Category Archives: Uncategorized

Out & About—Surfers and crabs

Out & About

Time flies by when you’re having fun….

I spent yesterday at the Surfing America’s 2017 USA Surfing Championships. Surfing is one of those sports where I change my Canon 760D’s settings to AI Servo tracking using all 19 focus points and burst mode. You might be tempted to just take videos and then capture a still photo from the video. Don’t. The still photo won’t be anywhere near as good as if you simply shot a still photo to begin with. Even with my drone’s 4K video, which is considered “movie quality,” a still capture is pretty poor. Just remember that videos are videos and still photos are still photos, and never the two shall meet….

I’m only 10% of the way through cataloging all the pictures from yesterday but here’s my favorite surfing picture so far.

Surfer at Surfing America's 2017 USA Surfing Championship, Oceanside CA

I admit that I spent as much time watching and photographing wildlife as I did surfers. Following is one of my favorite wildlife pictures from the day. I told this big fella that I would make him an Internet star; he just sat there oblivious, seeming to smile at me, so……………….. (Check out his little goatee, too!)

Crab at Surfing America's 2017 USA Surfing Championship, Oceanside CA

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Out & About—Moral: Park the car, get out, and walk around

Out & About

When I arrived in San Diego in April 1993, on one of the corners between where I hung out and where I lived there was a small model train store with a neon “Frank the Train Man” sign in the window. Although I wasn’t in a position to start collecting model trains again, I often stopped in just to look around.

Frank Cox, the train man, had died of a heart attack in 1989. He had been born in England in 1907 and had moved to San Diego at the age of 13. He opened his model train shop in 1943 at 4310 Park Boulevard. The store I used to visit was located at 4207 Park Boulevard. That address now is Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano. The store I used to visit had a large neon sign, which was installed in 1947. Sometime in the late 1990s or early 2000s, the store closed but the neon sign was saved and moved and installed at the top of the stairs at the original location at 4310 Park Boulevard.

Original neon sign from Frank the Trainman, San Diego CA

After graduating from high school in San Diego, Cox worked in the old Marston’s Department Store in downtown San Diego where his father headed the shoe section. During the Great Depression, Cox switched jobs, hiring on with the Ben Hur Coffee Co. near the train tracks downtown. After visiting a train collector in 1941, an experience which he said changed his life, he became Frank the Trainman. Just two years later he had opened his own train shop. Due to declining health, Cox left his shop in 1981, turning it over to Cooley.

Recently I discovered that the original campus still existed for San Diego State University, then called San Diego Normal School, so I went to explore it. While I was wandering around, I discovered that the 2-story building where the neon sign is located, the original location of Frank’s shop, has been painted on one side to look like a train, a steam locomotive.

Building painted to look like a train

That probably has been there for a couple of decades but you’ll never see it if you’re just driving by. How sad that the only people who see it every day are a few employees of the San Diego Unified School District which currently is housed in the buildings of the old San Diego Normal School.

It wasn’t until a couple of days ago while researching information for this blog post that I discovered that Frank the Trainman’s model train shop still is in business, albeit it at 4233 Park Boulevard, just a few storefronts north of the location I used to visit. It is operated by Frank’s employee, protege, and successor, Jim Cooley, who also has an eponymous museum next door where displays include 15 cars from 1886 through 1933 and 25 categories of antiques represented by model trains, cast iron toys, spittoons, tools, cuckoo clocks, license plates, World War I posters, phonographs, typewriters, and cameras. The museum features “primitive” cars which Cooley defines as cars which have one or two cylinders and represent the development of the automobile. The majority of the cars have not been restored and chances are you won’t see them anywhere else. I guess you know where I’ll be going, soon.

Moral of this post: Park the car, get out, and walk around.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About—Copper Creek Falls Trail, San Elijo Hills

Out & About

If you haven’t discovered meetup.com yet, I can highly recommend it. If there is something you want to do but you’re not doing it, I can pretty much guarantee you that there are other people just like you, and you can meet them on meetup.com.

