Monthly Archives: March 2013

A man and his dog

A man and his dog

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I keep my camera at the ready when I’m driving so if you ever hear of California passing a law prohibiting photography while driving, you’ll know who it’s directed at.

This old guy was driving an old historic vehicle down the street the other day. I made a U-turn to catch up with him and eventually was able to get a picture while at a red light.

A man and his dog

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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

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Weather stone

The most accurate weather forecaster in history

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I love going to museums because you never know what you’re going to find there.

In June 2012 I discovered the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in Vista, which is where I found one of the greatest and longest-serving inventions ever:

Weather stone

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Anyone know what that is?

My wise old grandmother had many of them in her gardens.

They always were 100% accurate!

That, ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, cats & dogs, is a weather stone.

Here is how it works:

Weather forecasting stone

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For more on the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, see this post: The finest junkyard ever!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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

Tall ship in San Diego

Make a splash on the SEAL!

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sometimes, in order to see the best of San Diego, you have to leave the driving to someone else.

The first time I remember hearing about driving was when our family was driving home to Brigham City, Utah, from Salt Lake City one snowy, dark, winter night. Dad was tired and mom offered to drive. After pulling over and switching seats, mom proceeded to take us on down the highway. I don’t remember how long it was, but mom was driving when we skidded on some ice and spun around, coming to a stop at the edge of the road, which happened to be a cliff with a long drop-off to the canyon below. Fortunately, the guardrail, while damaged, did its job. Dad said something about how things go bad when you leave the driving to someone else. He might have said something about women drivers, but I’m not going there……………….

I’m here to tell you, though, that you should make a Splash on the SEAL and leave the driving to someone else.

Make a Splash on the Seal

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SEAL tours are unique in that they start on land, either at Seaport Village or the Star of India, drive around to Shelter Island and then into the water. Going into the water is a unique experience itself; it just doesn’t seem right. They will motor around San Diego Bay for a while and take you out to see Mother and Father Nature’s seals and the submarine base before driving up and out of the ocean and back to your starting point.

Make a Splash on the Seal

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The whole narrated trip takes about 90 minutes and costs only $36 for adults, $19 for children age 4-12, and free for children under age 4.

seaport village (1)-500If you buy your tickets online, there is a discount.

Reservations are required but you cannot make reservations online. You’ll have to go to Seaport Village or the Star of India to make your reservations. The Star of India stop is seasonal — “seasonal” usually means during tourist season, about Memorial Day through Labor Day — so I’d recommend making Seaport Village your point of origination. Besides, if your ride is more than 30 minutes in the future, there is megastuff to do at Seaport Village and Marina Park.

A walk around Marina Park or through Seaport Village provides you with beautiful views of the Bay, the Coronado Bridge, Coronado, and downtown San Diego, as well as shopping and dining.

Some of what I saw when I made a Splash on the SEAL:

Marina Park at Seaport Vilage

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Most of the kites are demonstration kites from the coolest kite store ever, located at Seaport Village just steps away from the flying kites. Except when the kite store is closed, there are always kites flying to keep the children (and your inner child) entertained.

Balanced rocks at Seaport Village in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Marriott towers and Harbor Club towers

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Into the water we go!

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Pelicans on the SEAL tour in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Seals and sea lions from the SEAL tour in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Seals and sea lions seen on the SEAL tour

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego County has the free world’s largest concentration of military personnel, so it’s highly likely that you’ll see military helicopters, planes, and ships when you make a Splash on the SEAL. By the way, SEAL stands for “SE And Land” tour.

Navy ship in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Helicopter shower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Submarine and tugboat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I got that submarine picture with my 300 mm lens; the tours are only allowed to get within a certain distance of military vessels.

Atessa IV mega-yacht in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Tall ship in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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 (3-29-13) — Groups

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Just a short drive anywhere in San Diego County right now will provide you with a vast array of flowers and colors.

Take enough pictures and you can test whether or not your computer monitor really can show 16.2 million colors.

Here are a few of my favorite flower groups from this past week:

Hydrangea

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Kangaroo Paw

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta

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Friday Flower Fiesta

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Friday Flower Fiesta at Grossmont Center in La mesa California

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Friday Flower Fiesta

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Friday Flower Fiesta

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Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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

Christian House in San Diego's Heritage Park

The rest of Heritage Park in San Diego

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you want to see what you missed before you see the rest of Heritage Park, visit Temple Beth Israel in San Diego’s Heritage Park.

Following are some pictures of the rest of the historic buildings in Heritage Park and a little snippet of information about each building.

IMG_8612 framed

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Heritage Park location map

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The following is the doorway on the Senlis Cottage, a house built for Eugene Senlis in 1896. Senlis was an employee of Kate Sessions, San Diego’s pioneering horticulturist. The picture also is a self-portrait.

Senlis Cottage in San Diego's Heritage Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Senlis Cottage did not have water, sewer, electricity, or gas, common amongst the working class people of the period.

