Melanie and I traveled just north of Pasadena to visit Descanso Gardens on Thursday of this week. Descanso has, among other things, the largest collection of Camellias in North America and, lucky for us, they were blooming.
Within its 150 acres are a Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Oak Forest, Ancient Forest, the aforementioned Camellia Garden, and some great hiking trails to traverse. We spent most of the day there taking lunch at their on premises restaurant. Nice way to spend some time.
It's Friday. Not just any Friday because it's Valentine's Day. To make things worse, it's also Presidents' Day Weekend, meaning a three day weekend. We need to move camp, but don't have a reservation. Oops. Flying by the seat of your pants is great, but sometimes..., you need to pay closer attention to details.
I ask if we can stay on where we are, but no, they're booked. Sorry. My bad. The ranger does, however, give me a sheet with other regional parks on it to check out. The first on the list besides one that's closed is Orangeland RV Park.
I call them and, yes, they have an opening. Whew, we're in for the whole weekend.
Orangeland is close to Disney Land, Los Angeles Angels baseball and Anaheim Ducks hockey. It's also within blocks of the Santa Ana River Trail that runs west for 14 miles to the Pacific Ocean.
Orangeland is well-maintained. The sites are asphalt and pretty close together with strips of grass between them. There's a pool with a hot tub close by. The showers are very nice and spacious. The laundry room is more than adequate for a park this size. There's a camp store stocked with incidentals. You're also within walking distance to a number of restaurants and a movie theater.
We've very much enjoyed our stay here. Oh, and there's free fruit for the picking. Oranges, lemons and limes.
Well- maintained regional park near Santa Margarita, O'Neill Regional Park is basically dry camping with some sites offering water. Clean showers, gravel pads, fire rings, picnic tables, and freshly paved roads. Nice spot for $20.00 a night. Verizon coverage was spotty for streaming video, but good enough for calls, texting, etc.
One of the nicest parks we've at which we've stayed in California. Located about 5 miles from the tourist town of Julian, California, William Heise is a gem. We stayed in site # 39 which I believe to be one of the best. Most all sites are well-spaced and give enough privacy from neighbors.
We were camping in Borrego Palm Canyon Campground. A friend suggests since we're pretty close by we should make a day trip to The Salton Sea. Some time ago I'd read a campground review by someone who camped along the shore. Dead fish smells is what I remembered of the review, but after reading a little history, Melanie and I decide a day trip to see a dying sea is in order.
During the time we were discussing our trip, a high school friend asks me if I'd visited Slab City. I remember reading about it and had a vague recollection of it being a kind of squatter's camp in the desert. The location was close to The Salton Sea and might work nicely into our day trip and besides, Salvation Mountain is located there.
We spent an hour or so looking around and making a few images. Another slice of Americana.
Editorial: The Salton Sea is a disaster in the making. California isn’t doing anything to stop it
Anza-Borrego Springs State Park is a true California gem. We spent four days there and didn't want to leave. The park is well-maintained with friendly, helpful staff. The location is nothing short of amazing. Desert meets mountains. The weather in January during our visit was mid 60's during the day and mid to high 40's at night.
The town of Borrego Springs is a short bike ride away and very bike friendly.
They offer full hook ups and dry camping. We tried 2 nights of each. Our preference was the dry camping. The dry camping sites are nicely spaced and the area is quieter and darker, making for better night time star gazing. Anza-Borrego is a Dark Sky Place.
Castaic Lake Campground is basically a parking lot with a few amenities throw in. There's a very nice park on the opposite side of the lagoon from the campground and I'm sure in the summer months it's a busy place. You can sail, picnic, and cycle around the spacious grounds.
We were camped there during the week and no one was in the A loop with us. There were a couple of campers in the other loops, but basically, we had the place to ourselves. I took the bikes out and rode up the road to Lake Castaic, the campground is located on Castaic Lagoon. It's a great ride up to the lake and the views are worth the uphill ride.