Showing posts with label Borrego Springs California. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Borrego Springs California. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


There is never a shortage of things to do in Borrego Springs & surrounding area. To-day we decided to do a hike right on the southwest edge of town into a place called, Hell Hole Canyon. Figured we'd do the short hike but then decided to do the moderate one & see how far we could go. My legs are telling me to-night that we went tooooooo far!!

From the parking area it is a steady & gradual climb with each footstep a few inches higher than the one before. Within minutes we noticed the plant life changing around us & things becoming fresher looking. The nearby hillsides took on a slightly greener tone & we began seeing plants like, Beaver Tail cactus, Barrelhead cactus & Agaves plants. The Ocotillo were much larger & greener than on the desert floor behind us. Many kinds of shrubs with tiny buds ready to bloom in the spring. Some slightly flowering shrubs here & there with burgundy colored flowers. And a type of green ground cover in places. As we climbed higher the scenery just got better. Far ahead in the distant narrows of the canyon walls we could see more color so knew there were some kind of trees up there. We really didn't have a destination & what so often happens in the these kinds of hikes it that the canyon just keeps drawing you further & further in. The rocks became boulders & the shrubs became trees. And things just kept getting more interesting. And you just keep going & going & going. My kinda day:)) REST STOP ALONG THE TRAIL

Saw movement ahead on the trail & a minute later another couple coming down greeted us with a hearty hello, so we stopped for a chat. Said it was really pretty a little further up with some maple type trees & palm trees as well. Somewhere in the conversation the word, Canada came up. We said we were from near Goderich Ontario & with surprise, the fellow said his sister lived in a little town near there called Bayfield. We told him that was actually where we were from. Surprises all around. Small world huh!! So, Jennifer Smith from Bayfield Ontario Canada, if you ever happen to read this someday.....we met your brother on the Hell Hole Canyon trail in Borrego Springs in southern California to-day:)) Didn't get his name but he talked of being in British Columbia & I did get a distant picture of him as they were approaching us on the trail. You can find that pic in to-day's web album photos..... The higher we climbed, the rougher the trail became & we were soon scrambling over some fair sized boulders. A dry & deep gulley wash ran down through the area & we found ourselves criss crossing it as the path wended it's way upwards. Ahead we could see palm trees so set that as our goal. Of course they were farther than they looked which is so often the case in these desert & mountain landscapes. We kept plugging away & finally reached 3 palm trees & a grove of colorful trees that looked a bit like our maple trees back in Ontario, but different. They were in their autumn colors of yellows, golds, & greens. There was a larger grove of palms further up the canyon about half a mile but the terrain looked very rugged & we decided we had gone far enough. Actually, beyond that grove of palms the map says there is a waterfall.Had ourselves a short rest near the palm trees & Kelly made Al stand still for a few posed photos. Pointed our toes down the hill & started for home. Sure was a lot easier going down than going up, & a lot faster too. We continued our descent out of the canyon & finally reached our car about an hour after leaving the area of palm trees. Felt sooooooooooooooo great once again to flop into the comfortable soft seats of the car. We could sure feel the hike in our legs & feet. First stop was going to be a coffee for sure. Al was well past his 2 o'clock fix!!

Another nice thing about Borrego Springs is it's little hidden gems here & there & to-day after our hike we found another one of them & it was called, Calicos. Located in the mall on Palm Canyon Drive, Calicos is a little coffee shop that does all it's own baking & makes home made pizza's to die for. We saw some scrumptious looking things called egg pockets so decided to take a chance & split one. "WOW & DOUBLE WOW!!" Tasted grrrrrreat & we decided right there & then on the spot that we are going to stay in Borrego Springs forever & make egg pockets the sole purpose of our remaining lives. Coffee was great too & so were all the free cookie samples we could stuff down. Our next trip to Calicos will be for a pizza & I suspect we'll eat till we explode!! Would I recommend Calicos?? You betcha:))

The couple we had met on the trail earlier had suggested a good book on the area so on our way home we stopped at the Nature Center & picked up, All The Wild & Lonely Places...Journeys in a Desert Landscape by Lawrence Hogue. Last winter I read Marshal South & the Chronicles of Ghost Mountain so this winter it will be about the remote & harsh landscape of the Anza-Borrego desert. Looking forward to quiet times with a good book again. THE AWESOME SCENERY NEVER ENDS IN THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST

