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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Farmers Market Friday...Among Other Things.

Despite my complaints about the constant blasts of wind...We have had a couple of real nice days.The 10 day forecast has blessed us if it holds up,as we are expecting mid 70's and a few 80's with overnight lows in the 50's.Sort of hard to take EH!
So with that,a nice visit to the Friday morning market in Xmas Circle was the first order of the day.
I was so intent on getting my picture taken,that I think I got ripped off...I got about 6 large red potatoes,1 onion,and a dozen large free range eggs all for $12.I need to be a little more assertive and question things like this.I'm so used to the Markets in Mexico in past years where that would have cost about $4.00.What say you?

The next order of business was to find a Barber Shop.And being a small town,one was found in short order.I figured that in a sleepy town like this that a possibly one and only barber shop would not be too busy.As I walked in I found no one waiting and one in the chair,so I sat down,only to be informed that haircuts are by appointment only.Hmmm,I forgot that this sleepy little town is full of well hidden away and dispersed R.V. parks full of old farts like me needing haircuts.
To make a long story short,the barber said that he can fit me in.So in the pic above,I'm showing off my haircut.....Actually I was trying to get the next pic below,but had the timer set for 3 seconds instead of 10 and only got this far.

This is the shot I was trying to get as I stand on the roof of the Visitor Center of the Anza-Borrego State Park.That's the trouble with touring around by one to take my pic...maybe that's a good thing huh?
I will do more on this visitor area in another blog entry, as I want to show the humming bird in a nest that is inside a roped off area of the parking lot.

I finished off my morning with a look at some more of the "Metal Art" that dots the desert landscape.This time on the south side of town.
From a distance when driving down the road,these object look very impressive out on the desert.Almost real looking,as they are life sized.

As mentioned before,these are creatures that lived on this area many moons ago,like this Saber toothed tiger.

Friday, January 30, 2009

In Search Of The Famous Julian Pie Company---Part-2

In yesterdays entry,I made an incorrect statement which was brought to my attention by my travelling companions,Ron and Sue...I stated that the Julian Pie Company wasn't in Julian,but was in fact in Santa Ysabel...This statement was partially incorrect as this first pic shows the original location on Main St. in Julian,and yesterdays pic's show the second outlet that opened in 1992 in Santa Ysabel.I guess in my defence,one could conclude that by the size comparisons of the 2 outlets,one would assume the larger outlet with the delivery trucks would be the one and the smaller,just a restaurant,but pies are made at both outlets.In fact there is a much larger restaurant next door to the Santa Ysabel outlet also.
This is a family operated business started by Liz Smothers back in 1986.Liz and her husband Keith bought an apple farm,planted 17000 trees to supply the business.All operations are run by family members.They ship pies all over the U.S. including on-line orders.

This is main street in Julian,originally a gold mining town established back in the 1880's.Its a Designated Historical District,its image as an early California frontier town with its pioneer store fronts,historic sights and guided tours of the old mine sites, make it a tourist attraction.
The town sits at 4235 ft...1000 ft above Santa Ysabel which is 7 miles away.I could feel the temperature difference as I walked around the 2 towns.

Julian is unique among Southern California communities with its cold winter climate,ideal for growing apples.All Julian apples are sold locally as pies,cider and whole fruit.In October 10,000 pies a week are baked as the Southern California tourists flock to the area for the fall colors,cool breezes and frontier atmosphere.

As I wandered about the town,I came across an interesting place on a side street,called "The Birdwatcher."This is a really a large,well stocked establishment,similar to the "Wild bird shops" back home.They have a large stock of bird feeders.Even tee shirts for the birder.

Here are a couple of pic's taken inside,with the owners permission.

We are now heading home by a different route,as we take highway 87 toward Ocotillo Wells,with a quick drop down into the valley below,leaving behind the oak trees and other high country vegetation,and seeing the gradual change back to the lower desert climate and vegetation, with a rapid warming of temperature.
You can see the road ahead in the pic,center-right curving around as we drop down into the valley.

Once down onto the desert floor,we must climb again over Yacqi Pass to get back over to Borrego Springs.
This pic is a look down toward the town as we descend the pass.

