A short, easy walk along Paradise Creek Trail.

Paradise Trail marker PT10 rises near the National City Depot museum.
Paradise Trail marker PT10 rises near the National City Depot museum.

This morning I enjoyed an easy walk down a segment of the Paradise Creek Trail in National City.

I believe this urban trail is brand new. I find almost nothing about it on the internet. Several people I spoke to who work right next to the trail never heard of it. I had never seen the Paradise Trail markers during walks in past years.

The trail, from what I can gather, roughly follows Paradise Creek. My walk started just west of Interstate 5, on Bay Marina Drive, where I spotted markers for the Paradise Trail by the National City Depot museum and the National City Historic Railcar Plaza. I saw more markers as I walked south down Marina Way, just west of Paradise Marsh.

Paradise Creek eventually empties into the Sweetwater River. I believe the sidewalk trail ends at Pepper Park, but I spotted no markers after I passed the Pier 32 Marina and the nearby entrance to the Bayshore Bikeway. Perhaps I wasn’t looking carefully enough.

Want to see more? Years ago I visited an overlook of Paradise Marsh and photographed some informative signs. I also got a little closer to nature by walking down a short dirt trail. You can revisit that old blog post by clicking here.

In the past I also blogged about the National City Depot museum and its cool old streetcars here, the National City Historic Railcar Plaza here, and the Le Bateau Ivre sculpture here.

After I crossed Bay Marina Drive, I spotted an iconic El Camino Real bell near the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
After I crossed Bay Marina Drive, I spotted an iconic El Camino Real bell near the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
I'm now walking south down Marina Way, looking back at the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
I’m now walking south down Marina Way, looking back at the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
Old railroad tracks run along the west edge of Paradise Marsh.
Old railroad tracks run along the west edge of Paradise Marsh.
Sunlight illuminates some natural beauty beside the sidewalk trail.
Sunlight illuminates some natural beauty beside the sidewalk trail.
Looking back north along the Paradise Creek Trail, between Paradise Marsh and the National City Cement Terminal.
Looking back north along the Paradise Creek Trail, between Paradise Marsh and the National City Cement Terminal.
Here's another marker for the Paradise Trail, which I spotted as I headed down Marina Way.
Here’s another marker for the Paradise Trail, which I spotted as I headed down Marina Way.
A banner on a street lamp says that in National City, Together We Can!
A banner on a street lamp says that in National City, Together We Can!
As I turned onto West 32nd Street, a big group of bicyclists rode onto the Bayshore Bikeway.
As I turned onto West 32nd Street, a big group of bicyclists rode onto the Bayshore Bikeway.
Le Bateau Ivre, by artist Alber De Matteis, at the Pier 32 Marina in National City.
Le Bateau Ivre, by artist Alber De Matteis, at the Pier 32 Marina in National City.
I spotted this high osprey nesting platform as I walked down Goesno Place, approaching Pepper Park. The National City Marine Terminal has many such platforms.
I spotted this high osprey nesting platform as I walked down Goesno Place, approaching Pepper Park.

Immediately to the west, right on San Diego Bay, the enormous imported car parking lot at the National City Marine Terminal has many of these platforms. I learned during a Port of San Diego harbor tour that ospreys provide effective pigeon control!

A sign describe ospreys, which can often be seen around San Diego Bay and our coastal estuaries.
A sign describes ospreys, which can often be seen flying above San Diego Bay and our coastal estuaries.
Looks like an osprey has collected all sort of odd materials for its nest!
Looks like an osprey has collected all sort of odd materials for its huge nest!

And now I’ve turned around, and I’m heading back north along the trail on Marina Way, just west of the marsh… Guess what I saw?

An osprey flies high above Paradise Marsh on a beautiful late December day.
An osprey flies high above Paradise Marsh on a beautiful late December day.
Looking past prickly pear at Paradise Marsh from the Paradise Creek Trail in National City.
Looking past prickly pear at Paradise Marsh from the Paradise Creek Trail in National City.

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LimeBike smart bicycles arrive in San Diego!

Rows of bright new LimeBike smart bicycles have appeared in downtown San Diego.
Bright new LimeBike smart bicycles have suddenly appeared in downtown San Diego!

Look what I discovered as I walked down Cedar Street to the Little Italy trolley station this morning. A bunch of identical lime green bicycles were waiting in a row on the sidewalk!

Upon closer inspection, I saw these bikes can be rented simply by unlocking them with a smartphone. And riders pay only one dollar per half hour! Very affordable!

LimeBike has just announced the introduction of their smart pedal bikes into downtown San Diego. That must explain why I’ve never them before.

