Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Anza-Borrego Trucking

 After saying hello to PEI Bob, we stopped at the Holtville library, and then groceries in El Centro.  We had some adventures with standing in line with a full load of groceries, and our card not going through.  Fraud alert!  We're not in Michigan again....    Not a big deal, pay with cash and find a bank machine just a few blocks away, and fast wifi to call the card company  (don't want to spend 15 minutes of cell phone minutes on hold....)

Time to start heading north a little bit. The weather cooled off a little, not from going north necessarily, but probably from the big wind blowing in. It was fairly gusty to drive in. On the east side of the state park on S22, there is BLM land called Pegleg and further east is Ocotillo Wells, a big off road vehicle area. Both are all free camping. At Salton City, there's a big gas station with free potable water and dump. We got to Ocotillo Wells later in the day, with another great sunset, and we were all set to stay as long as we wanted.

In the morning we started to explore, and found out where we were. A really cool spot, next to the old hot springs, and the Truckhaven obstacle course.  Truckhaven is a large area of desert badlands, washes and canyons where off road travel is allowed.  I didn't even know either of these were here, what a find for a campsite....

At the end of the next day, I drove around some of the obstacle course.  There are various hills and obstacles all built up.  It was really windy, and when I got out of the truck on top to take a picture, the sand blasted my legs under the truck.  Youch!

We took a big tour around Anza-Borrego for the day, there is a lot available to see and do. The visitor center in Borrego Springs has a nice desert garden and is a great place to ask about the area, ie:  where can we see nice slot canyons? Near the town are numerous steel sculptures, seeing all those could be a day by itself.

The state park has a few slot canyons that are good hikes. We hiked down The Slot from the top, and turned around when it was wide enough for jeeps. Some of the canyons can be driven up from the bottom too, with 4wd.

There are 'roads' or trails through the middle of the park, and I figured it would be the shortest fun and scenic way back home. So we kept going on the road past The Slot, up on top of the canyons.  Great views...

Soon there is a huge sandy pitted step downhill into the canyon. It is labeled one way; by the signage, and my common sense of a stock truck 4wd capability. I took a look on foot and gambled that we could get down with shiny paint, and then have some other way out. All the passengers bailed out, they even took their purses and devices.  Just take it slow and keep the front wheels out of the holes, either bridge them or go to one side.

After the hill, the rest of the route was in washes.  Some areas of deep sand or deep powder dust, but not a problem with just the truck.  And a couple spots to be careful of keeping the paint off the rocks.  It was 10-15 miles back into town.

The next day we went to Palm Slot, and the old Calcite Mine area, pretty close to where we had camped.  We drove up the calcite mine road, and down into Palm Wash, which was a tight steep rocky bouldery downhill.  Fine to go down real slow, some paint risk maybe, and people wanting to get out of the truck.

There was a volunteer led hike up into the same area, and we ended up catching up to the group.  Ted K. told us about the calcite mine area, where veins of calcite were mined especially in WW2, for use in anti-aircraft gun sights.  If you're at state or national parks, please do check out the ranger or volunteer led hikes and talks, they're really worth it.  Palm Slot was really cool too.


After the hike, we went out the wash and followed it all the way back east to Salton City.  We tried a couple times to get over toward the paved S22 road, where it looked like a trail, but there are a couple canyons.  There's probably a path, but with tracks and trails all over, and vistas like this, we stay on the easy sand in the wash.  We climbed up on top of one narrow hilltop, which had all the passengers out again, with hands on hips...

ok, that's enough Dale..


  1. Maybe a Chevy would have been better. . . LIKE A ROCK !

    1. Thanks, that would fit! Our previous truck broke down between a GMC and Chevrolet dealer, and the GMC was closer and had what we were looking for on the lot. One thing I will do different next time is LT tires; half tread Passenger rated tires were lucky to make it through some of the places we went.


What do you think, where should we go next?