Thursday, 16 February 2017

Taking the road less travelled

Moving day is always a fun day for us.  It is a usually an exciting day of exploration.  We like to take some back roads and see some country and there is so much country to see that is not on an Interstate.  We use Interstates when we want to move quickly, but only if on a schedule of some sort.  And today is no exception, except for the fact that there are mixed reviews on the route we will be taking.

The first part of the trip took us on I-15 up to Escondido CA.  Typical highway driving with some pretty designs on some of the overpasses.

Grace was quickly bored with the whole interstate thing and fell asleep.

I checked out quite a few blogs and asked some people what route we should take from San Diego to Borrego Springs CA.  People seemed to think the obvious route was I-8 east to #86 and up to Borrego.  That seemed a little boring to me.  A lot of people said we should not go across 78 highway and access Borrego from the west, because it is a windy road and single lane with elevation.  That was enough incentive for me so off we went across 78 highway. What a beautiful highway it was with lots of vineyards and wineries and lush green pastures.  I bet it is pretty up here in the summer.

We stayed under 40 mph the whole way and the curves added to the experience.  At the top of the mountain we were higher than 4000 feet.

We saw the Safari Park where the San Diego zoo has a bunch of overflow animals housed.  We may have a look at this some other time in our travels.

Ramona was our first stop because we needed fuel and propane.  At the service station I asked the girl her opinion on the best way to get to Borrego Springs.  She said head east through Santa Ysabel and Julian rather than going all the way around.  Heading up 79 was a waste of time to her.   Now that is the exact opposite thing that everyone else told us to do, so we headed east up 78 highway through  San Ysabel and down the other side through scenic Julian, just like she told us.

  Such a neat drive and if you drive slow it is absolutely breath taking.

And the Julian Pie company pie and ice cream in San Ysabel is to die for as well as Dudley's Bakery.

I parked the Ponderosa out back and as I was walking to the front I noticed them unloading apples and other fruits for their pies.  This seems like it is a fairly large operation.

Julian looks like an interesting town to visit.  We didn't stop because the daylight would be running out on us if we didn't keep going.

Everyone I talked to told me not to take S3 over to Borrego Springs because the curves were too tight for big rigs, so we headed across S3 (Yaqui Pass Road) to Borrego Springs anyway.  It is quite narrow and windy and steep for a while but with a little patience it is a great drive.  When we got down the other side, there was Borrego in the valley.  For those of you faint of heart you can head farther east on 78 and go into Borrego on the Borrego Springs Road which is all on the valley floor.

P&H did an awesome job of following all the way through this quaint mountain pass.  They have not had a lot of mountain driving experience, but the pace we went today was perfect for a confidence builder for them.  I am sure there were times when they were wondering what we were leading them into, but they never hesitated.  They have a one ton dually with lots of power and an engine brake so it was a piece of cake.  I am sure they will not encounter anything more mountainous than this in their travels, so have the big one behind them.

Now if you are a little queasy of mountain driving or don't have a lot of experience with big rigs in the mountains, then maybe you should take a different route, but if you think you can handle mountain driving and have engine brakes and good wheel brakes and a fair bit of power for climbing, then you should try this route.  I wouldn't recommend this route in the summer when it is hot, but in the winter there are no heating problems at all.  Remember as well if someone tells me not to do it, I will probably try it at least once.  Now that being said, I would never endanger my family by over driving my abilities either,  I have been known to admit defeat if conditions become unsafe.  I am very confident in the abilities of my rig and have a fair bit of experience with mountain driving so that influences my decisions to go or not go a particular route.

We found an awesome place to camp out east on Rock House road near the mountains.  This will be home until Sunday when we will head back to Anaheim to visit Disney Land.  We will probably go on I-10 this time to speed things up a bit.

There is a saying that goes "Home is where you hang your hat".  Well Grace says this is home for a bit so she hung my hat on her head.

Tonight we are in the desert east of Borrego Springs California, on Rocky Road, and this is the view from our window.


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