Saturday, September 27, 2014

Exploring Jupiter Without a Spaceship

While Roger Dean Stadium has a lot to offer the baseball fan to keep him busy, Jupiter, Florida has other charms to enchant the visitor. Before we head over to the beachfront, we are going to head North for a little over a mile on Interstate 95 to the part of town on West side of the highway called Jupiter Farms. It is the home of Riverbend Park and the adjoining Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park.

As a side note, Jupiter was not really named for the god you might expect-except that it was, kind of.. The Native American called the place Hobe. The Spaniards who settled it, corrupted the name to Jobe. Then the English came along. They misheard the name as Jove, Jove is Latin for Jupiter. and that's what they called the place: Jupiter.

A Battlefield

The parks have the usual amenities for a county park. picnic tables and place to picnic or play sports. in a environment of cypress trees, palmettos and grasslands that are typical of Central Florida. Unlike most county parks, this one has a battlefield.   Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park is a historical site that features a battlefield from the Second Seminole Indian War..

Forming as a tribe in the early 170'0's, the Seminole were comprised of  Native Americans from Northern Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Perhaps feeling an affinity caused by white oppression, they also accepted into their ranks a some former and runaway slaves as well. In fact, the name Seminole comes from a corruption of the Spanish word "cimarrón" or "runaway". The Seminole were a fiercely independent people whom the Untied States wanted to corral onto reservation land in Oklahoma. The Seminole resisted over the course of the 3 wars with the United States in the mid 1800's. Ultimately most of the Seminole people would be relocated to Oklahoma, but a small group managed to successfully hideout in the Everglades and remained in Florida,

Two of the last battles of the Second Seminole Indian War, the Battles of the Loxahatchee River occurred here on the Loxahatchee River in January of 1838. It was a marginal victory for the Seminole against United States forces. The battlefield had been lost to time, certainly not being remembered as a victorious site for the United States, but recent excavations proved the site was were the battle was fought and it now the site is a memorial to those who fought there.

Seminole War in Everglades (Wikimedia Commons)

Leaving the parks, we pull onto W. Indiantown Rd, heading East towards the mouth of the Loxahatchee River.The drive starts with some fairly barren open country before turning into a long row of strip malls, fast food and gas stations. Functional, but frankly, boring. Our destination should make it worth stalling a bit before returning to the Interstate. We are heading to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum. Along the way we will be passing the Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum, Burt Reynolds was a longtime resident of Jupiter, In the interest of time we will give Burt Reynolds a pass and continue to the Lighthouse.

A Lighthouse

Jupiter Lighthouse (Flickr User Venture Minimalists/CC)

Jupiter Inlet is the mouth of the Loxahatchee River. The 7.6 mile long Loxahatchee River, that runs through North Everglade forests is a designated United States Wild and Scenic area,

The Jupiter Beach area is called the "Treasure Coast" to designate its location between the "Gold Coast" of the Miami area and the "Space Coast" to the North. Off shore a series of dangerous reefs extend past the offshore Islands.

In 1854 the mouth of the Jupiter inlet silted over and the US Army Corps of Engineers made plans to dredge a new channel. This would allow access to the Loxahatchee, but perhaps more importantly, the Indian River and its Northward passage sheltered from the offshore reefs and storms, The Lighthouse was built to aid mariners in finding the channel  into the inlet and began operation in 1860.

A grand structure, the Jupiter Lighthouse tower is 105 tall sitting on a rise that places it 146 feet above sea level. It is on a tip of land where the Loxahatchee River and the Indian River meet. The Indian River is a main tributary for quite some way North as part of the Intercoastal Waterway, a 1200 mile system of waterways that run up the Southeast coast of the United States. The lighthouse has been hit by several hurricanes and a few earthquakes, but she still stands proudly.

