Working on the trolley tracks along C Street.

Forgive me for posting the following photos. I have a boyish love for trains.

This morning and afternoon I walked along C Street to and from the City College trolley station. I simply had to pause to watch as workers tore up a section of old asphalt and rails running down the center of the street, then later as the workers carefully dumped and leveled new track ballast. I asked one friendly guy who seemed to be supervising if the rails were old and he replied that was the case!

According to some signs, work on this section of trolley tracks will be completed this weekend.

As you can see in the final photo, I wasn’t the only one intrigued by all the activity!

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!

Light and shadow, above and below.

A long walk after work yesterday.

As I came to the pedestrian bridge over Harbor Drive, the late sunlight produced magic. The space through which I walked and the train tracks below appeared dreamlike.

My eyes were fascinated by light and shadow.

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!

Oil paintings created on San Diego train ride!

Travelling by a train is like moving through a dream. The window beside your seat produces ever-changing visions. Glimpses of the world blink past, one after another. Your eyes are subject to a series of momentary impressions.

It can be hard to capture good photographs when riding the train up the coast from San Diego. You’re moving, there’s a dusty window and reflections to deal with, and of course there’s the critical matter of timing. When I snapped photos yesterday during my Coaster train ride from San Diego to Encinitas, most of the images turned out badly blurred and poorly framed.

So I decided to use the Oilify filter of GIMP’s graphics software to transform the photos of my journey into a series of dreamlike oil paintings!

All aboard! We’re about to leave downtown’s Santa Fe Depot . . .

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!

Del Mar’s natural beauty, beach from Coaster!

I was careful to sit on the west side of the Coaster yesterday for my trip from San Diego to Encinitas. The very best views can be enjoyed from that side when riding the train through Del Mar.

I thought it would be fun to take photographs of the natural beauty. As we quickly moved through La Jolla out over Los Peñasquitos Lagoon I had my camera ready.

I snapped photographs nonstop as we flew over the marshy lagoon and past Torrey Pines State Beach, then up along the bluff’s edge toward Seagrove Park.

We were moving so fast that the nearby vegetation was a blur. But my small camera was able to capture the distant sandstone cliffs of Torrey Pines State Reserve, the broad Pacific Ocean’s beautiful white surf, people down below on the beach, and even a line of pelicans flying through the blue sky.

I altered these photos a bit, sharpening them and increasing contrast.

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 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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Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

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Frank the Trainman mural Train of Wisdom.

A mural titled Train of Wisdom, painted in 1989 by local Chicano artist Mario Torero and students from O’Farrell High School of Performing Arts and Roosevelt Junior High School, decorates the back side of a building located on the northwest corner of Park and El Cajon Boulevard.

Today very few people venture around the building to enjoy the faded 100-foot-long, 40-foot-high mural, which depicts a colorful train driven by young people. Optimistic symbolism fills the mural. On the south end of the building, astute passersby will see the historic, animated neon Frank the Trainman sign at the top of a flight of stairs, which form the mural’s triangular cowcatcher.

This was the original location of the Frank the Trainman model railroad store, which Frank Cox opened in the 1940s. He eventually retired and passed his business on to fellow model train buff Jim Cooley, who sold the property to Mission Federal Credit Union in 1987. To honor the history of Frank the Trainman, the architectural firm of Bradshaw and Bundy altered the building’s exterior into the outline of a locomotive, and the Train of Wisdom was subsequently painted.

(Jim moved the original train store to today’s location just down Park Boulevard and added to it his own unique collectibles museum, which includes some extremely rare antique automobiles. I blogged about that here.)

I walked behind the building yesterday and took the following photographs of the large, nearly 30 year old mural, to help preserve a little bit of San Diego history…

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

More fun artwork discovered around Coronado!

Marilyn Monroe of Some Like It Hot, filmed at the Hotel del Coronado, in colorful new street art. Art Outside the Box features painted utility boxes around Coronado.
Marilyn Monroe of Some Like It Hot, filmed at the Hotel del Coronado, in colorful new street art. Art Outside the Box features decorated utility boxes around Coronado.

