Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Today we drove over to San Juan Capistrano.  It's an interesting drive.  There's only one route from the Temecula/Murrieta area to the coast.  It's a two lane road that climbs up 2,000 feet, and then down 2,000 feet.  It's unfortunate that there are zero shoulders on the road, it would make a great bicycle ride.
When we arrived in San Juan Capistrano we walked down to the Los Rios Historic District.  The first thing we saw was a working train station.  There were many people out taking the train.

This is the old train station.  The new one is over one street.  It is a gorgeous building.

The Los Rios neighborhood dates from 1794.  There are several original adobe houses remaining.  This is the entrance to the Rios House.

This is the Rios and Rios law firm.  Wouldn't you love to go to work on these grounds?  They're just lovely.

More of the spectacular California flora.  These are vines, they're everywhere.

Then it was on to the Mission, it was founded in 1776 by the the Spanish Franciscans.  

There are two ponds with water lilies and koi.

They're just spectacular.

This is the birthplace of the California wine industry (according to the museum).  This vat was covered at one time and this is where the wine was fermented.

Nests built by the famous swallows.  I can't figure out why the return of migratory birds was declared a miracle.  Anyway, it was; a popular song was written about their return, and tourists flocked by the gazillions to see them arrive in early March.  Unfortunately they don't come here anymore.  Urbanization has decreased the bug population, development has created too much noise, and the birds have decamped elsewhere.  They migrate 12,000 miles a year to and from the southern hemisphere.

This is the Great Stone Church, begun in 1797, it took nine years to complete.  This is a model of how it looked.

There was an earthquake in 1812 during morning mass.  The walls crumbled and the domes caved in, killing 40 Native Americans.

The Serra Chapel, which dates from 1788. The altar is from Barcelona, and is made of hand-carved wood with a gold leaf overlay.  It's estimated to be over 400 years old.

The Sacred Garden.

After the Mission, we drove down to Dana Point.  We were walking around the marina and ran into this gentleman with his eight parrots.  That's a Blue and Gold on the left and a Scarlet on the right.  He has a trick where he counts to three, raises them above his head and they kiss and preen.  Notice how good their tails look, they're long and unbroken.

Harley, the cockatoo, dances and sings on the count of three.

These kids were so cute.  He put Blue Crowned Conures on their arms, and the kids just froze.  He finally suggested to their mother that she should go get the camera.  He kept telling the kids to breathe.

These birds won the parrot lottery.  They spend time out of their cages, stand on their human and get time out in the sun.

The ocean.

It was a good day.  We are now really out of tourist opportunities.
We've got at least one more day here, maybe two.  The front brakes are down to 5% so they'll have to be fixed.  There's still a little body work yet to be done.  So far we like this facility.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chula Vista to Temecula Valley RV

This is from yesterday's walk, I think it's a magnolia.  Pretty, eh?

Today we drove from Chula Vista back up to Temecula Valley RV.  This is the start of a very long backup - it took about 40 minutes to go 4 or 5 miles.  It hurts my heart to see this.  It's an old travel trailer, its value is zip, the insurance company will total it and the owners will get nothing.

The truck hit it fairly hard.

The backup.

More backup.  What really annoys the living snot out of me, is people who jump out of traffic, and run up the shoulder and then want to cut back in line.  Did their mothers not teach them any manners?

This is what they had to close two lanes for.  There were a couple of guys in the lane taking pictures.  I can't believe they let traffic build up that badly for such a non-event.

So we're here to finish up a few remaining maintenance items.  Hopefully it will go quickly because we used up all of the sight seeing opportunities the last time we were here.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Last Day in San Diego

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to you.  We are, as usual, astonished at the number of families with young children who arrive in Class C RVs with no towed vehicle.  Many of them are in rental RVs, most of which do not allow the towing of cars; and really, how many people own car you can tow wheels down?  They come here, they stay here.  They drive nowhere.  Given how short their kids' legs are, I doubt that they are making the 1.5 mile trek to the trolley station, either.  There is swimming, bicycles are ridden in circles around the park, balls are thrown,  and the bay is within walking distance.  The kids love it, my hat is off to their parents for doing the work to make it happen.
Saturday we drove over to the Mission Hills district so we could briskly walk up and down their very steep hills. This dog is standing on a boat so he can bark at us.

This is California housing perfection; Mission tile roof, deep porches, and a beautiful front yard full of color.

Another blooming tree.

Yesterday the goal was to walk around in the Gaslamp Quarter. We were thwarted in that desire by an incredible number of people downtown taking up all of the available parking.  We ended up parking in Little Italy, and heading down to the water front.

An Amtrak train being refueled by a truck.

The Midway Museum.

We gave some thought to touring the Midway until we started looking at the lines.  There were huge lines to buy tickets, walk up the brow to board the ship, and then once on the ship there were more lines (look at the bottom of the photo).  So we did not do that.

Planes on the museum.

More aircraft on the other side of the boat.

There are various memorials to service men along the water front.  This one was very popular with young couples, many of whom were emulating the kiss for photographs. Most of the women weren't dropping their left arms enough.

