June Prime Picks: Diane Donovan Reviews Two California History Titles from Sunbelt Publications

Source: Donovan’s Bookshelf: June Prime Picks, June 2017

Max Kurillo’s California’s El Camino Real and Its Historic Bells [2nd Edition] (9781532318948, $22.95) is, surprisingly, the first book to cover the history and preservation of one of the state’s major transit routes. The “King’s Highway” extends some 2,000 miles and was long the major transportation artery in the state, but today it’s marked only with historic bells whose origins are rarely known by the many who still travel the remaining sections of this route.

From the roadway’s development and the evolution of these bell markers which were designed to celebrate its course to maps, vintage black and white photos, and information on the roadway’s evolution, this is a powerful history that should be in any California library. It thoroughly documents the road’s influences on different regions throughout the state and the methods by which it came to be celebrated and remembered.

Nicholas Clapp’s Bodie: Good Times & Bad (9781941384268, $22.95) enjoys fine photos by Will Furman as it brings the abandoned desert mining town to life and covers its history and the people who saw their hopes and dreams come alive, only to be buried in Bodie.

Bodie is unique among old frontier towns because it remains nearly complete in its physical buildings, even as it’s now empty of residents.

Gorgeous full-page color photos capture the town and its surroundings, while accompanying history documents the rise and fall of Bodie and considers its attraction and uniqueness to modern California history buffs who can visit it today as a rare relic indicative of the state’s tumultuous mining towns.

Baja’s Wild Side Exposed

Source: Gary Graham’s Blog on WONews.com, Thursday, July 13, 2017

Rumors of an impending book, Baja’s Wild Side, reached my desk recently and I was eager to learn all I could about it. I immediately called an Outdoor Writer (OWAC) buddy, Diana Lindsey, owner of [Sunbelt [Publications] and publisher of Baja’s Wild Side, to get the scoop on the impending publication.

She was as eager to talk about as I was to hear about it. While I had never met the writer, PhD shark biologist, Daniel Cartamil of Scripps Institute of Oceanography personally, his reputation preceded him.

Baja's Wild Side by Daniel Cartamil, PhD
BAJA’S WILD SIDE”, with its 100 spectacular photographs of remote landscapes, wildlife, and cultural treasures, along with observations and stories, reminds us there is an unexplored area of Baja’s Pacific coastline all begging to be explored.

An enthusiastic photographer and passionate conservationist, Cartamil’s research brought him to one of the wildest and most remote pieces of Baja California’s Pacific coast regions, one seldom visited by many tourists. There he developed a unique relationship with a local fisherman providing him unparalleled access to natural places still untouched by the progress of many parts of Baja.

On a personal note, on my very first drive down Mex 1, shortly after the road was completed with a couple of buddies and after a longer-than-it-should-have-been lunch at Mama Espinosa’s restaurant in El Rosario, on the recommendation of Mama Espinosa, herself, (post on Mama Espinosa) we ventured west on a marginal dirt road toward Punta Baja to camp overnight near a local fish camp. Arriving at dusk we turned southward and camped on a deserted beach.

Baja or not, the early morning was overcast and chilly … not exactly what we expected. However, we did warm up to the view featured on the Baja’s Wild Side website as well as page 49 of the book, Baja’s Wild Side, before we resumed our Baja adventure south on Mex 1 in search of the Baja sun we had been promised.

Like many others, then and now, good fishing and sunny days were the nirvana sought; like horses headed for the barn with blinders on, so it was pedal to the metal until we found it! In our case, Loreto and Nopolo Cove satisfied our blended expectations that first trip.

Sure, there were a few side trips, here and there … Laguna Manuela for one, plus Magdalena Bay.

Next it was Cabo San Lucas (Santa Maria Cove) and camping on the beach when it was still pristine, long before it was developed. We ended up leaving my 23-foot Blackman skiff in Cabo for several years and flew back and forth to enjoy Baja.

That was, until we settled in the Buena Vista area and ultimately at Rancho Deluxe at East Cape in the late eighties. Still speeding to our destination and ignoring the many side trips other than Magdalena Bay.

It wasn’t until 2007 that Rancho Deluxe was purchased by a developer and we purchased the Roadtrek. At last, we began slowing down and exploring interesting side trips off the familiar beaten path of Mex 1.

