Tag Archives: san diego county

The view

Out & About San Diego

I have a beautiful view out my living room window of the East San Diego County. Whenever I need a break from the office and binge-watching Netflix and PrimeTV (currently watching “Lie To Me”), I’ll walk to the living room, pet Little Queen Olivia (she’s usually on the sofa), and then look out the window to see what wildlife is thinking that my plants might be a good buffet. At 3:45 p.m. on September 7, this was the view that greeted me:

Valley Fire, San Diego County

The thermometer on Little Queen Olivia’s shaded catio was showing 110 effin degrees.

100 effin degrees

Little Queen Olivia was, like “Meh. Why do you keep coming in here every 15 minutes?”

Little Queen Olivia

California has so many fires each year that they get names, kind of like hurricanes in the Gulf and Atlantic. This fire started in Japatul Valley, so it got named the Valley Fire. It started at 2:51 p.m. and burned 400 acres in the first hour, making it a very fast-moving and dangerous fire. It slowed due mostly to the fact that there’s not a lot of stuff to burn out there. The problem would be the continued high temperatures and the wind. Originally the winds were blowing to the west, so the fire was marching westward, straight towards me, the suburbs, and downtown San Diego.

By the end of the night, it had burned over 1,500 acres, continuing to march westward. I didn’t get much sleep that night since I was monitoring the overnight progress of the fire. Evacuation alerts were arriving regularly on my phone courtesy of the emergency notification system.

I had brought Little Queen Olivia’s travel crate in just in case we had to leave suddenly, and I had food and water packed and ready to go.

Yesterday morning when Little Queen Olivia got me out of bed, there was very little smoke in the air. That was good. Around 11:30 a.m., the winds shifted direction, blowing the fire to the west/southwest, causing a new smoke plume that lasted all day.

Valley Fire, San Diego County

That was good for me but bad, of course, for people in front of its new advance. Here at my house, I was expecting a high temperature of 113 effin degrees. The heavy smoke eventually covered the sky, blocking out the sun, so it only got to 108 effin degrees.

Fire smoke always makes for great sunset pictures. Well, almost. Since the sun was blocked out, there was no sunset. This was the best picture I got—5:11 p.m., exactly two hours before sunset:

Valley Fire, San Diego County

There is no sign of smoke this morning from my living room window due to the east-blowing winds. As of 10:00 p.m. last night, over 10,500 acres had burned; it is only 1% contained. Eleven structures have burned. The fire continues to rage. Evacuation warnings have been extended to the east. In the map below, I live in Winter Gardens (red arrow).

Valley Fire, San Diego County

Pets are welcome at evacuation points. If you need help with animal evacuations, including large animals, call the San Diego Humane Society’s emergency response team at 619-229-7012 and press 1. Large animals will be held at the County Animal Services South Shelter in Bonita (lower left).

For a historical perspective, the 2003 Cedar Fire here in San Diego County burned 273,246 acres , destroyed 2,820 buildings (2,232 homes), and killed 15 people, including one firefighter. At the time, it was the largest wildfire in California’s history. After the 2018 and 2019 fire seasons (only California would actually have a “fire season”), the Cedar Fire now ranks as the third-largest, the fifth deadliest, and fourth most destructive, causing just over $1.3 billion in damages.

The Cedar Fire was started by a novice hunter, hunting alone, who had gotten lost. He admitted starting a fire intentionally to signal rescuers but quickly lost control of the fire because of the heat, low humidity, and low moisture content of the surrounding vegetation. He was rescued but prosecuted. After a plea bargain in which prosecutors dropped the charge of lying to investigators, he was sentenced to six months in a work-furlough program, 960 hours (40 days) of community service, five years’ probation, and $9,000 in restitution. If I had lost my home or a relative, I’m not sure I would have been satisfied with that sentence.

Valley Fire, San Diego County

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

Climate change?

Picture of the Moment

People usually don’t associate rain and snow with San Diego. Quite true with the city of San Diego. The county, however, is another story. There are mountains in east San Diego County that top out at 6,271 feet elevation. That’s high enough to get plenty of rain and snow.

Where I live at 682′ elevation, Mother & Father Nature have provided me with 70.3 inches of rain in 2019, of which 23.3 inches has arrived since November 19.

Rain at this time of the year usually means snow just 20 miles east of me.

In the 26½ years I have been in San Diego, I never fail to go visit the snowy mountains once a year.

This year has been completely different because we had significant snow in the mountains in February, November, and December, so I have been three times.

New Year’s Eve is supposed to bring another huge storm, so I might start off 2020 by heading to the snowy mountains.

Climate change?

I like snow as long as it’s about 20 miles away from me, I can go visit it, and I can come back to a warm home with a warm cat on my lap.

