Help zoos, aquariums during the pandemic!

Rex the Lion, inspiration for the San Diego Zoo's creation, now lives eternally in Balboa Park!

Zoos and aquariums rely on visitors for most of their revenue. The coronavirus pandemic has closed their doors, but the animals still need care. They need to eat!

I just learned that someone is now walking from the LA Zoo to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to raise funds to help out zoos and aquariums!

Dr. Monica Metzdorf, who loves animals, is approaching the Safari Park as I write this blog!

Help her raise funds for the animals! Proceeds will go to the LA Zoo, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and the San Diego Zoo, to purchase food for the fish and animals.

Go to her website and look for the PayPal link! Spread the word!

Photos of surfer murals by Interstate 8.

If you live in San Diego, it’s likely you’ve seen these three cool surfing murals. You can glimpse them beside Interstate 8 as you drive west toward Mission Valley through Grantville. They are painted on the A-1 Self Storage building.

This classic surf artwork has been greeting drivers for many years. I personally can’t remember when the murals first appeared.

I walked down a sidewalk past the three murals recently and took close-up photos that you might enjoy. I saw some faded writing at the corner of one, but I’m afraid I can’t say for certain who the artist is or how long ago these were painted. I probably should’ve visited the self storage office and asked whether they know. If someone out there has any information, feel free to leave a comment!

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!

Historical marker near Midway and Rosecrans.

Historical marker recalls early San Diego's La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.
Historical marker recalls early San Diego’s La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.

While walking around Point Loma this weekend, I came upon another historical marker with a plaque that commemorates San Diego’s famous old La Playa Trail. This marker stands in front of a shopping center near the corner of Midway Drive and Rosecrans Street. It features one of six similar plaques created back in the 1930s.

You can see a photo of another such plaque at the east end of the La Playa Trail, near Mission San Diego de Alcala, by clicking here. You can see a third plaque at the base of Presidio Hill and learn about the remaining three plaques (which I have yet to photograph) here.

According to Wikipedia: “The La Playa Trail was a historic bayside trail in San Diego, connecting the settled inland areas to the commercial anchorage at Old La Playa on San Diego Bay…The trail was used during the Pre-Hispanic (Native American), Spanish, Mexican and American periods of San Diego history. Much of the length of the original trail corresponds to the current Rosecrans Street in the San Diego neighborhood of Point Loma…The trail was already established by the time the Spanish settlers arrived in 1769; the first inhabitants of the area, including the Kumeyaay tribe, used it to access the beaches of San Diego Bay. It was improved and extended during the Spanish colonization of the region, reaching Old Town San Diego and Mission San Diego de Alcalá in Mission Valley by the 1770s. Cargo which had been unloaded by ship at Ballast Point in Old La Playa was transported along the trail several miles inland to Old Town…”

US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.
US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. (New San Diego is where downtown is today.) Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Have you read the classic of American Literature, Two Years Before the Mast? It’s one of my all-time favorite books. Richard Henry Dana Jr. wrote an account of a sailor’s life on the coast of California in the mid-1830s, and a good portion of his fascinating narrative describes San Diego.

La Playa (then a beach on Point Loma just inside San Diego Bay) is where merchant ship Pilgrim unloaded cattle hides that had been gathered by Dana and his shipmates up and down the California coast. When Dana rode on horseback from the hide houses on the beach to Old Town, or farther east to Mission San Diego, he followed the La Playa Trail!

La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.
La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.

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!

Learn about Maritime Month in San Diego.

A water taxi comes in from Coronado. That huge yellow Dole Atlantic ship is loading containers at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.
The massive yellow Dole Atlantic cargo ship loads containers at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.

May is Maritime Month. In past years, the Port of San Diego has offered public tours of important maritime facilities in San Diego Bay. By observing the massive scale of port operations firsthand, anyone can fully appreciate the waterfront’s economic importance to San Diego and the surrounding region.

Three years ago I went on one such harbor tour. It was narrated by knowledgeable representatives of the Port of San Diego. We got a close look at several large facilities, including the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, probably best known as the place where Dole delivers 3.9 billion bananas each year. We also saw the enormous National City Marine Terminal, where thousands upon thousands of imported cars arrive from Asia.

