Tag Archives: california

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

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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—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.

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Video—Their water fountain is now MY water fountain

On September 30, 2017, I went to Julian, California, a historic gold-mining town in the mountains, for Apple Days. While I was there, I discovered all sorts of cool stuff and cool places. One of the cool places was The Warm Hearth, a huge store full of goodies to make your house into a home.

One of the items they had, which I fell in love with—and it’s difficult to fall in love with inanimate objects, but I did—was a water fountain. Jim and I had been looking for a fine fine fine water fountain at a reasonable cost, and this one was only $379. We headed to Julian yesterday for the sole purpose of getting the fountain.

Here it is in all its glory—flowing water, sound, and lights— on our deck. It will only stay on the deck for a few weeks until I get the landscaping in. It sounds a lot better than it did in The Warm Hearth because there aren’t a billion people walking around talking….

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Out & About—The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

Out & About

About once a quarter I discover a store that is way beyond cool, so it’s unusual to find three cool stores on the same day within a block of each other. All three stores are in Julian, California, a mountain community founded around 1850. Gold was discovered in 1869. Perhaps Julian is best known now for its apple pies; I can highly recommend any pie by the Julian Pie Company. Julian’s Apple Days Festival, held last weekend, is why I was exploring Julian.

The first, and the largest, of the cool stores I found is The Warm Hearth. My wise old grandmother always told me that a house is just a house until you make it a home. So many goodies at The Warm Hearth that can help make my new house, or yours, into a home.

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

Near the front entrance, and what immediately caught my eye, was a huge display of hot sauces, some of which I have never heard of. Considering that I have been hot saucing for 51 years, that’s quite unusual for me.

Hot sauces at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

Hot sauces at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

I stood there making mental notes of each hot sauce, and salivating. I know it’s not nice to salivate in public, but, oh well. What Hot Saucer could refrain from salivating over a hot sauce called Devil Drops, or Pain 100%? I don’t think anyone saw me….

Across from the hot sauces were all sorts of other sauces. Rattler BBQ Sauce piqued my interest.

Sauces at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

Sauces at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

As many of my readers know, when I find trains of any sort, I get kind of excited.

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

I have never had an appreciation for wine, not that I didn’t try when I turned 18 (would have to turn 21 in today’s world). The only wine I wound up liking is Zinfandel. However, I have a lot of friends who are wine connoissuers so whenever I find cool wine necessities, I think of them.

Wine necessities at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

Wine necessities at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

Wine necessities at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

Wine necessities at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

Wine necessities at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

There were coffee and bacon necessities, too.

Coffee necessities at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

Bacon necessities at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

Many readers know about the dysfunctional family I grew up in, so this one really hit home with me:

Family tree roots at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

My wise old grandmother had several interesting clocks in her home, including an old railroad depot clock and a grandfather’s clock. Clocks have always fascinated me, and at one time I had a huge collection of clocks. They got left behind in April 1993 when I escaped Texas.

Clocks at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

When I was 10 and being bullied in sixth grade, my wise old grandmother counseled me with her wise words of wisdom: “Ten percent of the people will hate you because that’s the kind of people they are. Ten percent of the people will love you because that’s the kind of people they are. Eighty percent of the people will hate you or love you based on your actions and words. So be nice.” I thought of her words when I saw this:

Rules at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

Of course, there still are witches (and warlocks), and there are good reasons to be one of them:

Reasons to be a witch at The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

An interesting assortment of books for the kids and cards for every occasion:

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

There were gifts for our fine, furry, four-legged friends, too.

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

Lots of other make-a-house-a-home stuff, too.

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

I think I found my next water fountain at The Warm Hearth. Hopefully it will still be there when I return.

Chris is the owner of The Warm Hearth. He graciously gave me permission to take all these interior pictures for this blog post. Thank you, Chris.

I liked The Warm Hearth so much that I offered to let Chris adopt me and I would work at The Warm Hearth. Since I come with an endowment, he wouldn’t even have to pay me. Just consider it family child labor.

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Out & About—Classic car show & chili cook-off in Alpine CA

Out & About

One of my favorite places to go in San Diego County is Alpine. It’s a mountain community at an elevation of 1,842 feet above sea level but is not too deep in the mountains. No winding mountain roads with 25 mph speed limits. In fact, Interstate 8 can get you there very quickly at 70 mph. Now that I live in Winter Gardens, I’m a mere 10 miles from Alpine. I can see myself going there often.

