Good day for a Drive

February 28, Tuesday

As has become my custom at this camp, I drive into Borrego Springs to use the free Wifi at Christmas Circle park since the cell signal where the Casita is parked is worthless and slow even in town where it does work. The drive back out of town is quite eventful. Parachuters touch down in the field across the road from the airport while a small plane waits to land. My timing is perfect and I get to watch both touch down.

At sunset I take a walk towards the dry lake. Small yellow flowers are popping up all over, and the mountains behind make a perfect backdrop for a photo. What a pretty place.

March 1, Wednesday

As I’ve mentioned before, this boondocking area gets a lot of use and is usually pretty full. It just so happens that an RVing couple I know from Amazon, Clarke and Elaine of Our Newell Adventure, are out here as well, and they know where the rock art is. We make arrangements to go hike up to it today.

The snake is the largest piece of art and the star of the show. Small white rocks are placed on top of the larger dark rocks that make up the body to give it a pattern. Clarke says it’s gotten longer since they first visited it in a previous year, people continue to add rocks.

The grass that makes the desert so pretty in spring makes the rock art harder to see. This bald eagle head looks kind of fuzzy.

Clarke and Elaine added their own piece to the collection last time they visited, a lobster. But someone has taken the lobster and turned it into a scorpion by adding a tail.

March 2, Thursday

To you readers it might seem like every hike I take is a superb adventure full of amazing vistas and eye-catching scenery. Well, they aren’t all like that. I just usually gloss over the ones that turn out to be duds, today’s hike is a good example. Brian and I drive out to a dirt road east of camp on S22 that was highlighted at the visitor center as being worth a visit.

I don’t know why it was labeled as such. The terrain is rolling hills with sparse brush and the occasional Ocotillo. You can’t see the badlands from here, the flora is much better elsewhere in the park, and the best vista is the one looking back towards the mountains north of S22. Oh well, you can’t win them all.

March 3, Friday

There’s a farmers market happening at the Christmas Circle today. I need to get my online work done in a hurry and don’t have time to peruse, but if you happen to be in Borrego Springs on a Friday morning it looks like it could be fun.

I’m in a hurry because today’s plan involves a drive through the mountains west of town. Brian and I head south on S3 and at Yaqui Pass spy a little camping area and pull in to take a peek.

It’s a large flat lot for dispersed camping, only one rig is here. Because this is state park land, I’m guessing a permit of some sort is needed to camp out here. The variety of cactus and hills and washes nearby are interesting, but you don’t get the mountain views that you do by the dry lake bed where I’m at. I’d prefer to be where I am.

S3 hugs the hillside down the pass, at the bottom is Tamarisk Grove Campground. There are tent sites here and cabins for rent, but it’s not really a place for RVs. Driveways are short.

The trees make for nice shade and seclusion, but again I much prefer the open spaces and views at the dry lake bed.

Where S3 meets up with 78 we turn east instead of west for a quick detour to Narrows Earth Trail, a half-mile self-guided loop that explains some of the geology of the region. You can make the trail longer by continuing into the canyon at the far end of the loop. It does get narrow and eventually you need to use your hands and do some climbing.

It’s quite a novelty to be a passenger instead of the driver. I get this picture of a gorge farther west on 78 while the car is in motion. But things like this never look as pretty in pictures as they do seen in person.

Near the edge of the park boundaries, S2 splits off to the west of 78 and climbs. At the top the land is flat, but higher in elevation than Borrego Springs. Cactus are much more rare up here and there is more brush and grass. It looks like a fire came through though and killed the brush. The breeze coming through the windows is cooler than down below.

Instead of continuing to Warner Springs, we turn east onto S22 towards Ranchita. For a while the road travels through a wooded area, it’s been a while since I’ve seen trees like this. Then the trees vanish and it’s back to scrub land. Large boulders dot the landscape.

S22 then quickly climbs down out of the mountains towards Borrego Springs, the road is twisty and with an 8% grade.

It wouldn’t be fun to do in an RV, but is just fine in a car. There are pullouts along the way to rest your brakes if you’re going down, engine if you’re going up, and take pictures no matter which direction you’re heading.

