Monday, February 21, 2011

Snow capped ride to Borrego Springs.

Mt. Jacinto - with record snow.

Very cool Sunday morning.
We woke up to sunny skies, some wind and a sight unseen in years here in the Coachella Valley.  The San Jacinto Mountains were covered in a sheet of white.  One regular RV'er in our park said he had never seen snow like this in all of his years of travelling to this area.  Must be an aberration.  It's pretty but it's far too cold for the average tourist.

Sharp contrast - cactus and snow capped mountain.
Great view.
Well, a little cool air would not stop us from our planned motorcycle ride to the Salton Sea, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Borrego Springs.
Well protected from the rain.
We brought out our cold weather clothes and prepared to ride off east and south towards our destination; Borrego Springs.
So, the thermal riding pants came out of the saddle bags, the heated vests were plugged into the bike electrics and the heated handle bar grips were activated.  We were ready to go.  We really do not suffer when the temperatures are cool.

Native casino in Indio, Ca - near the I-10 freeway entrance. A number of big name entertainers show up here; including the Oak Ridge boys (most recently) and Kenny Rogers (this coming March).
Shot from the bike @ 120 km / hr.  Pretty good result -  This is a palm tree farm.
We left our RV park in Desert Hot Springs and rode east and south on Dillon Road.  It somewhat parallels I-10 but is more of a back road.  I wanted to shoot some video but had not set it up in advance.  I wanted to show what the undulated Dillon Road looks like.  Instead of a flat road, it seems the pavement was slapped on the original undulated land.  The road goes up and down - continually.  It's fun as heck to ride on a motorcycle. 
Our first stop in the Salton Sea area - one of the world's largest inland seas.

Sure looks beautiful.....but it is deceiving.

Another angle - thankfully, photos do not smell....but there was an awful stench here.
The Salton Sea is one of the lowest spots on earth - 227 feet below sea level.  The accidental sea  is home to millions of wintering birds including egrets and California while pelicans.

The beach area was muddy we could not get a good photo of a huge fish kill.
The awful smell was that of rotting fish.  The beach area was full of dead fish.  We have never witnessed such a huge fish kill.  Was this a naturally occurring event or did some chemicals find their way into this huge body of water.  No wonder no other human being was seen walking around.

We continued south along the Salton Sea but quickly gave up on trying to find any nice beaches.  The west side appears to be the muddy side....and it's not very pretty, truth be told.

A roadside fuel stop for motorcyclists.
We chose to top up on fuel and head west off Highway 86 towards Anza-Borrega Desert State Park via Highway S-22.

Most popular area for quading in the sand.

Little tiny quad for a little girl.

A mom teaching her kids the fundamentals of quading.
We were surprised by the large number of toy haulers (RV's with garages for quads, motorcycles, etc) and high volume of off road motorcycles, quads, jeeps and other fancy off road vehicles.  This area is clearly a magnet for weekend sand and dust busters.

Hundreds and hundreds of 'boondockers' spend day after day playing in the desert hills.
Captive hills draw these off roaders to this area.
It was a sea of white and multi-coloured RVs dotting the desert hills in this area just east of the entrance to Anza-Borrega Desert State Park.  We have never witnessed so many RVs.  There are no services in the desert.  "Boondocking" is defined as camping without electrics, water and sewer.  The rigs are powered either by sun (solar panels) or generator, and they fill their fresh water tanks before heading into the sand.  Their on board holding tanks hold the grey and black water.

These photos do not do justice to the large volume of 'boondockers'.
Jeanette and I echoed just how attractive this area would be to our son and son-in-law - who love quading.  We think this could be an area they would come to in the future.

Jeanette is hanging on for dear life - to avoid falling into this deep canyon in the State Park.
Most interesting land formations.
Vegetation, rocks, sand and mountains.  What a beautiful combination.  The bike looks good there too.
We marvelled at the beauty of this area.  Depending on the angle of the sun, the mountains can have a purple hue.  It's quite pretty.  We continued our ride further west and into a huge 'doondocking' area just east of the town of Borrego Springs.  These are non-quading RV'ers who harken for peace, quiet, serenity and the beauty of this area.  Boondocking is also free of charge.
Boondockers - outside Borrego Springs
Welcome sign to this most pretty town.
What a pleasant surprise to roll into Borrego Springs.  It is a gem in the rough.  This is a well organized and most pretty town - surrounded by mountains.  We were impressed by its beauty.

Love the design and location of these churches.
Clean, quiet and composed - best describes this little gem in the desert.
Parking area of the mall in town - It was Sunday and there was little to no action in town.

By 3:15 pm, it was time to start heading back home before nightfall.  We much prefer to ride by day - when you can see something - than ride at night with nothing to see.

The following are some of the photos Jeanette took from the back of the motorcycle - in motion.

Thanks for stopping by.  We had a great ride on a bright and sunny day.  We certainly recommend Anza-Borrega Desert State Park and the town of Borrego Springs as places to visit should your travels take you near this area.


  1. Yep, that's our third home away from home alright...Borrego Springs. A true diamond in the rough & just far enough off the beaten path to keep it that way:))

  2. what a great tour of Borrego Springs!..thanks for letting us ride along!

  3. Great photos, by the way we were at the Salton Sea a couple of years ago and it stank then and there were a lot dead fish around then also.

  4. Great blog, Rene! Just terrific! It felt like I was right along on the bike with you looking at all the beautiful scenery through your photos - nice job.

    I agree that the Salton Sea is best seen from a distance! But the Anza-Borrego desert is a sight to behold.

    San Jacinto was beautiful with the snow on Sunday morning and your pictures captured it perfectly.

  5. Great shot of San Jacinto with the fresh snow!