Monthly Archives: September 2012

Cottontop at Lake Murray, La Mesa, California

Cottontop is back!

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lake Murray is about a half mile from where I live, so I’ll often walk or bike over there to enjoy all the wildlife. Yesterday, Cottontop was back! He was posing — Look at me. Now look to the side! — until he got an itch.

Cottontop at Lake Murray, La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cottontop at Lake Murray, La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cottontop at Lake Murray, La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cottontop is the offspring between a wild mallard and a domestic crested duck. The domestic crested duck is all white with a cotton top and is descended from the mallard, making it natural to breed with wild mallards.

The cottontop is a genetic mutation that causes a deformity of the skull. When two crested ducks breed, 25% of the young will not have a cotton top, 50% will have cotton tops of various sizes, and 25% will die without hatching due to an exposed brain.

I first saw Cottontop back in February or March but had not seen him (could be a gal) since then. It’s nice to see him back because he’s unusual and all the little kids really like him.

Lake Murray map

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

About these ads
A-frame house

But it doesn’t snow there!

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Usually the only place I see A-frame houses are up in the mountains where it sometimes snows. The steep roof of the A-frame allows the snow to slide right off. So imagine my surprise when I found this beautiful A-frame in a residential neighborhood just a few miles inland from the coast and a block from San Diego Mesa College:

A-frame house

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Mesa College map

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta logo

A special thanks….

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yesterday I found a blogger who was using my Friday Flower Fiesta logo in her blog. There was no attribution, and since I still use it in my blog, I asked her to remove it. She did, with an apology.

Actions like that cause me to go above and beyond. So, Ms Blogger, here is a Friday Flower Fiesta logo just for you to use as you wish in your blog or anywhere else. It’s yours:

Friday Flower Fiesta logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I can recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Beyond the boondocks

Scenes from……….beyond the boondocks

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Recently I took you on a tour of State Route 94 (SR94). SR94 wanders for 63 miles, starting in urban madness, passing through suburbia, and snaking through the boondocks, and that’s just in the first eighteen miles. The other 45 miles is….

State Route 94 map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Some of what you’ll see beyond the boondocks is historic, some is funny, some simply cannot be explained. With that disclaimer, I present, Scenes from……….beyond the boondocks:

Beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Apparently they get mail beyond the boondocks, but who knows for how much longer. The new mailboxes shown in the picture below were, uh, some of the newer construction I saw beyond the boondocks.

Mailboxes beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Some of the older, historic construction beyond the boondocks:

Historic construction beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Historic construction beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Historic construction beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Historic construction beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Historic construction beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There seem to be a lot of ranches beyond the boondocks, but I didn’t see a single person anywhere other than driving cars on the road.

Beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Apparently some of the animals beyond the boondocks get to have fun:

Beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

You knew I saved the best for last:

Beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s the right thing to do

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I don’t consider theft of any type to be appropriate. It’s something my wise old grandmother taught me: “Do not steal.” She had at least two reasons for telling me that:

  1. I was a juvenile delinquent who often stole things.
  2. She was a devout Catholic and believed in the Ten Commandments, of which #8 says, “Thou shalt not steal.”

As I was camping out in blogs this evening, I came across one that has a Friday Flower Fiesta and a logo.

I started my Friday Flower Fiesta back in 2007 at the real estate blogging site where I hung out until January 2012. On January 20, 2012, I had my first Friday Flower Fiesta over here. Now I didn’t trademark the Friday Flower Fiesta name, so anyone is free to use it. However, what they are not free to do is to use my Friday Flower Fiesta logo:

Friday Flower Fiesta

I created that logo when I was learning how to create GIFs. I first used it in my Friday Flower Fiesta of June 22, 2012.

I was shocked when I came across it on some else’s blog without it being a re-blog, and it took me a minute to realize that it really was my logo. I quit camping out in her blog at that time and left her a comment:

“Hey, [name deleted for now]. It is not appropriate for you to steal my Friday Flower Fiesta logo and use it as your own. I would appreciate it if you would take it off of your site since I still use it on mine.”

The person says in the blog profile, “I am very spiritual…. I am a photographer and an artist.” I am amazed that a spiritual photographer and artist is not familiar with copyrights, nor with the common courtesy of either asking for permission to use something or at least informing the copyright owner that the work was going to be used and would be taken down if the copyright owner found it inappropriate.

