Category Archives: Manmade

Out & About—Windansea Beach in La Jolla CA

Out & About

I had a home inspection in La Jolla this afternoon at 1:30, so I left at 6:00 this morning. Granted, the property in La Jolla is only 30 miles from me but, as my wise old grandmother always said, “You can never be too early!” (Although in my later years I discovered that yes, you can be too early!)

Actually, as many readers probably have already guessed, I can’t go north of Interstate 8 without turning the trip into a photographic adventure. Why should today be any different?

After discovering Del Mar Shores beach last week, my goal this morning was to find more beaches. And I did!

Surfers were out all along the coast. I found the Pacific Beach Surf Club at Tourmaline Beach and the Windansea Surf Club at Windansea Beach. Windansea was a larger beach, and had better breakers and more surfers this morning.

img_3054 surfer windansea la jolla

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_3059 surfer windansea la jolla

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Windansea Beach and the surrounding neighborhood were after the 1909 oceanfront Strand Hotel when it was renamed Windansea Hotel in 1919. The Windansea Hotel, located on Neptune Avenue between Playa del Sur and Playa del Norte, burned down in 1943. Surprisingly, I could find no historical pictures of either the Strand Hotel or the Windansea Hotel.

The beach is defined geographically as extending north of Palomar Avenue and south of Westbourne Street.

windansea beach map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The distinguishing landmark at Windansea Beach is a palm-covered shack originally built in 1946 by Woody Ekstrom, Fred Kenyon, and Don Okey. Looks like this:

img_3059 windansea shack la jolla

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“The Surf Shack at Windansea Beach” was designated a historical landmark by the San Diego Historical Resources Board on May 27, 1998.

Although there is limited parking at the Beach, there is plenty of parking on neighborhood streets. Also, there are no drinking fountains, showers, or public restrooms although the main drag through La Jolla (La Jolla Boulevard) is just one or two blocks away. There you should be able to find drinking water, showers, and public restrooms.

Windansea Beach has a storied past, serving as home beach to many notable surfers, including Joey Cabell, Del Cannon, Pat Curren, Mike Diffenderfer, “Longboard Larry,” Mickey Muñoz, Chris O’Rourke, and Butch Van Artsdalen.

The Windansea Surf Club was founded by Chuck Hasley in 1962 and included members such as The Endless Summer star and first Vice President Mike Hynson.

img_3053 windansea shack la jolla

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14G: Casa de Machado y Stewart

San Diego Historical Landmarks

Old Town San Diego State Historic ParkWithin Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (San Diego Historical Landmark #14) are many historic buildings and rebuilds. We’ll explore nine of them since they also have been designated San Diego Historical Landmarks.

The seventh landmark, San Diego Historical Landmark #14G, is Casa de Machado y Stewart.

img_8738 la casa de machado y stewart stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The museum was undergoing renovations when I was there, which means two things: (1) I don’t have any good pictures, and (2) I will get to go back!

img_8739 la casa de machado y stewart stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Casa de Machado y Stewart was built around 1835 (some sources say as early as 1830) by José Manuel Machado, a retired soldier from the presidio. Its walls are sun-dried adobe bricks, and the home originally had just a bedroom and a living room.

Rosa, José’s youngest daughter, and her husband, Jack Stewart, a sailor and carpenter from Maine, moved into the home after getting married in 1845. During their residence there—it was their only home—they added rooms, lime washed the adobe walls, built a barrel clay tile roof, and added wood-paned windows and a rear piazza (columned porch) for outdoor gatherings. It should also be noted that they raised 11 children in the home.

The building was listed as a California Historic Landmark in 1932, but its historic integrity and appearance had been significantly changed by previous large-scale alterations. For example, in 1911, Frank “Pancho” Stewart, Machado’s grandson, completely remodeled the home. He built a new wooden porch, covered the exterior adobe walls with wood siding, and laid interior wood board ceilings and tongue-and-groove floors. He also added a fireplace at the building’s west end to go along with an outdoor oven. By the late 1930s, the building didn’t look anything like an adobe building:

1937 view la casa de machado y stewart

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The house was occupied by descendants of the Stewarts until 1966. The California Department of Parks and  Recreation acquired the building in 1967 and hired Coneen Construction to repair and restore it to its original appearance circa 1835-1845.

The building underwent more significant repairs in 2011 and, since I was there in December 2014, we know that it was undergoing repairs then.

Casa de Machado y Stewart is one of five adobes in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Adobe buildings require regular maintenance so it’s not unusual for such a building to appear to be undergoing constant repairs. Inspections are critical especially after San Diego’s rainy season. In fact, Mrs. Carmen Meza, the last resident of the home, was forced to leave it due to severe damage sustained in the rains of 1966.

la casa de machado y stewart

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the San Diego Historical Landmarks series, go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Heavy industrial abstracts

Out & About

I love visiting “heavy industry” because there is so much available in a small space that makes great pictures.

Yesterday’s 2-hour tour of the Encina Wastewater Treatment Facility in Carlsbad is a great example, yielding 257 pictures, or an average of one picture every 28 seconds.

