Tag Archives: San Diego

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

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Out & About—The San Diego Jetty

Out & About San Diego

Once a month I go out to the San Diego Jetty to see how the feral cat colony there is doing. We old timers call them the Jetty Cats.

San Diego jetty

San Diego jetty

Feral cats on the San Diego jetty

The Jetty is a great place to see beautiful sunsets because there always is something to put in the picture to add interest to the sunset. It’s also a great place to go for a walk, as so many people do.

Following are some pictures from my trip to the Jetty in August, featuring everything except the Jetty Cats, although a few can be seen in these pictures. The Jetty Cats will be featured in Saturday’s post since tomorrow is Friday Flower Fiesta day.

Sentinel SeagullSentinel Seagull

Dogs at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach,
across the San Diego River from the
San Diego Jetty and the Jetty Cats.Dogs on Dog Beach in Ocean Beach across from the San Diego Jetty

Throw it already!A woman and her dog

The San Diego Jetty is an active fishing area.
Sadly, that means the some fisherpeople leave
fishing line behind which the birds often get
entangled in, quite often losing a leg. This juvenile
already has to go through the rest of its life with just one leg.One-legged bird at the San Diego Jetty

It’s probably too late for this bird’s leg.
You can see the scar where the fishing line
was wrapped around the bird’s leg.
Bird with an injured leg at San Diego Jetty

There are quite a few cormorants and pelicans.
The cormorants are relative new visitors to the Jetty.
Cormorant at the San Diego Jetty

Pelican and sunset at the San Diego Jetty

The Jetty might be the only place where the birds are bigger than the cats,
and the cats have no interest in trying to catch those birds.Cats and a seagull at the San Diego Jetty

Bird mug shots.
I love it when wildlife cooperates with me.
Seagull mug shot at the San Diego Jetty

Seagull mug shot at the San Diego Jetty

ImpostorCats and skunk at the San Diego Jetty

Yes, there is a family of skunks that lives right alongside the Jetty Cats.
Neither the cats nor the skunks seem to care but it does make it
interesting when people like me show up to leave a little water and food.Skunk at the San Diego Jetty
Skunk at the San Diego Jetty
Skunk at the San Diego Jetty

Bushy tails.Skunks at the San Diego Jetty
Skunk at the San Diego Jetty

Tour boat coming back in at sunset.Tour boat at the San Diego Jetty

Wrong side of the fenceWrong side of the fence

Into the sunsetOff into the sunset

Coming up tomorrow: Friday Flower Fiesta. The Jetty Cats will have their own feature on Saturday!

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

Picture of the Moment—Run! He wants to put us on Facebook! Run!

Picture of the Moment

I like to get action pictures of wildlife. That was difficult until recently. I bought a Tamron 150-600 mm lens and replaced my 9-year-old Tamron 28-300 mm lens with a Tamron 18-300 mm. The 18-300 is my daily walkaround lens although the 150-600 is always in the trunk of the car. The 18-300 is best for outdoor spontaneous action because it is lighter and focuses faster. The 150-600 is best for getting through wire fences such as those which surround many enclosures at the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, SeaWorld, Lions Tigers & Bears, Discovery Nature Center, and others.

Following is one of my best action pictures ever, taken at the San Diego Jetty while I was visiting the Jetty Cats feral colony.

Run! He wants to put us on Facebook! Run!Seagulls running

Many decades ago I was reading an interview with a photographer from National Geographic magazine. One of the questions concerned how he got such great shots of wildlife. His answer was that he always focused on the eyes. If he did that, everything else would fall into place.

I focused on the eyes of that first seagull, but by the time I pushed the shutter button, the birds had moved so that it looks like I focused on the eye of the second seagull because it’s just ever so slightly more in focus. I was about 50 feet from these birds and the picture metadata shows a shutter speed of 1/250, which is why I got such good motion in the wings and legs. It was taken with the 150-600 lens but the focal length was 150 and the f/stop was 5.0.

I will have more pictures in the next few days of wildlife from the San Diego Jetty, including, of course, the Jetty Cats.

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

Out & About—Mission Bay Park

Out & About

One of my favorite places in San Diego to go for a walk is Mission Bay Park.

San Diego's Mission Bay Park from the air

Mission Bay Park is the largest man-made water park in the nation, and the ninth largest municipally owned park. Interestingly, San Diego also has the largest municipally owned park: Balboa Park.

Following are a few pictures from my most recent walk in Mission Bay Park a few days ago. I was over near the skyscraper hotel at the left side of the picture above. The hotel, a Hilton, is in one of the pictures below, and the bridge pictures below are under the long bridge in the upper center of the picture near the hotel.

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Along with the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, I can highly recommend Mission Bay Park as a way to spend a day in San Diego.

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

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