Tag Archives: east san diego county

Much safer reading than the old manual way

Snow day in the Cuyamaca Mountains, San Diego County, 11/30/2019Snow Day in the Cuyamaca Mountains,
East San Diego County, 11/30/2019

When I was young, I used to carry around with me a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records. That was what I read when I had to wait, usually in some sort of line, like at the grocery store or post office. It was my emergency reading material.

The Golden Ratio by Mario LivioDare I say that I still do that?

My current emergency reading material is
The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, The World’s Most Astonishing Number, written by
Mario Livio (b. 1945) and published in 2002.

(Interestingly, as with my own book, it has an ISBN on the back cover and one on the copyright page. They are supposed to be the same. They are not. Ooopsy. Someone goofed.)

It has to do with my book Nature’s Geometry: Succulents and my 1-hour presentation on the same topic.

I’m 99% certain that I’m on the Speaker’s Circuit for cactus & succulent clubs now, but, as my wise old grandmother said in 1966: Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched.

(Yes, we had a farm/ranch, and yes, I was counting the number of eggs so I would know how many chickens I would have….)

Two cactus & succulent clubs in the Los Angeles area have me tentatively scheduled for February 9 and February 13.

I did a presentation in June 2019 for the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society in Escondido, California, a club to which I belong. However, that presentation is now six months old, so I’m updating it using material from my book which was published in October 2019 and with information garnered from my current emergency reading list.

Dare I say that I also read while sitting in stop & go traffic? It’s a skill I learned in 1977-1983 while actually working in an office 8 to 5 (something I rarely have done) and sitting in rush hour traffic in Houston, Texas. I drive with my left hand and hold my reading material at dashboard level with my right hand. The key to doing this successfully, though—with successfully being defined as “without having an accident”—is to only read when the car is at a complete stop. I don’t do it if the car is moving irregardless (one of my favorite non-words) of how slowly that movement might be.

My 2019 Honda Insight has “Brake Hold,” which is the Honda’s way of saying, Here, Russel. We’ve made it easier for you to read while you drive.

2019 Honda Insight

Brake Hold in the 2019 Honda Insight

Brake Hold only takes effect if the car is completely motionless, and it won’t release unless I press on the gas pedal. Much safer reading than the old manual way.

When I went to Julian, California, on November 30, 2019, to play in the snow, I do believe the whole city of San Diego (population 1.3 million) had gotten there before me. There is a high-traffic intersection coming out of the mountains and into downtown Julian. Traffic often backs up for 20 or 30 cars, and it can take 10-15 minutes to go one-tenth of a mile. Traffic on snow day was backed up 1.2 miles, and it took me 1 hour and 34 minutes to go that 1.2 miles. I got a lot of stop & go reading done!

Snow day in the Cuyamaca Mountains, San Diego County, 11/30/2019

Entitled hillbillies in the boondocks

Opinion

I grew up in the boondocks in Kingsville, Texas. In fact, where I lived with my wise old grandmother was considered the “wrong side of the tracks.” Just like Billy Jo Royal sang back in 1965.

After going off to college in 1973 at Texas A&M University, I swore that I would never live in the boondocks again. So where did I move 33 days ago? Yep. The boondocks. The east San Diego County boondocks.

I do like a lot of things about the boondocks: It’s quiet, both during the day and at night. There is more wildlife than you can shake a stick at—ground squirrels, rabbits, fence lizards, birds of every kind. No pink flamingos, though. Sad.

I do have a little friend who comes by every morning to eat, although it looks more like s/he is storing food in those cheeks instead of actually eating it.

Ground squirrel in the boondocks

Generally, it’s the people in the boondocks that I don’t really care for. About 80% of them are Regressives and Twitler supporters. They think liberals, progressives, and Democrats believe themselves to be entitled, yet out here in the boondocks, I find that the Regressives think themselves to be entitled. They seem to be out for themselves, and screw everyone else, including some of their one.

This morning I drove a mile down the road and had six near accidents. These boondocks hillbillies don’t care if there are other people on the roads.

Stop sign? “Honey, what’s that big red thing thar?”

Speed limit 35? “Honey, someone smeared that 8 so it looks like a 3.”

Traffic signal? “Honey, why’s everyone stopped? What are they looking at?”

Parking spaces? “Oh, look, honey. They made the parking lot into somethin’ artsy fartsy.”