In this case, since I still use the logo, I would not have given permission for someone else to use it except in a teaching capacity, which the use in the other person’s blog certainly is not.

That’s all I’ll say on the subject at this point, but I have made a note in my camping spreadsheet and, if necessary, will revisit this subject in the future.

Meanwhile, a great general rule of thumb in this Internet world is:

If you didn’t make it, create it, compose it, write it, sing it, photograph it, etc., then it’s not yours and you should not use it.

There are exceptions, such as with Wikipedia, YouTube, Google Maps, etc., where use is allowed, which is why the above rule of thumb is general. However, if in doubt, don’t use it. If you do, though, provide credit to the owner and inform the owner of your use. It’s the right thing to do.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Osprey, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Beyond the boondocks, part 1: State Route 94, San Diego County

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego County is unique because there is such a variety of geography, and a variety of people to go with it. Going from west to east, there are the beautiful beaches, urban madness, suburbia, low mountains, high mountains, and……….

Beyond the boondocks

Arguably one of the most beautiful drives in San Diego County is State Route 94 (SR94), of which about 72% is beyond the boondocks:

State Route 94 map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SR94 was designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway in September 1989 after years of brouhaha over San Diego (an arch-conservative, white majority city for many decades) not having a Martin Luther King Jr. freeway like most cities and states.

SR94 begins in downtown San Diego at the intersection with Interstate 5 and works its way east, from urban to suburban to boondocks to beyond the boondocks, connecting with Interstate 8 a little more than 63 miles to the east.

Although SR94 is eligible for inclusion in the State Scenic Highway System, for some reason Caltrans has not seen fit to add it. This is the same Caltrans that waters the freeways at 2:00 p.m. on 90°F days (that’s an editorial comment).

Communities served by SR94, from west to east:

  1. San Diego (southeast) — urban
  2. Lemon Grove — suburban
  3. La Mesa — suburban
  4. Spring Valley — boondocks
  5. Casa de Oro — boondocks
  6. Rancho San Diego — boondocks
  7. Jamul — beyond the boondocks
  8. Dulzura — beyond the boondocks
  9. Tecate — beyond the boondocks
  10. Potrero — beyond the boondocks
  11. Campo — beyond the boondocks
  12. Boulevard — beyond the boondocks

This post covers only the portion of SR94 from Jamul to Boulevard, so you city slickers can either enjoy the scenery or go look for a city slicker blog somewhere……….:)

SR 94 is very close to the border with Mexico, so you will see lots of Border Patrol cars and you’re bound to pass through at least one border patrol checkpoint. Be nice to the officers and their drug-sniffing and hidden people-sniffing dogs….

Border Patrol checkpoint

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you look off to the south, you can sometimes see the brown border fence built during the last few years to try to keep Mexican citizens from entering the United States illegally.

Border fence with Mexico, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The road is winding, and dangerous, particularly in rainy weather. Although the speed limit is generally 50 mph, if you’ve never driven SR94 before, you’ll be hard pressed to do 50 mph around unfamiliar curves.

State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The mountains are beautiful, and there are many stopping points where you can get out and take pictures.

State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Below is a Photoshop Photomerge panorama using nine pictures. Click on the picture for a larger version.

State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Look at the tops of the mountains where you will often see some spectacular homes.

Homes beyond the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There are surface indications of faults beyond the boondocks, nothing like the San Andreas Fault, though.

State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since people do live beyond the boondocks, there are places to eat and stores to buy souvenirs to prove to family and friends that you did, indeed, go beyond the boondocks.

State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Rattlesnake eggs for sale inside

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wildlife is plentiful — ospreys, rabbits, cows, coyotes, road runners, eagles, wild dogs, and, of course, snakes, including rattlesnakes.

Drive slowly (there are turnouts so you can let faster local traffic go by), keep your eyes open, and have your cameras handy.

Osprey, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Rabbit, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cattle, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cattle, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wild dog, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you’re interested in getting out of the car and doing something, there are several places that offer horse rides. Just be sure to obey all signs.

Horse rides, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In Campo there is the Motor Transport Museum of San Diego. Admission is free but they are only open on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Click on the panorama below for a bigger picture.

