Bike to Explore the Shore in April!

Bicyclists are encouraged to Explore the Shore during the month of April!

As I walked along the Embarcadero today, I saw an interesting sign just south of the USS Midway Museum.

Residents are being urged by Circulate San Diego to bike the Bayshore Bikeway, which circles San Diego Bay. The sign explains: “The Bayshore Bikeway is a 24-mile bicycle circuit with 13 miles of car-free bicycle paths and a number of scenic points.”

The route leads from downtown San Diego through Barrio Logan, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, the Silver Strand and Coronado. To return to downtown San Diego from Coronado, people can transport their bikes on the Coronado Ferry.

Of course, you can also ride in the opposite direction!

I took some photos of the sign, but to see a better, easier to read interactive Google map of the Bayshore Bikeway, click here.

Check this out! When you ride the Bayshore Bikeway through Chula Vista, you’ll see a series of amazing, huge outdoor murals that almost nobody else can see!

Or you can click here and see them right now!

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!

Cool marquee of the Star in Oceanside!

The next cool thing I came upon during my Oceanside walk yesterday was the historic Star theater building with its incredible marquee!

As I was taking photos, I noticed someone testing different paint colors on the building’s exterior. I subsequently learned from two friendly people of the Star Theatre Company, which now occupies the old movie house, that a new paint job is coming both inside and outside, to make this historic Oceanside landmark even more amazing!

I also learned the Star Theatre, during the COVID-19 pandemic, is hosting an after school Acting Camp for youth with safety precautions, is offering professional audition taping and workshops, and will be offering live streamed performances. To read more check out their website here.

More about the building’s unique history can be read here, including: “The Star Theatre opened the 18th of August 1956 with the movie “Moby Dick” starring Gregory Peck…Designed by architect William Glenn Balch, the Star was from an era when neon was king and every city was building a drive-in or walk-in theater. The Star Theatre is the largest of Balch’s 17 theaters that were located in the state of California and the last one that is still open. The marquee boasted being the largest in San Diego County and has been noted for its spectacular animation. It is one of the few remaining examples from its era…”

In this difficult period of an extended coronavirus lockdown, the Star Theatre would really appreciate donations, to help keep their important mission moving forward. Please help them here.

Finally, if you’re wondering about the big, colorful mural on the side of the building in the following photograph, check out one of my old blog posts 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!

Tributes to Jimmie Johnson in El Cajon.

As many car racing fans know, seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson grew up in El Cajon, in San Diego’s East County.

Born in El Cajon, Jimmie Johnson began to race motorcycles when he was only four years old, and he won his first racing championship four years later. He attended Crest Elementary School, then Granite Hills High School. After he graduated, he competed in off-road motocross racing, with an extraordinary degree of success. To read a good bio of Jimmie, who in his youth also loved dirt biking in the desert during family camping trips and surfing, check out this website.

As one might expect, tributes to the now legendary Jimmie Johnson can be found around the city of El Cajon.

During my walk yesterday, I photographed a sign in the median of 2nd Street, a short distance south of Interstate 8. The sign was placed here in 2014. 2nd Street is playfully renamed Jimmie Johnson Drive – Home of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion.

The above photograph shows the sign’s north side. The following two photos are of the opposite side. The sign on its south side is lighter in color, probably due to fading from years of direct sunlight.

Banners celebrating Jimmie Johnson can also be found near the El Cajon Civic Center. In each banner, a cool graphic shows him standing next to his No. 48 Chevrolet, racing during his NASCAR career with Hendrick Motorsports.

The following photos show a banner on the north side of Main Street near The Magnolia performing arts theater. I noticed an identical banner hangs in the nearby Prescott Promenade park.

Starting this year, Jimmie Johnson is competing in the IndyCar Series, driving the No. 48 Honda over road and street courses for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Will the El Cajon native also excel at open-wheel racing? I wouldn’t be surprised!

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!

Valentine’s Day love in Balboa Park!

Love could be seen everywhere in Balboa Park today!

On signs, on banners, on balloons, on surprising canvases, even on hands! But mostly on the faces of those passing through the park on a sunny Sunday in February.

Perhaps that’s because today is Valentine’s Day…

Many vendors set up in the Plaza de Balboa near the Bea Evenson Fountain had love-themed crafts and goodies for sale.
Two love birds on a banner, beside the Balboa Park Visitors Center front door.
A heart-shaped balloon in colorful Spanish Village.
Artist Susan Mae Hull of Studio 23 was creating beautiful Valentine’s Day cards in Spanish Village Art Center. I noticed her delicately brushed images include animals from the Chinese Zodiac.
A henna tattoo artist on El Prado could put your heart on your hand. (Or maybe you can wear your heart on your sleeve.)
Artist Jean Pierre made all sorts of colorful hearts and had them for sale near the International Cottages.
One of Jean Pierre’s many bright hearts.
Love balloons could be found everywhere!

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 walk up and down Mission Bay Boulevard.

My photos of the Nite Owl mural in the last blog post were taken during a very long walk around east Pacific Beach. One segment of my walk was up and down Mission Bay Boulevard, from Rosewood Street to Garnet Avenue and back.