Back to the rig around 3 with sore feet & all. Fillmore came over to see Max, Checkers, & the Motormouse & even brought his Mom & Dad with him. JoAnn is really enjoying her stay here & has already signed up for one of the area tours of the Blair Valley area. Oh yes, & couple X has turned out to be Ken & Vicki from the Oklahoma/Arkansas area somewhere. I met Vicki this morning while she was out walking & was happy to hear she has taken a liking to the Borrego Springs area as well. Vicki & JoAnn were on the go this morning visiting the Anza-Borrego visitor center & the Nature Center downtown. I have a feeling they may also be visiting Calicos soon & loading up on egg pockets.............................................:)) CALICOS..... GREAT COFFEE & EGG POCKETS

And thanks to my Number 1 Son in Kitchener Ontario for spotting an error in last night's blog. The DVD we watched was, The Bucket List & not the Bucket Brigade. You can catch my Son Sean's band & website here.............. You go guy:))


Monday, January 05, 2009



One fine morning in the Arizona desert while boondocked a few miles south of Quartzite Arizona in January of 08 I heard the sound of a very low & very small engine aircraft approaching. One glance told me it was an ultra-lite glider machine flying along at about 300 feet. Grabbed my camera in one hand & started waving to that man in his daring flying machine with the other. Later that day I wrote a little blurb in my blog about that wave. I've decided to copy that here again, because this morning.......the very same thing happened again as I heard the sound of a very low & very small engine aircraft approaching.

From January of 2008....."THURSDAY JANUARY 10/08Do you remember the days years ago when the sound of an airplane overhead would bring you running out of the house to stare skyward. I do. As a young boy in a small southwestern town in Ontario, Canada I was always fascinated with airplanes & would wave at them as they flew overhead. They never waved back of course but I never gave up waving & to-day after all these years, a strange aircraft flew low overhead, I waved............AND THE AVIATOR WAVED BACK!! It was a young boy's dream come true at last. The aircraft was an ultra-lite suspended underneath a large canopy & the aviator sat in an open cart affair with wheels & an engine on the back. Not exactly a bigger winged airplane but it was a wave from the sky nonetheless. I had been sitting outside reading when I heard the whine of a high pitched engine coming & as I got up to look, the aircraft came in low from the northwest & made a slow banking left turn. (must have seen our Canadian flag) He was low enough & close enough for me to see he was looking down at me. I instinctively let go with a big wave, & was thrilled to see the aviator let go with a big wave back............. Yes Toto, a little boy's dreams can come true:)) Turns out that to-day's aviator was actually another RV'er boondocked out here in the desert about a mile from us because as I watched this fellow flying around he finally descended to earth & landed close to his Class A rig. With the binoculars I could see he had a trailer hooked to the back of his unit so I assume that's where he carried his ultra-lite & large canopied shute. It's one great thing to travel & take your house with you, but to bring your airplane as well is really something else. Bravo to the RV aviator in the sky....& thanks for the big wave my friend. That was the highlight of our day as we totally lazed around the rig doing nothing more strenuous than moving from one lawn chair to another. Nice to sit in the presence of the large majestic mountains around us & savor our time here. Doug, JoAnn & Fillmore had emailed us a few days ago from Mitry Lake over in Arizona saying after reading our blog the past 4 days they were thinking of coming over to do some boondocking at Borrego Springs. They had met another couple with like interests so plans were made to rendezvous with them on the highway here near our campsite east of Borrego Springs. Cell pone rang about 1 p.m. & it was JoAnn saying they were just turning onto S22 at Salton City. I drove the short quarter mile up to the road & about 20 minutes later spotted the 2 inbound fifth wheels coming down the road. There are hard to see turn offs onto the desert floor from the highway & you really have to know where they are so wanted to be sure they knew where to follow me in. Wasn't long & they wheeled into their set-up spots not far from us.

If I was younger, not a fumbling male over 60, & more on the ball, I could now tell you the names of Doug & JoAnn's friends in the other fifth wheel, but alas, I can't. Kelly would know but she's already gone to bed so as I write this blog to-night......I'm beat. I will just have to wait for D & J to send me over a nice email to-morrow & slip me some names.