Motor Transport Museum, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Also in Campo is the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum which offers rides on historic trains. They also are open only on weekends but have lots of interesting events throughout the year. Check them out for Halloween (Pumpkin Express), Thanksgiving, and Christmas (North Pole Limited) events. Click on the panoramas for bigger pictures.

Pacific Southwest Railroad Musem, Campo, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Railroad trestle, State Route 94, Campo, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Railroad bridge, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Train trestle panorama, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Train tracks, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Not on SR94 but accessible only via SR94 is Tecate, comprising both Tecate, California, and Tecate, Mexico. It is where Tecate beer is brewed, and there are free beer-tasting events throughout the year.

Tecate, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Much of the area beyond the boondocks burned in the October 2003 and October 2007 fires, and while I was out there, the Shockey Fire was burning, having burned 2,851 acres, destroyed 11 homes, and taken the life of an 82-year-old handicapped man who apparently had refused orders to evacuate. Folks, property and material possessions are not worth lives; if you are ordered to evacuate in advance of wildfires, please do so!

The main vegetation beyond the boondocks is manzanita. It’s a very beautiful bush but it is basically a flame thrower because when it gets overheated it bursts into flames. Maybe this might have been the bush in the Bible story.

Manzanita, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you get out to do a little walking, pay attention to where you are putting your feet. The infamous “jumping cactus” (Chollas sp.) makes its home beyond the boondocks. Chollas has extremely painful thorns, and the branches break off with barely any contact, resulting in its “jumping cactus” name. If it attaches to you, you will be in pain, and getting the little pieces of cactus off of you….. well, the ordeal will put a damper on your day.

Chollas cactus, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although that is a large specimen, easily seen, the little pieces that fall to the ground start growing, like any good cactus, and it’s those little ones that you really have to watch out for. Even an experienced botanist like me occasionally runs into these things. I brushed up against a small one while I was taking pictures for this post, and two days later I still have a painful whelp where one cactus thorn pierced me good, real good.

Also beyond the boondocks is a large, vining plant with very large, beautiful, and aromatic flowers. It looks like this:

Datura, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As much as you’re going to want to pick a flower, DO NOT DO IT! This plant is a Datura species, also known as stinkweed, jimsonweed, angels trumpet, moonflowers, deadly nightshade, henbane, mandrake, thornapple, and witches weeds. It is extremely aromatic from dusk to dawn, but as soon as you touch a flower or leaf, it and you stink to high heaven, and it’s a smell that rivals the skunk and is just as difficult to remove. This will also put a damper on your trip beyond the boondocks.

Lastly, you will see a lot of trees with the bottom three feet of their trunks painted white. According to my wise old grandmother, who also did this, the paint prevents insects from attacking the trees. There is no scientific proof of that, but people who live beyond the boondocks probably don’t read very many scientific journals.

Painted tree trunk, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Keep your eyes on the mountains to the north and you can see remnants of an aqueduct that brought water to San Diego from the lower Colorado River many decades ago. Click on the panorama picture for a bigger picture.

San Diego Aquaduct, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Motor Transport Museum, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Motor Transport Museum of San Diego

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

During yesterday morning’s adventure beyond the boondocks, I found many subjects worthy of photography. One of them was the Motor Transport Museum of San Diego. It’s a huge factory from decades ago, too big to fit it all into my 28-300mm lens. Keeping in mind my previous work with the Photomerge function of Photoshop, I took five pictures and sent them to Photoshop, which gave me this:

Motor Transport Museum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As you can see, the picture’s a little crooked and the buildings seem to be leaning extraordinarily. Since there has not been an earthquake recently….

With previous landscape panoramas I have done, I simply cropped the picture to make it straight. However, landscape panoramas rarely have tilting buildings in them, so this is a perspective issue.

Fortunately, Photoshop can easily correct that, too. I simply clicked on the crop tool, then the perspective tool, drew a perspective box on the picture, adjusted the sides of the box to indicate what should be straight, and then clicked on okay. Photoshop worked its magic and gave me this:

Motor Transport Museum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Much better.

Unfortunately, the museum is only open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays. I guess you know where I’m going on a future Saturday, probably sooner rather than later.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos