Hot Springs, Borrego Springs, and Palm Springs and a little more

The first post for 2020.  We’ve moved on from Pilot Knob RV Park.  We’re now down the road to the west at Holtville Hotspring LVTA  (Long Term Visitors Area).  This is BLM land but there is a fee of $40 for 14 days of camping. I’ll get back to that later.  So it’s time to bring you up to date with us over the past week and a bit.

We had our traditional Bar-b-q for supper on New Year’s Eve.  We picked up some bacon wrapped beef tenderloins on sale at Fry’s which were perfect for a Bar-b-q.  We had that along with Baked Potatoes.  It sure was nicer Barb-q-ing in the desert than at home in the cold and snow.  I remember some pretty cold New Year’s Eves standing outside cooking up some filet mignon.  We celebrated the evening with Bill and Patsy. We played some card games and a couple games of Bananagrams.  We watched the ball drop in New York city at 10 pm Arizona time.  We were back to the RV shortly after 11:30 I think.  Interestingly Yuma has quite a big New Year’s Eve celebration of their own, although we didn’t attend.  They have an iceberg lettuce drop to coincide with the New York ball drop and then do it again at midnight Mountain time (Arizona time).  They also have live music.  It’s a regular party in downtown Old Yuma.

On Thursday Tom and Deb pulled out and headed west to a boondocking area just down the road.  We also played some Bocce Ball in the morning.  Not too big of a group that morning.  The weather was almost perfect too.  

Friday we went with Bill and Patsy to the burger night at the park clubhouse.  I played some poker Friday evening.

Sunday morning we left Pilot Knob and came out to Holtville.  We want to use this as a jumping off point to explore further into California.  We found a very nice spot close to the main “road” through the camping area.  A few clumps of bushes around us give a little bit of privacy.   Not that its necessary out here since everyone is spread out pretty well.  

On Monday we headed out for a drive with a destination of Borrego Springs.  We have heard many of our friends talk about the area so we thought we would check it out.  We got away fairly early.  A little cool as we started out but it didn’t take long for it to warm up.  We headed northwest through Holtville and then north towards the Salton Sea.  The Salton Sea is a dying or dead lake.  There used to be many Tilapia in it that were introduced to the lake because of its salt water.  The salinity of the water has increased over the years to the point where almost all of the fish have died.  The surface of the lake is 237 ft. below sea level.  The history of the Salton Sea is quite interesting, you might google it if you’re interested.

We skirted around the southwest edge of the lake and then headed NW through the Anza-Borrego State Park towards Borrego Springs. 

Our goal was to see the large metal sculptures that we have heard about, out in the desert surrounding the town.  Our Google maps lead us to the area of the sculptures and we spent an hour or so taking photos of the various sculpture.  Quite an accomplishment for one person. 

We then drove around to find the business area of the town.  We passed through a residential area near the Golf Club which had some very nice houses in it.  But away from there the property was a little run-down.  We did manage to find the “downtown”.  It was quite small but did have a few stores and a small plaza.  We ate lunch at Carmelita’s Cantina.  It was a Mexican restaurant mostly.  I had a Burrito and a Taco and Kim had a Burrito and an Enchilada.  The food was very good.  Kim says better than the places we go to in Los Algodones, Mexico.

After lunch we decided to head up into the mountains to Julian.  It was quite the drive.  Lots of twists and turns.  Probably even more than the road we travelled last year up to Oatman in Arizona.  This road to Julian passes through the Anza- Borrego Park as well.  The scenery was stunning.  The road had some steep drop offs.  This is not a road to travel in an RV.  Anyway once in Julian we found it rather interesting.  Lots of shops.  The normal boutique type shops you would see in a tourist stop.  The one thing Julian seems to be known for though, is the Julian Pie Company.  The location in Julian is where the business started and where they have their store/restaurant.  They make 2000 pies a day at their shop, high in the mountains, in Santa Ysabel.  Santa Ysabel is just 10 minutes away.  They will ship pies all over the USA from their Santa Ysabel location.  I got a piece of Dutch Apple pie and Kim got a couple muffins (an apple walnut and a pumpkin) to take back the RV with us.  I had the pie later in the evening and it was great. Kim said the apple walnut was her favorite.

The tempertaure this day was about 73F (23C) in Borrego Springs, but once we got up into the mountains the temperature fell drastically and it was very windy.  It was in the in the low 50’s F (low teens in Celsius).  After Julian we began our 2 hour drive back to Holtville.  This was also a nice drive back down through another canyon.   We arrived back at the RV around 4 PM Pacific time.  Home in time to see a nice sunset and then to have some supper.  It was a long day so neither of us stayed up too late that night.

