Category Archives: Manmade

Out & About—How come Santa didn’t bring me a drone?

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Brick is not widely used in Southern California but the Del Mar depot, built in 1910 by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, is a beautiful brick depot located on Coast Boulevard between 15th and 17th streets.

Former Del Mar railroad depot in use from 1910 to 1995.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That depot had been in continuous use from 1910 to 1995. For many of those years it was the only passenger stop between Oceanside and San Diego, a distance of 39 miles. At the time of its closing, it was one of Amtrak’s busiest stations, mainly due to the Del Mar Fairgrounds being nearby. The Fairgrounds host hundreds of events throughout the year, including the San Diego County Fair, the 5th largest fair in the United States.

In the late 1980s, the city of Solana Beach, located two miles north of Del Mar, set about to build a regional transit center. The San Diego Association of Governments voted to close the Del Mar depot due to limited parking, the lack of handicapped access, and the poor logistics of providing for trains, buses, cars, and people. The Del Mar City Council rejected expanding the depot but hoped to keep it in operation as an Amtrak-only station; Amtrak nixed that idea and moved its Del Mar operations to Solana Beach.

Across from the Del Mar depot is one of Southern California’s prime surfing spots, so this area area is highly congested as surfers arrive by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, car, bus, and taxi. No longer do they arrive by train.

The depot now is private property so there is no access to it. I did find a walkway going above it where I got seven pictures to create the panorama show above. The picture below is looking down the tracks where you can see the depot on the right. That’s as close as you’re going to get to a trackside picture without a drone. Hmmmmmmmm. Drone. How come Santa didn’t bring me a drone?

Tracks at the former Del Mar railroad depot, in upper right.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California

Out & About

Many decades ago my mom took us kids down to the courthouse to get the latest polio vaccine. I remember it well because it didn’t involve a needle. In fact, the vaccine came via a sugar cube, and as an 8-year-old child, the lack of needles and someone giving me a sugar cube was pretty cool.

What we had received was an oral polio vaccine developed by Albert Sabin in the late 1950s. It underwent human trials in 1957, was selected by the U.S. National Institute of Health as the polio vaccine of preference, and licensed in 1962.

The first widely available polio vaccine, an “inactivated poliovirus vaccine,” was developed in 1952 by Jonas Salk while at the University of Pittsburgh. After two doses, 90% of the people develop protective antibodies to all three types of poliovirus. After three doses, that increases to 99%. Sadly, it is given by injection, which involves needles…….

In 1960, Salk founded the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, a suburban neighborhood of the City of San Diego, about 20 miles north of downtown San Diego.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Salk Institute is an international center for medical and scientific research. Architects and those who know architecture rave about the Salk Institute campus. Personally, I find the architecture dull, boring, and uninteresting, verging on flat-out ugly. But what do I know?

Here are some pictures of the Salk Institute campus:

img_3091 salk institute stamp img_3087 salk institute stamp img_3078 salk institute stamp img_3097 salk institute stamp img_3095 salk institute stampPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Salk Institute consistently ranks among the top institutions in the United States in terms of research output and quality in the life sciences. In 2004, the Times Higher Education Supplement ranked Salk as the world’s top biomedicine research institute, and in 2009 it was ranked number one globally by ScienceWatch in the neuroscience and behavior areas.

The institute employs 850 researchers in 60 research groups and focuses its research in molecular biology and genetics, neurosciences, and plant biology.

The campus was designed by Louis Kahn. According to Wikipedia sources, “Kahn created a style that was monumental and monolithic; his heavy buildings for the most part do not hide their weight, their materials, or the way they are assembled. Louis Kahn’s works are considered as monumental beyond modernism. Famous for his meticulously built works, his provocative proposals that remained unbuilt, and his teaching, Kahn was one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century.” Suffice to say that he and his style are not among my favorites.

The original buildings of the Salk Institute were designated as a historical landmark in 1991. The entire 27-acre site was deemed eligible by the California Historical Resources Commission in 2006 for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Salk’s personal papers are stored at the Theodore Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego. You might recognize the name of Theodore Geisel as that of Dr. Seuss. Geisel’s personal papers also are stored at the Library.

The Geisel Library is what I consider beautiful architecture:

Geisel Library at the University of California San DiegoPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

(More on the Geisel Library can be found here: The Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego.)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Testing for horsepower

Out & About

The first time I went to Houston was 1973 when I was 18. I was mesmerized by the freeways, especially the “spaghetti bowl” interchanges in and around downtown. When I moved to Houston in 1977, I often would drive out of my way just to drive the spaghetti bowls. Of course, that was back when gas was 59¢ a gallon….

Here in San Diego we don’t have a lot of great spaghetti bowl interchanges but one of my favorite is the interchange in Mission Valley where Interstate 8 passes under Interstate 805. It’s a huge interchange. Looks like this:

Interstate 805/Interstate 8 interchange in San Diego's Mission Valley

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s possible to see Tokyo to the west and New York City to the east from the top of the 805…..