In the meantime, D & J & couple X settled into their boondocking spots. Kelly & I slipped over later with a bunch of literature & activities in the area that Kelly had picked up in Borrego Springs earlier in the day. I then took Couple X, D & J for a tour into town showing them such fine points as where to dump garbage, the Laundromat, where to do dump tanks & pick up water. Jilberto's was on the driving tour as was, The Springs at Borrego, the Nature Center, the Fudge Factory, the grocery store, Anza-Borrego's State Park Visitor Center, the Library, the Post Office, the Hardware Store, a fruit stand, etc. etc. etc. I remember when we first came here a year ago we didn't know where anything was either & it was our good neighbor Butch who toured us around town showing us all the same fine points. It was nice for me to be able to do the same for some other folks.

We're still working on our DVD movies from the Library & to-night we watched, Flags of our Fathers directed by Clint Eastwood. Last night's movie was, The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman. To-morrow night's movie will be an instructional DVD for Al on the ABC's of remembering people's names..........:))
No photos for the album to-night.

Saturday, January 03, 2009



Another fine morning in the heart of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The town of Borrego Springs is not part of the park but is totally surrounded by it & the park's headquarters & visitor information center are located here......

We picked Butch up at 8:30 & made the short 5 minute drive to Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs. Wasn't long before a few jeeps showed up & our leader for the tour, Deborah Sperberg stepped out of the gray lead jeep. She had been our jeep tour leader last year when we did the Grapevine Canyon run.......
The roads through the desert can be very rough & treacherous & it's always advisable to only travel them with high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicles. Jeeps are the popular choice in the southwest & this area around Borrego Springs has no shortage of them. We were paired up with a pleasant couple driving a Jeep Wrangler. Jack & Henrietta live right here in Borrego Springs so were familiar with the ways of the desert roads. Not a lot of extra room in the back of a Wrangler but we managed to get ourselves packed in alright.


Four jeeps made up the convoy as we headed for Palo Verde Wash east of Borrego Springs. We turned south off the highway into the desert following a rough trail of sorts. Lots of bumps, twists, & turns. It soon became apparent why 4 wheel drive vehicles are a must. Luckily we had bars to hang onto in the back seat as Jack navigated the ruts, road washouts, & large rocks. Despite the small space, the seats were actually quite comfortable. It was the getting in & out of the jeep that presented us the most problems. The old joints & bones just aren't as flexible as they used to be:((

Deborah halted her jeep finally & we all disembarked the vehicles for a hike up a long & twisting wash between large banks of rock & clay. We reached a ridge & there before us lay the Borrego Badlands stretching for miles & miles. Distant mountains brought things into perspective as we gazed in wonderment at the impassable & totally rugged terrain stretched out before & below us. Just impossible to imagine how all this was ever formed millions of years ago. Dinosaur remains have been found in these badlands. Deborah said, "this is a great view but wait till we get to the next overlook, it's even better!!"


Back down the wash to the jeeps & off we went to the next overlook. Road seemed a little rougher but after 15 minutes we bumped to a stop & made the short walk to the edge of a ridge overlooking the Badlands once again. This time we were up higher & could see even further than we did before. Truly awe inspiring to look out over lands that have virtually remained unchanged for thousands of years. Butch pointed out that at the far side of the Badlands straight out from us lay the Slot Canyon he had taken us through a year before....
This is truly an amazing land we live in & we are soooooo fortunate to even be here & be a part of it.


The road from this last overlook was the roughest part of the journey & took us a good 20 minutes or more to navigate our way back to the highway. Deborah has been leading these volunteer, & free jeep tours since back in the 90's & truly loves the driving challenges it presents, & enjoys the many people she meets along the way. She handles her jeep with much experience & great gusto:))

We were back in the Springs by noon & bid farewell with many thanks to Jack & Henrietta, our cordial driver & narrator for the morning. Like ourselves, they are RV people so we had lots in common & lots to talk about.


