The Peaceful Desert of Anza-Borrego

Borrego Springs, CA

Whenever we stay in one place for an extended time we start to get a bit anxious to move to a new location, even when in some great spots.  So after a month along Mission Bay in San Diego, we were ready to leave the fast pace of the city and move to a more secluded area.  On Thursday we pulled out of San Diego and headed east on “the eight” ( I-8 for you non-Californians) with the desert of Anza -Borrego State Park as our destination.  We visited this park two years ago and enjoyed it so much we were anxious to return.

In a car, the drive from San Diego is only about ninety miles, but it is on a two lane road going up, over, and down some steep grades with a gain of about 4,000 feet in elevation.  Earlier in our stay in San Diego we had driven over to the park in the Jeep, and we knew we were not bringing the motorhome that route.  So we doubled our mileage and took the interstate over the mountains, entering the park from the south using county road S2.

Heading north into Anza-Borrego on S2


While a great deal longer, this route definitely reduces the “pucker” factor and has some great scenery along the way.  Also, while there are some “up and down” areas and at least one downhill switchback, there is virtually no traffic to contend with on this road.

The only significant curve on S2

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a huge area of over 634,000 acres.  The park takes its name from 18th-century Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and borrego, the Spanish word for bighorn sheep.  Right about in the middle of the park is the small town of Borrego Springs (pop 3,429).  Many RVers come to Borrego Springs and park a few miles outside of town in the surrounding desert.  There are no hook-ups there so you have to have your own fresh water and sewer tanks on board, as well as, a way to produce electricity.  Many of the RV owners staying in the desert have installed enough solar panels to provide for their needs while some, like us, use an on-board generator.  But we are a bit spoiled and like the luxury of full hook-ups, so we had a reservation for a week at the near-by park campground.

Our (seldom used) calendar had us arriving at the campground on the 15th, but apparently someone made a mistake (no names please – peace in the family is essential).  When we arrived at the gate, they had no record of our reservation!  How could that be!  We know we have one and it is for today!  A quick check of the confirmation email revealed the arrival date to be the 17th!  Oops!  OK, not a problem.  If you have to find a quick place to stay for a couple of nights, this is the place.  We just turned around and headed out to the desert where we quickly set up on a spot near where we parked during our visit two years ago.

We had intended to park here for a night or two after our stay in the state park ended, so two nights before entering the park was more of a treat than a problem.

Many of the blogs we follow had recently been camped in this area but we weren’t sure of the exact spot.  So we were pleased when we looked out our window and spotted a large flag on an Airstream marking the location of Leigh and Brian of Aluminarium.  Parked near them was another unit we recognized to be the home of Hector and Brenda of Island Girl.

We have met up with Leigh and Brian a few times but this is our first chance to meet Hector and Brenda.  They invited us over for happy hour and we ended up in Borrego Springs enjoying a tasty meal at Carmelita’s Mexican Grill.

Tomorrow we move into the campground for our one week stay.  After that plans are a bit hazy.  We may move back out here for a few days or we may head east for some time in the Yuma area.  Difficult decisions face us constantly, but we are able to keep going despite that heavy burden.  Hey, it’s a tough life ! ! !

Sunset over the desert


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24 Responses to The Peaceful Desert of Anza-Borrego

  1. Nan & John says:

    Enjoy your stay at the dry lake! We love it there. FYI, we are the crazy people that said hi and bye as we were leaving. We miss the place, already. Carmelita’s is great! Farmer’s Market is Friday mornings till 12:00. Carlee’s has great hamburgers….and there is Taco Tuesdays at the Mexican restaurant just east of Christmas circle.

  2. Hans Kohls says:

    Thanks for the update, I was wondering why you were boondocking, when you said that you were going into the State Park campground. Will call you early next week to find out about the good spots, so we can book ahead for 2016! Nice hanging out with you in San Diego.

  3. I’d say that after the hectic city a couple of nights of boondocking wipes away all the stress of the city! Add on top of that, the company of fellow RVing bloggers and you can’t go wrong! Looks like heaven to me!

  4. Sherry says:

    Oh my goodness, that sunset picture is fantatastic!!. We really really hope to get out there one of these days, it is WAY up on “the list” so thanks for the route advice. When you are in no hurry, easier routes are better routes.

