What I Missed in San Diego ~2

So much to see. My first post ran out of space after only 2 attractions! What else is there to see?


Well, one of the top things to do in San Diego is to go to the beach. I’m not a beach lover unless it’s in conjunction with some activity like snorkeling or exploring tide pools but all I heard from the wait staff while I was in San Diego was…go to the beach. Big waves coming in. 10 ft. plus! If there were 10 ft. waves I bet there were surfers. And if there were surfers I bet there were photo ops! So go to the beach has just landed on my list.


The San Diego Zoo is way up on my list, a real “Must see”. I love zoos and this is supposed to be one of the best. The San Diego Zoo is top-rated everywhere, consistently included on various top zoo lists and active in animal conservation. The San Diego Zoo put its first animal on display in 1916, a Kodiak bear named Caesar. Today, the San Diego Zoo is a far cry from the zoos of yesteryear where animals were simply displayed in cages. Instead, you’ll find them in the most natural settings possible, at the same time giving visitors the opportunity to see them up close.


Another Must See for me is the San Diego Zoo’s sister park, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I haven’t been yet but I bet it’s on the same idea as Disney’s Animal Kingdom, one of my all time favorite places to be.  Lots of large animals live in the same big, open areas here – predators kept away from prey, but otherwise much as they would in their natural habitat.

The highlight is the safari-style tour, which may be the closest many of us will ever come to seeing these critters in the wild. Besides that, you’ll find lots of other animals also in natural environments, including a pride of lions.


Balboa park is a haven for photographers so you know that’s on my list. Originally built for temporary use during the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego, Balboa Park boasts buildings beautiful enough to be considered attractions in themselves, especially if you’re a photographer. They’re surrounded by trees, lawns and fountains, but that’s only the beginning.

America’s largest urban cultural park has more than 25 museums and attractions, from the astronomical to the zoological. In Balboa Park, you can take a walk, ride a bike, see a Tony Award-winning play, ride a carousel or go to the San Diego Zoo. With 8 gardens and 15 museums to choose from, you could be busy here for days.

Balboa Park is east of downtown San Diego.

Those Were The Days

Didn’t I just say that I hate the cold? I don’t hate the snow. It’s pretty and if it could be warm I might actually like it. It seems to me as a kid I liked it. I remember snowball fights and snowmen and snow forts. I loved “tracking” little animal prints through the white stuff and even learned to snow shoe.


Remember the “Flying saucers?”.


They were round aluminum disks that we sat on to go twirling down the hills when we weren’t racing on the toboggans, I remember the flexible flyer too. We’d hold it up as we ran like crazy only to throw ourselves on it while we were still in the air, kind of like a belly flop except we wanted to do this to get the sled moving faster.

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Remember the ice crusts? We’d use plane old cardboard boxes to go sliding then. Just don’t fall face first as that crust could slice and dice. I made many trips home bloodied up.


I even went horseback riding in the snow when I could sneak out. That was a big no-no when it should have been a yes-yes to keep the horse from getting too frisky. 🙂 A fine example of 20-20 hindsight. But my point is that I didn’t always hate the cold and snow.


I hate it now because it hurts. It makes my joints ache, especially my hips, knees and ankles. Today we can add in my right shoulder, maybe from shoveling? I wish it didn’t affect me that way.


I see these wonderful nature programs on PBS, polar bears, elk, caribou and other northern snow-loving animals.

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I want to photograph these animals in the wild, not at the zoo. I want a picture of a deer standing in a field of snow for one of my Christmas Cards.

White-tailed deer buck in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

There’s a place, a sanctuary, where I could photograph wolves but the best time to go is, you guessed it, in the winter.


Right here in Massachusetts we have wintering grounds for snowy owls. The best known one is Duxbury Beach, a six mile long barrier beach. Snowy owls that try to settle at Logan Airport are trapped and moved to this stretch of sand to rest before they continue on their southern migration.


Photographing the “Snowies”  is a common winter pastime for bird photographers and birders hold walks to look for them along the beach, but let me tell you, that wind off the water is cold. I’ve driven over to that beach only to chicken out once the wind hit me. I guess I’ll never make a serious nature photographer…more like a fair weather one.

So until I figure out how to keep warm out there, I’ll stand by my “I hate the cold” comment.

What do I hope for in 2014

What do I hope for in 2014? Oh let’s see…Peace in this world, no more hatred, a cure for cancer, our soldiers home from foreign lands, joy for everyone, no more hunger, no more bigotry,  shall I go on? But in my little corner of the world where it’s the small things that I can change I’ll address those little goals and challenges I mentioned a couple of days ago..