These are the images I captured. I didn’t see much that was truly noteworthy–mostly car dealerships, motels, office buildings and businesses–but I did encounter the above cool sign and a couple other humorous signs. I also saw some very old faded street art, plus one instance of public art which is extremely important.

On the Chase Bank building at the intersection of Mission Bay Boulevard and Garnet Avenue there are eight extraordinary mosaics. I will blog those photos separately in an upcoming post!

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!

Aztec Bowl sign at North Park apartments!

I was walking up 30th Street in North Park a couple weekends ago when I saw what appeared to be a bowling alley sign rising in front of an apartment complex. As you might imagine, I did a double take! And snapped a few photos.

A little online research reveals that before these apartments were built, Aztec Bowling Lanes was located here.

Aztec Bowl was established in 1959. For 40 years–from 1960 To 2001–the place also featured entertainment in its Turquoise Lounge, where people would gather to enjoy retro decor and live bands. Music was also performed by the lanes as people bowled!

Over time the popularity of bowling slowly faded. Aztec Bowl was demolished in 2001 to make way for the residential buildings you see in my photographs. But the neon Aztec Bowl sign, recalling a little bit of San Diego history, remains!

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!

Historic Adams Avenue Theater restoration!

The historic 1930 Adams Avenue Theater building is being restored. The beloved Normal Heights landmark, home of Discount Fabrics for several decades, is now being remodeled according to a sign I spotted in a window near the entrance yesterday!

According to the posted sign, the new Adams Avenue Theater will be a “city chic, multi-purpose theater and private event space”–the perfect place for community events, concerts, weddings and social gatherings.

A little online research indicates the old movie house in the 1970’s and 80’s became a center for the punk rock and new wave music scene. Bands that performed here in concert include Black Flag, The Dead Kennedys, R.E.M., the Stray Cats, Iggy Pop, the Cramps and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I love it when elegant old neighborhood movie theaters are returned to their former glory. Especially when the walls of those theaters encompass so much history.

I’m sure many have fond memories of this special place!

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!

Lights brighten the night on The Boulevard.

Last night, very early in the morning, I took photographs of interesting “lights” in the vicinity of the iconic “The Boulevard” landmark sign, near the west end of historic El Cajon Boulevard.

The next photo is of an illuminated mural that depicts ostriches, which are symbols of the University Heights community. Many years ago University Heights was home to an ostrich farm! This fun mural can be found at the corner of Park Boulevard and Howard Avenue.

As I headed north up the sidewalk, a glowing Eye of Buddha gazed mysteriously down upon me! The sign hovers above a small strip mall at the corner of Park Boulevard and El Cajon Boulevard.

I then crossed El Cajon Boulevard and Park Boulevard to take a good photo of an absolutely extraordinary sign.

The wonderful Frank the Trainman neon sign is an iconic sight in itself, a beloved little landmark that San Diego residents treasure.

It can be seen at the south end of a building that features another amazing work of art. At its back, on a large wall that very few people see, is a mural painted by internationally recognized Chicano artist Mario Torero.

Photos of the mural, called Cosmic Train of Wisdom, can be seen here! (You can also see a photo I once took of the Frank the Trainman neon sign during the daytime.)

I then started east down El Cajon Boulevard. My walk was quite early in the morning with few cars and people about.

Mysterious globes of light seem suspended in a window ahead…

It’s the very cool BLVD North Park Apartments building. Light coming through an interesting structure at the front entrance spells out one gigantic BLVD!

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!

Walking by the Miramar College Vernal Pools.

Today I walked through a small section of Mira Mesa. I was on a mission to check out a cool sculpture I’d read about that stands in front of a fire station.

As I walked west along Hillery Drive from the Miramar College Transit Station, I observed what at first glance appeared like a scrubby vacant lot behind a fence. When I came to the corner of Hillery Drive and Black Mountain Road, a sign on the fence informed me that I was looking at an area of special environmental importance–a unique nature preserve!

I was walking right next to the Miramar College Vernal Pools.

Here’s a little information provided by three signs that I read:

This plot of land was originally leased to the Navy in 1931 and called Linda Vista Mesa Field, or Hourglass Field because of its distinctive shape. It was part of Camp Kearny, which was located on the site of the current Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. This field was used by the Army and Navy for dive bombing practice and emergency landings.

From 1957 to 1959, the field was used as a sports car racecourse, and from the 1970’s to 2008 what remained of the old runway was used for law enforcement training and nicknamed The Grinder.

The protected field now contains many seasonal vernal pools–a very rare type of wetland. Shallow vernal pools are wet during the rainy season–particularly in spring–then quickly turn to mud and dry out. Because of this unusual environment, a number of rare and endemic species live in vernal pool areas. In addition to teeming microscopic life and small crustaceans like the fairy shrimp, there are frogs, snakes, birds and mammals. More than 200 plant species thrive in and around vernal pools, including annual wildflowers.

One sign indicates the Miramar College Vernal Pools’ interpretive trails are open Monday through Friday from 7 am to 10:30 pm. Unfortunately, I walked by on a Saturday and had to observe this natural area from behind the surrounding fence.

If you want to read the signs, click my photos and they will enlarge.

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!