Alpine, California

Yesterday I headed to Alpine for the annual classic car show and chili cook-off.

Classic car show in Alpine, California

Classic car show in Alpine, California

Classic car show in Alpine, California

Mr & Mrs Redd were there with all the kids.Classic car show in Alpine, California

This dog is not what you think.
It’s a dog statue. Where do you buy a dog statue like that?
Dog statue

Only 90 years old. What’s the problem?
Classic car show in Alpine, California

My wise old grandmother had a 1960 Chevrolet Impala.
It had chrome everywhere. I hated it because I was the one
who had the privilege of polishing the chrome every weekend.
I don’t miss chrome but I do admit that it’s pretty when it’s shining.
Classic car show in Alpine, California
When you have connections, you can arrange to have your car show number
match the year of your classic car, in this case a 1957 Chevy Bel Air.
Just to the right of the drive-in tray you can see the window sticker.
Classic car show in Alpine, California

Here’s a close-up of the window sticker.
For a mere $2,846 back in 1957,
you could have had this classic car.
You dummy. What did you spend your money on?
What were you thinking?
Classic car show in Alpine, California

When I headed over to the chili cook-off, I saw lots of people
wearing Granite Hills Key Club shirts,
like these four who graciously agreed
to let me take their picture:
Alpine chili cook-off

Back in 1972 I asked my wise old grandmother what I could do to help others. She told me about Key Club at Henrietta M. King High School in Kingsville, Texas. I joined. That was my first experience volunteering and helping out. I followed up Key Club by joining Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity at Texas A&M University, and then continuing my volunteering even unto the present day.

Chili cookoff

Pirate Chili won my vote for best chili and best decorated booth.
It didn’t hurt that their chili came in a free ceramic pirate cup.
I, too, understand incentives (bribes).
Pirate cupPirate chili

I got to enjoy the music of my friends in
The Ideas Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio.
I never get tired of their classic rock ‘n’ roll.
The Ideas Rock 'n' Roll Trio in Alpine, California at the chili cook-off

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Out & About—Sports Car Club of America racing

Out & About

One of the great things about belonging to a photographic society in a large metroplex is that our membership is huge. With a current membership of 2,181, when we tell an organization that our photographers would like special access to their event, they are only too happy to oblige. That means we often get to go where no one has gone before. Well, no one except the rich, famous, and those with press passes.

One of the more interesting events recently was the road course competition for the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). Decades ago when I was really into my Ford Mustangs, I belonged to the SCCA. Most of our events in College Station, Texas, were at the Texas World Speedway just seven miles southeast of town. That’s where I went the fastest in my 1989 Saleen Mustang—151 mph over a 2-mile oval.

The SCCA road course events here in San Diego occur at Qualcomm Stadium, former home of the San Diego cum Los Angeles Chargers. It’s an interesting road course because it takes place in the parking lot, a parking lot that is very uneven and has elevation changes, not usually good signs for cars going relatively fast, through bumpy turns, and sometimes with inexperienced drivers—Everyone has to start somewhere, right?

Part of our access to the races included walking around where you normally would not be walking around and taking pictures of cars coming at you fast, sometimes out of control. All you can do is keep firing away and hope that the car takes the turn, applies its brakes, and stays on the course so that you can live another day.

Following are some of my favorite pictures. Smoke usually indicates a sudden, hard application of the brakes or a car that is out of control, often going sideways instead of forward. I had found a spot where there was a significant bump in the course. That bump caused some of the car wheels to leave the ground. Wheels off the ground (The name of my next band) usually isn’t good when you’re trying to control a two- or three-thousand beast.

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

The object is to go fast but stay on the course,
which means not running over the orange cones.
Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

This is the area with the significant bump.
Notice these two cars only have three wheels on the ground.
Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Smoke—drivers hate it but photographers love it.
Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

My heart goes pitter patter when I see Mustangs,
which were the dominant car model at the event.
Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Yes, even a Mustang that is out of control and has run over
at least two cones. Serious penalty points on this one.

When I saw these four tires on the ground with no car around,
the first thing that came to my mind was a Buick 8 or a car named Christine. Stephen King readers will understand.

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Coming up next: A visit to the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park.

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