Monday, August 1, 2011

Road Trip to the Cuyamaca Mountains

A few weeks ago we took a trip up to the Cuyamaca Mountains, up above the old mining town of Julian (I'm sure some of you are familiar with Julian and I'll post a photo tour of it soon).  The camp ground is one of our favorite places. The camp sites are very spread out and some of them have views that are truly AMAZING.  I'll only do a couple of blog posts on it right now because we've already gone and returned from another roadie to an awesome campground up the coast.

On the way down the coast we stopped at San Onofre State Park. It's not the best for camping but they do have miles and miles of awesome coastline.  The entire place is actually part of Camp Pendleton (USMC) base (ooh-rah!). Thanks to them, the state was allowed to put a state park on their property. Beautiful waves without a surfer in sight. I was stationed at this base MANY moons ago. This is a look to the south.

This is a view to the north. If you enlarge this photo you can see where my town's electricity comes from. The two huge domes in the background that look like a giant bra, is actually the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant.
Here's a couple of "bear with me" photos. This is yet another example of my fixation with closeups and out of focus backgrounds

A solitary (and empty) bench sitting on the cliff top. (this one's for you Faye).

I didn't want to take his pic, but he wouldn't stop begging.

Okay, finally up into the mountains and into the campground. See, I told you this place was spread out.  The raised antenna is a joke, we couldn't get a single TV station. But, hey we're supposed to be roughing it. Right?

The campground has been overrun by wildfires twice in the past 10 years. Here's an example of a scorched tree that may or may not make it. I thought it was pretty cool looking either way.

Note the woodpecker hard at work. Not only are there thousands of holes "pecked" into the bark of this huge tree...

The woodpeckers come back and put a single acorn into each and every hole. Thousands and thousands. Of course this leads to a not so delicate ballet between the squirrels and the woodpeckers.

This view is from a campsite we hope to get next time. It's on the very edge of the mountain and looks down into the Anza-Borrego Desert. In the far distance you can see the Salton Sea. The day I took this, it was about 75 degrees. It was close to 110 degrees down below.

Here I am contemplating. Contemplating what I have no idea. I was probably wondering if it was too early to invoke my own personal "happy hour."  Hey, this camping is tough and brutal, but somebody has to keep the pioneering spirit alive...



  1. Amazing photos! Like the one of the bench - nice angle. And you were probably contemplating nothing. That's what I always tell my wife I'm thinking about when staring into space.

  2. I love this area as well. Great to see these pictures. You and the seagull both look very at home!

  3. are the acorns to attract insects?

  4. That tree is really cool. The whole set of pictures is fantastic. I love the out focus background shots too.

  5. ha!!! my favorite has to be the contemplative Pat photo. I'm not understanding why woodpeckers put an acorn in every hole. ??? that makes for quite the conversation piece of a tree. thanks for sharing the photos - it looks like a fabulous spot to camp. your photos have a dream-like quality to them that I really love.

  6. Yes it looks BRUTAL, Pat. :)

    It looks awesome. And once again I stole one of your photos for one of my desktop images. Hope you don't mind. Ha!

  7. I saw somewhere that they have floating RVs. Sort of like the old military ducks. Is that how you got to Kauai by chance?

  8. An acorn in every hole. How amazing.

  9. That tree with the acorns is something else! I've never heard of woodpeckers doing that. (I don't get out much)

    With a camper like that... you are hardly "roughing it" unless you break down and need repairs... heaven forbid.

  10. You sure go on the best road trips! Man, those woodpeckers sure have been busy!

  11. Glad you found a spot to get out of the heat. But wait, you live on the coast!
    With the mountains and the Ocean, SC does have a lot of options as to where to park the camper.

  12. You look at peace. It is lovely up there. You are making me so homesick. I've always adored the undeveloped coastline between Oceanside & San Clemente. There was talk, during the Clinton years, of closing Pendleton. All I could see in my mind's eye was rampant development and a horror story of traffic. I've always loved the drive from SD into Mission Viejo. Don't even mind it after that if it's light traffic.

    Anyway, that tree is awesome. Why do the woodpeckers put acorns in the tree holes? Is it for the squirrels? Is it an ecosystem? That is so cool.

    Can't wait to see the Julian photos. Spent quality time there alot. I once stayed in the old Julian Hotel and it was a kick. (the walls are paper thin). Are you going to have pie?

  13. Cool pictures! Love the wood pecker ones but I think my favorite is the last one. The contemplating onoe. Looks the most relaxing of all....=0)

  14. Fabulous photos, Pat! Hubby worked at San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant back in the late 70's. We took a drive down there when we were in SoCal a few years ago, too.

  15. What a cool spot. Love the empty bench photo, but they are all great. I'd love to camp there someday, especially if I had a camper like yours.

  16. gorgeous pictures and you seem to be enjoying the trip

  17. You should reward yourself for all that hard and tough camping and start that happy hour effective immediately!

  18. Great shots Pat. I could relax like that for a few days.

    I too have been taken with the close-up/macro photography. Just bought a book by Bryan Peterson on exposure and one on creative seeing. This guy is down to earth and a fantastic picture taker.

    Keeping shooting and posting buddy! And try and relax...

  19. i have never in my life seen a tree full of holes full of acorns. i would've had no idea such a thing might occur. ^_^

  20. Yessssssss ... finally you have come over to the world of empty benchs...

    Absolutely love that shot. And you know I would have taken it as well.

    Thanks Pat !!

  21. An acorn in every hole? I'm going to have to think about that for awhile.

    What a beautiful places to camp, those views are awesome. I love your 'bear with me' photos Pat.

