after crossing desert and mountains.
Much of Historic Route US 80 ran where El Cajon Boulevard is today.
Much of Historic Route US 80 ran where El Cajon Boulevard is today.
Cruise Historic Highway 80. A celebration of the old days depicted in a cool mural in San Diego.
Cruise Historic Highway 80. A celebration of the old days depicted in a cool mural in San Diego.

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!

Balboa Park’s fantastic Toy Train Gallery!

One of my favorite attractions in Balboa Park is the absolutely huge, incredible San Diego Model Railroad Museum. And my favorite room in the museum is the fantastic Toy Train Gallery!

Check out these quick photos of the gallery’s super fun toy train layout operated by the San Diego 3-Railers Club!

The colorful layout features O-Scale Lionel-type trains running through a world full of sound and movement. Signs and billboards light up. Cars pull in and out of driveways. People move back and forth. Ghostbusters contend with a rampaging Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

A Choo-Choo Cam lets visitors experience an engineer’s perspective as one model train passes through tunnels, over bridges, and past nostalgic, often humorous scenery. The view is sure to delight children . . . and the child that hopefully remains within each of us!

If you or your family would like to visit the very cool San Diego Model Railroad Museum and their fantastic Toy Train Gallery, you can learn more here.

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 colorful 19th century Fourth of July!

The Westwind Brass Ensemble plays on stage in Old Town San Diego's plaza during an 1800's Fourth of July.
The Westwind Brass Ensemble plays in Old Town’s plaza during an 1800’s Fourth of July.

Today a good crowd turned out for a festive 4th of July in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

Every year this event provides a taste of what Independence Day would have been like in the 19th century. Fourth of July celebrations in San Diego would have officially commenced in 1848 when the small town became part of the United States.

If you remember some photographs that I posted three years ago, you might notice the event hasn’t changed much. But I love the color and history and the public participation so much I decided to go once again!

Many came out to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to enjoy an old-fashioned Independence Day.
Many came out to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to enjoy an old-fashioned Independence Day.
The Old Town 4th of July offered entertainments that would have been common in the 19th century, after San Diego became part of the United States.
The Old Town 4th of July offered entertainments that would have been common in the 19th century, after San Diego became part of the United States.
Boosters of Old Town San Diego Historic Park raise money by selling sliced watermelon and pies.
Boosters of Old Town San Diego Historic Park raise money by selling sliced watermelon and pies.
Members of the San Pasqual Battlefield Volunteer Association had a tent with historical displays.
Members of the San Pasqual Battlefield Volunteer Association had a tent with historical displays.
Photos or reenacted history near San Diego, including the Battle of San Pasqual during the Mexican–American War.
Photos or reenacted history near San Diego, including the Battle of San Pasqual during the Mexican–American War.
A family at Old Town's Fourth of July event learns all about spinning yarn.
A family at Old Town’s Fourth of July event learns all about spinning yarn.
Members of the Historic Quilt Guild had some of their beautiful handiwork on display.
Members of the Historic Quilt Guild had some of their beautiful handiwork on display.
These kids were making stuff with beads.
These kids were making stuff with beads.
Kids have fun with hoops on the grass. Simple play from an age long past.
Kids have fun with hoops on the grass. Simple play from an age long past.
A sack race has everyone laughing.
A sack race has everyone laughing.
This friendly guy near the blacksmith shop was making an axe handle.
This friendly guy near the blacksmith shop was making an ax handle.
Families were peering into the active blacksmith shop.
Families were peering into the active blacksmith shop.
Talking about how iron was shaped in Old Town San Diego in the 19th century.
Talking about how iron was shaped in Old Town San Diego in the 19th century.
All sorts of nostalgic music and dances entertained the crowd.
All sorts of nostalgic music and dances and contests entertained the crowd.
Handing out small American flags to those in the audience.
Handing out small American flags to those in the audience.
The keynote address reminds everyone of the meaning of Independence Day.
The keynote address reminds everyone of the meaning of Independence Day.
Old Glory readied to be raised on the plaza flagpole.
Old Glory readied to be raised on the plaza flagpole.

Diverse people in period costume read segments of the Declaration of Independence.
Diverse people in period costume read segments of the Declaration of Independence. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Volunteers from the crowd also went on stage to read portions of the Declaration of Independence.
Several people attending the event also volunteered to go on stage to read portions of the Declaration of Independence.
A patriotic parade for the Fourth of July commences around Old Town San Diego's historic plaza.
A patriotic parade for the Fourth of July commences around Old Town San Diego’s historic plaza.

Ordinary Americans are invited to join the parade.
Everyday ordinary Americans are invited to join the parade.

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!

House of USA celebrates in Balboa Park!

During my walk through Balboa Park this afternoon, I observed members of the House of USA setting up for their lawn program at the International Cottages. And suddenly I remembered Independence Day is coming up on Thursday!

After walking a little more about the park, I returned to the International Cottages right at two o’clock, just in time for the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

The crowd wasn’t very large, but everyone was enjoying a fine occasion. The House of USA was serving up hot dogs, and people were stepping inside their cottage to see all sorts of cultural and historical displays. Outside on the stage, Navy Band Southwest’s outstanding Prevailing Winds Ensemble was playing a mixture of classic and popular tunes. I really enjoyed their great rendition of music from The Incredibles!

I checked out a couple of booths on the lawn. The House of USA princess posed for a cool photo. I met a gentlemen promoting the Civil Air Patrol.

Over the years, Civil Air Patrol volunteers have saved thousands of lives. They’re the ones who often transport emergency supplies after a disaster, spot people trapped on rooftops during catastrophic floods, and locate hikers lost in the mountains. I learned they have a cadet program for youth interesting in aviation, personal growth and community service.

