The first month and a half of our “2022 California Deserts & Beaches” tour explored Death Valley, Mojave and Joshua Tree. Wandering through the desert continued as we head southwest toward California’s largest state park, Anza Borrego.
Luckily for us, our bestest travel buddies, Chris and Chris, joined us in Anza Borrego.
Anza Borrego is vast with many, many areas to explore. Coyote Canyon, Rockhouse Canyon, Carrizo Badlands, Borrego Badlands, Blair Valley, Borrego Mountain Wash, The Slot on ad infinitum. Having a 4WD truck allowed access to some of the more places.
Driving the backroads of the desert leads to discovering the early brave explorers who crossed these hot, resource-limited lands. If you find an oasis, explorers or the pony express most likely found the welcome respite.
Original plans to stay in the Southern California deserts until late April changed due to intolerable higher temperatures. Perhaps intolerable is relative to wanting to do things outside. Sitting in air conditioning is not our cup of tea. While we made the best of the hot days by finding fun 4×4 trails, running from the heat gets old. With that, we shifted from desert sand to beach sand.
Duncan’s excitement to arrive at the coastal beaches could not be contained. In hindsight, being out of the deserts by April 1 is a much better plan.
Through active campround reservation management and revisions, Gromit landed in a some sweet oceanfront spots.
Swinging through Santa Barbara and El Capitan State Beach allowed us to catch up with friends/fellow sailors, Graham and Taryn.
We made some new “friends” in El Capitan as well. Hundred of ants decided to invade Gromit. After implementing full defensive measures, we thwarted their attempt to hijack the trailer. That was a fun day. Be forewarned if camping at El Capitan, ants are a problem.
While in the Santa Barbara area, we visited Jalama Beach. Great place with nice campsites and the famous Jalama burger.
Speaking of shifting sands, you know the wind has been blowing when the campfire rings are buried and a mini tractor redistributes the sand in the campsites.
With the trip drawing to a close, Paso Robles gave us a nice way to break up the trip en route back to San Francisco.
Sands from the deserts and beaches oozed from every crevice in the truck and trailer as we closed this 3.5 month journey. What did we learn other than sand always wins?
- Love the desert when it is cool or warm which is about four months of the year. The other eight months are too hot which means we will not be moving to the desert!
- Having an air conditioner on the trailer in the desert heat can make or break the trip.
- Southern California state beach campgrounds are great – especially if you can get a beachfront site. These campgrounds are really crowded and busy just like all of Southern California so reservations are required.
- No matter what the traffic conditions in LA, a collective sigh of relief can be heard when heading north over the Ventura county line.
- Three and a half months is a bit long for a single trip. In the future, we will likely do shorter trips unless we are going much further afield.
- Leaving camp set up while we go drive 4WD roads is great. We explored much more territory compared to the campervan which required breaking camp to go for drives.
- Starting with a plan with a willingness to change the plan is a good approach. Many things can influence what feels right – weather, mood, campsite, neighbors, visiting friends and the weather. Yea, I mentioned weather twice.
For the next few months, we will enjoy home and San Francisco before our fall trip to Napa and Bodega Bay. Enjoy the summer (or winter if you are in the Southern Hemisphere).