Jupiter has always been kind of an "end of the road" kind of town. Trains and telegraphs did not get there until the 1890's. Other than as a crossroads for water channels, it wasn't really "on the way" to anything in early Florida, But those water channels were very important and early on Jupiter was an important center for marine communications along the Central Florida Atlantic Coast.

The light was put out for the duration of the Civil war, but in 1866 it was re-lit and a Coast Guard life saving station was established there. In 1891, a U.S Weather Bureau and signal station were set up nearby and in 1905 the U.S. Navy would set up a wireless telegraph station as well.

By World War II the wireless telegraph equipment had been greatly updated. It had been operating since the mid 1930's as Radio Compass Station at Jupiter broadcasting and receiving weather and other communications with ships in the area. With the threat of German U-Boats offshore a very threat, the station became a a radio-location monitoring station. The U-Boats needed to surface at least once daily to take on oxygen and to radio status to Berlin. It was these radio communication that were intercepted allowing U.S Navy destroyers to attack and destroy the submarines.

In 1973, the at that point 113 year old lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places. 1994, the Loxahatchee River Historical Society (which had been founded in 1973 and had been running a historical museum across the Loxahatchee River at Burt Reynolds park since 1988) signed a lease with the Coast guard to provide maintenance and offer public tours. The Society also obtained the out buildings used by the Navy in World War II to be used as Visitor Center. Getting to work a complete renovation of the facility was completed in 1999.

The lighthouse and it surrounding are so scenic that in 2008, President Bush created the "Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area", giving the area National Monument status and protecting it for perpetuity. The area around the light house is home to a great many bird such as herons and ospreys. But the mote unusual animal to be found here are the manatee, an large and famously peaceful mammal that swim lazily in the rivers around the lighthouse.

The endangered manatee can be found around Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse (Flckr User NOAA's National Ocean Service/CC

Playlist Additions

The obvious place to start in looking for additions to this weeks playlist is Jupiter. The first Jupiter songs that came to mind were Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me) by Train which won a Grammy and Hey Jupiter by Tori Amos which had some chart success in the 1990's. I didn't go with the obvious  here. Part of my mission here is to turn you, my lucky readers, onto new music that maybe you have not previously been exposed to. So I went for less common tracks.

Jupiter: The Planet (Flickr User tonynetone/CC)
Los Lobos kicks off the festivities with the song Jupiter Or The Moon from their album Tin Can Trust.. It heavy tones begin our journey into the solar system. The song is a longing lament asking why the narrator was left in love. The singer cries out to Jupiter or the moon to tell him why he was left alone. Sad song.

Jupiter Rising, our next song, is some ambient techno house music from a Brooklyn artist called ADR. Half of a duo called Gatekeeper, ADR is Aaron David Ross.  Jupiter Rising came to me via a free album download on Amazon. I have no idea the popularity of Gatekeeper or ADR in the electronic music scene, I suspect they are fairly unknown because it was a bit of challenge looking up info on the song. The song does have a has a nice spacey feel and I like it.

Surf music was loosely tied to hot rods and flying saucer rock and roll. Surf revivalists The Metalunas give us as rocking number with Jupiter Doo-Dah from their space thmed album X-Minus-One. Surf rock never grows old to me, I must admit. Sadly I could not find anyone posting Jupiter Doo-Dah, so instead I added Celluloid Planetoid, another track from that album, to the video playlist. Hey, I make the rules so I can break the rules! Besides they're not really rules, they're really more like guidelines, savvy?