The Civil Air Patrol always needs volunteers! Click here to learn more!

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 Manzanita Mountain Man Rendezvous!

Have you ever wondered what it was like to live as a mountain man? Trekking through the wilderness as a trapper or frontier explorer? Journeying through the untamed American West as a trader, prospector, scout or pioneer?

What would it be like to leave the comforts and routine obligations of a civilized life behind? To go where few had gone before, finding your own way over rugged mountains, across uncharted rivers, living on the land, camping beneath the stars?

Today I learned a little of what that was like. I drove an hour east of San Diego to Northcote Ranch to enjoy the 26th Annual Manzanita High Mountain Rendezvous!

This modern reenactment of an historic Rocky Mountain rendezvous takes place in the beautiful countryside near Lake Morena. It attracts reenactors and visiting history buffs, school students and families from all around the Southwest. Every single participant I met was extremely friendly. They showed me and other visitors around with enthusiasm.

I observed many participants in period costumes camping in canvas tents and tepees across a broad field and among shady trees. Many of the campers create their own leather goods, jewelry and other Old West artifacts.

As I walked about, I listened to frontier music, visited a gunsmith, looked at the wares of different traders, and stepped inside a couple of the largest tepees. On several outdoor ranges I observed people throwing tomahawks, shooting arrows, even shooting authentic black powder muskets. I even enjoyed a good old hamburger and tater tots at The Hungry Dowg restaurant tent!

Other rendezvous activities, which happened to be idle during my visit today, include blacksmithing, candle making and woodworking. There is something intriguing everywhere one turns!

I photographed some of the informative signs, including one that concerns San Diego’s early history–particularly the 1820s to 1840s, when Fur Trade goods were sold to merchant ships that traveled around Cape Horn. Back then a wandering trapper would occasionally come into Old Town. Click those photos and they’ll enlarge for easy reading!

If you’ve never been to a mountain man rendezvous, make sure to put the Manzanita High Mountain Rendezvous on your calendar for next year. Kids absolutely love it.

This fantastic event is open to the general public and admission is free!

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!

Art exhibition interprets Music in the Key of Blue.

Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue, inside the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library's Joseph Clayes III Gallery
Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue, inside the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library’s beautiful Joseph Clayes III Gallery.

A fantastic exhibition of work by San Diego artist Jim Machacek has recently opened at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. Yesterday I headed to La Jolla to have a “listen” with my eyes.

The abstract pieces of Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue are arranged inside the library’s Joseph Clayes III Gallery.

According to the Athenaeum’s description, the exhibition “reflects Jim’s recurring interest in the concept of making music visual. Using his favorite media of printmaking, drawing, collage, and watercolor, he hopes to make YOU see what HE sees when listening to music. He chose favorite musical selections that have the word blue in the titles from a wide variety of musical genres, including classical, jazz, blues, country, rock, folk, and standards.”

Among these emotionally evocative pieces you’ll find a unique visual interpretation of George Gershwin’s timeless Rhapsody in Blue. Seventy mixed-media prints cascade like living notes of music across the north and east walls of the sunlit gallery. Walk along these walls and you’ll feel like you’re moving in rhythm with a beloved American classic.

After you absorb this great art, take a leisurely stroll through the unique and historic Athenaeum. You’ll discover even more art in unexpected corners, and rooms overflowing with beauty wherever you turn.

Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue can be enjoyed at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library through May 4, 2019.

The architecturally handsome Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is freely open to the public in La Jolla. It's a popular venue for art exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events.
The architecturally handsome Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is freely open to the public in La Jolla. It’s a popular venue for art exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events.
Sunlight filters through windows and shines on wood inside the Athenaeum's spacious Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
Sunlight filters through windows and shines on wood inside the Athenaeum’s spacious Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
Blue Wave, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Wave was a 1984 song by Eddy Grant, best known for his hit Electric Avenue.
Blue Wave, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Wave was a 1984 song by Eddy Grant, best known for his hit Electric Avenue.

Blueberry Hill, 2018, Jim Machacek. The popular hit song by Fats Domino, recorded in 1956, became a rock and roll standard.
Blueberry Hill, 2018, Jim Machacek. The popular hit song by Fats Domino, recorded in 1956, became a rock and roll standard.

Blue Cathedral, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Cathedral is a 1999 orchestral piece by American composer Jennifer Higdon, written in memory of her younger brother.
Blue Cathedral, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Cathedral is a 1999 orchestral piece by American composer Jennifer Higdon, written in memory of her deceased younger brother.
Lavender Blue, 2019, Jim Machacek. Lavender Blue is an English folk song and nursery rhyme dating from the 17th century.
Lavender Blue, 2019, Jim Machacek. Lavender Blue is an English folk song and nursery rhyme dating from the 17th century.
These mysterious, moody pieces interpreting Rhapsody in Blue are like notes of sheet music flowing across a wall.
These complex, moody pieces interpreting Rhapsody in Blue are like notes of sheet music flowing across a wall.
Fill your eyes with music.
Fill your eyes with music.

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 Massing of the Colors in San Diego.

The 62nd Annual Massing of the Colors and Service of Remembrance was held this morning at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. The stirring, patriotic event is organized by the San Diego Chapter of The Military of the World Wars. Its purpose is to honor the flag and support and remember those who have served our country and defended liberty, including those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The parade of color guards this year included about 30 groups, from a variety of local organizations representing ordinary Americans, the military, veterans, law enforcement, JROTC and ROTC, and scouting.

The annual Massing of the Colors has been held at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion for 62 years without interruption. During a speech, special recognition was given to the Daughters of the American Revolution, who have faithfully participated in this patriotic celebration every single year.

When I arrived at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, a practice run was just finishing up. After a short wait, the parade of color guards commenced.

I will let my photographs tell the story.

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!