In the future, I’ve learned they intend to introduce a fleet of Lime-E electric assist bikes and Lime-S scooters. Sounds like a great idea to me!

The 1st ride of a LimeBike is free! They cost is only one dollar per half hour!
The 1st ride of a LimeBike is free! Renting one of these smart bikes costs only $1 per half hour.
Instructions on a LimeBike show how to scan the QR code to unlock the bicycle.
Instructions on a LimeBike show how to scan the QR code to unlock the bicycle.
I found more LimeBikes parked on the sidewalk near some colorful public art at the Little Italy trolley station!
I found more LimeBikes parked on the sidewalk at the Little Italy trolley station!

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Tour de California elite bicyclists race up Laurel Street hill!

Many of the world's top bicycling athletes fly up the Laurel Street hill in San Diego during the first stage of the Tour de California.
Many of the world’s top bicycling athletes fly up the Laurel Street hill in San Diego during the first stage of the Tour de California.

Here are lots of cool pics of Tour de California (officially called Amgen Tour of California) elite bicyclists racing up the steep hill on Laurel Street, just east of Interstate 5! Today was the first stage of the big international multi-day race, and the route looped around a good chunk of San Diego County. Easily the toughest part of the race near downtown was up Laurel Street, which presents a pretty steep grade for several blocks.

Lots of people gathered on the hill, and everyone was excited to see many of the world’s greatest bicycle athletes compete! Many of the participants have raced in the Tour de France and other top international competitions.

While I enjoy riding my street bike once in a while, I don’t know much about the professional sport. It was my first time watching this sort of event. And boy was it exciting! Lots of suspense–then flashing lights as the route is prepped and cleared–then boom! A flurry of colorful racers flying past! It was like a fantastic sporting parade! When the racers turned the corner and came into view, I felt my own adrenaline flowing!

Follow my photo captions and I’ll try to describe what I saw. Please excuse me if I don’t know all the proper terms…