I haven’t been carrying my camera for the last 33 days because I need both hands to carry boxes and things, but beginning tomorrow, consider my Canon to be surgically attached to my hand. The boondocks are going to provide some great pictures of these entitled hillbillies….

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Out & About—Old Highway 80 & the best. chocolate. ever.

Out & About

Now that I have a fine fine fine super computer that will process pictures much much faster, I can do longer blog posts. Yahooooooooooooo!

So today I’m going to continue my tour of Old Highway 80 through the boondocks of East San Diego County.

Driving tour of East San Diego County via Old Highway 80

For previous posts on the beginnings of this Old Highway 80 tour, see these:

  1. Glad I could add some laughter to Mr. Agent’s day (Jan 27, 2017)
  2. Reminds me, something about a big wall (Jan 29, 2017)
  3. Marshall Scotty’s Playground Park (Feb 19, 2017)
  4. Stand down. Local tourist (Mar 2, 2017)
  5. The San Diego & Arizona Railway (Mar 7, 2017)
  6. Who wants to drink brown water (Mar 9, 2017)
  7. Halls of History—The Coogan Ranch (Mar 15, 2017)
  8. Out & About—Cruise historic Highway 80 (Mar 23, 2017)
  9. Bankhead Springs, drive-through ghost town (May 17, 2017)

Since I already have taken things out of order with the above posts, it’s best not to try to follow Old Highway 80 using my blog posts. Instead, get a copy of Chris Wray’s book, Highways to History, and following the “Highway 80 from El Cajon to Ocotillo” tour, pages 15-52. Alternately, if you’d like a personal docent for the tour, all you have to do is contact me. Give me 24 hours notice, and I’m yours. We’ll even take my car! Meanwhile, here’s the rest of the Old Highway 80 using unprocessed pictures that are left in my computer folder, seeming to indicate that they have not been used in a blog post yet.

We’ll start in this post at the Acorn Casino since it’s such all roads—Interstate 8, Highway 80—lead to the Casino. Looks like this:

Golden Acorn Casino

Next, go through Live Oak Springs and past Live Oak Springs Road until you get to the Tierra del Sol Road intersection. On the north side of the intersection is a stone tower sitting on top of a rounded boulder. Looks like this:

Stone tower on rounded boulder on Tierra del Sol Road, Old Highway 80, San Diego County

Sources don’t seem to know what it is but best guess, which I agree with based on my 55+ years of experience in real estate, is that the it is part of a building foundation sitting atop the boulder. I’ve seen such construction many times in many states.

Highway 80 joins with Highway 94 past Tierra del Sol Road. Look for the Highway 80 intersection with Jewell Valley Road (south)/Ribbonwood Road (north). Lots of buildings around, including the Wisteria Candy Cottage at 39961 Old Highway 80. Looks like this:

Stop!

Stop at the Wisteria Candy Cottage.

Even if you don’t think you want candy.

They have the best chocolate in the world. Buy some for later.

As stated on their signs, they have been providing “old fashioned candies since 1921.” Everything I bought on my trip was based on chocolate. Maybe they have other “old fashioned candies” but I didn’t see any. Or maybe my eyes simply were focused on chocolate because my mouth was watering for chocolate. Best. Chocolate. Ever. I had read, and I agree.

The Wisteria Candy Cottage actually is located in Boulevard (pop. 315) but Wisteria is the name for western Boulevard left over from fifty years ago. It also is located in the original building and in the original location of the Mountain Empire High School.

You can start eating your chocolate while you walk around outside to the back of the Wisteria Candy Cottage. There you’ll see a huge dead building. Looks like this:

That dead building is the ruins of what sources say is an old lodge or temple for the Masons located in Imperial Valley. Sadly, that’s all the information I can find online. It’s probably the only dead building I’ve ever seen that is not ruined by graffiti.

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Out & About—Who wants to drink brown water?

Out & About

My wise old grandmother told me that if I didn’t study history, I’d be doomed to repeat it. That seems to imply that all history is bad which, of course, it’s not. But since she was born during World War II, got married during the Great Depression, lived through World War II, had her oldest son serve in the Air Force during the Korean War, had her youngest son serve in the Army during the Vietnam War, I think I know what she was getting at.

I do love history, especially war history. It just boggles my mind how easily people on one side of an imaginary line are only too happy to kill people on the other side of an imaginary line.

My other favorite history specialty is ruins. For some reason I love old ruins. Makes me wonder what happened that caused something that was built to fall into neglect.