Seminoles come up twice in my music collection. Tampa Red, who we found out more about on Route 66, start us off with his Seminole BluesInternet Archive does not provide a year for this recording, but other research suggests 1937.
I'm a junk bond king playing Seminole Bingo (Flickr User stevendamron/CC)

Seminole Bingo is the next addition to our playlist. Written by Warren Zevon, we have David Lindley performing this saga of a washed out junk bond king who is living a white trash life in a double wide trailer in Florida. He whiles away his time playing Bingo at the Seminole bingo hall, where he remains a loser. His numbers never quite coming up,

Nickel Creek bring their bluegrass inspired acoustic flair to the subjecy of lighthouses with their longest track at 5 minutes long. The Lighthouse's Tale is a tragic one. Narrated by the lighthouse it's the story of a  lighthouse keeper is engaged to be married to a beautiful young woman. She is called to go to sea, where there is a terrible storm. The ship she is in crashes to the rocks and the lighthouse keeper finds her body and buries her. Shattered with grief he lights the lighthouse's lamp one more time, then runs off its  edge taking his own life. The song ends with the lighthouse ironically still saving lives even after he perhaps took two lives itself.

Friendly lighthouse keeper (Flickr User Kathleen Conklin/CC)
Portland musician, Cal Scott is a very talented musician who does frequent work on public television and documentary soundtracks. He is also the music director for The Trail Band, a group composed of members of 1980's hit makers Quarterflash and other virtuoso Portland musicians.  In addition to those duties Call also performs as a duet with the talented Irish fiddle player Kevin Burke. The song The Lighthouse Waltz is their contribution to today's playlist. The song has a certain lonely quality that fits the title. The only YouTube video of the song I could find makes up in charm what it lacks in polish. Cal Scott and Kevin Burke play the song in the kitchen of the house of a cute 5 year old violinist who considers The Lighthouse Waltz to be her favorite song.

To close out the music this week, we have a well known track from the soundtrack of the movie A Clockwork Orange. I Want To Marry A Lighthouse Keeper is a fun little song that sounds like it could have come from the 1920's. In reality, it is a re recording of a song by psychedelic folk act Sunforest from their 1969 album Sound Of SunforestI guess it must have been sort of a Winchester Cathedral kind of thing. The video that i found to accompany the addition is a wacky student project that made me smile. I hope you like it too.

Signing Off and Coming Attractions

There is still a bit more for us to see before we leave Jupiter and continue North on our journey. We will get into that in few weeks when we return to Florida. But for now, thanks you for traveling with us and until we meet again, keep your light shining!

Mileage Stats

Route 66: 0 Miles/1 State/694 Tracks/166 Videos/31 Posts

Highway 101: 22 Miles/2 Countries/1 State/512 Tracks/205 Videos/23 Posts

Interstate 95: 92 Miles/1 State/38 Tracks/78 Videos/9 Posts

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    Saturday, September 20, 2014

    Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Seaport Village to Old Town San Diego

    San Diego's Seaport Village picks up our trip North on Highway 101. The area we will be passing through skirts the edge of Downtown San Diego and could be called a road of planes, trains, and automobiles. It is also a road through time as it goes from San Diego's modern Downtown to the old original heart of the City in San Diego Old Town.

    San Diego Santa Fe Depot
    An inviting station welcomes rail travelers to San Diego (Wikimedia commons)

    Driving North on today's Pacific Highway we go past a row of condo towers on the edge of Downtown that offer expensive bay views. Before long, the parking lots of the condominiums give way to a busy strip of car rental companies. We'll  leave Pacific Highway to basically go around the block visit the Union Station or as it is also known, Santa Fe Depot. A busy transportation hub, it is where Amtrak lines as well as San Diego's excellent light rail system  and the famous Tijuana Trolley all converge.

    The old San Diego train station is replaced by the Santa Fe Depot(Wikimedia Commons)
    Santa Fe Depot was built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Called by some a "Jewel in the Crown' of Santa Fe Stations. It IS a beautiful old train station. It has a splendidly over the top Spanish Colonial architecture with some notably high quality tile work done by local artisans at the time of the stations construction. It opened in 1915 as replacement for a much smaller Victorian style station that had been their since 1887. In a way it is a shame because the Victorian Station was still relatively new, featured a gorgeous Gothic tower and vast quantities of Victorian "gingerbread" decoration.

    The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe did not cut corners in building a larger more modern facility. Designed to accommodate expected crowds for the Panama-California Exposition that began that year. The Colonial Revival design was used to be in keeping with the design of the fair buildings. Over the years it was the first place many sailors and marines would see as they passed through San Diego for service at Camp Pendleton or Naval Base San Diego. It saw many of the classic 1920's and 1930's Hollywood royalty as they would make their gambling and drinking trips to Tijuana,

    The tiles still shine in the California sun.(Flickr User Konrad Glogowski/CC)

    YouTube gives us several views. SDpostcards starts us off with a slick professional view. Next we return to a videographer we have seen before. travelandtransitions gives us a good tour of the station from the point of view of a San Diego tourist. Sorry about the sound quality though. The next video, posted by WhistleStopUSA focuses more on the trains outside the station than the station itself, but that is a huge part of experiencing a train station.Another huge part of the train station experience is actually riding the train. Our last video from stntylr101 gives us that viewpoint as well as nice Beethoven soundtrack.

    San Diego International Airport 

    Strip Clubs and Rental Cars indicate we are close to the airport on Pacific Highway (Flickr user Paul Sullivan.CC)
    The tracks for the Pacific Surfliner train from Los Angeles will run parallel, maybe a half  block back from Pacific Highway all the way past Old Town, where we are headed today.A few budget motels and some gas stations break up the row upon row of rental cars and shuttle buses. The roar of low flying jumbo jets and a view to the left means that we are passing the San Diego International Airport.

    San Diego International Airport or Lindbergh Field as it was originally named when it was opened in 1928 runs alongside the Pacific Highway. Until; 1967 the main terminal was located on Pacific Highway. The It must have been a busy scene with jet set travelers Navy Seamen and Marine from the local bases and Highway tourist cruising the coast or headed to Mexico all coming together at the edge of Downtown San Diego on Pacific Highway.
    Landing At San Diego International Airport as seen from Pacific Highway (Flickr User Tim Wang/CC)

    These days Pacific Highway is not the front door to the airport that it once was. So we motor on by, heading North, past more rental car lots. We are surrounded by planes, trains and automobiles. As we go by lets take a look at the airport through the eyes of YouTube.

    Our first clip is from the end of the era in which Highway 101 would go past the airport. Soon after this film was shot, Interstate 5 would open and Highway 101 would be decommissioned in San Diego County.The Digital Implosion posts a Navy testing clip of the XFY-1 Vertical Takeoff Airplane from May of 1955. It's an interesting aircraft and the backgrounds give you a little bit of the feel of the airport in that era.

    Plane geeks might like my second video, a more recent filming of  Spotting at San Diego Lindbergh Field Airport uploaded by YouTube User linjeflyg.

    Finally, we have an excellent clip, landing at San Diego International Airport view from the flight deck uploaded by YouTube user n37ba. It's a rarely seen (at least by me) view of a landing at San Diego International Airport, It was the pilots last flight before an age 60 mandatory retirement. He still has the skills.

    Finishing the Drive to Old Town San Diego
    The rest of the way to Old Town San Diego is a fairly boring jog alongside freeway on and off ramps for Interstate 5 and warehouses and parking lots lining the area between Pacific Highway and the railroad line. There is a YouTube dash cam video courtesy of user Milique Mason. The dash cam video features some driving on Interstate 5 before taking the exit for Pacific Highway. It joins the old Highway 101 or Pacific Highway right after the 2:45 point of the video before bringing us home to Old town and the close of this weeks drive.

    We made it! Welcome to Old Town San Diego! (Flickr User keith_rock/CC)

    Playlist Additions

    The Movie

    This weeks theme is Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The theme is lifted from the title of the 1987 film. Its a hilarious film and the interplay between stars Steve Martin and John Candy is priceless. Martin plays a tired, somewhat cynical business man, While Candy is a boisterous glad-handing salesman. They just want to get home to celebrate Thanksgiving with their family, but everything that can go wrong does. They are repeatedly hit with problems that force them to re orientate and try to get home some other way. They are a classic odd couple and I love it because I love 80's comedies and naturally road movies always get my attention.

