The large Moreton Bay Fig tree in Balboa Park.

This is one of the largest trees you're likely to ever see.
This is one of the most amazing trees you’re likely to ever see.

Have you visited Balboa Park? Perhaps you’ve seen an incredibly enormous tree standing between the San Diego Natural History Museum and Spanish Village. It’s impossible to miss! That’s the over 100 year old Moreton Bay Fig!

Sign in Balboa Park describes Ficus macrophylla, the Moreton Bay Fig.
Sign in Balboa Park describes Ficus macrophylla, the Moreton Bay Fig.

Ficus macrophylla

“Moreton Bay Fig”

Native to East Australia

This tree was planted prior to the 1915 Panama-California International Exposition and was the focus of a Formal Garden located at this site. Because of its large size, it is listed as a co-champion with the Santa Barbara Fig in the California Dept. of Forestry Registry of Big Trees.

Age: over 100 years (now)

Height: 80 feet

Trunk Girth: 42 feet

Canopy width: 145 feet

Trunk and roots of a tree once climbed by kids, but now fenced off for its protection.
Trunk and roots of a tree once climbed by kids, but now fenced off for its protection.
Huge Moreton Bay Fig tree and the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Huge Moreton Bay Fig tree and the San Diego Natural History Museum.
A big tree is a rare and valuable part of the ecosystem.
A big tree is a rare and valuable part of the ecosystem.

The Value of a Big Tree

Trees contribute to our environment by producing oxygen; reducing temperature, carbon-dioxide and stormwater runoff; improving property value and providing wildlife habitat.

Scientists have developed a value formula to determine the cost benefit of trees. The Center for Urban Forest Research states that trees over 50 feet tall contribute about $65.00/year back to the environment. Smaller trees contribute $18-36.00/year. There are about 20,000 trees in Balboa Park which contribute a value of one million dollars per year back to our environment.

Beyond dollars, Big Trees like the Moreton Bay Fig enhance the park, provide a sense of history to our community and a legacy for our children.

Someone gazes at the hundred year old leafy giant in Balboa Park.
Someone gazes at the hundred year old leafy giant in Balboa Park.

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Balboa Park: The War Years comes to Auto Museum.

International M-2-4 Rocket Truck used in the Pacific during World War II.
International M-2-4 Rocket Truck used in the Pacific during World War II.

An interesting new exhibit will open this coming Friday, April 3 at the San Diego Automotive Museum. Part of this year’s Centennial Celebration, the new exhibit is called Balboa Park: The War Years. According to one website: “The (auto museum) floor will be transformed into a USO show venue to tell the story of the impact that war had on San Diego and the entire West Coast.” As part of the museum’s general admission, visitors will be able to check out a dozen-or-so 1940s period vehicles used by the American military during the Second World War.

I was lucky to experience a small taste of the exhibit this afternoon. A rocket launching truck and anti-tank gun were waiting to be rolled from the outside parking lot into the museum during my Sunday walk through Balboa Park.

Here are several pics…

This historical military vehicle comes from the Marine Corps Mechanized Museum at Camp Pendleton north of San Diego.
This historical military vehicle comes from the Marine Corps Mechanized Museum at Camp Pendleton north of San Diego.
One of many interesting vehicles arriving for the upcoming Balboa Park The War Years exhibit at the San Diego Automotive Museum.
One of many interesting vehicles arriving for the upcoming Balboa Park: The War Years exhibit at the San Diego Automotive Museum.
US WW2 37mm M3 Anti-Tank Gun backing up to the museum's big side door!
US WW2 37mm M3 Anti-Tank Gun backing up to the museum’s big side door!

(After doing some searching on the internet, I’m pretty sure I have the above caption correct. If I don’t, leave a comment!)

Cool guy from San Diego Automotive Museum smiles for the camera!
Cool guy from San Diego Automotive Museum smiles for the camera!

Colorful street banners in Encinitas along PCH.

A happy dog tries to jump through space and catch the moon.
A happy dog tries to jump through space and catch the moon.

I got lots of pics yesterday during a long walk in Encinitas near the beach. I was amazed at all the different artistic banners on street lamps that line the Pacific Coast Highway (often referred to as PCH). Very awesome! Check them out!

