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Day 175 - Border Field State Park, CA

We make it to the Southwestern corner of the US, Border Field State Park, about 15 miles south of San Diego.


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

Posted by jl98584 19:13 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Nice to see you catching up again--and back on the west coast. You're getting close to my home territory. Carlsbad has some nice things--Legoland, the ranuncula farms along the highway (I forget when they're in bloom), the Andersen Split Pea windmill/restaurant/buffet. In there somewhere (Encinitas?) is the Quail Botanical Garden--very nice, small, lots of unusual cacti. Have fun heading homeward.

by msj

I meant to add also: That is a gorgeous sunset.

We had Laura home for dinner with us today--always fun.

by msj

Hi Ladies! Dutch House Mimi here. So you're on the home stretch. Wow! What a journey. I've really been enjoying it vicariously through the blog. You've seen many places that we've seen, but with different eyes so I saw them anew.

I promised to get back to you when you got to CA.
My husband is from S. CA and we've explored alot.
We spent most of last summer in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara Co. where his mother lived. We took lots of day trips so I just wanted to pass some ideas on to you.

Driving north on the 101 - El Camino Real
- SOLVANG - a town built by immigrant Danes to look like home
- LA PURISIMA MISSION - wonderful, very educational, lots to see, Mom can handle it.
- AVOID the Dunes at Guadalupe - too difficult for Mom (I had trouble walking it.)
- SAN LUIS OBISPO - Mission still used for church and school - bells rung every day
- MORRO ROCK in MORRO BAY - nice view - but just a big rock in a beach town.
- MONTANA DE ORO - now this is a view and trails are pretty reasonable
- Beyond ATASCADERO - look for HARMONY - it's a short and fun stop
CAMBRIA - great views - may see elephant seals or whales at SAN SIMEON BEACH, Nottingham Dr. between Lancaster and Worchester or SHAMEL PARK north at Nottingham and Windsor - ELEPHANT SEALS VISITOR CENTER (250 San Simeon Ave)- PIEDRA BLANCAS LIGHT HOUSE LENS on Main St of Cambria's West Village.
CambriaHistoricalSociety.org is a great website with history and other places to visit.

Of course, Hearst Castle is there. Havent' been there myself - not my kind of thing. Beyond that is the long beautiful stretch along the beach to Big Sur.

I won't be insulted if you don't go to any of these places - but as you've learned if you get off the Hwy you'll find lots of unique things.

Enjoy the last leg of your journey.

by dutchhouse

Thanks again to everyone for your nice suggestions! We haven't always been as organized on this trip as we could have been, and we don't always have time to follow up, but sometimes we do.

Today we already passed Carlsbad, and it was raining the whole time, so I didn't see your comments until we parked for the night. We did see some brown signs and thought about pulling over - but mostly I just wanted to get past the LA area and into more rural/small town space again, so only stopped once for a wildlife park.

We're now camped on a beach in between Santa Monica and Oxnard, so we should be able to hit Santa Barbara etc. tomorrow. Mom knows this area fairly well from her childhood, so we're looking forward to seeing some of these places for sure. I'm not sure Hearst Castle is our type of thing either, but we're going to visit it. Mom's mother visited it when it was built with a friend, so Mom has always felt she should see it also.

Hope all is well for everyone! What a great trip we are having!

by jl98584

I think you'll enjoy the Hearst Castle. We toured it several years ago and found it interesting. My dad's ranch was almost next door. It was about 750 acres. From San Simeon Beach you would turn right (the only way) onto San Simeon Beach Road and take it to the end, I think (about 5 mi.), where you had to ford a creek and pick up the drive into the ranch on the other side. I think a later owner may have put in a bridge across or something. I don't recall how wide the road in is, maybe not for a camper. The ranch name, which probably has remained the same, was Stepladder Ranch. From the hills on it, you could see the ocean.

by msj

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