    The film is one of the few Thanksgiving classics and it features one of the all time great movie rants delivered by Steve Martin. Anyone who has ever endured the cattle car system that is American transportation has felt like this at some time. The language in this clip is definitely NSFW.


    Planes, Trains and Automobiles suits this strip of highway quite well. It also gives us an opportunity to introduce a band from San Diego called Slightly Stoopid.

    Slightly Stoopid are a San Diego based Alt-Reggae bad that was formed in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego. A famed surfing beach, Ocean Beach was where Slightly Stoopid arose as a beach party band playing music that was similar to Sublime's alt-reggae sound from North on Highway 101 in Long Beach. A couple of Southern California beach kids, they have a more reggae, less alt alt-reggae style and a little more Jamaican sound of vocals than Sublime had. In 1995, Bradley Nowell, lead singer of Sublime, singed to a deal on Skunk Records, Sublime's indie label.

    A standout track that Slightly Stoopid perform is a cover of a song that was written and recorded by John Denver, before it became a hit for Peter, Paul and Mary. It's a song that has been covered by a lot of artists. Leaving On A Jet Plane fits our theme so well that a trio of versions of the song make this weeks play list additions.

    John Denver wrote Leaving On a Jet Plane in 1966. He had originally entitled the song Babe, I Hate To Go, It was included on his self released album that only had a run of 250. Mostly going to friends and family, Peter, Paul and Mary got a copy. They were so impressed by the song that they decided to cover it on their Album 1700 in 1967. That year also saw covers of the song by the Chad Mitchell Trio and Spanky and Our Gang.

    The Single That Took Off (Wikipedia)
    1969 saw the release of the song as a single by Peter, Paul and Mary. This time the world sat up and took notice. It rose like a jet taking off to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Peter, Paul and Mary had there biggest hit ever. Mean while John Denver's career was taking off as well. He was performing with the Chad Mitchell Trio when he went solo. He included the song on debut solo album Rhymes & Reasons re-recording it again for his John Denver's Greatest Hits.

    The video clip I found has Peter, Paul and Mary performing the song with a very young John Denver, This weeks playlist begins with the addition of the version from Album 1700. However, I actually have it from the 14 disc box set Next Stop Vietnam. An outstanding set, it comes with a detailed article filled coffee table book with chapters on each aspect of the war such as home front, in country, protesters, blacks in the war, and so on. Highly recommended if you have the do-re-mi.

    Next up on the playlist is a live performance of Leaving On A Jet Plane, by Slightly Stoopid. They are performing this track in 2003 at place we will be visiting as we travel North on Highway 101, Santa Cruz CA. I picked it up from a now defunct Sublime fan site that had a ton of bootlegs from a bunch of Sublime influenced bands. If you want to hear what they are like these days, you can get a bunch of shows at Archive.Org. The video clip is from a far more recent performance than the playlist addition.

    As a third flavor of Leaving On A Jet Plane, we have a punk rocking send up of the song by Me First And The Gimme Gimmes. They are kind of novelty act that takes older soft rock songs and redoes them as punk rock anthems. Kind of cheesy, kind of silly but toe tappingly good. They are a band worth checking out. The video fan created and for some reason features lots of scenes of plane crashes. Sick humor, I guess.


    The Santa Fe Depot and the tracks that run parallel to Pacific Highway, the old Highway 101, inspire our next mini set. We start off with the hit song written for the 1946 Judy Garland hit The Harvey Girls. On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe  was written 1944 by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren. In 1945 the world seemed to mad for the song. Charting versions were released by Johnny Mercer, Bing Crosby, Tommy Dorsey and Judy Garland. The most successful of these is from Johnny Mercer who rode that train straight to Number One on the Billboard charts. The Mercer version makes the playlist.

