We were getting ready to go to India and Thailand where we would spend the next 3 months traveling. We were to fly out of San Diego soon and our most recent nursing contract just ended. Before flying out we decided to spend some time with our friends doing something fun. Our friends Jackie and Tim and their daughter Madi were planning a trip to Ocotillo Wells Off-Road Park and we knew we didn't want to miss this. President's Day Weekend is the unofficial start of "desert season" and the place is packed with every type of of off-road vehicle and RV you can think of, so we headed out on a Thursday to get the jump and stayed until Monday.
Ocotillo Wells Off-Road Park
The Ocotillo Wells SVRA (State Vehicular Recreation Area)
Ocotillo Wells State Park has more than 85,000 acres near the Anza-Borrego desert east of San Diego and we have been going there for years. When living in San Diego, you get the chance to go there from the Fall to Spring months when the temperatures aren't blistering, and it's a welcome oasis from the cooler Southern California winters. Ocotillo Wells is only about 2 hours from Oceanside where we lived, so we packed up our 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo (Chester) and headed to the desert to enjoy the weekend with our good friends.
Ocotillo Wells is an off-road wonderland with varying terrains. From sand washes to rocks, and from unique landscapes to sand dunes, Ocotillo has the right terrain for whatever vehicle you decide to take. Jackie and Tim have an RV in Desert Ironwoods which is an RV and Trailer Home park near Ocotillo's main park. They also have 4 wheelers (quads) and a dune buggy that we took out as well. The park is nice. On Fridays they have bingo night where everyone drinks and parties while playing bingo. 1 dollar per card and the winners of the games can make between 2 and 4 hundred dollars. It's a great time. They also have a pool at the Ironwoods. It was freezing, however refreshing to jump in after the hot day of eating dust in the off-road park.
Pumpkin Patch Rocks
The Pumpkin Patch
We went to the Pumpkin Patch which is a unique place in the park. This unique place is the result of wind and water eroding the surface soil and revealing globular rocks that look much like pumpkins in shape and size. They are believed to be formed by the cementing of sand particles to another small object. It might have been a shell, insect, or another smaller rock. The place is strange and interesting. We have never seen anything like it, and the video below shows the trail to get there and the patch itself.
Back At Camp
Back at Camp
In the evenings, we would go back to Jackie and Tim's, sit by a campfire, cook a meal outdoors on a gas grill, take a dip in the community pool and just enjoy the company of friends. We slept in their storage shed that they use when they aren't there and back in San Diego working. They offered their RV to us and told us we could sleep inside, however we enjoyed the camping feel of staying in the shed without a door on our blowup mattress.
Friends Are What Matter
Change In Perspective
We loved our time visiting with friends and exploring this outdoor adventure park! It isn't the park however that makes us the happiest. It's being with friends. Real friends who are there for you in any circumstance. Friends who take you into their home and at times RV and treat you like family. Sitting talking or silent around a campfire, it doesn't matter. The time is valuable, more interesting than the varying landscapes we visited and exactly what we will remember the most. It's not the sights, sounds and culture of a place that leaves the imprint in the mind. It's the people that matter. The people that you meet while traveling and old friends you know will always be there, these are the memory makers and experiences we will always take with us and cherish.