  5. Gay says:

    Nice! I have tried and tried to book a site in the campground, but it’s always full! Like you, we have no solar panels. I know you will have a wonderful week! Can’t wait to read all about it…..

  6. Amanda says:

    One of my favorite places! Peaceful is the perfect way to describe it. If you’re going to mix up reservation days and suddenly need a place to stay, you couldn’t have ended up in a better spot. Jealous that you go to hang out with Aluminarium and Island Girl. Enjoying our ocean view in FL but definitely missing the desert 🙂

  7. cathy says:

    We have heard of that park but have never visited. We love the boon docking area! I’ve just added it to our to-do list.

  8. Janna says:

    Not a bad “oops” as “oops” go! Enjoy!

  9. debbiemc14 says:

    Looks like a lot of fun. Beautiful sunset picture!

  10. pmbweaver says:

    I was going to look up Anza-Borrego meaning. Thanks for saving me the time.

    I would never ask who made that mistake. We all know it isn’t Pam….lol

    Your “site” looks so lovely. The mountains are fantastic. Enjoy your time with your friends!

  11. LuAnn says:

    You picked the perfect place to mix up a reservation! Beautiful sunset shot! Look forward to hiking with you next week. 🙂

  12. Wayne Scott says:

    Great spot to hang out in for sure. That one significant curve on S2 sure is…

  13. Laurel says:

    Gorgeous sunset! We’re looking forward to our time in Anza Borrego at the end of February — like you, we prefer staying in the park to boon docking. But boon docking is a good back up plan when someone makes a boo-boo. (I’ll bet we’ve all had those “oops” moments — but without such a great backup option.) Have fun! I’m looking forward to your adventures there.

  14. Sherry says:

    Well I’ll be darn. I posted a comment from my phone about 3 hours ago and apparently it isn’t here. I think I’d better stop using my phone. Anyway…….your pictures of your drive and campsite are fantastic. Anza Borrego is so on our “list” and WAY up at the top if we can ever get out there. Thanks so much for the information on the drive in. We’re in no hurry and prefer the easier way in. Like Laurel, I’ve done that same date mistake at least twice and without a great backup possibility. Way to recover!

  15. Ingrid says:

    You just can’t beat those desert sunsets. Great views and great company…. yep, tough job 😉

  16. We will probably be in the Yuma area in the beginning of February. Hope you will be there then so we can finally meet!

  17. Jodee Gravel says:

    Certainly the campground wrote it down wrong as I can think of no one in your rig who would make that mistake! Likely you would have run into the others in town, but sweet that the re-schedule found them sooner 🙂 Love that area, one of our very favorites in CA, and likely where we will spend our first Christmas on the road this year (still love saying that). Have a wonderful time!!

  18. Due to family commitments we do not full time, nor do we have solar power. But, we are able to “escape” for 4 months at a time throughout the year. How do full timers with solar power react to the generator use?

  19. libertatemamo says:

    Ahhhh…our FAV place. ENJOY!!

  20. Jim and Barb says:

    The best laid plans sometimes go awry! We had made reservations at Palmetto State Park, which is our next location, come to find out that there is one in Texas as well as Louisiana. Someone, had made the reservations in the wrong state! Luckily we noticed it soon enough and were able to get in.

  21. ThoseYoungGuys says:

    Enjoy. So sorry we were not there at the same time this year. Miss you guys!

  22. Beautiful desert abode, what more can I say! Steve would probably call you John and asked how you guys did it and how many days.
    We had a similar oops in the Philippines, arriving at the check in counter only to be told that our flight was the next day.

  23. Nancy says:

    The sunset is a keeper… glad you got to enjoy your “oops” stay! Have fun at your new location. Looking forward to seeing pictures!

  24. pam says:

    Even before I make a reservation I triple check the dates and the information on where I plan to stay. For short timers like us it’s harder to recover from an oops. Wayne would also likely have a nervous breakdown after a day on the road if that happened…I’m the one in charge of all the planning so I don’t want to be on the receiving end of a meltdown after driving all day! Glad your oops turned out so nicely, gotta love that sunset.

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