As I walked around Coronado before the big Fourth of July parade, I noticed all sorts of cool public artwork I’d never seen before.

Most notably, a whole bunch of utility boxes have recently been jazzed up with images that represent the life and history of Coronado. The project, called Art Outside the Box, is sponsored by The City of Coronado Cultural Arts Commission and Caltrans. I photographed two of the eight boxes. I suppose I’ll swing by the other six some other day.

I also saw a couple of cool public restroom trailers that the City of Coronado uses during special events. I’m not sure how many of these exist, but I do recall seeing one years ago during a walk near the Hotel Del and Coronado Shores. It didn’t occur to me to photograph that one back then!

The two trailers I spied today at either end of Spreckels Park celebrate Coronado’s railroad history and the fun Tent City carousel, which today makes its home in Balboa Park.

Finally, I got some photos of a public piano that had been set up in Rotary Plaza. A plaque on it suggests that people passing by Sit a Spell and Play a Tune! It’s covered with images of Coronado landmarks.

Very cool!

Forgive me for being ignorant and not recognizing this face. If you know, leave a comment!
Forgive me for being ignorant and not identifying this face. UPDATE! Sharon left a comment indicating this is Jim Morrison. He lived in San Diego as a child and his parents lived in Coronado.
And I don't recognize this person, either!
And I can’t identify this person either! UPDATE! Sharon identified this as Bela Lugosi! He performed in San Diego, but I can find no Coronado connection…
Art Outside the Box celebrates Coronado's zip code 92118.
Art Outside the Box celebrates Coronado’s zip code 92118.
Surf breaks on a utility box. Coronado is not a true island, even if it's almost entirely surrounded by water.
Surf breaks on a utility box. Coronado is not a true island, even if it’s almost entirely surrounded by water.
Several public restroom trailers used during city events each celebrate a different aspect of Coronado history.
Unusual public restroom trailers used during city events each celebrate a different aspect of Coronado history.
Sign describes the history of Coronado's railroads. John D. Spreckels built a line that went up the Silver Strand, bringing passengers to the Hotel del Coronado and Tent City.
Sign describes the history of Coronado’s railroads. John D. Spreckels built a line that went up the Silver Strand, bringing passengers to the Hotel del Coronado and Tent City.
Graphic on restroom trailer shows the faces peering from a streetcar that ran along Orange Avenue to the original ferry landing.
Graphic on restroom trailer shows the faces peering from a streetcar that ran along Orange Avenue to the original ferry landing.
All aboard!
All aboard!
Another restroom trailer features images from Coronado's historic carousel at Tent City.
Another restroom trailer features images from Coronado’s historic carousel at Tent City.
The old Tent City carousel moved away from Coronado in 1922. Today it offers rides to young and old alike in Balboa Park!
The old Tent City carousel moved away from Coronado in 1922. Today it offers rides to young and old alike in Balboa Park!
The carousel was built in 1910 by the Herschell Spillman Co. builders in North Tonawanda, New York.
The carousel was built in 1910 by Herschell Spillman Co. in North Tonawanda, New York.
Sign describes the golden age of carousels and the history of one beloved merry-go-round that lives on in San Diego.
Sign describes the golden age of carousels and the history of one beloved merry-go-round that lives on in San Diego.
Another photo of the trailer.
Another photo of the trailer.
If these images seem familiar, you might have seen them in Balboa Park, where the historic carousel provides rides today!
If these images seem familiar, you might have seen them in Balboa Park, where the historic carousel provides rides today!
A cool public piano had been placed in Rotary Plaza during Coronado's Fourth of July Celebration.
A cool public piano had been placed in Rotary Plaza during Coronado’s Fourth of July Celebration.
Sit a Spell and Play a Tune!
Sit a Spell and Play a Tune!
The public piano is decorated with memorable images from around Coronado.
The public piano is decorated with memorable landmarks found around Coronado.
A look at the top of the piano.
A look at the top of the piano.
One more side of the Popcorn utility box. Orville Redenbacher was a resident of Coronado!
One more side of the Popcorn utility box. Orville Redenbacher was a famous resident of Coronado!

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!