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Going offline

Finally, the Summer magazine is ready for layout, which means I can relax and enjoy the park! Anza-Borrego is a beautiful place, and this is a great time of year, so it is tragic to waste it sitting in the trailer worrying about work. I’ve tied up the remaining loose ends that I can, and placed all other projects on hold for a week. Whatever problems remain to be solved will just have to wait for a while. I’m on vacation.

I was very happy for Bill & Larry since their first boondocking experience was very successful. They seemed to have no trouble grasping the techniques of water and electricity conservation, and had no fear of being “out in the boonies”, away from a campground. In fact, Larry mentioned to me that when they bought their new Airstream, this was the sort of place they had envisioned camping — with few people around, quiet and peaceful.

They packed up and headed home mid-day, but we and Rich C had already headed off for a bit of exploring in the southern end of the park. About 20 miles away, and three miles down a bumpy, narrow, dirt road, we found the trail to the Marshall South homestead. This family tried to live off the land on the top of a hill in a very remote and difficult area, back in the 1930s.

Anza Marshall South hike .jpg
Hiking up the trail to the house

Even today the spot is inhospitable. There is no water — the family used a water-collection system and cistern. All supplies had to be transported via Ford Model T, then carried up a steep rocky trail for a mile. Temperatures in the summer routinely exceed 100 degrees. They lived in a homemade adobe house with no amenities at all, for 16 years, until the wife quit and the family broke up.

Anza Marshal South house.jpg
The dissolving remains of the South homestead

We did another short hike as well — the Narrows Earth Trail — since it wasn’t particularly hot. (Temps ran 78-88 depending on altitude.) But if you do some hiking in the desert, keep in mind that even on a moderate day you’ll require a lot of water.

By late afternoon we felt like taking it easy, so we headed to downtown Borrego Springs for a Mexican dinner. It was a perfect time for eating outdoors. In Borrego Springs, the tall mountains to the west block the late afternoon sun, so the town gets a welcome shade around 5 pm (this time of year), and it immediately feels comfortable. The downtown has a certain funky feel, with a few old-fashioned neon signs and small-town businesses, and a big centerpiece called “Christmas Circle” where the town provides a big green lawn and palm trees.

This will be the last daily blog entry for a few days. We are heading to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument today, in southwestern Arizona, to meet Bert & Janie, and Ken & Petey. Organ Pipe is a wonderfully remote desert park where there is neither cell phone service nor Internet access. We will be completely cut off from the instantaneous communication that has influenced our travels for the past year.

Organ Pipe has no hookups either, which means you need solar or a generator if you want to stay for long. We had to leave the park early last year for lack of adequate power, but now we have two solar panels and four batteries. We’ve already been unplugged for two days and two nights, but with the constant desert sun we are in no danger of running out of power.

We’ll spend two more nights in Organ Pipe, hiking and taking pictures with our friends, and then head into Mexico for four nights. In Mexico we might have some limited Internet access, but I am going to be taking a break from the blog & from business, so most likely I will not update this blog until we return to the USA on March 17 or 18. Check back once in a while, or make a note to come back on March 17 to see how we fared in Mexico. We should have lots of stories and photos to share with you.

One Response to “Going offline”

  1. Randy Godfrey Says:


    You haven’t posted your Google Earth locations in awhile. I was enjoying following you that way.