We awake to bitter cold our last morning at Borrego Springs.
After a brief walk-about, followed by coffee for me and kibble for the crew, I fire up the PTV and turn the heat up high. Bridget and Spike snuggle up inside while I do what’s necessary for us to hit the road.
By the time I put the stabilizer jack on the hitch, my fingers are nearly numb.
The early rays of the sun stream across the desert. We drive into town and go around the farmer’s market already bustling with shoppers in Christmas Circle. Heading southward on Borrego Springs Road (Rte. S3), I turn off the heater. The crew nods off. What a beautiful, windless day for driving across the desert!
We pass the metal sculptures of horses and elephants, south of town.
Gradually neat, adobe homes with desert landscaping disappear and Anza Borrego Desert State Park spreads out before us like a great, tan blanket. I bring down my window. The two-lane road straightens toward the horizon.
Then the road climbs steeply up a mesa.
In a roller-coaster moment at the top, the road vanishes into the sky. Then, in the next instant, the road reappears and we sail downward, swoop across a wide wash, and sprint up the next, steep ridge. Gosh, I love this life! The freedom to do what I want, when and where I want! Distant mountains frame the desert sand, rock, and scrub with soft, watercolor-blues and purple. No people anywhere around, yet it doesn’t feel empty here. What a feeling of freedom crossing this expanse of land!
I turn east onto Highway 78.
As we approach Highway 86 which will take us south through Westmoreland, Brawley, through Imperial Valley, and eventually to Interstate 8, I’m treated to one last glimpse of the Salton Sea, a sliver of blue beyond green fields of vegetables.
Entering Brawley the Vons supermarket appears on the left.
Hmm . . . I shopped there on the way to Borrego. I pull into the lot, and Bridget and Spike wake up, yapping loudly. “Okay! Let’s go for a quick walk around the parking lot!” The crew loves this little adventure.
Inside the store I discover, much to my miserly heart’s delight, that the store is having a massive, Saturday-before-Christmas sale.
Prices are substantially lower than any I’ve seen for months.
I decide to stock up on those items that are painfully priced in small town groceries . . . coffee, cereal, chicken sausage and hot dogs, soup and other canned goods, dog food, bird seed. The tally comes to almost $170. I buy a roasted chicken, hot off the rotisserie and on sale for $5 . . . a treat to share with Bridget and Spike for waiting so long in the PTV. The leftovers will be our supper tonight at our new camp!
The parking lot is jammed with shoppers.
I open up the BLT, put several bags of groceries on the floor, and climb in to put away the refrigerator items. “Hello? Hello? We like your trailer!” a woman’s sing-song voice calls out. I look out the open door to see a smiling couple pulled up alongside the BLT.
Before the crew and I leave the parking lot, I receive compliments and inquiries from three different parties . . . the couple and two individuals. All three have large RVs which they want to sell in order to buy something smaller.
There’s no place to park near the water dispensers.
I find a shopping cart, load it with eight empty, one-gallon jugs. On the way back to the PTV, pushing the precious water, I marvel at how happy I am.
This reminds me of the early anglo settlers of Texas whom I’m reading about in Michener’s book. They worked and struggled so hard for food and water! How happy they must have been when they obtained fresh meat and good water! I experience a small trace of that gladness with our overflowing larder and plenty of water to last us a long time.
After the crew and I have feasted on the chicken and the leftovers are stored in the fridge, we walk around the parking lot again. Taking the time to give Bridget and Spike some exercise and diversion pays off. They sleep all the way to Yuma, their bellies digesting the roasted chicken as we roll down the interstate.
Actually we stop a few miles west of Yuma.
I turn off Interstate 8 at Exit 159 for Ogilbie Road. Crossing over the highway, we travel a few miles on a paved road, cross railroad tracks, and see the sign for American Girl Mine Road. This is it! We take the dirt road back toward the mountains and find our new home in a flat, open area away from the clustered RVs.
Dispersed Camping West of Yuma