We considered taking Tuesday off from sightseeing, but once we were up and rested in the morning we decided to head out again.  This time our destination was Salvation Mountain and possibly Slab City.  And then take a drive around the Salton Sea and back to camp.  Again we got a relatively early start and drove north to the village of Niland and then out to Slab City.  On the road into Slab City, you can’t miss seeing Salvation Mountain sitting off to the right from the roadway.  This was our stop so we got out and wandered around for a bit.  We were allowed to climb on the mountain up the yellow brick road.  The entire “mountain” is a kind of paper mache.  The mountain is built on an existing mound of dirt and rock.  Straw was then used to cover the ground and adobe covers the straw.  The entire structure is covered with vivid paint.  There are some parts of the structure that are damaged but it is constantly being repaired.  The weather takes a toll on the mountain.  It is a very unique thing to see.

We then decided to take a drive into Slab City.  It’s an interesting place.  It’s somewhat like other boondocking locations but the RV’s and other structures are in all different states of disrepair.  Many of the residents are long term but there are some who are obviously transient.  You see decrepit old trailers as well a modern Motorhome.  We didn’t stop to walk around and talk to people, we just kinda took a tour.  

We continued to make our way around the eastern side of the Salton Sea.  We stopped for a brief lunch along the side of the road.  Another few miles and we came upon a couple of State Campgrounds.  Each was somewhat close to the Lake.  The first one was basically a boondocking spot with pit toilets.  It was $10 a night.  The second campground had hookups and was $20 dollars a night.  This campground had a camp host and we stopped and chatted with him for quite a while.  He was very knowledgeable about the area and the Salton Sea.  We continued around north of the lake and discovered many Date farms.  There was a much higher concentration of Date farms here than we’ve seen any where else here in the southwest. 

At this point we were only about 40 miles from Palm Springs, so we decided to continue on to there.  We didn’t have a lot of time to spend there so we located a neighbourhood called Ruth Hardy Park and toured around for a bit to see all the up-scale residences.  This is the area known as the Movie Colony.  Many of the West Coast celebrities had homes in this area.  People like Bob Hope, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and the like.  Kim got a few photos as we drove around.  So just a quick tour and then back on the road to Holtville and our RV.  

We got back to the RV around 4:30 and relaxed a bit before supper.  Another nice sunset and a relaxing evening.  

So now its Wednesday and this will be our “at the RV” day.  I’ve used the day to write this blog and Kim has spent the better part of today doing some work.  Its a nice warm afternoon and its now about 2:00 pm.  So I’m going to stop working on the blog until later.  I’ll add some photos and get Kim to do some proofreading and editing.  I should have this post up this evening.

I’ll post again after we get to Quartzsite in a few days or so.

14 thoughts on “Hot Springs, Borrego Springs, and Palm Springs and a little more

  1. prichie

    Thank you Ken for the great post! You have really encouraged me even more to go see Salvation Mountain and Slab City. I hope you enjoyed the sculptures at Borrego as we did and of course ‘that pie’. Yum!
    I’m glad you are enjoying Holtville too, looks to me like a greata spot! I would like it back there better than up front with so much ‘traffic’. 🙂


  2. Skay kay

    Looks like a great spot you’ve got! The one time we drove through there it was so crowded we have never gone back. Your trip adventures are wonderful..loved the catch up!


  3. Glad you enjoyed the areas as much as we did. Next time drive back until you reach the Day Use Only Area.No Road Noise at all. Your permit will still work in the LTVAs around Quartzsite.
    Be Safe and Enjoy the adventure of exploring.

    It’s about time.


  4. Susan Yates

    It is nice to see that you were able to enjoy these areas that we have enjoyed over the years. The Salton Sea, Salavation Mountain, Julian, Borrego Springs and Palm Springs.


    1. I remember you and George talking about all those places so we wanted to go check them out. You guys still inspire us with ideas of places to visit and see. Say hi to George for Kim and I.


  5. Deb

    Borrego Springs is always a good visit, some interesting things to see and the grass at Christmas Circle is nice after so long without seeing any. The trip to Julian is very scenic and a little thrilling, we found the drive to be very similar to driving in Ontario with all those wonderful trees up there. Palm Springs is nice, and very green.
    Thanks for the update.


  6. You two have certainly been out and about seeing some fun and interesting places. We enjoyed out time exploring around Borrego Springs. The metal sculptures really are something to see. We would agree the drive up to Julian is beautiful and the pie and muffins are a nice treat. Salvation Mountain is worth the stop interesting the materials he used there and how even the empty paint cans became part of it. Really enjoyed seeing all your pictures.


  7. Dave McMechan

    Seems like we’re crossing paths in the area. Hope you are enjoying it as much as we are. You’re putting on lots of miles. Keep enjoying.


    1. I wondered if you would be in that area. Yes we have done lots of driving but at least with the car the fuel doesn’t cost much. We still want to see Joshua Tree, so thats on our list once we get to Quartzsite.


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