The Sherman-Gilbert House, Stick-Eastlake architecture built in 1887:

Sherman-Gilbert House in San Diego's Heritage Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

John Sherman, cousin of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, hired architects Nelson Comstock and Carl Trotsche to build the house. Sisters Bess and Gertrude Gilbert bought the house in 1892 and proceeded to bring internationally famous entertainers to receptions in their home, including dancer Anna Pavlova and Arthur Rubinstein.

Bushyhead House, an example of Italianate architecture, built in 1887 for Edward Wilkerson Bushyhead, an early San Diego sheriff, chief of police and San Diego Union newspaper owner:

Bushyhead House in San Diego's Heritage Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Burton House, a Classic Revival style home built in 1893 for Henry Guild Burton, a retired Army physician:

Burton House in San Diego's Heritage Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Christian House, Queen Anne architecture built in 1889 for Harfield Lakefield Christian, founder of an early San Diego abstract and title company:

Christian House in San Diego's Heritage Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The McConaughy House, Stick-Eastlake architecture built in 1887 for John McConaughy:

McConaughy House in San Diego's Heritage Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

John McConaughy founded the first scheduled passenger and freight service in San Diego County. His four-horse passenger stages and six-horse freight wagons operated between San Diego and Julian, a gold-mining community at the time. Now Julian is more famous for its apple pies; I can highly recommend the peach apple crumb and the cherry apple crumb pies. Sadly, after buying Julian pies almost every weekend since 1999, I don’t have a single picture of one. I’ll have to remedy that this weekend!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Just 12 more days to visit Butterfly Jungle at Safari Park!

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Butterfly Jungle opened on March 16 at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park near Escondido, California.

San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s only open through April 7, so if you intend to go, don’t want until the last day. There is timed entry to Butterfly Jungle. I got there the other day at 9:00 and the wait was already 30 minutes. By the time I left at noon, the wait was 2½ hours!

Butterfly Jungle

Here are some pictures from this year’s Butterfly Jungle:

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2013 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Music on Mondays — And the jukebox kept on playing….

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I left College Station, Texas, on April 15, 1993, I had over 5,000 vinyl albums, about 1,000 vinyl 45s, and about 100 CDs. I took the 100 CDs with me in my 1989 Mustang GT and headed for somewhere not Texas. I drove over to Shreveport, Louisiana, up to Omaha, Nebraska, and Fargo, North Dakota, over to Seattle and Vancouver, and down to Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Bakersfield, and finally San Diego.

I stayed in San Diego and never went back to Texas. My two office managers, Nick Nichols and David Leese, and an old friend, Bill Bammel, sold everything I had and sent me the money. I understand that the vinyl records wound up at a used record store in Austin, Texas.

Here in San Diego, I restarted my music collection but with just CDs. I don’t even have the CDs anymore, just 58,000 music files. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of music on those vinyl records that has not been released on CDs or as any form of digital music. George Harrison comes immediately to mind, and how you can have music missing in the digital world from such an important musician as George Harrison is beyond me.

For today’s Music on Mondays, I’d like to share my newest digital file, bought for 99¢ last night and downloaded at the same time. It also is a song that has only recently become available as a digital download. It’s “Summer Rain” by Johnny Rivers. I’ve been singing it all day today during my hike, my home inspection, and my home inspection report.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Summer Rain taps at my window
West wind soft as a sweet dream
My love, warm as the sunshine
Sitting here by me
She’s here by me

She stepped out of a rainbow
Golden hair shining like moonglow
Warm lips, soft as her soul
Sitting here by me, yeah
She’s here by me

All summer long we spent dancing in the sand
And the jukebox kept on playing
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

We sailed into the sunset
Drifting home, caught by a gulf stream
Never gave a thought for tomorrow
Just let tomorrow be, now
Let tomorrow be

She wants to live in the Rockies
She says that’s where we’ll find peace
Settle down, raise up a family
One to call our own, yeah
We’ll have a home

All summer long we spent grooving in the sand
Everybody kept on playing
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

Winter snows drift by my window
North wind blowing like thunder
Our love is burning like fire
And she’s here by me, yeah
She’s here with me
Let tomorow be

“Summer Rain” was released in late 1967 and spent ten weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #14. It also would show up as a track on the 1968 album “Realization.”

If the name Johnny Rivers sounds familiar to you, you’re probably familiar with his bigger hits:

  1. “Memphis” (1964, #2)
  2. “Maybelline” (1964, #12)
  3. “Mountain of Love” (1964, #9)
  4. “Seventh Son” (1965, #7)
  5. “Secret Agent Man” (1966, #3 and one of my wise old grandmother’s favorites)
  6. “Poor Side of Town” (1966, #1)
  7. “Baby I Need Your Lovin'” (1967, #3)
  8. “The Tracks of My Tears” (1967, #10)
  9. “Rockin’ Pneumonia/Boogie Woogie Flu” (1972, #6)
  10. “Swayin’ ToThe Music (Slow Dancin’)” (1977, #10)

Johnny Rivers was born on November 7, 1942, in New York City but raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His birth name is John Ramistella. He was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame but, sadly, has not been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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