Friday, 4 October 2013

San Diego: the end of the road

Some other images from my five days in San Diego

Aircraft carrier USS Midway served 47 years at sea. Decommissioned in 1992, is now moored as a museum in San Diego.

My elderly Trek has been a great companion during this trip.  Many thanks to Recycled Cycles of Seattle.

This gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego sits in part of the old train station. Disconcerting when a train pulls up outside the doors when I’m looking at Color Field by Liza Lou

Cooling off in Mission Bay Park

Apartment block

The Fish market, San Diego

Chandelier at the main entrance to the Salk Institute.  Designed by Dale Chihuly, whose work I saw four weeks ago in the Glass Garden, Seattle

A last look at the Pacific, La Jolla

My journey: Seattle to San Diego

And that’s it, the end of the road.  I’ve driven 2,200 miles, through three states, Washington, Oregon and California, spent time in five major cities, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.  I have visited many much smaller places, and found lots to enjoy in just about all of them.

Probably the most enjoyable places have been those I’ve been able to explore on my bicycle. Buying it in Seattle was the best expenditure I made on this holiday: and now I’ve sold it in San Diego.

So it is time to fly home.  Thank you America, for 35 great days and nights, you've been very welcoming and very hospitable.  

If you travel BA Economy, like me, have a good meal and large glass of wine before you board the plane.  Then you can pass on the inflight catering
And do travel light.


Salk Institute, La Jolla, San Diego

The Salk Institute continues to be acclaimed by architecture critics as one of the world's boldest structures.  On my last day of this five-week trip I was able to make an architectural tour.

Dr. Jonas Salk, an American medical researcher and virologist, is best known for his discovery and development of the first successful polio vaccine.  He established the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. His goal was to create an institute that would serve as a crucible for creativity to pursue questions about the basic principles of life. He wanted biologists and others to work together to explore the wider implications of their discoveries for the future of humanity.

Today the major areas of study at Salk are: molecular biology and genetics, neurosciences, and plant biology. Salk research provides new understanding and potential new therapies and treatments for a range of diseases—from cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer's disease, to cardiovascular disorders, anomalies of the brain and birth defects. Discoveries by plant biologists at the Salk pave the way to improving the quality and quantity of the world's food supply and to addressing pressing environmental problems, including global warming.

In 1959, Salk and architect Louis Kahn began a unique partnership to design and build a truly distinguished research facility.   Completed in 1965 and now designated a historical site, the Institute fulfills Dr. Salk's vision of a facility with open, unobstructed laboratory interiors set in a dramatic location that inspires creativity among its researchers. The Institute rests on coastal bluffs in La Jolla, California, 350 feet above the Pacific Ocean on a 27-acre site donated by the City of San Diego.

The structure consists of two symmetric buildings with a stream of water flowing in the middle of a courtyard that separates the two. The buildings themselves have been designed to promote collaboration, and thus there are no walls separating laboratories on any floor.
The concrete was made with volcanic ash and as a result gives off a warm, pinkish glow.
Each laboratory block has five study towers, with each tower containing four offices. A diagonal wall allows each of the thirty-six scientists using the studies to have a view of the Pacific, and every study is fitted with a combination of operable sliding and fixed glass panels in teak wood frames.

Postdoctoral Fellow Amy Firth, (York, and Bath Univ)

Architectural guide Ellen Zimmerman



Jonas Salk knew there was more to conquer than polio. So he built an institute to do it.
One of the most influential architects of the mid-20th century:

The last leg

From Santa Monica to San Diego is only 130 miles. I could drive that in three hours but as with the whole of this trip I want to continue to hug the coast where I can and not rush.

So I take my time, stop and buy lunch in San Clemente, and eat it sitting on the beach at San Onofre, watching the surfers.

The pier at San Clemente

Surfers and others at San Onofre

I stayed one night en route to San Diego in Encinitas, yet another nice little California beach town of 60,000 people.   By chance, it is the third thursday of the month and that’s when the town come alive with Encinitas Classic Car Nights.

This 1959 Morris Minor Traveller was for sale at 25,000$ - that's £15,600

On Friday 20th I arrived in San Diego, checked into my motel in the Point Loma district, and then took a long bike ride right along the waterfront into the city.  It has been one of several regular pleasures over the five weeks, to park the car, get out the bike, and spend an afternoon exploring a new town or city.

San Diego Bay is a natural harbour and deepwater port located in California, near the US-Mexico border. The bay is 12 miles long and 1 to 3 miles wide.  Considered to be one of the best natural harbors on the west coast, it was colonized by Spain from 1769. Later it served as base headquarters of major ships of the US Navy. Today it remains as a home port of major assets, including several aircraft carriers, of the United States Pacific Fleet.  San Diego's port also has facilities for commercial shipping and cruise ship traffic. 

An ideal place from which to get a sense of the size and shape of the bay is Cabrillo Point.

Cabrillo National Monument is located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula, at the western edge of San Diego bay.  It commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542, the first time that a European expedition had set foot on what later became the west coast of the United States.  MAP 
The area encompassed by the national monument includes various former military installations, such as artillery batteries, built to protect the harbor of San Diego from enemy warships. A former army building hosts an exhibit that tells the story of military history at Point Loma.
From the monument there are great sweeping views of San Diego's harbor and skyline, as well as the Naval Air Station North Island which sits in San Diego Bay.  On clear days, a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Tijuana, and Mexico's Coronado Islands are also visible.

The Comet Ace is a vehicle carrier, registered in Panama, leaves San Diego. Seeing how high she sits in the water I assume it has just been unloaded.

A transporter lands on the military airfield

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is located just one mile north of the Cabrillo Monument, sitting along the crest of the peninsula.  To the east it overlooks the bay and the city, to the west the Pacific Ocean.

The cemetery covers 77 acres, located on both sides of Catalina Blvd, with the gravestones flowing down to the bay on the east and the ocean on the west.  I have visited several of the war grave sites in northern France and Belgium, each of them a moving and yet depressing place. None, however, come close to this for sheer size.  It is a daunting sight, 101,079 simple white grave stones, stretching on and on.  

101,079 dead.  Very moving