Going north is a long, steady climb, while going south is a steeper, shorter climb. Both sides make for a great test drive in a new car if you’re searching for horsepower….. Just sayin’.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Fletcher Cove Park & Overlook Park in Solana Beach

Out & About

San Diego County has over 70 miles of coastline.

The first time I made it to San Diego, in 1973, two friends and I were on a timeline, created by yours truly, for visiting the national parks, national forests, national monuments, and cities with a population of more than 100,000 west of the Mississippi River, all in a little over three months.Male lion at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

So we skipped the beaches, preferring the San Diego Zoo as our San Diego attraction.

My second visit to San Diego County was in May 1992. I drove the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to Monterey. At the first vista point, I thought to myself, “I could live here some day.”Blacks Beach

Eleven months later I was back in San Diego, to stay.

During my first year living in San Diego, I made it a point to visit all the named beaches in the County.

When Staycations became fashionable with the Great Recession, I decided to revisit San Diego County beaches. One that I visited recently is Fletcher Cove.

Fletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As you’ll notice, Fletcher Cove Park was not there until 2007. I suspect there was a little beach, as there still is, but this illustrates why it is always worthwhile to go again to somewhere you’ve already been.

Fletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The park also is known as Pillbox because of its history as a gunnery installation during World War II.

According to sources, “the beach gets wider at low tide but pretty much disappears at high tide.”

Fletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s easy to get to the beach from the park because you simply walk down a sloping ramp, much better than some beaches where you have to play like you’re a goat and traverse the sandstone cliffs that are 200 feet high.

There are public showers and restroom facilities as well as picnic tables and a basketball court located on top of the bluffs next to the Marine Safety Department Headquarters. There also is a nice community center in Overlook Park which is right next door to Fletcher Cove Park. Only an ugly chain link fence separates the two but that is of little consequence since the picnic tables and walkways are full of mosaic beauty; you’ll never notice the fence.

Overlook ParkFletcher Cove Community CenterFletcher Cove Community Center

Fletcher Cove Park Fletcher Cove Park Fletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A train station for the Coaster is three blocks away, Pacific Coast Highway and downtown Solana Beach are a block away.

Lifeguards are on duty year round, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the winter months, and from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. during the summer months.

Fletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove Park Fletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray PhotosThe parking lot serving both Fletcher Cove Park and Overlook Park is at 111 S. Sierra Avenue in Solana Beach.

Map location of Fletcher Cove Park and Overlook Park in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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NO TRESPASSING

Out & About

Missouri Pacific LinesAs a toddler I had a significant interest in trains since my dad and granddad both worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad in Texas.

When my dad died in 1961, my mom moved us from Palestine, Texas, to Logan, Utah.

My interest in trains remained, though, so much so that whenever I ran away from home, which was often, I would walk the railroad tracks instead of the streets and highways.

Train tracks, State Route 94, San Diego County, CaliforniaMuch more fun…………

I used to think that maybe I would become one of The Boxcar Children.

When I came here to San Diego, walking the railroad tracks was frowned upon.

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner in Del Mar, CaliforniaIn fact, in some areas they will give you trespassing tickets if you don’t cross the tracks at designated crosswalks.

Unfortunately, though, railroad tracks often separate the beaches from the cities, so one sometimes has to walk a mile or more to get to a designated crossing.

Thus, beachgoers, especially those with children or large surfboards, often park wherever there is parking (and there’s not much!) and walk across the tracks, which is what I did recently when I came across the most interesting NO TRESPASSING sign.

Railroad No Trespassing sign

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

From what I have read, the theory behind that NO TRESPASSING sign is that people are looking down so as not to trip on rocks and train tracks, so that is the logical place to put such a sign. Makes sense to me………….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Cedros Design District in Solana Beach, California

Out & About

A last set of pictures from a recent walk through the Cedros Design District in Solana Beach.

Cedros Design District, Solana Beach, California Cedros Design District, Solana Beach, California Cedros Design District, Solana Beach, California Cedros Design District, Solana Beach, California Cedros Design District, Solana Beach, California Cedros Design District, Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Where do you get YOUR mail?

Picture of the Moment

I was born and raised in the small farming and ranching community of Kingsville, Texas, population 25,000, give or take.

In front of our house, at the street curb, was a mailbox. I used to wait for the mail carrier to raise the red flag to indicate that we had mail, at which point I’d rush out to get it.

Here in the city, we have cluster boxes. They aren’t nearly as much fun as a curbside mail box.

Fortunately, San Diego County has a great many rural areas, so when I do a home inspection out in those boondocks, I often get to see great mailboxes, like these two:

Mailbox in the boondocks in San Diego County

Mailbox in the boondocks in San Diego County

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you come to San Diego for a visit, don’t neglect the boondocks! There are a lot of great, historic sites to see beginning with State Route 94.

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