The mountains and desert of East San Diego County are full of ruins. Many of the old homesteads, resorts, and service buildings fell out of favor when they were bypassed by modern roads and highways.

On my January 2017 foray into East San Diego County, I found the ruins of Buckman Springs, known as Indian Springs during the 1870s and Emery Soda Springs during the 1880s. It was a small settlement on the road east from San Diego to Yuma AZ, and the mineral springs were well known throughout Southern California and were a common stop for mountain travelers.

From the 1870s to the late 1910s, it was home to the Buckman Springs Lithia Water bottling plant. Lithia Water was marketed as a table soda but was never successful because the water was discolored. I mean, who wants to drink brown water?

Ruins found in January 2017:

The Buckman House
Amos Buckman house

Amos Buckman house

Amos Buckman house

The 1880s bottling plant
Buckman Springs bottling plant

Spring-fed water tank
Buckman Springs spring-fed water tank

The 1912 bottling plant
1912 Buckman Springs bottling plant

1912 Buckman Springs bottling plant

1912 Buckman Springs bottling plant

1912 Buckman Springs bottling plant

1912 Buckman Springs bottling plant

1912 Buckman Springs bottling plant

Best graffiti on the 1912 building
“Drinking brew and having fun
Cause we’re the Class of ’81”
1912 Buckman Springs bottling plant

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

The boondocks

Scenes from……………the boondocks (Lyons Valley Road)

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I was born and raised in Texas where we had hurricane and tornado season. Non-Californians regularly make light of California earthquakes, but we don’t prepare for earthquakes each year like we prepared for hurricanes in Texas. Fire season preparation here is more like preparing for hurricane season in Texas to ensure that we have survival food and gear in our homes and cars, and are ready to evacuate on short notice.

Just east of me burns the Lyons Fire. It has burned 450 acres and, courtesy of a huge fog bank yesterday night, containment increased from 10% to about 80% now. Just one more night of fog and it will probably be under control, or out.

I’m extremely familiar with the area since I used to live out that way. Yesterday morning I drove along Lyons Valley Road to where the fire had burned. Once I got to the burned area, I turned around and came back since I had no desire to possibly interfere with fire fighting heroes.

Lyons Valley Road in San Diego County

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Following are some scenes from the boondocks along Lyons Valley Road.

Strong evidence that we had arrived in the boondocks:

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hay bales

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Land is inexpensive out in the boondocks and you can see forever from the tops of mountains. However, getting to the tops of mountains can be tedious. I searched and searched for a way to get up to the top of the mountain in the following picture and came to the conclusion that it can only be done by foot or horseback. I could not find even a private, gated road that might lead up to that house!

House in the boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The house doesn’t look like it’s inhabited anymore but looks can be deceiving. If it’s not inhabited, that might explain why I couldn’t find a way up there. Maybe the old road is overgrown with native vegetation.

Fire danger was still very high where I was going.

Fire danger in East San Diego County

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In many rural areas you will find roadside stands selling fruits and vegetables; rattlesnake, ostrich, and emu eggs; and souvenirs of the boondocks. Where I was going, no such roadside stands were allowed simply because there isn’t room. The roads are winding and narrow, usually two lanes but sometimes 1½ lanes, no shoulders, and a speed limit somewhere between 15 mph and 40 mph. Makes for a long, slow, leisurely drive.

No dumping or selling

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Rural areas are popular trash dumping sites for city folks since the dumps charge outrageous fees for taking trash directly to the dumps. Don’t even think about taking home appliances to the city dumps; they don’t take them at all. Thus the city folks often load up old refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers, televisions, and computers, drive out to the boondocks at 2:00 in the morning, and dump them off the side of the road into the many canyons. Take a helicopter flight over the boondocks and you’ll see rivers of appliances in many of the inaccessible canyons. So sad.

There is a different type of beauty out in the boondocks, which is why people live out there.

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

During my two-hour drive, I saw only three other cars on Lyons Valley Road and only one person, a fire fighter whom you might be able to see in the very last picture. I did see evidence of people, though.

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Horses are very popular in the boondocks. Some properties even have their own playgrounds for the horseys.

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The boondocks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Evidence of fire at the intersection of Lyons Valley Road and Skyline Truck Trail, my turning around point.

Area burned by the Lyons Fire in San Diego County September 2013

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor Century 21 Award, BRE #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