Monument to historic radio station KCBQ in Santee.

I remember listening to KCBQ 1170 as a youth. For decades it was one of San Diego’s leading radio stations, featuring radio personalities that are legendary, including “Shotgun Tom” Kelly and Charlie Tuna.

This groundbreaking AM radio station has had a complicated history, its many different owners moving the studio about from time to time and playing everything from contemporary music to country music. A detailed Wikipedia article can be found here.

A monument to the original KCBQ, which was influential in popularizing the Top 40 music format for the rest of the nation, now stands at the radio station’s old Santee transmitter site. It was dedicated on August 28, 2010. You can find the monument on Mission Gorge Road just east of Carlton Hills Boulevard, in front of an In-N-Out Burger fast food restaurant.

Scan the list of past on-air personalities and you’ll see names that have been well known in San Diego radio for decades. Personally, I easily recall the unique voices of Frank Anthony, Gene Knight and Gary Kelley, not to mention “Shotgun Tom” Kelly.

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A very short, easy hike at East Fortuna.

Yesterday, as part of a much longer walk in urban Santee, I enjoyed a very short, easy hike in the northeast corner of 7,220-acre Mission Trails Regional Park.

I started at the East Fortuna Staging Area and proceeded from the Equestrian Circle Trailhead west a quarter mile or so, just to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery.

Imagine my surprise when I quickly spotted a roadrunner!

The City of San Diego’s wild, rugged Mission Trails area, during World War II, was used to train members of the 2nd Marine Division. Camp Elliott is where they learned to fire artillery and operate tanks. According to the above sign posted near the trailhead: “At the height of the war, 50,000 officers and men were dispatched to combat zones from Camp Elliott in a little over a year.”

The canyons, mountains and grasslands of Mission Trails are now home to abundant wildlife and natural beauty.

Trees in the distance line the San Diego River where its life giving water flows through the park.

Some bright California bush sunflowers near the trail…

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!

Nature’s beauty on a west Santee walk.

I took the following photographs today during a long looping walk around the west half of Santee.

From the Santee Trolley Square transit station I headed north up Cuyamaca Street, then west along Mast Boulevard to the East Fortuna Staging Area at Mission Trails Regional Park. After taking a short hike in the park, I headed south down West Hills Parkway and back east to the trolley station via Mission Gorge Road.

During the walk through Santee I snapped these photographs. Much of the walk was past homes, schools and businesses, but there were also these glimpses of natural beauty. (Additional photos that I’ll post in the next day or two include my short Mission Trails hike, an unusual historical monument, and very unique public artwork.)

The following three photos were taken as I walked down Mast Boulevard over Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve. Far below, in the middle of Lake 2, two white pelicans were standing on a rock. I also saw dozens of swallows flying out from beneath the bridge, but the tiny birds darted about so swiftly I was unable to capture a good photograph of them. You can see one swallow zipping by in this first photo…

As I walked down Mast Boulevard under State Route 52, I saw an indication that I had almost reached Mission Trails Regional Park.

Then I headed into the East Fortuna Staging Area. From the entrance driveway and parking lot I took photographs of the mountains beyond trees lining the San Diego River, and some sycamore leaves.

Walking south down West Hills Parkway took me to the place where State Route 52 passes over the San Diego River…

Finally, where State Route 125 meets Mission Gorge Road, I was surprised to find a beautiful golden patch of California’s State Flower: the California poppy.

(Incidentally, last Tuesday, April 6 was officially California Poppy Day!)

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!

Trust Me . . . it’s a cool downtown mural!

It’s interesting that only a small fraction of street murals I spot around San Diego have a commercial origin. But one such mural that was painted about a month ago I’d like to share, because it’s undeniably cool!

The artwork was created by Evgeniya Golik (@evgola), a Russian born artist who resides in San Diego. She describes her work as pop-surrealist, or Neo-Renaissance. Her fantastic pieces are often on display in local galleries and regional art museums. You can learn more about her artistic inspirations and accomplishments at her website here.

This particular mural can be found downtown on the south wall of Mixon Liquor & Deli, on 1st Avenue just north of Ash Street. It advertises Trust Me Vodka.

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Hidden mural celebrates Little Italy!

There’s a hidden mural very few people see that celebrates downtown’s Little Italy community.

Neither drivers nor pedestrians can see it well, unless they head down little-used, alley-like California Street just south of Laurel Street.