Back at the trailer with my expensive but tasty spoils.And tasty it is....As this pie no longer looks like this,neither does the apple-nut cake.
Just as a final note,these pies are famous because they have won many blind taste awards.

So ends my search for the famous "Julian Pie Company."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

In Search Of The Famous Julian Pie Company---Part-1

Yesterday dawned cool,crisp and sunny,so a nice drive up into the mountains was in order.
And why not to visit the famous "Julian Pie Company"in the town of Santa Ysabel,sitting high up in the mountains between Borrego Springs and San Diego.
Many People think that the pie factory is in Julian,but is not the case.There are many restaurants in the area that bare the pie company name and that fools many people.
The first pic is as I climb above the valley floor.You can see our r.v. location at the base of the smaller hill in the background,right where it comes down to meet the valley floor.Taken from 1000 ft above the desert.

This shot was taken at the 3000 ft level.You can see the Salton Sea in the distance about 30 miles away.

We are closer to 4000 ft now with this zoomed shot of the Salton sea in the background.
S22 is a nice smooth secondary road that winds up out of the desert,with many pull outs for slow traffic.

We reach the top,just over 4000 feet and head down into a wide valley 1000 feet below.(I keep using the term "we" but am alone.)

Down in the valley.If you look closely to the mountain top,directly above the road...You will see the white dome of the Mount Palomar Telescope.

This is typical scenery for the high country,with many of these old oak trees along the highway creating nice shade.Many areas had large puffy pine trees also.
This shot was taken along highway 79 between Temecula and Santa Ysabel,at around 3200ft.Nice and warm for 60 degrees with no wind.This area does have a distinct 4 seasons.

Alas! We have found it although its not easy to miss because Santa Ysabel is a small crossroads village of about 500 people.

Business must be good as there are at least 2 delivery trucks.I wouldn't be surprised if there are more as these pies are well known in all of southern California.

Here is the bakery part to the rear of the building.

And the pic below is the reception area where I bought an un- sugared, natural flavor apple pie along with an apple cake. And an apple walnut muffin and iced tea for my lunch break.
These pies don't come cheap at $12.95 but are good, and besides....It's a "been there...done that"...sorta thing anyway.
You can buy pie by the slice also if you don't want the whole thing.Either way,its been 10 years since I last visited this place with dear wife Marlene and good friend's Murray and Denise,so it was a little trip down memory lane.

Tomorrow in part 2,I will continue this exciting saga(ho hum)as we travel up to the town of Julian,and return to the desert by a different route.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Legend Of "Peg Leg Smith's Lost Gold"

Down the road or over the coyote hills, a few hundred yards west of our location,is the monument dedicated to "Thomas Long "Peg Leg" Smith.
This spot as you can see by the R.V.'s in the background,is a popular, free, boondocking spot for snowbirds.

It's and interesting story and I'll try to keep it short.

Back in the 1880"s,Smith was taking a supply trip from Yuma to Los Angeles,and got caught in a dust storm in this area.While hunkered down he picked up some black rocks thinking they contained copper and upon his arrival in Los Angeles, found that he actually had black gold nuggets(created this way by the heat of the desert over time.) He nor anyone else has been able to relocate this spot again,but the area of this monument seems to be the closest to his original find.

The sign below is self explanatory.But what I missed was the mailbox just to the right of the sign,which contains a log book,so that you can add your name and tall tale story of the search.Oh! And also,this is the home of a "Liars Club"that drew many people to this spot in April of every year.It ended several decade's ago.

Below,Sue wants to show us a couple of pic's of our regular visitor to her hummingbird feeder,which hangs from the motorhome side mirror.
She figures it to be a male Costa.
It and several others are continually here,and can be seen with very little wait.You wonder where they come from in such a desolate area.But like I mentioned in an earlier post,they practically arrive with us......Maybe they are following us.....Hmmmm!

