Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Lakeside to Desert View Tower

As promised yesterday, here's  my "returning to the Tower" post with many pictures and some personal thoughts about each spot.


Up Interstate 8 about seven miles east, near Alpine, is a popular scenic viewpoint. Yesterday it was graced by four or five semi-trucks as well as several other vehicles. On a clear day, "rise and look around you, and you'll see just who you are." Oops. Forgot I was wearing the "My brain is 80% song lyrics" t-shirt. Seriously, when the sky is clear, I've been able to see all the way to Point Loma and the ocean. Yesterday, not quite that far. It's a good spot for truckers to rest themselves and their trucks, preparing for the grade up to a little over 4,000 feet. 

Trucks at Alpine Viewpoint
Here's the view toward the west yesterday. The ocean is past that very faint outline of a mountain near the center. But, it's still a wonderful view that changes with each season.

View Towards San Diego from Alpine Viewpoint
I hung around for a short time, checked out the view, the people, and my email. Nope. Nothing spectacular, except the view. Time to get back on the road as there was still about 55 miles, more or less, to go. However, I decided to get off the freeway and head up Old Highway 80. There's more to see that way.


View from Tierra Del Sol
I have a good friend who is a member of the San Diego Astronomy Association (SDAA). According to their website, "Public Star Parties are held during the dark of the moon at the Association's observing site at Tierra Del Sol.The schedule for these parties maybe found in the Events section of this website. The Club's 22-inch LippRitchey-Chretien reflector, as well as its newly acquired 8-inch D&G refractor, are available for club members and hosted during Public Star Parties for visitors." 

I've been up there with him many times and have always been impressed by the number, size, and variety of telescopes members set up to view the sky. Tierra Del Sol is located near the small town of Live Oak Springs, off  Tierra Del Sol Road. Please see this map for more detailed directions. 


Okay, Sharon Greve Campbell, here's Boulevard for you. The town used to be a going concern, until the freeway bypassed it. According to Wikipedia, "The town and post office were named Boulevard after US Highway 80 which ran through town. Eventually Interstate 8 was constructed, bypassing the town." But since the town is only about 12 miles from the Desert View Tower, friends and I go there to eat all the time. Oh, and to also splurge a little on candy.


The Wisteria Candy Cottage has been in Boulevard since 1921. My mom and dad recalled stopping there many times. However, it went through many changes of ownership and closures over the years. It's now been reopened for quite a few years and is a must-stop for anyone with a sweet tooth http://www.wisteriacandycottage.com/. I love their caramel and pecan turtles. 

Wisteria Candy Cottage

Almost across the street from the candy store is the Manzanita Diner, where we go for dinner almost every week. They specialize in Italian food, and their lasagna is outstanding. As are their pizzas. I love their barbecued chicken pizza. We usually call ahead and our beers, water, and pizza are usually ready when we arrive. 

Even though a friend and I are almost 70, we're sometimes (usually?) still kids at heart. And Brandy, our favorite waitress, caters to us. For some reason, known only to us, we've gotten into the habit of blowing straw wrappers at each other. So, to cater to the "kids," she started placing a bunch of straws at our places. To thank her, we usually pelt her with four or five, all in fun. I'm sure it's a waste of paper and plastic, but hilarious sometimes. Several weeks ago, one of my wrappers got stuck on a sliver of the wood ceiling and remained up there for quite a while. It finally fell down. Oh, well.

Brandy's daughter, Aubrey, also works in the restaurant, and we were thrilled to see her oldest child take her first steps. Aubrey just had her second daughter several months ago. So cute. Both women are some of the hardest workers I've ever seen, yet they take time to get to know their customers and provide small things, like Easter stickers, for us. Brandy takes care in wrapping our leftover pizza in foil, turning the packages into things like rabbits with long ears or dragons. Definitely a good place to eat. Closed on Wednesdays.

Manzanita Diner


The Golden Acorn Casino is technically in Campo, but since it's right off the freeway, on Old Highway 80, I'll include it here. I've only been there to gamble once, on a Senior Day, but have eaten in their restaurant several times.Nothing to write home about, but they have quite decent prices, such as the typical Prime Rib Dinners for $7.77. I usually stop by to fill up my gas tank on the way back from San Diego as their prices are reasonable.And they do have quite a wide variety of snacks and other items in their store.

Do you see the "wind farm" to the right in this picture? Since the casino is located at an elevation of around 4,000 feet, it's an ideal spot for those turbines. There are quite a few of them on a hill across the freeway.

Golden Acorn Casino

I include this picture of an interesting tree just because I love seeing it each time I drive by between Boulevard and Jacumba. Forgive the radio antenna to the left: I was too lazy to get out of the car.

Interesting Tree along Old Highway 80

And finally, Jacumba Hot Springs, at the end of our trip. Borrowing from the Wikipedia article, "Jacumba Hot Springs is located on the Mexican Border. A small settlement exists on the Mexican side, known as Jacume; the unmanned crossing was closed in 1995. The new, enlarged border fence now runs through the area. The United States Border Patrol maintains an increased presence in the area to curtail smuggling and illegal immigration."

Jacumba was another spot negatively affected by the freeway. "Around the turn of the 20th century, the health and relaxation benefits of natural hot springs began to be commercialized. The Jacumba hot spring is prolific and delivered enough water to fill large public baths, the remains of which can still be seen. The water contains sulfur but has a pleasant clean smell. In 1919 rail service connected Jacumba to San Diego. By 1925 the town had a world class hotel, the Hotel Jacumba. In the 1930s, Jacumba had developed into a top destination and had a population of about 1,150. Many of the foremost movie stars and celebrities of the time regarded Jacumba as a prime destination for relaxation."

Now there is very little left of the town except for a refurbished hotel/restaurant, a small store, a school, and a few other spots. Please read the rest of the Wikipedia article for more information. I would have loved to live here when the city was in its prime.

Coming back here after a few years, I cried when I saw this horrible border fence between Jacumba and Mexico for the first time. Families used to be able to walk back and forth over the border and visit with each other. Now it's necessary for them to somehow drive or get rides many miles to the nearest border crossing, either Tecate or perhaps Calexico. Needless to say, I hate the fence and always will.

Border Fence
Here's what's left of the city of Jacumba, looking east.

Entering Jacumba
Ricardo Breceda is well-known for his metal sculptures in Borrego Springs, and here is another of them, this one located in front of the Jacumba branch of the San Diego County Library.

Breceda Metal Sculpture at Library
It's been very windy up here lately, and I loved the tumbleweed stuck in the wires at the small Jacumba Airport.

Tumbleweed Caught in Wires at Airport
And here's the turnoff to the Desert View Tower, on In-Ko-Pah Park Road. There was actually a park here for a while but it was shut down many years ago.

Turnoff to Desert View Tower

 And here we are, safe and sound, at the Desert View Tower. Hope you enjoyed your trip. Please come again. 

Desert View Tower

1 comment:

Sharon said...

I had no idea they call that the Mountain Empire, a lofty claim I would say :)