I love traveling to places I know nothing about, in my own country or overseas. What you see is all new, particularly if you have no firm pre-set notions or biases. I spent a few days in San Diego and Riverside counties, specifically in Temecula (home to Native Americans for about 10,000 years), about 60 miles northeast of San Diego and the same distance southeast of greater Los Angeles. It is now a bedroom community, in the middle of the coastal ranges that once were dry and mostly arid spaces and are now home to freeways, Indian gaming casinos, agriculture businesses, shopping centers, miles of car-oriented subdivisions, strip malls, and also beautiful mountains and natural spaces. I was struck by how utterly and completely dependent the entire local economy and the built environment are to cheaply priced energy, notably petroleum.
The beaches of north San Diego County dazzled me. Numerous historic and scientific landmarks also impressed me, particularly the San Luis Rey Mission and the Palomar Observatory. I also was able to get in some hikes in Palomar State Park and the Santa Rosa Plateau. All provided excellent opportunities to enjoy the high desert mountain ecosystems. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)