Sue believes this one below to be a female Costa.We are not sure.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Change In The Weather

24 hours ago,as I laid awake listening to and feeling the howling wind,I would occasionally hear the sound of rain on my trailer's vinyl roof,(you can hear a pin drop on that roof)but every time I looked out,all I could see was stars,strange!Is it my imagination?But as the day dawned I could see these small wind blown clouds passing over after dropping snow on the 3000/4000ft mountains to the west,and dropping their remaining sprinkles on me.
Note the hint of a rainbow on the next cloud coming. Pic above.
The same shot a little later,as it cleared off showing a dusting of snow on a peak that a local told me is around 3200ft.Pretty low snow line for this area after a 75 degree day 24 hours before.
The day finally cleared off and rose to 62 degrees with a stiff breeze most of the day,making it feel much colder.
I needed propane and gas,so headed into town as Ron and Sue were preparing a trip down to Tamarisk grove camping area to look for some long eared owls or something.

I got my refuelling needs looked after first.(Strange! 3 gas stations in town all with prices 10 cents a gallon more than the other)$2.37...$2.47...$2.57 and the national average is $2.07.
I took a quick picture taking trip around the town,with the first stop at the Mall.
A few statistics: Borrego Springs is 780 ft above sea level.Its situated in the extreme western edge of the Sonoran desert,completely surrounded by the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
It has 2789 permanent residents and an estimated 10,000 in the winter season.
Its often listed as the hottest place in the U.S. on certain summer days,with the record being 121 degrees/49c in June of 1996.

6.86 inches of rain annually,about the same as Osoyoos B.C.
The back side of the mall,above and below.Many interesting little tourist shops and some empty shops.A story of the times.
You'll note the lack of people around as I asked them to all stay away whilst I took pictures.

Below is a shot taken right across the road from the parking lot,as the town is in a desert.

I drove out to a nice residential area in the north west part of the town and found many beautiful homes in a natural desert setting,well spaced lots,and that really "cool" desert southwest style of the homes.

Here are a few examples

This one below had a few citrus trees in the driveway,the first being a grapefruit and the second one a lemon tree.I didn't want to trespass any further.
They were all loaded with fruit,in fact I have been enjoying quite a bit of free morning grapefruit these past few weeks,that I collected from the Yuma area. (Not theft........friends)

Just before noon, I arrived back in camp after a quick stop at the food market in town.Ron and Sue arrived back around 2:30 and told of not caring for the Tamarisk spot,decided to go up the hill to the tourist town of Julian for a look around and some of that famous apple pie from the pie factory.I bet knowing those guys,they didn't even need directions to find the pie factory.
I hope to get back up there again,as its been about 10 years for me.

I'm learning the little tricks of blogging slowly,so I want to try another test thing here. I hope it works. Click below.

Our location map link

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rocked To Sleep By The Wind

This will be the 3rd night of howling overnight winds,the only saving grace being that with the dawn,usually comes a calming of the winds and a warm sun rises over the hills to the east.
Such is the hard life we endure as the temperatures struggle to rise to 70(22)degrees.
Such was the case yesterday,Sunday,but a great day to hike up the small mountain behind us and check out the view.
Its amazing how much ground this old guy can cover in just 30 minutes as I did my Billy-Goat imitation,climbing the sometimes disappearing trail to the top, with a good view of the valley below, and the Clark dry lake bed with the R.V's spread out with a much larger spacing than seen from the camping area.
I watched as a small dark object was leaving our campsite,it was Ron and Sue heading off to meet some birding people who know this area.
I found another trail down,so made a round trip of it.That was about the extent of my Sunday.
Ron and I did have an interesting talk before hand with a fellow camper who walked over to visit after breakfast.He was from Washington state and told us a bit about the area we are parked in.He told us that this was a big gravel operation a few years back,which explains why its so lacking in desert plant life,but it is slowly coming back.At least its not as dusty as other places that we've boondocked.

Above are some more examples of the metal art work spread out along the road leading north of town.
Here is an explanation:
History is unfolding in a town already filled with its own unique historical milestones,Borrego Springs with the first placement of the gomphotherium free standing art structures.These creatures lived in the area about 3 million years ago.

Dennis Avery,land owner of Galleta Meadows Estates in Borrego Springs envisioned the idea of adding "free standing art" to his property with original steel welded sculptures created by Perris Jurassic park owner/artist/welder,Ricardo Breceda based in Perris, California.

So there you have it although the top pic certainly isn't a Jurassic creature,but quite imposing to stand beside.Many more to follow.

