Category Archives: Out & About

Out & About—One of only three in Southern California

Out & About San Diego

I think my last hike might have been this past June when I hiked the Lake Calavera South Trail in Carlsbad. The old body just isn’t what it used to be.

In the map below, you can see all sorts of dotted lines representing trails. If only I had discovered Calavera 40 years ago!

Lake Calavera map

Lake Calavera is the dominant feature, but I’ll have more about that a little later.

Calavera means cranium in Spanish. Skull. Wonder who named it that, and why.

Lake Calavera covers about 400 acres, and the Calavera Nature Preserve complements the lake with another 110 acres and 4.9 miles of hiking and biking trails. There is a lot of accessible land that is not in the preserve, though, with many more miles of trails.

The Lake Calavera area is home to an identified 115 plants, 49 birds, 10 mammals, and 7 amphibians & reptile. Six of the various species are classified as threatened or endangered, including the California Gnatcatcher, a bird which has had 85% of its natural habitat, the Diegan Coastal Sage Scrub, destroyed by development.

Although I love lakes, the dominant feature here, what was even more interesting to me at Calavera is this:

Mount Calavera volcano plug

That’s Mount Calavera, far more interesting to me than a lake full of water. Mount Calavera is a volcanic plug. In other words, the inside of a volcano—its throat, full of magma—which went extinct 22 million years ago. Once a volcano goes extinct, it starts eroding, leaving behind the magma plug. Mount Calavera is one of only three volcanic plugs in Southern California.

In the middle of the picture you can see some vertical columns. As the magma cools, it typically forms columns. Here’s a two other pictures of the magma columns:

Mount Calavera magma columns

Mount Calavera magma columns

From the early 1900s to the 1930s, the ancient plug was mined for gravel. Some of it has been left behind.

Mount Calavera gravel

Although the mountain is 513 feet high, there are many trails, some easy and some difficult, that take you to the top. There you’ll see several old lava flows.

Mount Calavera lava flow

You also can see three labyrinths below, which you’ll probably miss on your first visit up the mountain since they are off the beaten path. No one seems to know who or why they were created.

Mount Calavera labyrinths

All in all, a great hike. Too bad that I won’t be going back again, unless it’s by helicopter.

Kudos to those who know the name of what is quite likely the most famous volcanic plug in the world. Take a guess in the comments.

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

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Out & About—Oceanside sunset from the pier on 11/6/2017

Out & About

Pictures of beaches during King Tides, which are the highest of the high tides and the lowest of the low tides each year, can be quite beautiful, especially if there are people, buildings, piers, boats, and sunsets (or sunrises) to provide reflections on the wet sand and make it that much more beautiful.

Yesterday the sun set at 4:53 p.m., the exact time of the second-to-the-last King Tide for 2017. Check out the beautiful pictures from the Oceanside pier.

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Most of the people in the wet sand were taking pictures,
and most of them were members of the Pacific Photographic Society,
to which I belong and the reason I was there yesterday.
Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Ooopsy. A couple of photographers forgot their tripods!
Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Out & About—Who knew pollution could be so beautiful?

Out & About The World

Missouri Pacific LinesMy dad and granddad both worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad in Texas. Both were Road Foreman of Engines, which means that if an engine was having problems, they would go fix it, regardless of where it was and what hour of the day. Sometimes that meant them getting up in the middle of the night and driving sixty miles to fix an engine that had stalled or broken down somewhere.

My dad committed suicide in the railroad yard northeast of Palestine, Texas. When they found his body, its condition caused the authorities to estimate that he had been dead for three days. Since they found him on January 18, 1961, that would mean that he killed himself on January 15, which is my oldest brother’s birthday. I guess he had such a love of trains that he couldn’t think of any place better to kill himself…. as if there is a good place for that specific task?

When my wise old grandmother adopted me, my granddad actually lived and worked in Taylor, Texas, about 250 miles away. He would come home to Kingsville every Friday, arriving around 10:00 p.m., to spend the weekend with us. It was a joy when he was in town because I often got to ride the trains with him from Kingsville to Bishop, a 10-mile round trip. He originally had worked in the Kingsville repair shops before they closed so he still had lots of contacts around town. Those contacts allowed me to ride in both the engine and the caboose, and resulted in my own lifelong love of trains.

Whenever there’s a railroading event nearby, and there are a lot here in Southern California, I try to get to them. One that I went to earlier this year was northwest of Los Angeles, in the little agricultural community of Fillmore. I think the city still exists simply because everything throughout the year revolves around the historic Fillmore & Western Railway.

In the spring, they have their annual Railroad Days Festival. If you have never been, go. If you have children or grandchildren, take them.

In all the railroading events I have been to in 55 years, Railroad Days Festival was the best. They have more historic rolling stock than I have ever seen in one place, and they give hourly rides on historic diesel engines, cabooses, passenger cars, and steam engines. Take lots of money because the really great rides, like in an engine cab, cost the most. And there are so many different rides—diesel engine, steam engine, caboose—that you’ll want to go on all of them, like I did. It’s really cool.

