We make it to the Southwestern corner of the US, Border Field State Park, about 15 miles south of San Diego.
02.23.2008 - 02.23.2008
After spending three nights at Pio Pico Campground, we were really ready to hit the road again - and hoped to get back to civilization (cell phone service). It really felt like we'd been up in the mountains, after all we'd driven across the Imperial valley and through some very barren, rocky and burned out mountains to get there.
Shortly after we left the campground, we drove past Lake Otey and saw another red-tailed hawk. Since we're back on the road again, I stopped to try to get a shot of it.
Still feels somewhat rural, right? However, just after the lake our little two lane mountain road suddenly turned into a massive six lane highway in the middle of expensive housing developments, Otey Ranch and Eastlakein the city of Chula Vista. We continued following the highways until we finally reached I-5, where the signs listed only three more exits until the border! Mom seemed to think I'd lost my mind and we'd be in Mexico any minute, but I took the next exit and followed the road around until we reached Border Field State Park.
This Park is the southwestern most point in the US. This is just the sign at the park entrance of course, there is another 1.5 mile walk out to the beach, then another .5 miles to the fence at the border, part of it along a muddy dirt road - so this was close enough for Mom. I walked on out to the beach and was able to take a few pictures.
Along the walk I also spotted a Belding's Savannah Sparrow, as the park is located along the Tijuana Estuary - one of the few remaining natural estuaries in southern California.
I also started seeing Ice Plant again - it has been awhile. In fact, there were several different types of ice plant in the park. Although it's only February still, some were very much in bloom.
It took me about an hour to walk out to the beach and back, but I figured since one of the big objectives of the trip is to visit all four 'corners' of the lower 48 states - this was a milestone worth a few extra minutes. Mom worked on some of her Sabbath books in the RV while she waited and met some people who were heading out to a "Fandango" being held later today by folks on both sides of the fence.
Since we'd also left the campground a little late (we just had to visit the hot tub one more time this morning), it was already after 1 PM when we got back on I5, this time heading north. We went ahead and just drove through San Diego this trip, there are a lot of things to do there, but we're more interested in catching the rural sights and scenery than big city lights on this trip. Somewhere north of SD, we cut over to Highway 101. The signs proclaim this to be the "Historic Highway 101", but much of it looks like any other urban highway. Mom did like seeing so many flowers in bloom in February. We both got a kick out of seeing convertables with their tops down - this one with the beach in front, also in February.
Just past the convertable shot, we passed a beach that did allow some parking along the other side of the highway. It took awhile, but I finally got the rig turned around and found just enough room at the end of the line of cars to park for a late lunch. It was pretty cool, so we just enjoyed the view while we ate and didn't play in the surf any (we figure we'll see a lot more beaches on the drive home).
After lunch, we found a place to turn around and start heading north again. Just past the beach where we'd stopped, we saw a bunch of RV's and campers off to the side. It turned out this was Carlsbad State Park, which has camping on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The bluff along the campground is quite a bit higher then the bluff where we'd stopped the first time, but it looked like they might have empty spaces. While it was still early, I figured finding camping along the beach was going to be problematic the closer we got to Los Angeles, so we should check it out. However, when I tried to turn left into the campground, the sign said "U Turn Only" - so I had to turn around (head south again), find another spot where I could make another U-Turn (to head North), then go past the campground, make another U-Turn, then I could turn into the campground! Too bad I was driving an RV instead of a sports car, it might have been fun. However, we did make it, they did have open spaces ($20 for the highway side, $30 for the ocean side) - I got a space overlooking the ocean.
Mom entertained herself by feeding a friendly squirrel some stale bread while I took in the beach scene a bit.
The weather forecast calls for more rain tomorrow, overcast Monday, then Sunny and 72 F on Tuesday. According to the ranger, this bodes well for campsite availablity - often they are full, even this time of year. However, because of the rain they had spaces. He also said weekdays should have more availability - so by the time the weather turns nice again, folks will be back in school and at work - and we should find camping along the coast (we can hope).
So we have a nice, noisy ocean to lull us to sleep. Surprisingly we also had a few minutes of a wonderful sunset - it was so overcast I didn't expect much - but somehow just enough light squeeked through.
We'll continue on the northern leg, the last leg of our trip - tomorrow.
Miles Driven - 83, Cumulative - 17016
Camped at Carlsbad SP, Southern California Coast
Provisions - Gas $29.49 for 9.107 gallons at 126,892