  22. Looks at those vistas! I can't imagine a better place to contemplate.

  23. Oh Pat, your trip sounds wonderful, and there are places to see and taking in.

    The tree with acorns is amazing, and that was quite a job for the woodpeckers.

  24. It looks heavenly. I can sense the cool breezes and the lovely solitude. You look peaceful in the last picture, maybe you're imagining the next lovely location for travel and camping.

  25. Another great road trip... thanks for taking us along Pat :-)
    I love the detail of the scorched tree and woodpeckers' acorn farm!

  26. Looks like you captured nature at it's best. Beautiful pictures. And you look so relaxed. Very nice.

  27. It's NEVER too early for happy hour when you are on vacation! Ahhhh, I envy you so.

  28. awesome photos. i'm sure you get this a lot, but i want your life! you're always taking these awesome trips and it's cool that you capture and share these moments with us :)

  29. Love the pics! I love landscape photo's, looks like a lot of fun!

  30. That picture with the acorns is awesome. :) And happy hour? Never too early for that.

  31. You do get to travel to some great places, wonderful pics! ;-))

  32. I would love to see a battle between the woodpeckers and squirrels. You better get pics of that.

  33. Fabulous! And it is NEVER too early for happy hour.

  34. Alex - Thanks Alex! You are right I was contemplating nothing. Most times my head is full of white noise.

    Oilfield Trash - Thanks so much!

    Bossy Betty - I never feel too much at home when there is all that potential radioactivity close at hand. I live within the 15 mile initial evacuation zone around that place!

    Budd - The do eat them, but they over save for winter.

    Tim - thanks Tim. I'm glad you like the out of focus background shots, I have some good ones from the roadie we just got back from.

    Ms Becky - Thanks Becky! At another camp ground they counted all the holes with acorns in a gigantic tree. There was over 50 thousand in the one tree alone! Amazing and weird!

    TVA - You know how it is...

    Sharon - Too funny! We were wishing we had our RV there, but the roads are too narrow and we didn't see a single one! I guess a floating RV would be called a houseboat...

    altadenahiker - Yep, it sure was amazing...

    Ms. A - I've done SO MUCH "real" camping in my life, that I got burnt out. Now I like to to camp with a real bed. I know, I know...

    Brian - Thanks! We try to get around, but we try to do it cheaply.

    Martha Z - Yep! You are so right, it's so mild here during the summer that we have to travel some to get to "real" heat and weather.

    California Girl - I was certainly at peace. I'm glad they didn't close it. I was stationed there back in the day. I think they intend to eat the acorns later, but they drasticaly overdo it. LOL! We had some pie...

    KaLynn - Thanks so much! I sure was relaxed. It's a pretty rustic place, but we managed to make it comfy.

  35. Marlene - Small world! Next time you guys are in the area, the four of us need to get together.

    Cheeseboy - Thanks my friend! It's nice having it close by.

    becca - Thanks becca! We did enjoy it.

    Stephen - Oh yeah! It was really tough. Like I always say, it's 10:00 AM somewhere!

    Chuck - Thanks Chuck! I love that phrase, "creative seeing." To me, that is most of photography.

    Ven - I've never seen it either. Now I've seen in in two places. Last week we were up in your neck of the woods, in the mountians off of highway 154.

    faye - I knew you'd like it. I've always really liked candid shots, so I usually looked for benches with people sitting on them. You may be winning me over...
    As soon as I saw it, I thought of you!

    SQ - A car in every garage, a chicken in every pot and an acorn in every woodpecker hole.

    Talli - I totally agree! Relaxing...

    Icy BC - There is SO much to see. It would take a lifetime just to see all the things in California alone.

    Mary - thanks Mary! It sure was peaceful. We've already gone and returned from another trip after this one.

    Nat - My pleasure Nat! There were quite a few scorched trees because the place had been burnt over a couple of times fairly recently. Burning motor homes and exploding propane tanks...

    On woman's thoughs - Thanks so much! I sure was relaxed.

    Shrinky - You are so right! I don't work, so it's always vacation time!

    Ally - Thanks Ally! My life is pretty darn good now, but as you know, it wasn't easy getting to this point for me.

    Golden Girl - thanks so much! It sure was a lot of fun. Thanks for commenting and following my blog!

    Baby Sister - NEVER too early for happy hour!

    Talei - Thanks Talei! We worked hard for many years and now it's our time...

    PTM - Ha! If that happens I will certainly try to get it on film!

    Megan - Hey Megan! Glad to see you here. I agree with you!

  36. These are wonderful photos, as always, Pat. Those holes in the trees with the acorns in them blow my mind. I've never seen anything like that. My favorite is the last one! ;)

  37. Have you seen the Woodpeckers eat the acorns?

  38. Haha... how great to have SquirrelQueen contemplating an acorn in every hole... It IS amazing, for sure. Learn something every day. But Pat, a TV? in a camper? YOUR camper? How disappointing... LOL!! The water is calling my name... And I trust you had your happy hour.

  39. Looks like awesome fun.

    Great shots as usual.

    Where's the beer?


  40. Pam Tucker - Thanks Pam! I bet I took 30 different shots of those acorns.

    Warren - Nope! I guess they save them for winter, but it sure is overkill...

    Blue Wave - Thanks!

    Francisca - Heck yeah there's a TV in there. You bet I had my happy hour!

    Anthony - It's always fun to hit the road. Thanks Anthony!

  41. Love the in-focus flower - that would make for a nice wall print. And when you're on vacation, it's never too early to invoke your own personal happy hour.... :)


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