Here is a final thought for the day: "Light travels faster than sound.This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My First Foray To Town

After a windy overnight as mentioned yesterday,the day dawned with a clear sky and warm temperatures,and the wind got down to a light breeze.
Ron and Sue had already left right after breakfast for a birding trip across the valley,so after doing my little exercise routine,gathered my water jugs and set off for the 6 miles down into the valley and the sleepy desert town of Borrego Springs.
When boondocking new area's,you need to know the basics,like where to get water...where to get rid of your garbage...where to dump your holding tanks when the time comes....Well,things have changed in the last 6 years since I was last here,so with the help of a fellow blogger via e-mail,got my updates on the area,thanks again Al. of "The Bayfield Bunch".

So I set off to town,first stop,the True Value hardware,as I needed a 7/8th wrench for my propane tank fitting for the barbecue and the "Extend-a- Stay" for the "Buddy" heater,as I'm sick and tired of that big crescent wrench.I had looked all over Yuma for just one wrench and not a whole set,and couldn't find JUST a 7/8th,even the flea market,but this hardware store unlike the True Value in Yuma,DID have one,so I came away happy.
Next stop,next door at the gas station,where after a little searching found the water and dump just like Al told me.I filled my water jugs.Next stop,find the garbage bin,and it was also exactly where I was told.So....time for a few pic's at the entrance to the town.

You see,you get the same picture twice,as I cant figure how to remove it and I have no patience to figure it out this early in the morning.
It is a shot of the large "Roundabout" at the entrance to town,called "Christmas Circle."
The top pic was taken from the background of this shot.

And one of the first establishments,is the local watering hole,called "Carlee's."Note the row of bikes that just arrived this a.m. probably came over the hill from San Diego,and need to wash the bugs off their teeth.Actually,come to think of it,there hasn't been too many bugs down here as my windshield will attest to.

I really wanted to find those strange creatures out in the desert,that I had read about,so set off in another direction from the circle,and quickly found them just north of town.
There are many spread over a mile or so.
I will cover more on these metal sculptures in future posts.

And for the daughter who e-mailed me,to watch out for alien's on the desert....the pic below is for you.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Some Quiet Time

Well..Here it is,Saturday morning,4:10 and with coffee in hand,sitting up in my bed with laptop on lap.What do we talk about today,as I didn't do anything yesterday but relax and enjoy my new digs.So we show a few pics and ramble a bit.About 30 minutes ago the quiet night came alive with the start of one of those middle of the night desert winds that come out of nowhere, and sometimes after an hour or two, quietly disappear again.So its trailer rock-a-bye again.

The pic above shows the morning sun cast on the mountains to the north.I was having breakfast when I looked out and saw how the sun at certain angles can really highlight all the shapes that the mountain has,so had to rush out and capture the moment.You can see the difference to the right where there is no sunlight.
Yesterday was a quiet day for me just relaxing and enjoying the solitude here.Ron and Sue as usual got an early start and like every day with them,waste no time getting out to explore.
Ron feels the desire to speak to anyone who comes within his line of sight,so he gleams much info from the locals on what to do and where to go.Sue calls him "Officer Friendly."
Usually high on their list is where to find the best Hamburger and Fry's,then, where is the best birding spot.So yesterday they found their match and were almost defeated by an overly large burger at Los Jilberto"s.They still claim that the best burger that they have had on the whole trip,was at the Dairy Queen in Ajo Az. A scruffy looking place from the outside,but spotless inside with friendly staff and Burger and Fry's to die for.

In the pic above is a view from our site looking east with the Clark dry lake bed to the left of the rigs that are spread out enjoying this, "free to park on", piece of desert.

Here we are looking south.To "Al and Kelly",that is your old spot on the right in the distance,where the camper is parked.The oven still seems intact from my distant viewpoint.

I wanted to show the Humming Bee's (above) with a note that in every one of our stops this winter,that within minutes,and I mean minutes... of arriving,that a humming bird would show up looking for a feeder.Even at desolate Pilot Knob where we found no other birds......Strange! I have to get Ron to stop wearing that red ball cap.

One last thing today,after much trial and error on how to do it...I have a Site-meter on my blog that records all the visits...So now I can see if I'm just talking to myself or not.Just kidding!