We left Quechon Casino in bright warm sun, and headed west along the Mexican border past
|Only one ATV on the dunes|
|Every couple of miles, on the climb, there are Radiator water stations|
Up over the mountains,
|with little green past 4000 ft,...|
|and over one of the summits- we crossed several, this is the last.|
|Yuccas were blooming on the hillsides in one section|
|and along the sides of the highway|
Our site, 300, is one of the most coveted in the park. It has some shade and is a long site with a paved pad.
|On the other side of the road is a park, and washrooms up the path|
The first weekend was the Blossom Festival at the Japanese Gardens in Balboa Park. The park was packed. There was a long line-up to get in, then a line which wove its way past a bamboo garden,
|Bamboo Garden 'wall/hedge'|
The paths wandered through the gardens, past the tea house
|Large koi swam in the stream|
|Waterfall by the Tea House|
beside the stream
and back up past a river of rock.
|With a lot of rain, this could become a stream too|
|This line never seemed to get any shorter|
We spend some time in the mornings checking news on the internet, when it is not cycling or kicking us off, and just sitting outside with our coffee, talking to neighbours and friends who pass by,
usually walking their dogs, or sitting beside the lake.
|or the coots chase people in the paddle boats who feed them|
Thursdays, we go for breakfast at the Clubhouse.
|Clubhouse is often open during the day, for games, books, or just to watch TV|
Wednesdays there is a small Market several blocks away, in a plaza parking lot. It is an eclectic mixture of foods, bags and Tupperware, prepared-food tents, popcorn, jewellery, olive oils, honey and organics.
We have picked up fresh vegetables and 3 baskets of beautiful, and delicious strawberries there each week, and fresh oranges at another stall.
|Large strawberries with wonderful flavour|
Many late afternoons have found us over at the pool. After the first week, it began to warm up – not to last year’s 90’s, but sufficiently to get the small pool to 25C.
One warm day we decided to go to Borrego Springs in the Anza-Borrego Desert. The route took us north toward
|Through hills and plains|
|on a wide highway, with beautiful scenery|
Julian through Ramona.
|Murals add character to the stores.|
Instead of going through Julian, we decided to take Hwy 78 towards Escondido, then S2, and S22 into Borrego Springs. The first part was through gently rolling pasture grasslands through Culp Valley.
|and cattle pastures|
|with rolling hills|
|and down to the truck,|
|then east toward the Anza-Borrego Desert and the Salton Sea - 40 miles away|
The road was amazing, winding down and around the mountains
|This is where we are going,|
|and on down to the bottom...|
down 8% grade for 10-12 miles.
|I couldn't get rid of the aerial- without a lot of time...|
As we drove we could see the desert and at the pull outs, we could see all the way across the Borrego Desert to the Salton Sea, and the roads into Borrego Springs.
|This is the road we didn't take!|
As you get closer to the foot of the mountains, the ocotillos abound. They were beginning to flower and many were covered in leaves.
|The last section of the hill|
We drove into town,
|Several had beautiful metal sculptures in their yards..|
|another striking sculpture|
and around part of the town before heading to the State Park.
The desert walk around the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitors' Centre
|an Indigo Bush- we hadn't seen this before|
|an unusual colour|
|some, as the Prickly Pear, on the edges of the 'stems'. |
This will be even more spectacular when all the blooms are out.
We didn’t take time to do any other hikes, as we wanted to tour and see several of the RV Parks in the area. One is a Vintage RV Park,
The last part of our visit was a tour of the area discovering the menagerie of dozens of free-standing sculptures of Ricardo Breceda. They are in town benefactor Dennis Avery’s parcel of land called Galleta Meadows Estate.
|The Giant Tortoise|
|The Scorpion's mouth- look at the detail...|
|Workers in a Vineyard|
|then walk to its head...|
|a sense of its size!|
|and closer still. It is magnificent!|
Our return trip took us through very different landscape, trees, winding roads and grasslands to Julian and back to I-8 into San Diego.
On our second visit to Balboa Park, after burritos at our favourite café above the Model Railroads,
|A glass blower at work|
|A section of studios off the Courtyard|
As we came out John had to show me his discovery,
|2 topiary elephants on a road to nowhere, just a track ...|