I first saw this Little Italy mural because I often ride the Green Line trolley. As the San Diego Trolley rises high in the air to pass over busy Laurel Street, passengers looking down can see the artwork on a parking lot wall. The small lot is located behind a Valero gas station and Fairway Golf USA store, which are both on Pacific Highway.

I walked down California Street last weekend to get a good look at this great mural. It depicts the Little Italy landmark sign above fishing boats in a row by a pier.

Little Italy was once a center of the tuna fishing industry, which was very big in San Diego for much of the 20th century.

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El Chavo and La Chilindrina appear in City Heights!

Look at the characters I spotted during a recent walk through City Heights. El Chavo and La Chilindrina!

The two were hanging out early in the morning near the corner of University Avenue and 37th Street!

Many murals have been painted along this corridor of City Heights–which has become a very colorful outdoor art gallery–but these two I hadn’t seen previously. It appears they were another fun project of Love City Heights and #theavenuemuralproject!

El Chavo pops out of a barrel on a door in City Heights!
La Chilindrina licks a lollipop in a City Heights mural!

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!

A spring walk down Robyn’s Egg Trail.

A couple weekends ago I took photos as I walked down Robyn’s Egg Trail in Mission Hills.

The hiking trail begins north of Pioneer Park by Washington Place. It descends first west then southwest along the bottom of narrow Mission Hills Canyon, and finally ends by some homes on Titus Street. It runs perhaps half a mile. From nearby Pringle Street I then walked a block down to San Diego Avenue.

Robyn’s Egg Trail in spring is very green. A variety of flowers can be spotted here and there and birds are plentiful. The rough trail winds through grass, trees, prickly pear and other vegetation–some of it native, some of it invading the canyon from the backyards of the homes above. This trail in the city feels a bit wild. Few people seem to use it.

Should you try hiking Robyn’s Egg Trail, please be careful. In many places the path is badly eroded and merges with a stony creek bed. I suspect that during rains it’s very muddy. Even on a sunny spring day, there were narrow and steep places where I could have easily slipped and fallen.

You can see the trail marked on Google Maps.

During my walk I encountered one friendly lady walking her dog, and one homeless person who acted a bit odd. But otherwise I found quiet.

Robyn’s Egg Trail is a retreat from the city above into a small slice of nature.

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!

Gravestones at Pioneer Park in Mission Hills.

Pioneer Park is a city park in Mission Hills that’s popular with neighborhood families and children. It features a playground, green grass, many shady trees . . . and well over a thousand unseen graves. If you don’t wander into the southeast corner of the park, you might never know it’s also a cemetery.

Pioneer Park was originally Calvary Cemetery. The Catholic cemetery was established in the 1870s, then converted a century later into a Mission Hills community park. According to this article: “All the 800-odd memorial markers were taken away in the 1970s except for a line of tombstones left on the park’s edge. Left as a memorial, they’re still there…” Sadly, the gravestones that had been removed were callously dumped by those then living into a ravine at distant Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Many of San Diego’s earliest residents remain buried under the grass at Pioneer Park. Even after the passage of many years, surviving gravestones show historically important names like Cave Johnson Couts and Father Antonio Ubach. But all of the names are gradually fading away. Time does that.

Six nearby plaques list the names of those who are interred in the park, and it is said there might be many more.

On any given day, life goes on cheerfully above the grass. And beneath it lie the remains of those who once lived, dreamed, toiled and loved exactly like you and me.

Here are some photographs, to provoke thought, and to help preserve a little history…

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!

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Colorful murals at new Old Town Urban Market!

Some very colorful murals have recently appeared in Old Town at the corner of Twiggs Street and Congress Street!

The two newly decorated walls used to enclose Miranda’s Courtyard, which I blogged about many years ago here. The property is being redeveloped into Old Town Urban Market, which is scheduled to open this summer.

The artwork was painted by “memuco” Guillermo Munro, whose other murals can be enjoyed here.

The murals depict Frida Kahlo, a tree full of positive messages, Día de los Muertos imagery, and some of the historical buildings in Old Town 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!

Keep Going (and eat some pizza)!

Two colorful murals decorate the south end of the new 2100 Kettner office building in Little Italy!

One, facing the railroad tracks, encourages everyone to KEEP GOING. Perhaps it should have been written in reverse, because drivers motoring down one-way Hawthorn Street will only see it in their rear view mirrors!

Fortunately, those same drivers by looking to their right will clearly see a playful image of a young skateboarder chillin’ and eating a slice of pizza. The cool street art is by Bumblebee, a well known Los Angeles based artist!

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