Cartamil’s Baja’s Wild Side,with its 100 spectacular photographs of remote landscapes, wildlife, and cultural treasures, along with observations and stories, reminds us there is an unexplored area of Baja’s Pacific coastline, from the high sierra, to the ancient cave paintings hidden deep in the desert, to the surf-pounded Pacific, all begging to be explored.

For those of you who are still in a rush to get to your favorite spot at every opportunity, I get it. I’ve been there, done that … and would do it all over again if I had the opportunity. But I recommend you pick up a copy of Cartamil’s Baja’s Wild Side for your coffee table for future reference when you slow down a tad.

This is a “show and tell” book that will remind you that you are missing out on a very unique part of Baja to the west as you zoom by El Rosario, seeking more of the Baja you’ve learned to love.

Regardless of your personal favorite, one thing is certain; it has changed dramatically since you first discovered it. Don’t miss the opportunity to view some of the Baja coastline although threatened, still remains pristine by comparison: Perhaps, first by picking up a copy of Daniel Cartamil’s magnificent contribution about a relatively small, seldom-visited part of Baja’s west coast.

Books A Boon for Cyclists: Two Books by Author Nelson Copp Target Bicyclists in San Diego County

The fourth edition of Copp’s “Cycling San Diego” has been printed by Sunbelt Publications of El Cajon. The book’s cover shows two bicyclists pedaling past the landmark Hotel del Coronado.

Source: San Diego Uptown News, October 9, 2015

Nelson Copp has released two new books on cycling in San Diego County. (Photo by SDCNN)
Sunbelt Publications of El Cajon has printed two books dedicated to bicyclists in San Diego County. (Photo by Ken Williams)

The 326-page book (retail value of $21.95) is chockfull of cycling routes from Camp Pendleton to Coronado to Julian to Borrego Springs. Dozens of helpful maps provide a clear guide to getting around a chosen area.

Copp is the author of “Cycling the Trails of San Diego: A Mountain Biker’s Guide to the County.” The 270-page book is also published by Sunbelt.

For the past three decades, Copp has been keeping San Diegans informed about the ever-changing landscape for cycling routes and updating his books. He is a lifelong cyclist, on-road and off-road, and is hailed as a master of applying state-of-the-art cartography and software applications to field guides.

“Cycling San Diego” details 67 rides, each providing directions to the trails, a list of amenities, and route options. Detailed maps and color photographs illustrate the book vividly. He also shares stories about the history of the area and points to landmarks to check out.

Both books can be purchased online at major retailers or at bookstores throughout San Diego.

How Well Do You Know San Diego?

Source: La Jolla Light: Gems of the Week, June 18, 2018

San Diego: An Introduction to the Region, 5th editionThe revised and updated fifth edition of San Diego: An Introduction to the Region, by Philip Pryde is a must-read for insights on America’s Finest City. Pryde is a SDSU professor emeritus, who taught environmental policy for 32 years. First published in 1976, the 360-page book explains the geolgic processes that shaped the county; its Native American beginnings; climate, soils, vegetation, wildlife, mineral and agricultural resources transportation corridors and recreational facilities; the evolution of its cityscape and surrounding communities; transformation of the border; and future plans for the region. $27.95, Sunbelt Publications, sandiegoregionbook.com.

Our favorite excerpt: “La Jolla is often perceived as San Diego’s most distinctive community (in fact, many erroneously think it’s a separate city).”

 

 

California Shelf: “Field Guide to San Andreas Fault”

Source: Midwest Book Review, California Shelf, Volume 10, Number 9, September, 2015

Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault

Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault should see renewed interest given the popularity of the disaster film San Andreas, but is thoroughly packed with science, not speculation or science fiction, and thus makes a nice, realistic compliment to the movie. Here is everything you need to know about the famous fault line that took out San Francisco in 1906; from GPS coordinates for hundreds of locations to road logs for visitors and fault coordinates, geological history and scientific explanations, color, full-page trip maps and sidebars of travel notes, and more. Travel and science collections strong in California history and science will welcome a survey that avoids the usual general discussion of earthquakes and faults to hone in on a single huge fault line and how it can be observed and followed, making this a ‘must’ for any California or geology collection.