After a couple of days at Oceanside near San Diego, playing on the beach, we took to the road once again and headed to Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California. We programmed the sat nav and set off. Thankfully, Louise (our satelite navigation system) decided to take us the scenic route, through countryside, over mountains, into valleys. The views the whole way there were spectacular. We drove passed miles of Orange tree fields, all blossoming with both Oranges and spring time wild flowers. After an hour of driving we stopped at a scenic lakeside spot for breakfast. Whilst the big kids and I ate breakfast in the RV, Barney and his Dad went for a bit of a hike. Barney has had it in his head that he and Daddy would be conquering a mountain at some point. When they saw a decent sized hill (a mountain to Barney) with a sort of little fort on top of it, they set off and left us to breakfast. This is the photo of Barney at the top of his conquered mountain, in his Power Ranger Pyjamas.
The drive into the actual desert state park was scary! Cliff edge roads, often without barriers, with 200 ft falls on my side of the RV. I was way more bothered by it than Dan, because he was driving and I felt totally out of control. But the views from these mountain cliff edges of what seemed like hundreds of miles of desert, were worth the drive. In the middle of this desert park is a small town called Borrego Springs. The park has over 500 miles of road to explore, as well as hundreds of miles of hiking area. Once we arrived at the visitor centre we were pleased to discover that we could camp absolutely anywhere in the state park for free! Obviously, we had no water or electric hookups, but we were able to choose a spot to park, miles from anyone else. Most of the other parks we have visited are very strict about where to park, and where not to.
On the first night we chose a completely secluded patch of desert, with mountains in the distance, and hills to one side of us. No one could see our RV because it was parked in a depression. I think this is the most secluded I have ever been in my life. We never saw another person or vehicle for the 24 hours we were there. This photo shows our Thelma parked up in that spot. Jimmie enjoyed exploring the area so much that he didnt want to leave (until the next day when he found an even better place to explore, and then the next day when he found an even better one than that!) When Jimmie is somewhere that inspires him like that, we dont see him for most of the day. Every now and then we call out to see if he's still alive, and he calls back "yeah I'm just playing".
We sat outside the RV in the small bit of shade you can see in that photo and ate some Mexican food which Id tried my best to recreate. It was no where near as nice as the food Cha-cha had made us, but wasn't bad for a first attempt, and everyone eat it up and asked for seconds.
That night Dan and I sat out for an hour or so looking at the stars whilst the kids slept inside. There wasn't a single sound, no wind, no animals, no nothing. The stars were awesome again, and we both saw a huge bright shooting star which was a bonus.
As we had a whole massive area to explore, we set out on our second day and found another camping spot. This one was at Yacqui Wells camp site. It's a proper area for camping (still no hookups) that would be busy at the weekends, but there was no one else camping in it while we were there so we had the place almost completely to ourselves, apart from the odd hiker passing by. Jimmie loved this area more than the last. It was a completely different sort of setting, next to an oasis, with lots of wildlife and plant life. Because it is spring now the cactus are blooming and they look so bright and beautiful. All through the desert wild flowers are in blossom, and in some areas it hardly seems like a desert at all. We saw lots of lizards, jack rabbits, quail and exotic looking birds there.
Dan, Barney and I took a gentle walk along the nature trail here to the oasis. Barney just had the best time, discovering new cacti, spotting rabbits, and spending quality time on his own with his Mum and Dad. We stayed there two nights, and the following day I took all three kids on the same hike. Barney couldn't wait to show his big brother and sister everything he had discovered the day before. We barely saw Jimmie the whole time we were there. He was off exploring the nearby area with a large stick. He came back now and then to refuel and drink. The first night we stayed in this spot, there were the most terrible winds during the night. I almost thought the RV was going to blow right over at one point! At least the days were pleasant enough.
There are three new photo albums for you to look at. California Album 1 has photos from before our state and national park trips, and will have more added to it over the next few days. Also check out the Anza Borrego album for photos to go with this blog post, and the Joshua Tree album for photos to go with the post above. (If that post isnt here yet, it will be soon)