Elephants and a spiritual butterfly surfboard. Hindu imagery is popular in Encinitas near the beach, due to the presence of the visually distinctive Self-Realization Fellowship ashram.
Elephants and a spiritual butterfly surfboard. Hindu imagery is popular in Encinitas near the beach, due to the presence of the visually distinctive Self-Realization Fellowship ashram.
Bold art on a street banner along Pacific Coast Highway.
Bold art on a street banner along Pacific Coast Highway.
The Yogi Surf Crossing is a popular path for surfers, locals and tourists alike.
The Yogi Surf Crossing is a popular path for surfers, locals and tourists alike.
Another beautiful female figure in sunny beach destination Encinitas.
A beautiful female figure in sunny beach destination Encinitas.
I think these are two heart-covered puppy dogs, but I'm not sure.
I think these are heart-covered puppy dogs, but I’m not sure.
Playing a cool saxophone near the Pacific Ocean.
Playing a cool saxophone near the Pacific Ocean.
A typical beach scene with palm trees and setting sun.
A typical beach scene with palm trees and setting sun.
Artwork shows the coastline along San Diego's North County.
Artwork shows the coastline along San Diego’s North County.
Fun, lush art on many different banners on Encinitas street lamps.
Fun, lush art on many banners on Encinitas street lamps.
Surfers carry their boards on the beach at Swami’s Reef point break.
Surfers carry their boards on the beach at Swami’s Reef point break.
Exotic figure references Hinduism and Eastern philosophy. The world famous Swami's surfing spot is overlooked by the Self-Realization Fellowship grounds in Encinitas.
Exotic figure references Hinduism and Eastern philosophy. The world famous Swami’s surfing spot is overlooked by the Self-Realization Fellowship grounds in Encinitas.
Colorful image adds life to an already delightful beach town.
Colorful image adds life to an already delightful beach town.
Waves and sunset seem nestled in a tree above a street sign.
Waves and sunset seem nestled in a tree above a street sign.
Graphic shows dirt path down to the beach.
Graphic shows dirt path down to the beach.
Several jellyfish seem to soar through the blue sky.
Several jellyfish seem to soar through the blue sky.
Encinitas street banner depicts a tropical island girl.
Encinitas street banner depicts a tropical island girl.
A sleeping cat dreams of being a lion king!
A sleeping cat dreams of being a lion king!

Leonard Nimoy lives at Spock Block in Encinitas.

The Spock Block celebration centered upon Encinitas City Hall on Vulcan Avenue.
The Spock Block celebration is taking place near Encinitas City Hall on Vulcan Avenue.

The City of Encinitas, a coastal beach city in San Diego’s North County, has a week-long celebration underway honoring the late Leonard Nimoy. If the immensely popular actor, author, director, poet, songwriter and photographer had not passed away in February this year, he would have celebrated his 84th birthday last Thursday. Nimoy’s rich life and artistry is being remembered, as well as his iconic role as Mr. Spock on Star Trek. Encinitas City Hall is located on Vulcan Avenue, and as every Trekker knows, Vulcan was the name of Spock’s home planet. So by official decree, a short stretch of Vulcan Avenue has been temporarily renamed Spock Block.

Today I took a long stroll around Encinitas, hoping to spot a few cool sights in and around Spock Block. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be much going on. I guess there wasn’t enough time for preparation and publicity. Maybe next year the festival (or Enterprise!) can grow into a much more interesting phenomenon.  How about some cool displays?  A science fiction film fest?  A cosplay contest?  Get creative!

Fortunately, I did get lots of other awesome pics around Encinitas, so I suppose more blog posts will be forthcoming!

A restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway had a special Live Long and Lobster deal!
A fun-loving restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway had a special Live Long and Lobster deal!  Seems entirely logical to me!
Encinitas surfers arrive from Vulcan Avenue--or perhaps from Spock's home planet...
Encinitas surfers arrive from Vulcan Avenue–or perhaps an avenue located somewhere on Spock’s distant home planet…

Three sides of fun now served by silly blogger.