One of the photograph groups that I’m a member of introduced me to a year-round waterfall on Copper Creek. Year-round waterfalls in San Diego County either are rare or are very difficult to get to. The one on Copper Creek is easy to get to. The trail out and back is 2.7 miles but they are an easy 2.7 miles with virtually no elevation gain on a well-used path, provided that you take the Copper Creek Falls Trail. There are 12 named trails in San Elijo Hills, some going over steep mountains. See the trails here: San Elijo Hills Hiking Trails

There is parking at coordinates 33.093945, -117.204883. Enter those into Google Maps and you’ll be on your way.

The entrance I took after parking goes by a dead sewage treatment plant:

Dead sewage treatment plant in San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Dead sewage treatment plant in San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Dead sewage treatment plant in San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

On the way to the falls, you’ll see the creek, ponds, mini-falls, cute little bridges, and flowers.

Copper Creek, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Thistle

Bridge over Copper Creek

Copper Creek, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Castor flowers

My research indicates that this area was copper and silver mines from around 1857 into the early 1900s. There are remnants of the mines and operation structures throughout the area. The waters behind the small dam is said to be where ore would be cleaned before transport.

Copper Creek, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Copper Creek, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Copper Creek Falls, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Copper Creek Falls, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Copper Creek Falls, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

I always find structural ruins to be of interest, and I was not disappointed at Copper Creek Falls.

Mining ruins at Copper Creek Falls, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Mining ruins at Copper Creek Falls, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Mining ruins at Copper Creek Falls, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Mining ruins at Copper Creek Falls, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Mining ruins at Copper Creek Falls, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Mining ruins at Copper Creek Falls, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Mining ruins at Copper Creek Falls, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Mining ruins at Copper Creek Falls, San Elijo Hills, San Diego County, California

Copper Creek’s water comes from the Escondido Creek Watershed, which begins in Bear Valley above Lake Wohlford. The creek flows through a series of man-made ponds, part of the mining efforts, all the way to San Elijo Lajoon.

The Copper Creek Falls Trails takes you through a grove of Eucalyptus trees which apparently were planted for firewood during the mining days.

There were three vertical mining shafts over 300 feet long and one horizontal shaft over 200 feet long but those shafts were blasted in decades ago for safety.

Fellow photographer sitting on the largest part of the dam
Fellow photographer sitting on the biggest part of the dam

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Halls of History—Torrey Arms Apartments, and more Torrey stuff

Halls of History

I haven’t subscribed to a daily newspaper for four years, nor have I had television or cable in that same span. That left me wanting since my day usually started with the news, breakfast, and a shower. It took me a while to replace the news but the Internet and our local weekly paper, the San Diego Reader, have allowed me to carry on.

The San Diego Reader often has articles about local history as well as places and events to check out. Earlier this year they had an article on the history of San Diego State University. Turns out that the original campus still exists, so I went to wander around and take pictures. While I was wandering around, I discovered the Torrey Arms Apartments across from the old campus. Looks like this:

Torrey Arms Apartments, 4260 Campus Avenue, San Diego CA

The address, 4260 Campus Avenue, even tells us something about the history of the area. When I first came to San Diego in April 1993, this area and the beaches were where I hung out. I had always wondered why the street was Campus Avenue since there was no “campus” anywhere along the street, or at either end. It only took me 24 years….

From my research, I discovered that the Victorian main building was built in 1885 and is one of San Diego’s oldest buildings. The courtyard units seen at the sides in the picture were built in the 1930s.

There are 21 units in the building:

  • 11 studios, 300 square feet each
  • 7 units with 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom, 500 square feet each
  • 2 units with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, 751 square feet each
  • 1 penthouse with 800 square feet but no indication of the number of bedrooms and bathrooms

John Torrey courtesy of WikipediaI found one source that stated the property once was owned by the renowned botanist Dr. John Torrey (picture at right). If that’s true, then we might have to define “property” because Dr. Torrey, born in New York City in 1796 and dying there in 1873, predates the construction of the main building by twelve years.

