Friday, December 28, 2007


Awwwwww, a good night's sleep compared to the wide eyed, wild & windy night before. So nice to watch the sunrise creeping down the mountains every morning. Short dog walk, picked up Butch, & headed into Borrego Springs for the 9 a.m. jeep tour to Grapevine Canyon. Some folks were already there & the rest soon arrived. For those of us without 4 wheel drive vehicles, we were grouped with people who did. We were lucky to be assigned to a couple with a really neat-o looking Jeep Cherokee with all the fixins. Linda was our driver & along with her husband Bill, turned out to be excellent tour guide as well, answering all our questions & explaining things as we went along. They are Borrego Springs residents who know the area well & especially the off roading back country. The lady who led the tour was driving a gray Toyota with lots of desert pinstriping on the sides. This is caused by the many shrubs & tree branches scraping along the sides of vehicles on the one track narrow roads. The more pinstriping you got, the more experienced you obviously are.

Our 8 vehicle convoy headed out of Borrego Springs & up the mountain side on the Montezuma Grade. This is the same 8% grade road we had come down on our way back from Julian a couple of days ago. This piece of road has taken it's toll of lives over the years & has seen it's fair share of truck wrecks when brakes have failed. About 20 minutes into our trip we turned off this highway onto a narrow dirt road in the desert & the true off-roading part of the journey began. We bumped & bounced along the narrow dusty road for a few miles before making our first of four stops. For jeep adventurists this was a pretty mild road but for us flat roaders it was a bit of a gut scrambler in a few spots.

The lady guide in the gray pinstriped Toyota pointed out some types of cactus & trees. She also informed us we were in mountain lion territory. Our second stop was at a small running spring under some tall Cottonwood trees. The third stop was the site of a very old Indian village. Nothing there anymore except the Morteros. Morteros are holes ground in solid rock by years & years of Indian women grinding corn & other seeds. Some of those holes were nearly a foot deep so one can only imagine how many years it must have taken for those holes to have been ground into that rock. (pictures are in the web album.) A grove of golden leaf Cottonwood trees nearby sheltered a spring & that's probably why the Indians chose this spot for their village. I went down & poked around under those Aspens but didn't see any water, only some damp ground. Kelly found a small piece of Indian pottery.

The road got a little tough just after leaving the Indian site & the one Subaru in the convoy stopped & had a look at one spot that might have caused it some grief. The older lady driving the Subaru took it in stride though & climbed the partially washed out knoll without too much problem. It was the only small sticky point on the whole trek.
The final stop was near the highway to Julian & there were washroom facilities here so it was a popular spot all of a sudden. This was also the dispersal point for all the vehicles. Walkie talkies were handed in, good-byes were said, & everyone headed off for destinations unknown. Butch had been riding in another jeep & was just getting back to our vehicle in Borrego Springs as we got there. Thanked Linda & Bill for an excellent tour. Really nice people who are now retired in Borrego Springs after years in the San Diego area.

The jeep tour lasted a little over 4 hours so Kelly, Butch, & I weren't long in getting ourselves over to a favorite little eating place called, Los Jilbertos. It's a little Mexican place that luckily for me has a double cheeseburger combo platter that I like. Kelly & Butch had some Mexican stuff. I'm not a very adventuress eating person & Mexican food doesn't really appeal to me.
From Los Jilberts it was back to the desert, dropped Butch off at his rig & that was just about it for the day. Kelly slipped back into town to browse some shops & I stretched out in my gravity chair & had a snooze. All & all, it was a good day & we met a few new people along the way. And, we even got our innards scrambled a wee bit too:))