Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Van Horn, Texas

I've passed through Van Horn, Texas many times and I always make this a stop for the night on my way east or west along I-10.  It sits between Ft. Stockton and El Paso with each of these cities being one hundred plus miles in the opposing direction from Van Horn.  I always stop at Chuey's for dinner, drop by the Dollar General store and then I catch a peaceful nights rest while listening to the sound of the freight trains as they move along the rails parallel to the main down town street.  Rise early and bask in the glory of a sunrise over west Texas.  Spectacular.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Yuma Territorial Prison

I visited the old territorial prison in Yuma, Arizona while on my way across Interstate 8.  The name Yuma stands out in my mind as a notorious town in wild west history.  This prison was in active use during the later 1800's and closed as a prison in the early part of the 20th century.  This prison housed both men and women and most of the prisoners served terms from a few months to five or six years.  Most of the prisoners survived to be released but there are others that landed in boot hill just outside the prison gates.  On the day that I visited this site the outside temperature was 105 degrees.  It made me wonder how the inmates survived the extreme heat.  The cells were made of adobe, which keeps a building cool and the cells were open on both ends so there was a cross breeze.  The dark cell (solitary confinement) was pitch black and very scary.  Apparently a stay in the dark cell "cured" many an inmate who went on to become a model prisoner and then a good citizen after their release.  The prison grounds are part of the Arizona State Park system but are locally operated and funded by the people of Yuma.  If you are interested in the history of the old west, put the Yuma Territorial Prison on your list.  The tours are self guided and the museum is full of history.

The above picture shows the entry gate to the prison and the lower picture shows the cell block.

historic downtown Yuma

I have passed through Yuma, Arizona several times on my way east and west between San Antonio and San Diego.  I have stayed overnight occasionally.  This time I added an extra day onto my agenda so I could do some sightseeing.  Let's start with the historical downtown area.  It is a working downtown with old historical buildings and storefronts that are filled on a seasonal basis.  For a great meal please stop by Lutz Casino restaurant on the main street.  It may have been a casino at one time but it is exclusively an eatery now.  I recommend the potato filled taquitos served with shredded cabbage, mayo and cotija cheese.  yum, yum   Their homemade salsa is served on the side.  I have never tasted anything like it.  I hope to be back again someday.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

the Balboa Park Botanical Gardens

I have had the opportunity to visit the Botanical Gardens in San Diego's Balboa Park several times over the years and they never fail to impress me.  The flower displays are magnificent.  Their orchid collection is outstanding.  The building is a wooden lath structure (one of the largest of its kind) and it looks (sort of) like a giant bird cage.  Walking through the gardens always brings on a feeling of peace and tranquility.  For me it is a must see.

interesting plant

I just thought this plant looked so interesting.  I don't know what it is.  It's at Balboa Park.  Go see it.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Balboa Park in San Diego

Balboa Park in San Diego is an urban cultural park with buildings, ponds and gardens covering over 1200 acres.  The architectural detailing of these grand buildings is magnificent.  The historical exposition buildings house museums, art galleries and eateries.  The landscaping and the coy ponds are beautiful.  There are always new exhibits to view and festivals to enjoy.  Take a day and stroll through the grounds.  You will surely enjoy your visit to this remarkable park.

The Spreckels Organ

This is a must see in Balboa Park.  The Spreckels pipe organ is an outdoor organ housed in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.  It is the second largest outdoor pipe organ in the world and this year it is one hundred years old.  It was built in Balboa Park for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.  Free concerts are held every Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.  The concerts are wonderful.  Don't miss it if you are in the area.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mission San Diego de Alcala

I found it.  Yes, I did.  I wanted to visit this historic mission on previous trips to San Diego but I didn't.  This time while I was in SD I took the opportunity to see the mission.  Mission San Diego de Alcala  is the first mission established in California by Father Junipero Serra.  Many of the mission buildings fell into disrepair during the beginning of the 20th century but the mission and surrounding gardens and bell tower were reconstructed in the 1930's with the help of early sketches.

There is an archeological dig site on the property and many artifacts, including original foundations and building materials have been uncovered.  The self guided tour gave me plenty of opportunities to linger a while in the gardens and the sanctuary.  It's very peaceful here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Wells Fargo Museum

Down in historic Old Town San Diego is the Wells Fargo Museum.  There you can learn about the history of the Wells Fargo mail delivery along the Butterfield Overland Route.  The museum is small but packed with info.  Worth a stop!!

Mt. Soledad

Overlooking the busy I-5 in San Diego stands the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.  All branches of the military services are honored here.  The brick pathway leading to the top of the monument is lined with plaques honoring individuals who served our country in the military.  The cross sits high on the ridge and is visible for quite a distance.  It is a beautiful and peaceful site.

Monday, October 12, 2015

fun at the zoo

                We went to the SD ZOO on Friday and had a super duper time.  We saw the pandas

and big elephants

and flamingoes

and giraffes

and koalas

and this scary skeletal thing.  What a great day!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

the Coronado bridge

This is the Coronado Bridge and it connects San Diego to Coronado/North island.  It is certainly noticeable with the curve.  And the reason for the curve is what??, you ask.  Well, in order to qualify for government funding for the construction, the bridge had to be at least two miles long.  The distance from the mainland to the island was less than the required two miles so the engineers were able to increase the length of the bridge to 2.1 miles by "stretching" the bridge around a curve.  Clever.  Now, stay classy, S. D.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

the pelican

Look at what I saw resting on top of a roof at the end of the San Diego pier the other day.  A pelican, of course.  I noticed a crowd of people taking a picture of something and I turned around to look at what it was...and this is what it was!!  How cool.