There’s another primitive camping area along S22, and this one would tempt me as it’s in a boulder field and would be fun to explore.

The dirt road out to it is short and not in the best of shape, you’d definitely want to make sure your vehicle can make it before blindly driving in. Culp Trail starts at the campground, and the dirt road continues beyond it. Past the campground it’s 4 wheel drive recommended.

Brian’s dog Stella makes a cameo appearance

Meanwhile, S22 continues down with frequent pullovers. This particular one offered a great view of town and Brian and I take turns getting each others picture in front of it.

Tonight’s sunset is subtle, but memorable, because it’s my last one at Borrego Springs. Tomorrow is another travel day!

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22 Responses to Good day for a Drive

  1. SmallRVLifestyle March 6, 2017 at 6:54 pm #

    I like Borrego Springs. So much hiking opportunities. I spent my New Years Eve there but it was cold and rainy. Not so much fun. I would go back though.
    SmallRVLifestyle recently posted..Audiobooks That Changed My LifeMy Profile

    • Becky March 7, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

      Yeah the southwest was more wet than usual this winter it seems, Quartzsite was the same. Glad you had fun anyway.

  2. marijka March 6, 2017 at 6:55 pm #

    Ohhhh, rock art! I kept thinking you were talking about hieroglyphics! haha Those are great, so neat that people would do it and that they’ve stayed intact. I had a thought because of the dog in your pic… I think I remember that you were a vet tech in your past life. If I’m right, have you ever had to use those skills to help an animal in your current life?

    • Becky March 7, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

      Hieroglyphics are fun too Marijka and I’ve seen some of those in my travels as well.

      Yes I was a vet tech before I hit the road. If you’re asking if I’ve ever run across a sick or injured pet in my travels that needed help then no, thankfully. I do love animals but I really burned out on it as a career, it was extremely stressful and sad at times.

  3. Nancy March 6, 2017 at 7:12 pm #

    So glad you enjoyed your stay there. We were there for 3 weeks and did many hikes and just enjoyed the scenery. We saw some beautiful rainbows . It was our second year there. Met some very nice people from Canada. We saw where you were parked and walked over to say hi but you were not at home. Enjoy your travels!

    • Becky March 7, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

      Sorry we missed each other Nancy but I’m glad you enjoyed that area too. I saw one rainbow while I was there but it didn’t photograph well so it never got shared on the blog. Thanks and take care!

  4. Gary March 6, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

    Glad you had a good visit in the Borrego Springs area. It’s kind of my back yard as I live just west of the Laguna mountains. I found your descriptions of this area very interesting, especially from someone not native to this part of the country. I’ve explored many places in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, but it is so large and you described some areas I have not yet been. Thanks for bringing your unique perspective. If you didn’t make it to The Blair Valley area, mark that for a future visit. I look forward to reading about what lies ahead on your travels.

    • Becky March 7, 2017 at 2:14 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed this Gary, this area makes for a beautiful extended backyard I bet – I hope you get to see more of it. I’ll keep your recommendation in mind!

  5. Jeff March 6, 2017 at 10:01 pm #

    It does not look like the wildflowers have extended to your drive. Just see a few brittlebush in the pics. We’ll be out in a couple weeks, hope the bloom is in full swing then. The Culp Valley Campground gets pretty rutted in the rain and only a few sites are level, but it can be very nice there and lots of hiking trails – Pena Spring feeds Maidenhair Falls from there.

    • Becky March 7, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

      Nope Jeff, peak wildflower season hasn’t hit yet, at least not here. Enjoy your time out here.

  6. Dawn in MI March 7, 2017 at 4:57 am #

    Love the yellow flowers and mountain image. Looks like a really interesting and beautiful area. Safe travels to your next adventure!!
    Dawn in MI recently posted..Rivers and mountains oh my!My Profile

    • Becky March 7, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

      Thanks Dawn, glad you enjoyed this.