The same source stated that Dr. Torrey “discovered and named the Torrey Pine.” That’s not true. Someone’s using alternative facts. Plants and animals rarely, if ever, were named by the discoverer after himself/herself. In this case, the Torrey Pine was discovered on June 26, 1850, by Charles Parry, courtesy of WikipediaCharles Parry (1823-1890; picture at right), who came to San Diego in 1849 at the age of 26. Parry was a doctor, botanist, geologist, and surveyor. Parry named his new discovery after Dr. Torrey, one of his botany teachers at Columbia University.

Parry’s diaries, journals, and notes reside at the Iowa State University library as the Parry Collection.

So……………

Torrey Arms Apartments was for sale as recently as May 2016 for $4,260,000 but public records indicate that it still is owned by the people who bought it in October 2012.

Sources: The 1850 Discovery of the Torrey Pine, by James Lightner, 2014, and Wikipedia entries for John Torrey and Charles Parry.

Large Torrey Pine in Del Mar, California
Torrey Pine in Del Mar, California

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Lake Murray under threatening skies

How I Did It

Now that I have a fine fine fine super computer for all my digital photo editing needs, I’m testing it out like there’s no tomorrow.

One of the software programs that I have always wanted—but didn’t want to pay $99 for because the full-featured trial program never would operate on my old computer—is Photomatix. Photomatix takes pictures, preferably a set of bracketed pictures, and creates a high dynamic range (HDR) picture.

Today I downloaded the trial version. It worked. So I paid $99, got a registration key, and went to town. Following is my first HDR picture created from three bracketed pictures of -1, 0, and +1. I look forward to trying this with -3, 0, +3 and even -5, 0, +5.  Since Photomatix can use many many pictures, maybe even a bracketed set of -5, 4, -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3, +4, +5. It will be interesting to see what I can create.

Lake Murray, La Mesa CA, under threatening skies.Lake Murray, La Mesa CA, under stormy skies

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Halls of History—The Hawthorne Historical Inn

Halls of History

Early last year when I was trying to find something to do with the rest of my life, I hired out to deliver people for Uber and packages for Amazon Prime Now. I knew that people and package delivery was not going to be my full-time adventure in my post-retirement life, but I did think that I would get to deliver people and packages to some interesting places that otherwise I would never visit. Whenever I found interesting places, I added them to my tablet’s electronic notepad with the intent of visiting them later.

One of those places was the Hawthorne Historical Inn at 2121 1st Avenue.

Hawthorne Historical Inn

The Hawthorne Historical Inn was built in 1900 as a Dutch Colonial hotel with 31 rooms. Currently it is an apartment building comprising 11,951 square feet with 29 studio and studio bedroom units renting for $800 to $1,400 a month, all utilities paid.

Hawthorne Historical Inn, San Diego, California

Apparently some of the rooms don’t have kitchens, not totally unexpected in an Inn but a little unusual in today’s world of apartments, even studio apartments. However, onsite amenities include a kitchen in addition to a game room and laundry facilities. I don’t know where the kitchen is, but imagine living on the third floor and making your way down to the first-floor kitchen three times a day for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Wonder if the kitchen is open for midnight snacks….

The Hawthorne Historical Inn is pet-friendly, with just a one-time fee of $100 for either a dog or a cat. One source says “no size or breed restriction” while another source says “small dogs” and yet another says “40 pound limit.”

If you don’t want to hassle with street parking, you can get assigned surface lot parking for just $50 a month. Trust me, $50 a month is cheap cheap cheap for assigned parking in downtown San Diego.