This is the first block of the Laurel Street hill--probably the toughest, steepest part.
This is the first block of the Laurel Street hill–probably the toughest, steepest part.
About half an hour before the racers were anticipated, lots of biking enthusiasts and onlookers were already lining the sidewalks.
About half an hour before the race leaders were anticipated, lots of biking enthusiasts and onlookers were already lining the sidewalks.
Most people formed a crowd at the top of the hill. I got my photographs of the race from a point a bit lower, with a good, unobstructed view.
Most people formed a crowd at the top of the hill. I got photographs of the race from a point a bit lower, with a good, unobstructed view.
Someone wrote a big word on the street with colorful chalk. I think it reads Bizipoz. I'm not sure, though.
Someone wrote a big word on the street with chalk. I think it reads Bizipoz. I’m not sure, though.
Announcers on Laurel Street hill provided pre-race music, then humorous, light-hearted commentary.
Announcers on Laurel Street hill provided pre-race music, then humorous, lighthearted commentary.
I saw some flags being flown--I suppose certain international teams were being rooted on.
I saw a few banners being flown–I suppose certain international teams were being rooted on.
A dog came out to view the action!
A dog came out to view the action!
Lots of spectators rode their own bikes to watch this small part of the world-famous event.
Lots of spectators rode their own bikes to watch this small part of the world-famous event.
Ordinary people riding up the hill before the race were cheered and spurred forward with cowbells.
Ordinary people riding up the hill before the race were cheered and spurred forward with cowbells.
Some more bike lovers showing up a few minutes before the pro racers should pass through.
Some more bike lovers showing up a few minutes before the pro racers should pass through.
Okay, we're getting close now. The fast elite racers started in Mission Beach, about 15 minutes away.
Okay, now we’re getting close. The fast elite racers started in Mission Beach, about 15 minutes away from this spot at the very west edge of Bankers Hill.
Everyone perks up! Here comes an Amgen Tour of California official spray-painting the street for the bicyclists, soon to arrive!
Everyone perks up! Here comes an Amgen Tour of California official spray-painting the street for the bicyclists, soon to arrive!
Cameras at the ready!
Cameras at the ready!
They race is almost here! A huge line of motorcycle cops and Highway Patrol cars, along with tour official and VIP vehicles, parades past for several minutes.
The race is almost here! A huge line of motorcycle cops and Highway Patrol cars, along with tour official and VIP vehicles, parades past for several minutes.
Excitement mounts. They should come around Columbia Street any moment!
Excitement mounts. They should come around Columbia Street any moment!
A team support vehicle carries spare bikes. Where are they?
A team support vehicle carries spare bikes. Where are they?
Here they come at last! And they're moving really fast!
Here they come at last! And they’re moving really fast!
They're going so fast, my camera could manage only a few pics of this first group. There seemed to be six racers in this grouping.
They’re going so fast, my camera could manage only a few pics of this first group. There seemed to be six racers in this grouping.
Here comes the leader at this early part of Stage One. These amazing athletes make it look effortless. (Of course, it's still early in the race.)
Here comes the leader at this early part of Stage One. These amazing athletes make it look effortless. (Of course, it’s still early in the race.)
And there they go! Boom! Just like that! Perhaps they slowed a bit further up the hill.
And there they go! Boom! Just like that! Perhaps they slowed a bit further up the hill.
The main group didn't arrive for perhaps another 10 minutes. People around me were amazed by that. They seemed to be pedaling quite casually!
The main group didn’t arrive for what seemed like another 10 minutes. People around me were amazed by that. They appeared to be pedaling quite casually!
Here the huge group comes! You can just glimpse San Diego Bay and Lindbergh Field in the background. A perfect cool day for a bike race!
Here the huge group comes! You can just glimpse San Diego Bay and Lindbergh Field in the background. A perfect cool weather day for a bike race!
Everyone watching from the sidewalks applauds, makes noise and cheers.
Everyone watching from the sidewalks applauds, makes noise and cheers.
These guys seemed to be in no hurry. Some even waved at the onlookers! I suppose they were pacing themselves.
These guys seemed to be in no hurry. Some even waved at the onlookers! I suppose they were pacing themselves.
Looks of determination, and a love for their sport.
Looks of determination, and a love for their sport.
Hoping for glory, bicyclists in the Tour de California power up Laurel Street hill in San Diego.
Hoping for glory, bicyclists in the Tour de California power up Laurel Street hill in San Diego.
A party atmosphere! Everyone is cheerfully rooting on these elite world athletes.
A party atmosphere! Everyone is cheerfully rooting on these elite world athletes.
Some cyclists at the end of the main group were intermixed with team support vehicles.
Some cyclists at the end of the main group were intermixed with team support vehicles.
And here comes a whole bunch of those team support vehicles.
And here comes a whole bunch of those team support vehicles–or whatever they’re called!
Outstanding athletes conquer a tough but relatively short hill.
Outstanding athletes conquer a tough but relatively short hill.
I could hardly believe the tremendous excitement!
I could hardly believe the tremendous excitement!
And then it was over. They'd passed. Just some ambulances and law enforcement vehicles followed.
And then it was over. They’d passed. Just some ambulances and law enforcement vehicles followed.
And folks headed home. You can see more of the Laurel Street hill in this pic. The first part is definitely the steepest.
And folks headed home. You can see more of the Laurel Street hill in this pic. The first part is definitely the steepest.
World-class athletes defy gravity as they bicycle up a hill near downtown San Diego during the first stage of the Tour de California.
World-class athletes defy gravity as they bicycle up a hill near downtown San Diego during the first stage of the Tour de California.

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Fading public art glows by neglected river trail.

San Diego Bay scene graces a fading mural in Mission Valley.
San Diego Bay scene graces a slowly fading mural in Mission Valley.

When you ride the San Diego Trolley’s Green Line between the Old Town and Linda Vista stations, an interesting mural can be glimpsed for a moment where the tracks span the San Diego River. The public art is best viewed when walking along the San Diego River Trail, between the rail and Pacific Highway bridges. The path down by the river is fairly popular with bicycles; it is also trash-filled and tagged with graffiti. I don’t know anything about this artwork. Faded a little bit by time and the elements, the images still impart a happy glow along the seemingly neglected river trail.

UPDATE!

Turns out this mural is called “On The River Trail” and was completed in 2008. The artist who designed it is Lori Escalera. The public art comes from the San Diego River Park Foundation.

Public art along the San Diego River Trail near Pacific Highway. The Coaster train can be seen passing across one of the rail bridges.
Public art along the San Diego River Trail near Pacific Highway. The Coaster train can be seen passing across one of the rail bridges.
Weathered by outdoor elements, the artwork still glows like an impressionist painting.
Weathered by outdoor elements, artwork still glows like an impressionist painting.
Dreamy yellow sunflower painted on an old wall seen by those who walk along river.
Dreamy yellow sunflower painted on old wall seen by those who walk along river.
A hummingbird hovers above brightly sunlit vegetation.
A hummingbird hovers above brightly sunlit vegetation.
Happy painted bicyclist greets those who travel down San Diego River Trail.
Happy painted bicyclist greets those who travel down San Diego River Trail.
Art shows painter inspired by the river's natural beauty.
Art shows painter inspired by the river’s natural beauty.
This artwork was lovingly planted for future enjoyment.
This artwork was lovingly planted for future enjoyment.

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Bike share stations pop up around San Diego.

DecoBike bikeshare location on Broadway between Santa Fe Depot and America Plaza.
DecoBike bikeshare station on Broadway between Santa Fe Depot and America Plaza.

During my walks around San Diego in the past few months, I’ve noticed new bike sharing stations popping up at various locations. The green-signed docks still contain no bikes, but according to articles I’ve read the program is supposed to finally begin this month, after many delays.

Bike sharing in San Diego will be facilitated by DecoBike, a company based in Miami, where a similar system has been installed. They plan to eventually have around 180 electronic rental stations and 1,800 standardized bicycles.

San Diegans and city visitors will be able to rent bicycles for one-time use, or purchase a monthly or annual membership. The number of bikes available at any station will be visible in real time on DecoBike’s online station map.

According to signs at each bikeshare station, renting a bike will cost $5 per half hour, $7 per hour, or $12 for two hours. Memberships will cost $15 for one day, $35 for one week, or $50 for one month.

Looks interesting. Perhaps I’ll do a little more bicycling!

New bike sharing locking docks in East Village just north of Petco Park.
More locking bicycle docks in East Village, just north of Petco Park.
DecoBike bikeshare stations feature a touchscreen, instructions and a row of bike docks.
DecoBike bikeshare stations feature a touchscreen, instructions and a row of bike docks.
Sign shows rental and membership rates.
Sign shows rental and membership rates.
Another bike sharing station on El Prado near the west end of Balboa Park.
Another bike sharing station on El Prado near the west end of Balboa Park.

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Pacific Beach boardwalk down to Mission Beach.

Beginning my walk south from Crystal Pier along boardwalk.
Beginning my walk south from Crystal Pier along the boardwalk.

Now please walk with me as I head south down the Pacific Beach boardwalk. We’re starting at Crystal Pier and going all the way to Hamel’s down in Mission Beach. It’s one of the most amazing walks (or bike rides) in all of the world!

Cool octopus art made of tile, stones and shells.
Cool octopus art made of tile, stones and shells.

This bit of artwork was next to the walkway right by the pier.

Folks head toward a shark and big ice cream cone!
Folks head toward a hungry shark and big ice cream cone!
Youth hostel by Pacific Beach boardwalk has sunny mural.
Youth hostel by Pacific Beach boardwalk has a sunny mural.
A small backyard is paradise on the beach!
A small backyard is paradise on the beach!
Colorful surfboards by beach contain happy messages.
Colorful surfboards by beach contain happy messages.
Fish tacos are a San Diego specialty!
Fish tacos are a San Diego specialty!
Shells and boogie boards line the boardwalk for passing tourists.
Shells and boogie boards line the boardwalk for passing tourists.
Just a sample of what you'd see while walking along the beach.
Just a sample of what you’d see while walking along the beach.
Looking out toward the blue Pacific Ocean.
Looking out toward umbrellas and the blue Pacific Ocean.
Several camps on the sand teach people to surf.
Several camps on the sand teach people to surf.
Kids learning to surf file along carrying surfboards.
Kids learning to surf file along carrying surfboards.
People chat as a lifeguard watches the beach from a tower.
People chat as a lifeguard watches the beach from a tower.
Colorful beach toys left on the concrete sea wall.
Colorful beach toys left forgotten on the concrete sea wall.
Beautiful and unusual homes line the boardwalk.
Beautiful and unusual houses line the boardwalk.
The Surf Rider building includes a huge surfboard!
The Surf Rider building includes a huge surfboard!
Bicycles are a very popular mode of transportation.
Bicycles are a very popular mode of transportation.
I reached the Hamel's castle surf shop in Mission Beach!
I reached the Hamel’s castle surf shop in Mission Beach!
Lady looks through a high stack of surfboards.
Lady looks through a high stack of surfboards.
Cool mural in alley shows a roller coaster.
Cool mural in alley shows a roller coaster.

This mural in the alley behind Hamel’s shows a roller coaster. Is there a roller coaster nearby in Mission Beach? Yes, indeed! We’ll visit Belmont Park in my next blog post!

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Twelve-person bicycle heads down street.

twelve-person bicycle heads down street

What could be more cool than biking along a city street with a dozen of your buddies? These folks are sitting around a table enjoying drinks and conversation while pedaling away and taking in the sights. This twelve-person bicycle might not be suitable for your typical family, but lots of tourists and fun-seekers enjoy it!

I spotted two of these cool contraptions in East Village!
I spotted two of these cool contraptions in East Village!