Bill and Kit’s 2020 Excellent Adventure, Journal #11

I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone. I should think so, in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!
J.R.R. Tolkien

Sunday, February 23, 2020: The Nomadic Maneiac’s (Jeff, Catherine, Kit and Bill) departed San Diego’s Admiral Barker RV Park at 1100 hours under partly cloudy skies and a temperature of 63 degrees.

As we were leaving the city, a RR crossing gate came down to let the San Diego Trolley rumble by.

This light rail system reaches all corners of the city and is very popular…a few years ago, the four of us used the trolly to get downtown where we connected to the Amtrak Coaster for a nice railroad excursion up the coast.

Within 35 minutes we were rolling through the eastern mountains of San Diego County…a region known as “The Mountain Empire”.

Where we found our home for the next few days…

…Potrero County Park.

Kit and I set up our rig on a nice wooded site, and…

…Jeff and Catherine selected one a short distance away!

February 24 through February 26, 2020-The Mountain Empire of San Diego: The weather during our stay was cool at this altitude, but overall clear and beautiful.

Potrero is one of our favorite parks for camping…away from the bustle of San Diego, but close enough for a quick trip into the city if desired. In addition to nicely spaced campsites, there are a few hiking trails that take the visitor into the hills. So, on one sunny day…

… Jeff and I choose a trail to spend a few hours on…

…where views of the park as well as of the surrounding hillside can be enjoyed.

And at the summit lies a nice ramada.

To sit, relax, and enjoy the view.

Heading back to the campground…

…where we decided what to do next.

Within a few miles of the park lies Barrett Junction Café.

Where their specialty is deep fried fish…

…caught in the waters off San Diego, primarily Lingcod…

…which was fresh, flaky, golden brown…

…and delicious!

Attached to the café, is a bar and dancehall which features a full-length mirror…

…so, the imbibers can check their appearance before asking the lady or gentleman to dance.

Our dear friends, Rod and Gloria have retired to Tecate, Mexico just south of Potrero.

Rod, Kit, and I were neighbors and friends back in our teenage years. We invited them up to meet Jeff and Catherine and share some, conversation, adult beverages, and a meal…another great day visiting with folks from our 1960’s San Diego life!

Jeff and Catherine have a fraternity brother that lives up the coast so one day they visited him, while we babysat their Orchid…

…which survived until they returned with a real treat!

I would have snapped a photo of the contents, but it didn’t last long enough…nothing better than a Julian Pie!

On another bright sunny day, we took a nostalgic trip east on old highway US-80.

This is the road that Kit, and I took in June 1965 traveling across country to Key West, Florida…where I had orders to a Navy school, and where we started our new life together. Much of US-80 is buried under Interstate-8, but the remaining roadway travels through small towns such as Boulder Oaks, Live Oak Springs, Manzanita, Jacumba Hot Springs, and Boulevard, population 315 which…

…is the home of Wisteria Candy Cottage.

Established in 1921, this old-fashioned store is housed in a former one room schoolhouse and is operated by the third-generation family owner.

In addition to hand made candies, they feature many unique products from yesteryear.

Leaving with a supply of Road Munchies, we meandered further east finally locating the only remaining concrete portion of the original US-80.

Along the route Jeff noticed an abandoned Railroad track, likely part of the Carrizo Gorge Railway.

Also along this old highway that hugs the Mexican border are segments of the original border wall.

The border barrier shown above is over 20 years old and is constructed from military surplus hardware. I guess where the wall is nonexistent, there are signs forbidding illegal crossing that keeps folks out of America.

Soon we pulled off the highway to visit Desert Tower.

Built in the early 1920’s, this stone tower commemorates the builders that laid in the highway through the rugged Laguna Mountains that would eventually become I-8.

Today, it serves as a tourist destination where one can climb…

…steps to the observation deck…

…where panoramic views…

…can be enjoyed.

On the same property is Boulder Park, a tangle of huge boulders and rocks that create tunnels and caves where interesting creatures lurk.

Including snakes…

…and geckos…

…both carved in stone…

…as well as the GIECO variety.

Then, there’s this creation…

…not sure what that is, but kinda freaky looking!

On the way out of Desert Tower/Boulder Park, we stopped by Coyotes’ UFO Flying Service and Repair Facility.

However, Coyote was absent…perhaps in the mothership somewhere.

Back on US-80 and rolling through the village of Jacumba Hot Springs, we stopped for a late lunch at the Jacumba Spa Restaurant.

The restaurant has a five-star rating. I enjoyed a Bison Burger with hand cut onion rings….

…which was very good!

Jacumba Spa features swimming pools and hot tubs filled by a mineral hot spring.

The water comes out of the earth at 104 degrees, and by the time it is piped to the hot tub and swimming pool, it is a comfortable 98 degrees. Since they use an all-natural water source the tub and pool must be drained every few days and renewed with fresh mineral water from the prolific spring a few hundred yards to the north.

Back underway, we passed a large Wind Farm.

A note of trivia, California possesses the second largest wind energy system in the US, behind the State of Texas.

Back at the campground we enjoyed a few cocktails as the sun set on our final evening in California…

…as the Nomadic Maineiac’s wish all a good night!

Kit’s Bit’s: So glad to be able to spend a couple of days at Potrero County Park. It’s my very favorite place in SoCal to spend a few days. Nice we could share our time here with Jeff & Cathy. The park is very large, flat and most of it is green! The Rangers and Volunteers are all great and have lots of knowledge of the area. We have been on a mission to find as much of Old US 80 as we could, since we traveled this road on our way to Key West. We had left my parents house at
10 PM on June 9th, 1965 so, we didn’t see much of the road at that time. It took us 5 days to get to Key West and we only stopped at a motel one night. We did, however, stop at Rest Stops along the way to catch a few ZZZ’s. Nowadays, some of our travel days are 7 miles…😊

4 thoughts on “Bill and Kit’s 2020 Excellent Adventure, Journal #11

  1. Thank you for sharing your great photos and knowledge, as always. I live vicariously through your travels. Stay well

  2. Boy, the 4 of you sure do have some good times together and you all look so content. Glad you have been able to spend so much time together.
    Miss you all and hope that our time in Maine in July/August does come to pass and that we’ll get to see the 4 of you.
    I love my “armchair travels” provided by Bill ‘n’ Kit.

  3. Playing catchup on the comments!!
    Hectic here with the corona virus upsetting the apple cart!
    That trolley brought back fond memories of when we hitched a ride from Watertown Ma.to Boston’s Braves field and Fenway park back in the mid 40s and 50s.
    Amazed that these restaurants can survive out there in the boonies. That fried cod looked some yummy!
    sure nice that you have connected with old friends to explore all these hidden tourist attractions.
    I suspect that you won’t be rushing back to Maine with all this covid19 virus floating around!
    Stay safe and on to journal #12.

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