So Cal Solo: March 2-4

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Friday, March 2 began my annual Baha’i Fast- which means no food or drink, other than medicinal, from sunrise to sunset, through March 20.  Yes, today is the last day for another year.  This will be my practice until I turn 70, then I don’t need to do an annual Fast.

Enough of the technical stuff, though.  After getting the tire fixed, I headed up the coast to Mission Bay, then to La Jolla.

Here’s a view of Mission Bay Park.

La Jolla, of course, has many things to recommend it. The big draw is the Cove, with its seal population.

Those checking out the Cove can find exquisite accommodations, like La Valencia Hotel.

Fine old churches may be found, like St. James of the Sea.

Then, there is a branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Another key element of La Jolla life is Scripps Oceanographic Institute, home of Birch Aquarium.

The accent here is on sea horses and their close relatives.

The Birch examines three coastal areas:  The Pacific Northwest, San Diego Bay and the coast of Baja California.

I ended my Scripps visit with a view of the research pier.

Then, it was on to Torrey Pines State Preserve, a hiker’s beach, as well as a surfer’s delight.

Dr. Thomas Whittaker built a botanical garden here.  It bears his name.

The trail offers sweeping views of the ocean ahead.

It also accents the delicate geology of the coast.

We have Miss Ellen Browning Scripps to thank, for having preserved the unique Torrey Pines, which exist here and on remote Santa Cruz Island, off the coast of Santa Barbara.

I also got a kick out of watching the surfers messing around with each other, after  a good day’s ride.   One lovely and spirited young lady was giving warm showers over the wall, to her male counterparts.

Friday night took me to my favoured motel in Carlsbad, the Econolodge, and to Jay’s Gourmet, for a salmon Caesar salad.

Saturday’s agenda was a brief stop at Oceanside Marina, where I walked along the Rock Walk and observed more surfers and beachcombers, then a visit to Heisler Park, in Laguna Beach.

Here are some Oceanside scenes:

I bought a ball cap at the mall adjacent to this lighthouse.

Here’s the Rock Walk, with a channel running alongside it.

Activities were varied.

As you can see, the weekend’s weather was perfect.

Heisler Park has a small botanical garden, and some fine views of Santa Catalina Island.

With the afternoon approaching, I headed past the other beach towns and went to Del Amo Mall, in Torrance, where I met a couple of friends from my other blog site.

I ended the day in LA, spending some time at LA County Museum of Art, and the La Brea Tarpits.

The Museum galleries are not an area where I care to take photographs.  I did thoroughly enjoy the Japanese, American and Latin American galleries.  The netsuke in the first gallery is amazingly intricate.  A majestic Herter Mirror crowns the American gallery, which is also filled with representations from all periods of our nation’s art tradition, from Gilbert Stuart, to Pollack and Warhol.  The Latin American collection does justice to the Mexican Masters:  Orozco, Siqueiros, Rivera, Tamayo and Kahlo, and introduces fine artists from Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Venezuela, as well.


I felt badly for the mastodon family.

The smilodons, though, are another matter.

With evening falling, I went to Koreatown and enjoyed some kickass fish cake soup at Hite Kwang Jang, on Wilshire Boulevard.  Then, it was off to a Super 8, in Commerce, for my nighty-night.

Sunday, I woke up bright and early and enjoyed the leftovers from my Korean dinner. Next up was a morning at Los Angeles Baha’i Center, meeting people I know I will see again and again, and enjoying their discourse and their sounds.

‘Abdu’l-Baha, the Son of the Founder of our Faith, came to the US and Canada in 1912, so we are preparing to celebrate the centenary of His visit.  His portrait is in the photo below.

We Baha’is offer this message to our fellow humans:

I capped my visit to southern California, by meeting two more friends from my other blog site, in Ontario, CA.

I missed but one goal of this trip:  Palm Springs Tram.  There is always June, though.  I did make a small contribution to Coachella Valley cuisine- while at a Panera Bread shop for Sunday night dinner, I opted to have my salmon club sandwich on bruschetta, since they were out of croissants.  Bruschetta is a most versatile bread, so now the sandwich masters of Desert Hot Springs have a new offering.

I got home at around 1 AM, ending yet another fun-packed week.

Catch-up: Feb. 28- March 1

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I have been a slacker, with regard to WP.  Not really, though, as you will see, there has been a lot going down.

On Feb. 28, I spent a better part of the day on the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier museum, docked in San Diego Harbor.  Here are a few shots of this incredible hunk of steel.

The 3-4 hours it takes to do this facility justice is well worth the time, even for someone not given to thoughts of warfare.

Like many, I will welcome the day when this type of vessel is no longer necessary, and I thank those who make, and have made, the sacrifices necessary to ensure that such a day may yet come.