Although I haven’t cataloged all the pictures yet, here are five of my favorites so far:

img_2762 shadows encinas waste treatment carlsbad stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_2736 encinas waste treatment carlsbad stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_2688 pipes encinas waste treatment carlsbad stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_2678 electricity encinas waste treatment carlsbad stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_2761 ladder shadow encinas waste treatment carlsbad stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos


Encina Wastewater Treatment Facility
6200 Avenida Encinas
Carlsbad, California


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Out & About—Del Mar Shores beach in Solana Beach CA

Out & About

San Diego County has an overabundance of great beaches, and the fact that all beaches in the State of California are public means that one can enjoy them, providing that one can get to them.

Many wealthy neighborhoods don’t like commoners on their beaches, so they purposely make it difficult for the public to get to the beaches.

The City of Solana Beach is a great example.

Recently I was trying to get to Del Mar Shores beach. I had not been there in about twenty years but knew that there was a beautiful, new staircase leading down to the beach. Finding that staircase without walking up the beach for ten miles proved to be more difficult than I had thought.

I finally found the beach access on a small cul-de-sac:

del mar shores beach access

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although the sign and walkway are quite visible, that picture is from a web site that I browse looking for unique San Diego. The walkway now is overgrown with bushes and trees, and the sign and walkway entrance are obscured by car parking. Thus, if you’re just casually driving by—and no one is going to casually drive by in a cul-de-sac to begin with!—you’ll miss it. In fact, I missed it twice before finding it the third time. Well, my wise old grandmother always said that the third time is the charm!

The walkway goes around two sides of the Del Mar Shores Terrace condominiums. Here’s the second side leading to the beach:

img_2504 solana beach del mar shores beach access stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Even though I was there on a weekend, you can see that it wasn’t busy. I’m thinking because no one can find it!

At the end of the walkway is a magnificent view of the beach from the top of 150-foot cliffs:

img_2509 beach solana beach stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Then there is the view down the grand staircase:

img_2508 solana beach del mar shores beach access stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s absolutely necessary to traverse the stairs to get to the bottom so you can see this view of what you just came down:

img_2513 beach access solana beach stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The “NO DOGS ALLOWED” sign at the beginning of the walkway is confusing because dogs are allowed, albeit only to the south side of the stairs, not the north side.

A walk on the beach provides views of magnificent beachside cliff homes and condominium complexes, as well as the interesting retaining walls that keep them up there.

img_2511 solana beach del mar shores beach stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Map showing access to Del Mar Shores beach in Solana Beach

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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This junk is for sale!

Picture of the Moment

When I moved to Houston in May 1977 after four years at Texas A&M University, a friend (I’ll call him Thad since his name was Thad) and I started a company called “Yesterday’s Treasures.”

Yesterday’s Treasures specialized in finding unique junk and antiques, fixing them up, and selling them, usually to specialized antique places in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Beaumont, Houston, Victoria, and Corpus Christi.

Thad was from Corpus Christi and had the “unique junk and antique” knowledge. I was the man with the money. We complemented each other very well.

This morning I went driving up Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 101), stopping here and there to take pictures, which resulted in 259 pictures and 2 videos during a 6-hour drive.

One of the places I visited was the Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach. It’s only three blocks long but definitely one of my favorite areas.

Cedros Avenue Design District in Encinitas, California

Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Thad and I didn’t have a store front, but if we did, this sign would have fit us perfectly:

img_2430 cedros design district encinitas junk for sale stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The business looks like this:

img_2340 vintage treasures cedros design district solana beach junk for sale stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I could not determine the actual name of the business, and the Cedros Avenue Design District web site is all messed up right now.

I do like the sign under the arbor that says “Vintage Treasure” and the little pink circle sign above the third window from the right that says “Fancy Junk.”

If you’re in the San Diego area and looking for unique items for your home, check out the Cedros Avenue Design District. For a previous post about the Cedros Avenue District, see “I learned something today….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I might be in for some interesting times

Did you know?

Occasionally one of my home inspection Clients appreciates my work so much that s/he will send me a gift after escrow closes.

A gift I got several years ago was three volumes of “Messages and Papers of the Presidents” by James D. Richardson (1843-1914), copyright 1897. Richardson served in the Confederate States Army during the Civil War and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Tennessee, from 1885-1905.

The pages are in excellent shape, although yellowed on the edges. The bindings, however, are in very poor shape

IMG_2190 books

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Thus, I had never opened the volumes until yesterday.

Printed on tissue paper and inserted at the beginning of the first volume I opened (Vol. V) is this priceless gem:

IMG_2189 how to open a book small

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

How I miss the days when the captions for photographs were printed on tissue paper, as these books have.

img_2191 picture caption on tissue paper

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I remember many of the books that my wise old grandmother had, had tissue paper picture captions in them. They were fragile, yet awesome.

I don’t know when such tissue paper captions ceased but I suspect it was shortly after World War II when the world took on a faster pace. My suspicion is derived from the fact that all of the books I have with tissue paper captions were published before the War.

Until yesterday, I never knew that each sheet of paper in a book is called a leaf, and the two sides of the leaf are called pages. It also took me a while to find the definition of start relevant to books. After much searching (which means I’m now behind in unpacking!), I found this definition way down in a list of definitions for start:

to spring, slip, or work loose from place or fastenings

The fact that the definition was so far down the list probably indicates that the word it not used much anymore, if at all, to mean that.

My intent is to keep these books and eventually have the bindings restored. I have never done that before, so I might be in for some interesting times.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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