Butch, sensing our robust appetites said, "lets head over to Jilbertos & I'll treat you guys to lunch." Well, no twisting of arms here so off we went. They had their Mexican whatever it was & I had my good old standard hamburger. I am not an adventurous eater at all so I stick with the stuff I know. And besides, why put something in my mouth that's going to set my whole head on fire!!!! JILBERTOS

We were back to the rig about 1:15 & the rest of the afternoon was spent just like all the other afternoons since we've been here. Catching up on computer stuff, siesta, soaking up some rays outside, playing sticks with the doggy guys, etc. After supper it was movie time. We picked up 5 DVD's at the Library a few days ago so each night now we watch a movie before I start the blog. Last night was a movie about singer Bobby Darin's life starring Kevin Spacey. To-night was a movie about Queen Elizabeth staring Helen Merrin. Both good movies.

Not sure where we are off to in the morning but for sure it will be somewhere interesting again. Anza-Borrego State Park has events going on almost daily. I know that to-morrow at noon people can gather at the small airport here & meet a Ranger who is also a pilot & will be giving a talk & showing the airplane the Rangers use in their duties. There are also more jeep tours going, canyon hikes, & talks & seminars at the Park's visitor center. And, most of this stuff is free:)) So, if your out there somewhere sitting around totally bored, come on over to Borrego Springs, put your happy face on, get your butt in gear, & enjoy yourself................................


Friday, January 02, 2009



If some fellow partying RVers out here in the desert hadn't leaned on their big diesel air horns at midnight last night I probably wouldn't be as tired as I am right now. The same jeep club is here again this year & they have about 20 or 30 big rigs all parked in a circle. Last year they were a lot quieter but this year they were whooping it up pretty good for New Years. I had been asleep for a couple of hours before the horn blowing blew me out of bed!!!! Oh well, I always figure it's just pay back for me because of all the lives that I disrupted many years ago in my drinking & partying days too. Better them with the hangovers than me. It was a comforting thought this morning to know this was my 29th sober New Years morn:))))

Figured I'd tear apart the firepit & re-build it first thing this morning while it was still cool. Some folks just don't know diddly about making a firepit & the one that was here sure must have been made by some kinda diddly alright. Plus, it was full of broken glass so I dug a hole & buried the glass & old ashes. Makes me soooooooooo mad to always find broken glass wherever we go. Why is there such an obsession with humanoids to smash their beer bottles all over the place all the time!!!! Ok, better not get myself started on that.........


Packed up some peanut butter sandwiches & headed out in search of some local hiking trails later this morning but didn't find the one we were looking for, but in the process of looking we came across a herd of tortoises. Big 3 foot high tortoises off to the side of the road. I've heard tortoises were slow but these guys weren't moving at all. And then we saw the dinosaurs....and they weren't moving either. Had we entered the Jurassic age?? ( The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic era, also known as the "Age of Reptiles".) A MOTHER DINOSAUR CARRYING HER BABY

Butch had told us earlier about these sculptures that are located randomly around the outskirts of Borrego Springs along the roadsides. A local land owner with a lot of properties around the area recently commissioned Mexican artist & sculptor, Ricardo Breceda to create, "Sky Art" of vertebrates which inhabited the Anza-Borrego region during the Pliocene-Pleistocene & Miocene eras. We spent about an hour driving around & stopping to look at all these marvelous sculptures stretched out for 3 or 4 miles in natural desert settings. They are all made of metal & spot welded to-gether & each one must have taken an enormous amount of time & effort. Some of the works are still in the process of being installed. One had just been anchored in a fresh cement pad & another large bird sculpture was just in the process of being assembled on the spot. Lots of photos for the web album. SABRE TOOTH TIGERS

In the process of driving around looking at the sculptures I took some pictures from the car of some swanky-do houses in the neighborhood. My photos don't do them justice but some of the homes & architecture here in Borrego Springs is just beautiful. No high rise stuff & very few places have a second story. Everything is low profile ranch style with some of the greatest desert landscaping I've ever seen. Palm trees, orange trees, & all kinds of flowers & cacti in the yards. Just love it!! What a beautiful little town this is. FEEDING TIME IN THE JURASSIC AGE

