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Old 12-09-2017, 08:43 PM   #1
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San Diego ----> Joshua Tree

Well, we started our trip home on Friday, with the first leg of our trip. It was a four hour drive from our campground to the BLM Dispersed camping area south of Joshua Tree. We picked this location to camp because it's a little bit more private, and cause the park doesn't have too many spots for a combination as big as we are.

The drive was interesting. I've been using Sygic Truck GPS for most navigation, unless I have a specific route in mind. It allows you to input your dimensions and picks accordingly. Only time I've been mislead is when on a military base. Anyways, we ended up taking 78 to 79, both of which have restrictions for RV's longer than 40 feet or kingpin to axle over 35 feet. Needless to say, it was an interesting drive. Beautiful, but interesting. If you're not comfortable on tight roads, don't do it.

The valley thru the Borrego Springs area was probably my favorite portion of the drive, but all of it was good.

We're now camped, and spent the day in the park. Very interesting, cool place.

The first pic is our route - second is the BLM area we're in. If you camp here, scout out your area before pulling in, as there are several washouts on the one road. On the second road there were none, and it gives you access to all the "sites". The third picture is our location. Great camping location! The dark line in the pictures is a dirt berm, about 6 feet tall. Travel trailers and fivers should have no problem finding a spot, motorhomes may need to be a little more selective, especially for easy leveling.

There are more pics of our camping area on our Facebook page, and will share more when we edit video/pics.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:19 PM   #2
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Really!?! Your GPS took you through Julian! If you do come back take 78 to Scissors Crossing and take S2 south into Ocotillo and home on the I8.
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:50 PM   #3
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It all worked out ok. It was a great drive - much better than the interstate! I'm starting to really not like the interstate unless I absolutely have to get someplace.

We drove to Lake Havasu today, it was a pretty decent drive. The Mojave Desert is huge! I couldn't imagine having crossed that on a horse.
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Old 12-11-2017, 09:09 AM   #4
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I love that area - I agree on the interstate travel; I enjoy the back roads.

While you are in Joshua Tree see if you can register for the Keys Ranch walking tour. Fascinating! We had a wonderful tour guide. Click here for link.

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Old 12-11-2017, 11:11 AM   #5
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Ah, we already left. We did two hikes there - Lost Horse Mine Loop and Lost Palms Oasis. They were both good hikes, moderate, and had different scenery. Seeing the palms in the bottom of a rocky valley was kinda strange - would never guess they'd grow there!
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Old 12-11-2017, 11:24 AM   #6
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Really!?! Your GPS took you through Julian! If you do come back take 78 to Scissors Crossing and take S2 south into Ocotillo and home on the I8.
Yeah my thought too. I go to Anza Borrego from San Diego many times a year. the Julian\Banner grade route is definitely one I would not recommend. Another option to the one mentioned and the one I take frequently is to take S2 at Scissors Crossing to the North. Then west on Hwy 79 to Santa Ysabel. Then West on Hwy 78 on down through Ramona. From there multiple options depending on where in SD you're headed. A few miles further but much faster and less torturous.
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Old 12-16-2017, 08:11 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by aknavy View Post
Well, we started our trip home on Friday, with the first leg of our trip. It was a four hour drive from our campground to the BLM Dispersed camping area south of Joshua Tree. We picked this location to camp because it's a little bit more private, and cause the park doesn't have too many spots for a combination as big as we are.

The drive was interesting. I've been using Sygic Truck GPS for most navigation, unless I have a specific route in mind. It allows you to input your dimensions and picks accordingly. Only time I've been mislead is when on a military base. Anyways, we ended up taking 78 to 79, both of which have restrictions for RV's longer than 40 feet or kingpin to axle over 35 feet. Needless to say, it was an interesting drive. Beautiful, but interesting. If you're not comfortable on tight roads, don't do it.

The valley thru the Borrego Springs area was probably my favorite portion of the drive, but all of it was good.

We're now camped, and spent the day in the park. Very interesting, cool place.

The first pic is our route - second is the BLM area we're in. If you camp here, scout out your area before pulling in, as there are several washouts on the one road. On the second road there were none, and it gives you access to all the "sites". The third picture is our location. Great camping location! The dark line in the pictures is a dirt berm, about 6 feet tall. Travel trailers and fivers should have no problem finding a spot, motorhomes may need to be a little more selective, especially for easy leveling.

There are more pics of our camping area on our Facebook page, and will share more when we edit video/pics.
Thanks for sharing. We are planning to camp this area after Christmas. Do we need to have a BLM pass or registration to camp these lands? I know they are free.
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Old 12-16-2017, 11:39 AM   #8
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No pass/registration needed where we were. Just be aware that the spot we were at was about an hour from most of the hikes/displays. Not a bad drive, but may not want to it several times in a week.
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Old 12-16-2017, 11:58 AM   #9
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For those planning to use the BLM land in the future - be sure to monitor the weather. When there's a lot of rain there's a lot of flooding. We were in the area one January and couldn't even get on those roads. Be careful!


Also, the route through Borrego Springs is, indeed, a beautiful drive. As a side note for boondockers - Borrego Springs has some nice spots.
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Old 12-16-2017, 06:46 PM   #10
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For those planning to use the BLM land in the future - be sure to monitor the weather. When there's a lot of rain there's a lot of flooding. We were in the area one January and couldn't even get on those roads. Be careful!


Also, the route through Borrego Springs is, indeed, a beautiful drive. As a side note for boondockers - Borrego Springs has some nice spots.
Yeah, there are several places on the BLM road that were washed out, and I sure wouldn't want to be there in any rain!

The drive through Borrego is nice enough, we'll do it again in the future - if for nothing more than to park for the night and watch the stars!
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Old 12-16-2017, 07:13 PM   #11
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No pass/registration needed where we were. Just be aware that the spot we were at was about an hour from most of the hikes/displays. Not a bad drive, but may not want to it several times in a week.
Thanks for this information.
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Old 12-18-2017, 09:29 AM   #12
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Also be aware that the BLM requires a fire permit if you intend to have a campfire. In years past enforcement was pretty lax but this year they seem to be paying more attention. No big deal as the permit is free and can be obtained online here:

Prevent Wildfire - California Campfire Permit Online
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Old 12-21-2017, 06:16 PM   #13
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Funny, we just stayed in that spot and took nearly the same route as you but went to Temecula. I had always wanted to see the Salton Sea and never made it a point to go. Had a few extra hours so we took the trip. We are now planning on staying in the mountains after christmas next week.
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Old 12-22-2017, 08:16 AM   #14
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Also be aware that the BLM requires a fire permit if you intend to have a campfire. In years past enforcement was pretty lax but this year they seem to be paying more attention. No big deal as the permit is free and can be obtained online here:

Prevent Wildfire - California Campfire Permit Online
Thanks!
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