One of the most popular rides is in the consist pulled by one of their steam engines. I took the ride first to see where it went. Once I knew that, and with hourly rides, I got in my car and went out to the end of the line where I got the following video. Turn the sound up and listen to the huffing and puffing. And the smoke! Who knew that pollution could be so beautiful?

The Fillmore & Western Railway is a tourist railroad operating on former Southern Pacific trackage from Piru through Fillmore and to Santa Paula. The tracks were built in 1887 to move citrus from from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The steam locomotive, #14, is a Baldwin engine built in November 1913 by The Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia.

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Out & About—Christian Light MBC in Los Angeles

Out & About The World

Whenever I go traveling, I devise a travel plan to get me to my destination by a specific route. Sometimes, though, I find something interesting and unexpected along my route. Such was the case earlier this year when I set out for Fillmore, California, to go to the Fillmore & Western Railway’s Railroad Days Festival. It was the best railroading event I’ve ever been to. Highly recommended.

About halfway there, though, making my way along I-10 in stop-and-go traffic, I saw an interesting church off to the side. The area of town—South Central Los Angeles—generally is not considered inviting to white people like me, and the church had bars and plywood on the windows, but you know me. It’s all about history and photographs, and as my wise old grandmother told me in 1967 when my best friend drowned in the community swimming pool: “When it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go.”

Here’s the church:

Christian Light Mission Baptist Church los angeles framed

Christian Light Mission Baptist Church los angeles framed

Christian Light Mission Baptist Church los angeles framed

Christian Light Mission Baptist Church los angeles framed

The church and its grounds were not accessible due to fences and gates, but I did find the cornerstone near the front entrance:

Christian Light Mission Baptist Church los angeles framed

I know a J.S. Pope but he’s not a Reverend, and if he was head of that congregation in 1944, I’m pretty sure that he would no longer be living in 2017.

I’m familiar with the world’s religions but I had no idea what religion the Christian Light M.B.C. was, so off to Google. While I did not find the history of Christian Light M.B.C., I did find out that M.B.C. stands for Missionary Baptist Church. I’m familiar with the Southern Baptists, having grown up in Texas where the Southern Baptists are many in number, but I had no idea what a Missionary Baptist Church was, although I had my suspicions.

A Google search led me to gotquestions.org where I found this:

The Baptist movement has become significantly fragmented over the years, and there are various types of churches that use the label “Missionary Baptist” as part of their name. This article deals with the Missionary Baptist movement within the African-American community; it does not address other groups that may happen to use the name “Missionary Baptist.”

Most Baptist churches, including Missionary Baptists, believe and follow the essential tenets of Christianity. They hold to the inspiration and authority of the Bible, the deity of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus. Also, Missionary Baptists, like other Baptists, teach the autonomy of the local church and practice believer’s baptism by immersion. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two ordinances of the church. Most Missionary Baptist churches view Sunday as the Christian Sabbath, in which no work or secular activities should be done. Many Missionary Baptist churches also call their pastor’s wife the “first lady” of the church.

Two of the largest groups of Missionary Baptists are the National Baptist Convention USA, with about 8 million members; and the National Baptist Convention of America, with a membership of about 5 million. Other African-American Baptist groups using the name “Missionary Baptist” include the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the National Missionary Baptist Convention.

The Missionary Baptist movement began in 1880, soon after the Civil War. At that time, there were many freed slaves in Baptist churches, and they felt the need to come together in worship and to fulfill the Great Commission. The former slaves formed the Foreign Mission Baptist Convention of the United States in 1880, the American National Baptist Convention in 1886, and the Baptist National Educational Convention in 1893. These three organizations united to form the National Baptist Convention in 1895. About 24 years later, a disagreement within the convention led to a split, and the National Baptist Convention of America separated from the National Baptist Convention USA.

Generally speaking, Missionary Baptist churches place an emphasis on Christian evangelism, promoting missions efforts at home and abroad; encourage Christian education; seek social justice and community involvement; and publish and distribute Sunday school material and other Christian literature. Missionary Baptists embrace their history and maintain a strong connection to the needs in their surrounding communities. As conventions (not denominations), Missionary Baptist groups do not have administrative or doctrinal control over their member churches; such matters are left up to each local church.

One phrase in all that text confirmed my initial thoughts on what a Missionary Baptist Church was: promoting missions efforts at home and abroad.

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

Out & About—Extreme Sailing Series stop in San Diego

Out & About

I remember the days when I used to spend all my time in, on, or near the water. Now it’s a special event when I get to the coast since I live out in the mountainous boondocks about 25 miles away. This past weekend, though, was the Extreme Sailing Series in the San Diego Harbor. It was a 4-day event featuring GC32 foiling sailboats. They look like this:

GC32 foiling sailboat

When they are going fast, it looks like they are out of the water because all you can see or those little foil thingies.

GC32 foiling sailboat

GC32 foiling sailboat

Along with the GC32 foil sailboat racing, they had foil kiteboard racing, which was won by Johnny Heineken. What a name! All he would have to do is provide Heineken to all the other contestants and get them drunk!

