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Roberts Mini Bike Book Review: San Diego County Place Names A to Z by Leland Fetzer

Review by Robert Leone

From Admiral Baker Navy Recreation Center to Zuniga Shoal San Diego County Place Names A to Z profiles the entire county, with 178 pages devoted to toponyms and references. Wading into this book in a concerted campaign to read it all is like wading into a shallow lake – until the deep holes appear and what would seem a collection of localized trivia turns into something richer. The role of revolutions in China on tourmaline production near Julian, the presence of a coal mine in Point Loma, and the occasional move to rename Carlsbad are some of the points where the wider world impacted the county. If you’re looking for a concentrated swig of history, the forward, treating the origins of San Diego place names in general, is for you. However, you’d miss the charm of the individual entries, and this is where the book has its greatest value. Ever wonder what Leucadia meant while you were riding along the coast? What is it about Carlsbad and water? Did you know Kitchen Creek was NOT named by settlers happy to have a source of water flowing past the cookhouse? Who’s the Murphy of Murphy Canyon Road? Ever ride up Engineer Grade and wonder if they passed? If you’re planning a ride, or looking for a place to ride in San Diego County, this is a good starting reference if you’re looking for more than directions. Note: This review refers to the 2003 edition by Leland Fetzer. Previous and similar titles go as far back as 1975.

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