    Remember Casper the Friendly Ghost? He was pretty popular in his day. In 1963 an LP was recorded titled Musical Adventure In Make-Believe. I always thought Casper could be a bit wimpy and this album doesn't change my opinion. In a strange premise Caspar imagines all of the various machines like a rocket, a tugboat. a helicopter, and a motorcycle policeman. Throw in a few life lessons and you have an album. In this track he was a Train.

    Musical Adventure In Make-Believe was featured on  the WFMU blog's 365 Project, where they posted a downloadable album every day in 2007. These were general strange oddities and thrift store finds. Some fun strange stuff. Have I mentioned I like novelty records? On August 21, this album, along with a few other children albums were posted. The links are still up if you need some Casper in your life. Its a free download, but WFMU is a community radio station so if you gave them a donation, I'm sure they would not mind, and it's tax deductible.
    Amtrak No. 51 at Santa Fe Depot (Flickr User vxla/CC)

    With lyrics like "sitting downtown in railroad station",  One Toke Over The Line fits in seamlessly with today mix as well as today's travels, A 1970 hit by the duo Brewer and Shipley from their 1970 album Tarkio. Its the lament of a down on his luck traveling hippy. The song that has a good country singer songwriter feel so typical of the early 1970's. Hunter S. Thompson referenced the song extensively in his famous book Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas.

    Our Video of train songs has a bonus though. None other than Lawrence Welk had his cast perform the song which he calls a "modern day spiritual". I'm sure some of the members of his band had to smirk a bit at that one, musicians being musicians, If that story is hard to believe, I added the clip to the end of the set.


    Rental car lots line a good chunk of the road we are travelling this week. And they are where Steve Martin lost his cool with the counter person in the film Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. So, a few rental car songs will end this weeks additions to playlist.

    It's a Rental, by Rik Roberts is a funny song. I was unable to find a clip to share with you, but the premise is you can trash the car,'s a rental. Its got a pretty twangy country style, You can hear it by buying the Car Talk Car Tunes CD, which well help Click and Clack as they ease into retirement.

    No video could be found for It's A Rental, so as an alternative I give you a great Avis commercial from the 1970's where they talk about their new computer, while a man call for help from a pay phone. Its wonderfully dated. Strangely though,, at the end of the commercial the man in it mentions the cloud. Hmmm.

    The theme song of a 1976 comedy film of the same name, Car Wash, by Rose Royce (clever, huh?) make our list next. The film was the story of a day in the life of a Car Wash in Central LA. A multiracial group of Car Wash employees goof off through the day while washing the cars of a rotating cast of characters. The song has a great groove and was a big hit scrubbing its way to number one on pop/r&b charts. My version is from a budget CD that was sold as an Old Navy promo item. Included it because, every Car rental place has guy who is working at the Car Wash.

    I found a great YouTube clip from the movie, I had to use it, but it cuts the song off before it is over. So I forgive me if I went overboard, but I threw in a clip from Soul Train. You can't go wrong with Soul Train.

    Closing out the weeks playlist additions we have Beck from his album Guero, Rental Car. A nice student project video accompanies on our video playlist.

    Signing Off and Coming Attractions

    This post ran kind of long, sorry if I got a little carried away. I hope you found something fun in the mix and maybe we even learned something too.  If you like what I am doing here, please tell a friend or share a link on your favorite social media. Before you leave the page I'd love to hear from you in the comments. What is your favorite way to travel? I suspect you might be able to tell, I like a good road trip. Here's what we have coming up.

    Mileage Stats

    Route 66: 0 Miles/1 State/676 Tracks/161 Videos/31 Posts

    Highway 101: 22 Miles/2 Countries/1 State/512 Tracks/205 Videos/23 Posts

    Interstate 95: 84 Miles/1 State/30 Tracks/70 Videos/9 Posts

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