Foil kiteboard racing

And parachutists:

Parachutists at the Extreme Sailing Series in San Diego 2017

According to the program,

The extreme Sailing Series is the ultimate Stadium Racing championship, visiting eight iconic cities across three continents each season. The global series pits teams of the world’s best sailors against each other on hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans. The world-class crews compete on stadium-style racecourses set just metres from the shores of the free entry Race Villages, putting spectators at the heart of the sailing action like never before.

San Diego is the second-to-the-last stop on the 2017 tour. Previous stops were Muscat, Oman; Qingdao, China; Madeira Islands, Portugal; Barcelona, Spain; Hamburg, Germany; and Cardiff, United Kingdom. The final stop is November 30-December 3 in Los Cabos, Mexico.

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Playing docent for friends at the San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo logo

Remember that if you come to San Diego for any reason and need a personal docent for the day, I’m always up for it. I often have free tickets to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. They can be YOURS, free, just like I got them!

Yesterday I played docent for two old friends that I had not seen since 1983, other than Facebook, of course. Here are some pictures from our trip to the Zoo:

Grizzly BearGrizzly bear

Panda. Remember that these are not bears. Just pandas.
Panda

Baby monkey, although I don’t know what species.
Baby monkey

A female gazelle, looking very pregnant
and being checked on by her previous child.
Pregnant momma

Polar Bear enjoying the San Diego sunshine.
Polar Bear

Reindeer, but not Rudolph, obviously.
Reindeer

Arctic fox. There were two of them yesterday. In 23 years of going to the San Diego Zoo at least once a month, and usually once a week, these are only the second and third pictures I have gotten of the arctic fox.
Arctic fox

Arctic fox

Got a group photo of some well-known people.
Group photo

California Condor. Extinct in the wild as recently as 1987 with only 22 birds still living, all in captivity. The San Diego Zoo’s breeding program has resulted in the re-introduction into the wild. It still is one of the world’s rarest birds, with 446 now living both in the wild and in captivity.
Ccalifornia condor

Hyrax. I got up close and personal with my 150-600 mm lens.
Hyrax

Meerkat. One of my favorite animals. They are so much fun to watch.
Meerkat

Hyrax momma and her two young ones. The look on her face! Is she thinking that some sort of pervert is taking pictures of her young ones sucking on her teats and is going to put them on the Internet?
Hyrax

Squirrel. This is a “local animal” according to the Zoo,
meaning that it is free to come and go at will. Of course, it knows
where the best food is, not to mention lots of friends!
Squirrel

Kookaburra. It’s difficult to get a good picture of these birds because of the tiny mesh surrounding their enclosure. They have to be at just the right distance from the mesh for my 150-600 mm lens to get through the mesh.
Kookaburra

Silverback Gorilla, pondering.
Lowland gorilla

Orangutan, also pondering.
Orangutan

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

Out & About—The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Out & About

I went to Julian, California, for their Apple Days the weekend of September 24 and discovered three cool stores. The Warm Hearth is in my blog post here. The second one I want to talk about is The Birdwatcher. How can anyone resist going into a store called The Birdwatcher?

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The first home that I remember was where we lived when I was 5 in 1960. It had a row of windows under the eaves to let light into the living room. Sadly, birds would fly into the windows and knock themselves out, dying an agonizing death on the ground below. I was picking up dead birds every morning. I resolved to never have windows that would kill birds. Of course, now that I’m a little older, I realize that all windows have the potential to kill birds. You can help our feathered friends by using WindowAlert. Pretty neat.

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Rick & Brenda Campbell own The Birdwatcher, and Brenda kindly gave me permission to take interior photos for my blog post here. Thank you, Brenda!

A beautiful selection of wind chimes just in case you don’t have any songbirds at your place.

Birds like taking baths. I mean, who doesn’t?

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Bird cards to send your family and friends.

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Real honest-to-goodness books about birds for your own personal library.

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Cute hangings for your yard.

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

They have a special wall in the store where they display bird pictures taken by anyone and everyone. All you have to do is send them a picture!

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Bird houses and bird feeders of all shapes and sizes to help us care for our feathered friends.

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Proof outside that their bird feeders work:

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Hot pads, coffee cups, and hand towels.

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Birds, nests, and eggs for inside, without the resulting mess to clean up.

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Shirts and socks. No pants? No underwear? Sad.

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Beautiful and whimsy wall art.

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Dishes.

The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Of course, I came home with something. I could have come home with a lot more but I was in the Corolla instead of the 18-wheeler.

Barn owl from The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

And if there are birds around, well, you know there has to be a cat around, too. Here’s The Birdwatchers indoor kitty:

Indoor kitty at The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

Indoor kitty at The Birdwatcher in Julian, California

As soon as I told her that I was going to make her an Internet star, she gave me that look in the first photo and then curled up and pretended she was asleep. Yeah, right.

I was carrying my new video recorder around with me and got a short video of the many hummingbirds hanging out. I think The Birdwatcher even has more hummingbirds than the San Diego Zoo!

If you need anything at all relating to birds, stop by The Birdwatcher in Julian, California.

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