Christmas In The Boonies – Borrego Springs, CA
Only two days left till Christmas Eve so I guess it’s time to reveal the juicy details of exactly where we’re spending it. For long-time blog readers this won’t be much of a surprise. We’ve been coming here ever since our first year RVing. In fact this was the very first place we stopped after we left San Diego in 2010. Back then we were total newbies and knew nothing about RVing or boondocking. We stayed at a private park in town, and despite the cramped quarters and high ticket price something about the place just grabbed us. That trip I met a wild and somewhat dangerous-looking cowboy from Wyoming in the laundromat who told us he was camped for free out in the desert east of town.
“What, out in that dry environment?” I exclaimed, quite shocked “How do you survive out there? Isn’t it dangerous? Is that even legal? Are you some kind of crazy hobo?” (actually, that last bit I said in my head rather than out loud, for personal preservation purposes ya know)
The cowboy listened patiently to my barrage of questions and then proceeded to tell me about boondocking. I was totally entranced and before he’d even finished I knew this was something I wanted to try. Parking with miles of open space in the wilderness, for free, living entirely self-sufficiently from your rig….oh yeah, that totally spoke to the primitive and untamed in me. Over the next year we learned the ropes of boondocking, installed solar power and then the following year we came back and parked right where the wild man had been. The rest is history. We’ve been boondocking every winter since.
And this is one of our many favorite spots.
Borrego Springs is a tiny little dark sky community nestled smack in the middle of the huge 916 sq miles (2,371 km²) Anza Borrego State Park. This isolated desert spot boasts five hundred miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas, endless desert mountains and a few blocks of downtown with around 3,500 hardy souls. It’s not much to look at from the outside, but it’s got a great little weekly farmer’s market, an abundance of outdoor art sculptures, several Mexican restaurants, a cute coffee shop, a library and thrift stores. What more would you ever need?
This time around we decided to bring our caravan buddies along, introducing the Borrego Springs “newbies” to one of our favorite spots. In another first-time event I was doing this particular drive solo which made it all the more adventurous. Paul flew off to Miami late last week so I was left to move the rig and toad to our new spot in the desert. Thankfully I’m a big proponent of knowing every part of “the beast” (as I think every woman should) so I did remember to dump the tanks, I did manage to disconnect all the hoses, and I didn’t forget to hook-up the car (genius thinking there on my part, wouldn’t you say?). Plus I went through the check-list, twice, much like Santa Claus.
Pets all accounted for….check. Jacks up….check. Antenna’s down…check. Nothing loose and dangling…check. Head and fingers still attached….check. Engage, Number One. Well, I mean Engage errrmmm Self (I talk alot to myself when I’m on my own).
The drive was stunningly gorgeous and when we got here I disconnected the toad and scouted out a site for Technomadia’s arrival. Just 30 minutes later we were all in place enjoying the view and within another few hours we’d already met most of our neighbors and caught up on the local gossip. You see boondocking, as isolated as it may seem, is actually a really social endeavor. Many of the folks who come here have been coming to the same spot for years in a row. They get to know each other and a kind of local nomadic community forms. We may not see each each other for a year, but when we’re parked in the desert we’ll catch up, chat as we pass by, engage in campfires and just generally look out for each other.
When I got here I noticed many of the “usual suspects” were in the area. Skip & Jean were parked in their usual spot, Tom & Dianne were parked just down the way, and Lynda & Howard pulled in that afternoon. Plus we met new folks too. Blog friends of Chris & Cherie, Tim & Denise (plus their two, huge lovely doggies) were parked further out and we connected over an evening beverage and an outdoor movie (with Technomadia’s snazzy new projector set-up) at our site. Also Geogypsy came into town in her new-to-her truck camper and, after many years of mutual blog followings, I finally got to meet the lovely lady for the first time. A few days later Tom & Dianne hosted a neighborhood solstice get-together and we met even more folks. I think we’ve met just about every rig out here now.
Phew!!! I did mention boondocking was a social thing, didn’t I???
Well, that brings you up to date on “the beast” and her friends. We all plan to hang here for a while until our itchy feet tell us to move. Instead of Christmas lights, we’ve got nature’s sunsets, instead of pine trees, we’ve got cactus, and instead of snow we’ve got the warm panorama of the desert mountains. It sure ain’t for everyone, but for us it’s the perfect place to spend Christmas.