We were back to the rig by 2 & spent the rest of the day lazing around again enjoying the warm sunshine. To-morrow morning we'll be up early because we have to be in town to catch a free jeep tour. It's another great thing the town does. The local nature club people put free tours to-gether for anyone interested & local people provide the transportation with their jeeps & 4 wheel drive vehicles. Last year we went on a jeep tour with the same group up through a place nearby called Grapevine Canyon. When we were in Borrego to-day Kelly went into the Nature Center & signed us up for a tour to-morrow to some canyons east of here. We also put Butch's name down because we knew he would want to go as well. We will probably be doing some more tours next week because the nature club have a lot of things on the go. Like I said, this is a great little town with lots of stuff going on & lots of things to do for everybody. The coyotes are really kicking up a fuss outside to-night & are the closest we've ever heard them. Checkers really gets to growling when she hears them but they don't bother Max or The Motormouse. It sure gives the West it's authenticity when you hear the coyotes howling at night. What a great place this is & don't forget to check out our links at the end of yesterday's blog about our time spent here last year at this same time........................ OUR PHOTO ALBUMS

Thursday, January 01, 2009


The mornings just keep getting better & better. Can't even get myself cranked up enough to complain about the cold anymore. Now it's the heat......but I'm not complaining:)) So nice to step out of the rig in full view of the massive Santa Rosa Mountains to our northeast. The high peaks of the San Ysidro mountains to our west lead the way to San Diego & the Vallecito range to our south point the way to Mexico. Yes, it is a beautiful morning here in the Borrego Valley & we are two truly fortunate people. We have discovered many favorite places in our short travels these past few years & for me, Borrego Springs is one of them. It's a quaint & quiet laid back little town with no hustle or bustle. One main street, no traffic lights, & a lush green perfectly round island of grass & palm trees that leads you right into town. And they call that large round island, Christmas Circle. This morning after our desert doggy walk, we headed into town to have a look around the small farmer's type market they had set up there. Kelly immediately spotted a table full of doggy beds so that's where she headed to do some browsing. I spent my time snapping a few pics here & there... And yes, she did end up with a big bargoon on 2 beds. THE CHRISTMAS ISLAND
Headed up the street & popped into the Borrego Desert Nature Center store for some free literature on area events. Stopped at our favorite little coffee shop, the Fudge Factory, split a home made muffin & sat outside in the warming sun sipping our coffee & watching the tall palm trees flitting in the gentle breeze wafting it's way down from Coyote Canyon & the San Ysidro mountains. HANGIN AT THE FUDGE FACTORY
Our next stop was about half a mile or so north at the Anza Borrego State Park Visitor's Center. This facility is a delight to see & I believe it has won an award for it's unique design & desert gardens. I took a bunch of pictures here last year when it seemed to be a little greener. Those pics are in one of the links I plan on enclosing below..... The Borrego Springs Library has moved into new modern & spacious facilities since last year & we stopped to pick up some free DVD's while we're here. The only channel we can get on our television back at the rig is Mexican so it's no good to us. Picked up some grapefruits & oranges on our way back to the rig too. Acres & acres of lush orchards here with fruit stands by the road. Nobody there & it's an honor system. This town is truly a beautiful oasis set in the rugged desert & mountain country of the Anza Borrego State Park. THE LITTLE MOTORMOUSE TRYING OUT CHECKERS BIG NEW COMFY BED
I have decided to include the photo web album links (at the end of this blog) from our stay here last year because I don't want to repeat a lot of the same photos this year that I took last year & last year we had some very rainy & moody days that made for some great mountain pictures. If you have the time, check out the photo links & if your interested in the blog for those days just go to the right hand blog column & scroll down to our Blog Archives & click on December 07 & January of 08. Scroll to our Borrego Springs days between the dates of December 21rst to January 8th, 2008.

We were back at the rig by 2 & spent the rest of the afternoon lazing around soaking up the warmth of the sun & taking in the surrounding mountain vistas. As the sun set over the San Ysidro mountains we watched The Moon & Venus coming into view & as the few high scattered clouds disappeared, we saw the planets Jupiter & Mercury beside each other just before they slipped behind the mountain range. Colorful Christmas lights appeared on two rigs parked off to our west & I was able to get a few photos. Also a few pics of the Moon & Venus. A nice way to end the day & a nice way to end the year............................... So long, 2008:))