Squid with top hat and cane entertains passersby on a Hillcrest utility box.
Squid with top hat and cane entertains passersby on a painted Hillcrest utility box.

I can be lazy. When I began this blog I was often lazy. On a fine October day back in 2013…I was lazy.

I blogged about one funny image on a utility box in Hillcrest. But every side of the box is covered with entertaining street art. Silly me. Time to rectify the problem…

This alien came to Earth for a martini.
This alien came to Earth for a martini.
Lady in kimono enjoys hot tea by a volcano in San Diego.
Lady in kimono enjoys hot tea by a volcano.

Vital Parts discovered under dark freeway bridge.

A human heart is juxtaposed with San Diego's old Presidio in some very unique ceramic artwork.
A human heart is juxtaposed with San Diego’s historic old Presidio in this extremely unique ceramic artwork.

There’s some fascinating public art in Mission Valley that few people see. It’s located in the deep shadows beneath Interstate 8 where the freeway passes over Hotel Circle. Eyes are adjusting to darkness as motorists, turning a corner, quickly pass five ceramic panels high on drab concrete pillars. The one sidewalk is located on the opposite side of the street. To really appreciate the artwork, you have to cross traffic dangerously and stand in a narrow band of dirt right up close.

Today I walked to work past the darkly obscured art and decided to finally get a closer look.

Vital Parts, installed in 1999, was created by local San Diego artist Joanne Hayakawa. The pieces seem to be stratified, crumbling and sculpted by time and memory. They seem to blend with the dirt beneath the bare bridge.

The very dark Interstate 8 underpass at Hotel Circle features seldom appreciated public art.
The very dark Interstate 8 underpass at Hotel Circle features seldom appreciated public art.
Vital Parts, by artist Joanne Hayakawa, was installed on five pillars of a Mission Valley freeway bridge in 1999.
Vital Parts, by artist Joanne Hayakawa, was installed on five pillars of a Mission Valley freeway bridge in 1999.
Mysterious fossil-like hand hovers above San Diego River and what I believe are Native American structures.
Mysterious fossil-like hand hovers above nearby San Diego River and what I believe are Native American structures.
Human brain, made golden by underpass light, crowns image of Mission San Diego de Alcalá and the ever-present river.
Human brain, made golden by underpass light, crowns image of old Mission San Diego and the ever-present blue river.
Spine rises over what I believe is Qualcomm Stadium. This earthy art is unusual and evocative.
Spine rises over what I believe is modern Qualcomm Stadium. This earthy art is very unusual and evocative.
Chin and silent mouth seem like a clay mask from the past over the eternally flowing river.
Chin and silent mouth seem like a timeless clay mask beside the eternally flowing river.

Kite, hot dog, balloon, ice cream cone and cow.

A kite is flying above the grassy park near Seaport Village. Another typical day.
A kite is flying above the grassy Embarcadero Marina Park North near Seaport Village. Just another typical day.

I looked through a bunch of old photos on my hard drive recently and found some fun random pics of Seaport Village. Here they are!

Seaport Village is a tourist destination on San Diego Bay that many locals love.
Seaport Village is a tourist destination on San Diego Bay that many locals also enjoy.
People walk near the Marriott Marina on the sun-drenched Embarcadero.
People walk near the Marriott Marina on the sun-drenched Embarcadero.
One of the fountains of Seaport Village, a favorite San Diego attraction.
One of the fountains at Seaport Village, a popular San Diego attraction.
Colorful, playful buildings contain specialty shops and places to eat.
Colorful, playful buildings contain specialty shops and places to eat.
Scrumptious hot dogs and more at the popular food court!
Scrumptious hot dogs are easy to find at the food court!
Carefree, easy fun at every turn. These guys are by the Seaport Village carousel.
Carefree, simple fun at every turn. These guys are by the Seaport Village carousel.
Surrounded by a multitude of delights, some people look at cell phones.
Surrounded by a multitude of delights, some people look at cell phones.
These people are living! Laughing with arms high and licking ice cream!
These people are living! Laughing with arms high and licking ice cream!
A cow rests in the shade. It's been a busy day!
A cow rests in the shade. It’s been a busy day!

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