Meanwhile, here are some of my favorite snow pictures from 2019.

Mount Laguna National Recreation AreaMount Laguna National Recreation Area

Thin ice
Thin ice

Pacific Crest Trail, Mount Laguna
Pacific Crest Trail, Mount Laguna, California

Snow people in the Cuyamaca Mountains
Snow people in the Cuyamaca Mountains

City slickers in the snow at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
City slickers enjoying the country snow at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California

Snowy Lake CuyamacaSnowy Lake Cuyamaca in San Diego County

City slickers clogging the roadway in Cuyamaca Mountains
Traffic in the snow Cuyamaca Mountains

Poor cacti
Cacti in the snow in Pine Valley, California

My poor car
2017 Toyota Corolla in the snow

Mommy told him to put on his coat
Dog in the snow

My poor feet
My poor feet

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

This post approved byThis post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

Deadly force is authorized beyond this point!

I get the message

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

About a year ago local PR specialists announced that San Diego County had overtaken Arlington, Virginia, as the area with the most military personnel. Obviously, then, there are a lot of military bases in and around San Diego, the largest of which are:

  1. Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base
  2. Miramar Marine Corps Air Station
  3. Naval Amphibious Base Coronado
  4. Naval Base Point Loma, which includes Naval Submarine Base, Naval Mine and Anti-submarine Warfare Command, Commander Third Fleet Headquarters complex, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Headquarters,  SPAWAR Systems Center, and Fleet Intelligence Training Command Pacific.
  5. North Island Naval Air Station
  6. San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot
  7. San Diego Naval Medical Center
  8. Naval Base San Diego

I’ve been on them all — tours, air shows, etc. I’m always careful. After all, many of the folks on those installations have very handy weapons. Another reason is because there are warning signs posted at appropriate locations:

Deadly force is authorized beyond this point!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m not dense. I get the message.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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

Caution: Now Entering The Boondocks

Signs that you are out in the boondocks

Robert and Lisa Hammerstein, real estate agents with Coldwell Banker in Hillsdale, New JerseyThis post is dedicated to Robert and Lisa Hammerstein, husband and wife real estate agents with Coldwell Banker in Hillsdale, New Jersey. I have known Bob and Lisa for about three years through a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend them for anyone buying or selling a home in New Jersey. If they can’t help you in your specific New Jersey locale, I’m sure they can refer you to someone (almost) as good as they are.

Dedications are my way of trying to provide a little extra Google juice for people I have come to know and respect over the years.

Picture of the moment

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I grew up in the small farming and ranching community of Kingsville, Texas, population 29,000 (now 26,000)…. 45 miles south of Corpus Christi, a metropolis of 204,000 people (now 305,000). We were out in the boondocks, and we knew it.

San Diego County has a population of 3.1 million, a population greater than 20 of the 50 states, and the fifth most populous county in the United States. Despite that, San Diego County has a lot of rural areas, known to me as the boondocks.

Caution: Now Entering The Boondocks

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There really aren’t any signs like that in San Diego County. I created it in CorelDRAW X5. Life’s not that easy. However, if you keep your eyes open,

You could learn a lot by paying attention here

there are definite signs that you are out in The Boondocks:

Turtle Crossing

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For anyone visiting San Diego County, call me up and, with appropriate advance notice, I might be able to play docent for a day.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Lake and boat house

Peace and serenity in San Diego County, population 3.3 million

Susan Haughton, real estate agent with Long & Foster Realtors in Alexandria, VirginiaThis post is dedicated to Susan Haughton, a real estate agent with Long and Foster Realtors in Alexandria, Virginia. I have known Susan for several years through a real estate professional networking site and highly recommend her for anyone buying or selling a home in the Alexandria, Virginia, area. If she can’t help you in your specific locale, I know she can refer you to someone (almost) as good as she is.

Dedications are my way of trying to provide a little extra Google juice for people I have come to know and respect over the years.

Out & About San Diego

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

When I went out birdwatching with a birding group last month, it was a dreary gray and rainy morning. I thought I would skip it but then decided that since the birding location was 45 miles from me, and this is Southern California where it rarely rains for more than an hour, I thought I would head on up there, especially since it was in an area of San Diego County that I had not been to before:

Hernandez' Hideaway, 19320 Lake Drive, Escondido, California

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

I was glad I went because it stopped raining about 15 miles from my house. I also got to see some acorn woodpeckers (see San Diego: A bird lover’s paradise) which totally made the trip worthwhile.

I also got there about 45 minutes earlier…. no traffic on a Saturday morning at 7:00. Since no one had arrived yet, the air was fresh, and everything looked clean, I went exploring and got four pictures of peace and serenity in San Diego County, population 3.3 million:

Tree-lined road

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

Mountains and lake

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

Stream

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

Lake and boat house

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat