The past couple of weeks of been gorgeous with highs in the mid to low 70s warm and sunny most days. But the past couple days starting yesterday Friday and continuing today we been experiencing some heavy rains and strong winds. With all the nice weather things are greening up, and the spring flowers are starting to bloom all over. There’s some areas just outside the park that have these beautiful orange and yellow daisies making for beautiful roadside gardens. Here’s some photos of some of them just outside the park.With so many nice days I’ve been trying to take advantage of my free time doing more exploring of the area. Along with several trips to the dog beach and just driving around town checking out the beautiful new spring foliage. I did make a trip back to Cabrillo National Monument to check out the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. Cabrillo Monument sits high on a bluff across from San Diego Bay looking out over the Pacific Ocean. It is to pay tribute to Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo the first European Explorer to set foot in California. Just 50 short years after Columbus landed in America, Cabrillo a Spanish explorer set out from Mexico to explore the Western Pacific Coast. Hoping to find the Northwest Passage. On September 28 1542 he entered a harbor which is now become current day San Diego Bay, and that is why this Monument has been erected here. Here’s a statue commemorating him looking south towards Mexico.The Old Point Loma Lighthouse, Was commissioned in 1851, with construction complete November of 1855. For the next 36 years this lighthouse was used as a navigational aid to sailors navigating the waters off San Diego’s coastline. But what was thought to be an ideal location was plagued by numerous foggy nights making the light ineffective. I personally have seen this three times myself. Late in the afternoon heavy thick fog will come in off the coastline, completely obscuring the lighthouse rendering it useless. So in the late 1800s a new lighthouse was constructed down low on the edge of the Pacific shoreline making for a much better location to guide ships safely to the harbor and along the coastline. Here’s a photo from high on the bluff near the old lighthouse looking down at the new location.Here’s a few photos of the beautiful picturesque little lighthouse sitting high on the bluff. It sits 422 feet above sea level and has great views of the surrounding area.Here’s a picture from up by the light looking down the spiral staircase. Unfortunately you cannot gain access to light but you can walk up this short staircase and look out the small windows along the way.Here’s a couple photos of some of the interior rooms and the original décor from the 1800s.Here’s one I took the day I was on the whale watching cruise from down on the water level, zooming in on it from below. As you can see from this photo, where it sits high on the bluff, and look to the east you get beautiful views of San Diego.In these photos the US Submarine Base sits in the foreground with San Diego Bay and the city of San Diego in the background.Here’s some beautiful sailing ships coming into the bay.Here you’re looking out to the West, over the Pacific Ocean with the tide pools that I visited recently in the foreground. These are the ones that I had talked about in my last post.Some of the other places I visited over the last couple weeks were. Doing a little short walking tour of Old Town San Diego, (this is home to the oldest city in California). It is located in what is now part of downtown San Diego. I didn’t have my camera along with me, but Maxine and I walked the streets with all the quaint shops and restaurants. Old Town San Diego encompasses several city blocks and also includes a state park consisting some of the original old buildings of the area dating back to the 1800.
I was also lucky enough to make a couple trips to beautiful Balboa Park. It is the largest urban park in the country, beating out even the famous Central Park in New York by about 15 %. It consists of 1200 acres beautiful gardens and buildings. Part of the park includes the world-famous San Diego Zoo. A golf course, hundreds of beautiful gardens of all sizes and a total of 17 museums along with other numerous public buildings. Here’s a couple photos showing one of the ways to get the park crossing this beautiful arched bridge.The land was originally set aside by the forefathers of the San Diego area for development of public lands. It became a vital Park for the public in the early 1900s. The first major building and development of the park was conducted for the 1915–16 Panama California Exposition. This was a large fair put on similar to world’s fairs of its time. Several of the buildings that still exist, date back to this time. I purchased an annual Explorer pass which allows me entrance to all of the 17 museums as often as I’d like for a full year, for a onetime charge. I’ve already had the opportunity to explore a couple art museums and several of the beautiful buildings that you are allowed to explore throughout the park. In this photo you can see the tower that is now part of the San Diego Museum of Man.On the inside of the building are many displays talking about the history of mankind in this area. It is like most typical museums highlighting points of interest in exploring the history of mankind. Here’s a photo from the second floor looking down the lobby and some of the displays.From the lobby you can take a tour that takes you up to the eighth floor in a Tower and get beautiful views of the city and the surrounding Parkland. Here’s a photo of the staircase ascending the tower.Here’s one from the observation deck looking back out over the beautiful arched bridge, in the photos above and part of downtown San Diego in the background.Here’s a couple photos looking out over the courtyard and the park with the mountains to the east in the background. And performers putting on a show in the foreground.Many of the buildings in the park have been replaced over time but have been built to revisit represent the original architect of the early 1900s. Here’s a photo of one of the gorgeous buildings now uses a performing arts center. This building was re-done in the 1960s to the original design from 1916.Many street performers come together in the park, playing music and putting on shows. Here’s one of a living statue, with another beautiful piece of architect in the background.The building in the above photo is home to the Information Center and parts of it are used as restaurants and shops this building was re-done in the 1970s, but represents the design of the original 1916 architect. It also has some very, “what would have be considered risqué artwork designs” for that time frame.The park is home to some 1200 species of plant life most of which are not native to Southern California but come from all over the world. The climate in the San Diego area is considered a Mediterranean Climate and therefore you find many plants from that part of the world that have been transplanted here and do quite well. There is a beautiful Botanical Building with large lily ponds in front of it.Inside it were some beautiful displays of orchids.There are numerous species of fig trees growing throughout the park. Here’s a very large one that dates back almost 100 years and is probably one of the largest trees of its kind in California.There are also numerous trees and beautiful bloom at the present time.There are areas and I’m not sure what type of tree they are (I think they are types of eucalyptus trees), but they have this very large root system and cling to the hillsides making for beautiful photo opportunities.There’s this unique Dragon sculpture that the kids were enjoying with some more beautiful trees in bloom. I just love this photo, it reminds me of my little girls out and about having fun, way back when.There are lots of different species of eucalyptus trees growing throughout California some of them getting to over 300 feet tall. Here’s a rather large one on the backside of the Botanical Building.There’s also a beautiful Cactus Garden. Here is a couple photos of some of it.There’s also a beautiful pavilion with the stage use for performances, what is home to a gigantic pipe organ one of the largest in the country. The day I was there they were putting on a performance and it was a treat to relax and watch.There is an area called the Japanese Friendship Garden that is home to a beautiful bonsai display. Here’s some photos of the beautiful trees, “as many of you know experiment a little with bonsai trees myself”. These trees really make me jealous.One of the other museums I explored was the San Diego Air and Space Museum. It is home to hundreds of all kinds of aircraft, and thousands of pieces of aviation memorabilia. And even home to the Apollo Nine Space Capsule. One interesting thing about the San Diego Airport is it sits out near the coastline and is the largest single runway airport in the country. It’s in a tight location with nowhere to expand, and because of that the planes come in very low on final approach right over the main part of the city. Balboa Park is located very near the final approach so all day you get a chance to see planes coming very low on their final approach. Here I took a series of photos as one of them fly over the Air and Space Museum.Here’s a couple photos of the inside of the Air Museum, along with the world-famous flying dog “Snoopy”.I took over 100 other photos, but do not want to bore you with them all here. I’m sure I’ll be back to the park many more times before I leave the area. The great thing is Maxine can come with me to the park and wander around, but she cannot go in any of the buildings unfortunately. So on nice days I’m sure we will just go and wonder around and relax in this beautiful urban park. One last photo before I go this crane has been hanging around the campground for the last week or so I’m not sure what kind he is maybe someone can help me out with that but he is quite splendid looking.That’s it for today thanks for coming along for the show and safe travels to everyone, Rick