Leap Day found me wandering among some other kinds of ships, at San Diego Maritime Park.  Chief among these is the Star of India, a clipper from the mid-19th Century.  There is an awesome program for children here, during both spring break and the summer.  They get to be a mini-crew and the “captain” takes them through the decision-making process that an actual crew would have had to engage.

There is a Soviet-era Russian sub.

“Master and Commander”, with Russell Crowe, was filmed aboard the HMS Surprise.

The rich and blameless had some killer yachts back in the 1900’s.

Then, there was a classy ferry running between San Francisco and Oakland.

The USS Dolphin is here, to represent the American sub fleet.  This one looks way more comfortable than the Soviet tub thumper.

My son, one of his shipmates and I went up to the little mountain town of Julian, where Penny lived and worked the year before we were married.  Here is how Julian looks after a winter storm.

We, however, got inside quickly, and had a great dinner at Julian Cafe.

Then, we mosied outside to the nature parks on the south end of Julian.

March came in like a lamb on Thursday, so we spent some time at San Diego’s South Bay, stopping first in Chula Vista.

Then we went down to Tijuana Estuary Nature Preserve.

I brought Aram over to San Diego Baha’i Center, where Penny and I were married, in June, 1982.

Of course, no trip is with out its personal growth experiences, and so, as we were returning towards Aram’s base, my left rear tire went pffft.  I got back to my motel, where my faithful son offered to change the tire.  He was successful, felt good about it and I got him back to base.

In the next post, I will feature my journey homeward.

San Diego, Day 2: 2/27/2012

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Now that Google Chrome, and Java 6, have me past glitchville on these posts, some further ancient history is in order.

The morning of February 27 dawned cool and drizzly in San Diego.  A nice hot spinach fritatta and coffee, with a blueberry muffin, at Perry’s set me right to face the day, though. I passed through security at Naval Base San Diego and got to Pier 10 in plenty of time to join the crowd waiting to greet our sailors, on their return from the cross-Pacific journey. More hot coffee, and a rare indulgence in a donut, helped the occasion along.

The ship came, about twenty minutes past the stated time, but no matter.  The nervous young wife, three proud Mexican grandmothers and various sailors returning from leave early to greet their shipmates, all breathed sighs of relief.

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Aram came off the ship about 11 AM, we went for lunch, through the rain, then went over to Navy Exchange, gassed up again, and purchased my new camera.  The one that has faithfully served me, up to now, is my wife’s pink Kodak.  I have a solemn vow to get it to a 7-year old girl in Phoenix, so my replacement is a Samsung PL 120.

Aram took me on a tour after our NEX visit.  He is one of the navigators, so  he was somewhat responsible for getting the ship and crew from Dubai to San Diego.

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The destroyer USS Wayne E.Meyer is no small vessel.  I would be seeing many ships and boats this trip.  The Meyer is one of the newer ones.

Our day, after the ship tour, was filled with dinner at California Fresh, followed by the film “Safe House”, at Horton Plaza, in the Gas Lamp District.

The Road Back to San Diego, 2/26/2012

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My week of February 26- March 3, 2012 was well-spent, as most of my weeks are.  One can never complain, though, when the days involve San Diego.  After the hike with my friends in Granite Basin, a joy in and of itself, I had a quick salad lunch, then got gas in the small town of Congress, about 32 miles southwest of Prescott.

The road west took me through Arizona’s Outback, across the Colorado River, then through the southern tier of the Mojave Desert, which looks like this, at Wiley’s Well:

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Once further along the road, past the Coachella Valley and Inland Empire, it was time for dinner.  This meant the always reliable Ono Hawaiian Barbecue, a southern California standby.  The one in question is found in the Riverside suburb of Perris.  I enjoyed some fine chicken katsu, made a mental note to check out Perris’ lake on my next jaunt this way, and headed for San Diego.

My digs for the next two nights were at Easy-8, one of my favorite San Diego motels.  It’s off the Pacific Highway, near Old Town.  There is an interesting mix of people there- lots of “homeless”, most of whom are busy collecting recyclables.  It is also close to Perry’s Cafe, the “Breakfast House”, which serves up some killer fritattas.

My Hermit Sunday

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Okay, I cleared my cache and cookies, moments ago. So, let’s see if the Powers That Be let me publish this or not.

Last Sunday, March 11, I reflected on the earthquake and tsunami of a year ago, which ravaged Japan just six days after my wife winged her way to Heaven.  So much remains, as in many disasters.  My reaction to al this, and to the ongoing tornadoes, is to pursue volunteering with the Red Cross Disaster Response Team.  It will be a few more weeks of prep, then I will devote a lot of my time to this effort.

Sitting at home all day, on occasion, refreshes me and gets the organization of my mental files, as well as photos and computer files, more on an even keel.  Besides, I’m still fasting, until March 20, so my normal outdoorsy inclination is also mostly on hiatus.

(If this gets through the WP red tape, I will re-post the item I have tried twice to publish, without success.)