If you want to learn more about that amazing tour, and see photos of other facilities in San Diego Bay such as our three major shipyards, you can visit my old blog post by clicking here.

Unfortunately, this year is very different. There’s the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Most public events, including any tours that were planned by the Port of San Diego, have been cancelled in the interest of everyone’s safety.

But there’s still an opportunity for the curious to learn all about the Port of San Diego. They are celebrating Maritime Month online. They explain: “This year, we pay special tribute to the men and women of our Working Waterfront who continue to work hard to ensure the safe and timely delivery of essential goods, providing crucial services in these difficult times.”

By visiting the Port of San Diego’s special Maritime Month web page, which is here, you can: “Meet our dedicated maritime industry employees…Explore our terminals…Become familiar with our specialty cargo and trade…Learn how goods move globally through the supply chain…Read about our environmental initiatives…Plus more!”

Curious? Check out that special web page here!

Vehicles of all type arrive here by huge roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, including trucks and tractors.
New vehicles parked at the National City Marine Terminal. They arrive on enormous roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, which are often seen moving through San Diego Bay.

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!

Colorful photos of historic Old Poway Park!

A couple years ago I headed up to the annual Rendezvous in Poway. The event is held in historic Old Poway Park.

The Rendezvous in Poway is a reenactment that includes many elements of the 19th century Old West, including costumed vaqueros, mountain men, cowboys, pioneers, and soldiers from the Civil War.

I blogged about the event here. I also blogged about a beautiful bronze sculpture that I came across while walking through the park. It’s titled The Pioneers. See it here.

This morning, as I went through some folders in my computer, I found one that I had named Old Poway Park. In it were various photos of the park.

Uh, oh! Yikes!

I had intended to blog those photos a day or two after the event!

My lousy memory being what it is, I thought it would be best to merely share a few photos I took of this very colorful historic park–I don’t recall most of the precise details.

I do remember that there was grass and picnic benches and shady trees, and excited kids waving as they rode along the short, looping track of the Poway-Midland Railroad, and that the Heritage Museum contained a great collection of artifacts and displays concerning Poway’s history. But I’m afraid these almost forgotten photos will simply provide a taste of my visit that day.

If you want to learn more about family-friendly Old Poway Park, its history, museum, fascinating buildings and railroad operations, visit their website here!

One day I’ll return to ride that steam locomotive train you see in the barn. The little kid in me cannot be denied.

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!

Oil painting the iconic Hotel del Coronado!

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One could make a convincing argument that the Hotel del Coronado is the second or third most iconic building in all of San Diego, after the California Tower in Balboa Park and perhaps the historic Mission San Diego de Alcalá.

The image of the uniquely grand and beautiful “Hotel Del” has been made famous in movies, on television, and through countless postcards sent around the world by enthralled tourists. Most people who think of Coronado immediately picture this impressive Victorian beach resort, the second largest wooden structure in the United States.

It’s said that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum used the fanciful architecture of the Hotel del Coronado as his inspiration for the Emerald City. (He wrote several Oz books at a house he rented in winter a few blocks away. To see photos of that house, click here!)

A month ago I used graphic software to change some of my photos of the California Tower into digital oil paintings. Yesterday, as I walked around Coronado, it suddenly occurred to me that I might do the same with the picturesque Hotel del Coronado!

I’ve altered some old photographs and a couple of new ones to make them appear like oil paintings! Just for fun!

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!

Oil paintings of the iconic California Tower.

The California Tower in Balboa Park is probably the most iconic sight in all of San Diego. I’ve photographed it many, many times.

Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the 198 feet tall bell tower, a combination of various architectural styles, rises from the similarly ornate California Building, which is presently home to the Museum of Man. The California Tower invites those who love beauty to come visit one of the most amazing public parks in the entire world.

I’ve taken so many photos of the California Tower over the years, from different angles and during different occasions, that I thought I might have a little fun. Using the GIMP graphic software’s Oilify filter, I’ve transformed some of my images into digital oil paintings!

Here they are!

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!