Ah yes, those Goals and Challenges.


So here goes.

  1. Lose 50 lbs. (I’ll fit in the tiny airplane seats better, I’ll look better and I’ll feel better.)
  2. Set up a budget (my job change affected my finances so I need to start putting money aside for the extra’s that pop up.)
  3. A photo a day (keeps the camera “TOM” top of mind and will help me continue to improve my skills)
  4. Home Improvement ( the little condo just collects clutter. Time to clean it out, shampoo carpets and maybe get the bedroom painted)
  5. Plan my vacation (I know, that’s what you are all waiting for )
  6. Keep up my blog
  7. Work on friendships and personal relationships so they stay strong and healthy.

So the game plan is…

Health/ Weight Loss


  1. A before picture taken on the first day plus measurements and weight to be updated in a log monthly.
  2. Walk…weather should not be a factor. Start with 1/2 hour daily for month one and evaluate at the end of the month.
  3. Eat healthier. Cut back on carbs and increase salads and veggies and good protein.
  4. Consider buying a bike in the spring depending on progress.




  1. Open a savings account
  2. Deposit $50 per pay period toward expenses like property taxes and time share maintenance fees .
  3. Pay off the credit card. The balance snuck up over the holidays.
  4. Open a pre paid credit card through AAA for travel and vacation



  1. Take the camera on the walks for my daily photo.
  2. Upload the best of the day. At the end of the week see which photo got the most hits and save it as  the photo of the week.
  3. End of the year make a photo book “Best of 2014”
  4. Get a head start on my photo cards for the holidays.
  5. Add more Birthday and special occasion cards to the line.

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Home Improvement


  1. Attack the clutter with a vengeance. If it hasn’t been used in 6 months, get rid of it.
  2. Have the carpets shampooed
  3. Paint the bedroom
  4. Get an cabinet or cupboard to organize my photography gear.



  1. Pick a location
  2. Plan the vacation
  3. Share the plans here so my content gets more interesting



  1. Post daily on Aroundustyroads
  2. Post my daily pictures on Dustyroadsphotos
  3. Work to keep content fresh and interesting by visiting local attractions between vacations.
  4. Increase readership over 2013. No % just an increase will make me happy. At least I know the blog is growing then.

Personal Relations, Friends and Family

  1. Work at the relationship. It won’t stay close if ignored.
  2. Stay in touch with family. Same thing, you can’t stay close if you ignore each other.
  3. Be a friend. Can’t have them unless you’re willing to be one.
  4. Lend a hand when needed even if it’s just to listen.


I think that’s enough to keep me busy for 2014.


That’s Close Enough!

Leaving Tanqueray behind I started back through the Mallory Building toward the Coliseum. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do next. The schedule was broken down by building and time and there was something going on every minute.


As I passed through the building I passed another ring. This one had the dirt floor and the horses were being ridden in this ring. This was a breed demonstration. I wish I could tell you which breed but I missed the announcement. The show was well underway when I stepped up to the fence. I stayed on the short end so I wouldn’t block anyone’s view. The bleacher seats were along the long sides. Several others stood by me. As I was snapping away one of horses came trotting toward me. I expected it to make the turn like the rest of the riders were doing but it came straight at me, bumped the fence and stuck it’s head right up against me! I know my mouth hit the floor. I looked at the rider with my mouth hanging open. She just shrugged and said “I guess he likes you”. I admit I was shocked both by the horse’s reaction to me and by the rider’s lack of control. But that was nothing compared to what was about to happen next.

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Horse and rider back on track I went back to trying to get the exposure right in the low lighting. People were using flash but I was reluctant to try that. I was concerned about startling the horses. Clearly the riders in this ring were not the most experienced. Just as that thought was crossing my mind a flash went off right by the fence. A woman with a ton of camera gear was set up about half way down the long side. As soon as her camera flashed the horse  nearest to her shied badly slamming into another horse and rider about to pass them.

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Those two bounced toward the center of the ring blocking two more horses. These animals weren’t traveling at a walk. I had visions of a horse pile up like cars on the expressway. For a few moments the ring was in turmoil but eventually the riders got their mounts under control and it was back to circling the ring. The woman with her flash had disappeared. She probably got better pictures than I did but at least I can’t be blamed for causing a possible serious accident.

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It seemed like a good time to move on.