  7. Alan Belisle March 7, 2017 at 8:02 am #

    With all your hiking through the desert, do you ever encounter snakes? Maybe I have a little snake-paranoia, but I would be looking for them everywhere.
    Alan Belisle recently posted..San Miguel de Allende – part 6, ExploringMy Profile

    • Becky March 7, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

      Found one in Texas last fall, haven’t seen any out here so far this year.

  8. Michelle Fisher March 7, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    Hello! I’ve just discovered your blog and am reading it from the beginning! So much great info and inspiration. I am 35, single, no kids and 2 cats. My work division is closing and it will give me the perfect excuse to get out of the cubicle life. I plan to buy a trailer and truck when that happens. Cannot wait!!!!!!!!!

    • Becky March 7, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

      Welcome to IO Michelle! I’m glad you’re finding my blog helpful and inspiring and wish you all the best. I remember what it was like being stuck at work all day and dreaming of something better. When the time comes I hope you enjoy full-timing as much as I have!

  9. Jodee Gravel March 7, 2017 at 4:46 pm #

    Glad you found the rock art with friends. How fun to meet up with Clarke and Elaine 🙂 Few things we like more than a drive in the desert. I agree it’s hard to capture the subtle beauty sometimes. Love your new header!!! Safe travels.
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Return to CaliforniaMy Profile

    • Becky March 8, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

      Glad you like it Jodee! That was taken by Julie when we went hiking in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument earlier this year. Thanks and take care!

  10. Louise Dellaterra March 11, 2017 at 8:59 pm #

    Hey Becky,

    I have been a follower of your blog for a few months. Your adventures and “hero explorer” vibe are very inspiring. I aspire to travel and work seasonally in 2 years or so.

    Just an fyi, seasonal jobs on usajobs are plentiful. I would encourage all to explore land management agencies–forest service, blm easier to break into than park service. Look for the GS 3 and 4’s. Takes effort to penetrate the bureaucracy, but still hiring seasonals, despite new prez.

    I am in parks in SF Bay area. If you ever are in the area of Santa Cruz, contact me, can find a camp space for you in my park, no prob. Would love to spend time around a campfire and pick your brain!

    Best to you,

    Dellaterra

    • Becky March 14, 2017 at 11:31 pm #

      Thanks for sharing and for the offer.

      I did look at USAjobs a lot when I was first looking to hit the road and never had any luck applying for seasonal jobs on there, even for the FS. (Don’t know if you saw the blog post I wrote about it http://www.interstellarorchard.com/2013/04/12/working-at-national-parks-for-rvers-part-2/)

      There’s just so much competition for those jobs and so many people applying I’d never hear back, and I tried a good ten or so of them. I’ve talked to staff in the parks and they said the best way to get your foot in the door was to volunteer for a season or two which I theoretically could do now since I’m earning money from my writing (when I first hit the road it wouldn’t have been possible). Maybe some day!

      Take care.

      • Louise Dellaterra March 15, 2017 at 7:42 pm #

        Yes, of course, I understand. So awesome that you are earning money from your writing.

        Just a heads up for you and others who are not familiar with the different land management agencies.

        The US Forest Service (Dept of Agriculture) is a whole different animal than the US Park Service (Dept of Interior) and the BLM (Dept of Interior). Compare getting work at McDonalds-FS and Macy’s-Park Service.

        No offense to the Forest Service, but its way, way easier to get on with the Forest Service than Park Service. (At least with Entry level). In my experience, you can get a seasonal with the FS in recreation if you can document that you’ve pushed a broom around. Park Service you have to have a master’s degree to speak to the public about anything.

        Anyway, just keep in mind. I was hired for firefighting gig in Forest Service with only proof that I was very physically fit. (Got tons of training!!) Anyway, hiring notices for most seasonal FS jobs go out early Jan to early feb for only 5 days.

        Take care!

        L.

        • Becky March 17, 2017 at 10:17 am #

          The few I applied for that were Forest Service never got back to me either, maybe I wasn’t very clear about that in my comment. I tend to lump them together when talking but I do know the difference. 🙂 I never applied to any firefighting related ones though, I’ll admit. And I’m not sure if I hit the application site at that time of year.

          Thanks and happy trails!

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