The USS Dolphin tied up next to the Berkeley. The Berkeley is an 1898 steam powered ferry that operated in the San Fransisco Bay for 60 years.We're not sure what's on the other side of the Dolphin.  The USS Dolphin was the Navy's last operational diesel-electric, deep-diving, research and development submarine.  Her keel was laid down on 9 November 1962.  The single most significant technical achievement in the development of Dolphin is the pressure hull itself. It is a constant diameter cylinder, closed at its ends with hemispherical heads, and utilizes deep frames instead of bulkheads. The entire design of the pressure hull was kept as simple as possible to facilitate its use in structural experiments and trials.  I clipped that information from a very interesting Wiki which can be found here.

We wandered over to Nordstrom after the water front.  Would some one like to explain to me when jeans started costing $235.00!!!!!  What the heck?  Another sign that I am totally unhooked from my culture.

This is our last day in San Diego.  It's a nice place to visit, but it's not a long term stay destination for us.  Biking opportunities are virtually non-existent.  We're seen the attractions, which were fun once, but aren't repeaters.  Jaded, we are.  Anyway, I will be very surprised if we are back here next year. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Model Railroad Museum

Welcome to the Model Railroad Museum.  Built in one of the buildings left from the 1915 Panama California Exposition, it's a large installation.  Scale is critical in model railroading.  I was reading the notes on a scale that fell out of favor because they couldn't get the width of the track to be in the proper scale, it was too big.  My only exposure to model railroads has been the garden railroad at the Tucson RV park; apparently scale is not critical to the garden railroader.
The first thing one notices are the buildings and the people.  I liked the smaller ones, the HO scale the best.

The lumber yard.

Out in back, some unfortunate lumber yard employee has driven his forklift down the embankment and plunged in to the river below.  His load is spilled, and he sits in the water.

Here we are having drag races behind the rail yard.

The Tijuana station.


I don't know if you can see it, but inside of this church there are pews, an organ and someone playing the organ.

Working on the railroad.

The cities are really good.

This is a larger scaled city, O maybe.  I forget, but doesn't it look good?  The lights are LED.

In addition to historical accuracy in the buildings, there is some whimsy as well.

Notice the swimming pool.

"LED lighting is managed by four individual lighting circuits controlled by four independent microprocessors.  Head light, tail light, top flashing light and turn signals all operate independently.  Each circuit can be programmed for the length of the lighting period and the cycle time.  This provides a high level of modeling effect for the LED lighting."  Text from the museum.
Leah Rosenfeld applied for a station agent job in 1955.  She had 10 years of seniority and experience and should have gotten the job and the increase in pay that went with it.  The Southern Pacific denied her request because the job required her to lift 25 pounds and work overtime.  This was the "protection clause" that kept so many women out of high paying jobs.  After the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, she sued and won.  It has taken years to improve the acceptance of women in the railroads, but progress has been made.  There's a good section on women in the railroads at the museum. 

The Carrizo Gorge railway took 12 years to build and included construction of 17 tunnels and 14 major wooden trestles, including the spectacular Goat Canyon Trestle. It was completed in 1919.  The trestle is made out of redwood, is 200 feet tall and 750 feet long.  Over the years there have been cave-ins, and other disasters.  At one point the Southern Pacific petitioned to abandon the rail line.  It was not abandoned and in 2004 the San Diego and Eastern Railway rehabbed the line to carry sand.  Trains are still running on this, as well as mountain bikers who know the train schedule very well.

John D Spreckel of Spreckels Sugar bank rolled the original construction.  He was an early titan of industry.  However, the unsung heroes of the western railroad expansion were the Chinese laborers.  There is a good piece on them here.  Without the Chinese in the West, and the Germans, Czechs and Irish in the East, construction could not have proceeded at the pace at which it did.
Look at the model.  That was assembled out of lots of teeny tiny pieces of wood.

Here is the railway over the Tehachapi Pass.  "Surveying southeast from Bakersfield in 1874, civil engineers planning the rail route over Tehachapi were stymied when they reached Caliente.  There seemed to be no suitable route through the mountains that would take them over the summit of the Sierra Nevada.  Chief Engineer William Hood then surveyed a line down from the summit of Tehachapi Pass.  It included a 360-degree spiral loop, seventeen tunnels, and six horseshoe curves including the one at Caliente.  The line over Tehachapi pass was completed in 1876."  Text is from on of their explanatory signs.  This is the 360 from the air.  The thing that boggles the mind is when these rail lines were built.  There were no CAD packages, no laser sighted surveying equipment, none of that.  There were guys out hundreds of miles from home on horseback plowing through the wilderness with a transit and a helper.  People were tough back then.

Here is the modeled version.

Work on the museum continues.  They have a lot of space yet to fill.  They work from old photos.

They work from Google Earth.

More railways for the future.

I think model railroading is a combination of people liking to build stuff, paint stuff, a love of history and wiring.  It doesn't interest me personally, but after this tour of the museum, I can understand the attraction of the hobby, especially when you have a basement this big.