Hawthorne Historical Inn

Interesting “facts” about the Hawthorne Historical Inn:

  1. The 1993 movie “Mr. Jones” starring Richard Gere, Lena Olin, and Anne Bancroft, was filmed in the house next door, which you can see at the left of the palm tree in the picture immediately above. According to one source, Richard Gere shot several scenes while balanced precariously on the Hawthorne’s roof but I believe he actually was on the house next door. I’ll know for sure once I watch the movie.
  2. During World War II, the Inn was popular with Rosie the Riveters who built B-24 Liberators and PBY Catalinas in San Diego at the Consolidated Aircraft plant.
  3. According to legend, Muhammad Ali and Sammy Davis Jr. stayed in the hotel.
  4. Most recent sale was in April 2016 at $4,100,000.
  5. The Hawthorne Historic Inn was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
  6. At least two people claim the Hawthorne Historical Inn is haunted. One guy, a photographer, posted online that he was taking night time pictures of the building and on picture revealed in one of the windows a partial face of a woman and an outline of the camera he was using.
    A woman replied to his posting: “I lived behind the building you are talking about for about a year. When I would sit in my kitchen in the morning drinking my coffee I could see the building clearly there was always a lady in her 30′s. I would say that would be in the window that was across from my window I could not see her clearly but I could see her I would think wow why is she always looking at me. when you walk by the building you always feel just creepy. well then I found out that no one was living there at the time it was being redone to get ready to rent out the apartments. The place is just really scary I always see for rent signs out side of it. its a beautiful place now that it has been finished but there must be a reason such a nice place cant keep tenants.”

Hawthorne Historical Inn, San Diego, California

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About—AleSmith Brewing Company

Out & About

My local Costco quit carrying their Kirkland brand of craft beers a couple of years ago. Since craft beers are relatively expensive, and since I don’t like American beers, I pretty much gave up drinking beers, preferring margaritas since they are about the same price as a craft beer.

Recently I had the opportunity to tour a craft brewery with the Pacific Photographic Society. Pretty neat, and I did accept their tasting tray with 8 craft beer samples on it. Tasty.

AleSmith Brewing Company was founded in San Diego in 1995, making it San Diego’s third oldest craft brewery.  It was purchased by Peter Zien in July 2002; Zien is San Diego’s only Beer Judge Certified “Grand Master level 1” beer judge.

The original brewery was located at 9366 Cabot Drive. A larger brewery and tasting room of 25,000 square feet was built in 2015 at 9990 AleSmith Court, making it San Diego’s largest beer tasting room in San Diego County. Currently brewing capacity is about 25,000 barrels per year, but the new brewery, not yet complete in all respects, will increase that capacity by a factor of ten.

AleSmith and its brews have garnered many awards over the years:

  • Rated on RateBeer.com website as #1 Top Brewer in the World 2006 and again in 2013.
  • 2008 “Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year” at the Great American Beer Festival.
  • Nine medals in World Beer Cup competition, including five golds: Belgian Strong Ale (bronze, 1998); Winter YuleSmith (gold, 2004); Vintage AleSmith Old Numbskull (gold, 2008); AleSmith Decadence ’05 Old Ale (gold, 2008); AleSmith Wee Heavy (gold, 2010); AleSmith Decadence ’09 Weizenbock (bronze, 2010); AleSmith Decadence ’10 Old Ale (silver, 2012); AleSmith Old Numbskull (bronze, 2012); AleSmith Old Ale ’13 (gold,2014).
  • By 2013, the AleSmith team had acquired 16 GABF beer medals: Belgian-Style Strong Ale (silver, 1998); Stumblin’ Monk (bronze, 2000); Wee Heavy Scotch Ale (bronze, 2004); AleSmith IPA (bronze, 2005); Wee Heavy Scotch Ale (silver, 2005); Vintage Speedway Stout (silver, 2008); Old Numbskull Barley Wine (silver, 2008); Decadence ‘05 Old Ale (gold, 2008); Wee Heavy Scotch Ale (gold, 2008); AleSmith IPA (silver, 2011); Old Numbskull Barley Wine (silver, 2011); Decadence ’10 Old Ale (silver, 2011); Grand Cru (bronze, 2012); Decadence ’10 Old Ale (bronze, 2012); Old Numbskull Barley Wine (gold, 2013); Decadence ‘12 Quadruple (silver, 2013)

Following are some pictures of AleSmith Brewing Company at their new place. When WordPress is working right, many of the pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat