What a Trip Central California People Head to Anza-Borrego

Harry Johnson

Active member
Sep 13, 2023
Spreckels, Ca
Spoiler alert! Not as much wheeling content in this trip as I would have liked.

I grew up going to Ocotillo Wells, Plaster City, Wiley's Well, Borrego Springs, etc with my family. Way back when, pretty much every Easter, Thanksgiving, and New Years was spent at the Palm Canyon campground in Borrego.

Anza-Borrego, riding in my buddy's truck circa before digital cameras. Safety, did in fact, take a vacation that day.

This year, my mom (79 years old) wanted to go down to and remember my dad out at Font's Point- one of their favorite places to spend cheers the sunset with a glass of wine. I, of course, also wanted to go down because every year in the fall I start to get the itch to go to the desert. Only problem is, now my favorite desert is 460 miles away. So we loaded up the family SUV with my wife, kids, mother, bags, thanksgiving food, a case of wine, threw my jeep and some little dirt bikes on a trailer, and headed out. (I found out if I park on the trailer like this, its easier to throw my kid's moto on our home made hitch rack)

Because it wasn't enough of a gong show as it is, one of my good friends also came down from northern california with his family, and flat towed our TJ out for the week as well.


It turns out when you add 4 kids and a grandma to an 8 hour road trip, it becomes a 12 hour road trip. I lost count of how many times we had to stop for false alarm poops. My wife passed the time by taking pictures of things related to alcohol out the window



Eventually we arrived in the promised land, unloaded our junk, and were up bright and early the next day to... Ok, turns out first we took my mom into town to her favorite Borrego Springs restaurant to get breakfast, then the wives found a "cute shop" and then one of the kids needed a nap and, well, this wasn't turning out like it did in high school, but we did finally make it out for an afternoon desert sesh just east of the borrego springs airport



The next day we followed family tradition and headed up to the mountains to pick up some thanksgiving pies from Julian, Ca.



Found this cool old lathe up there:

Pies gathered and lunch ate, I hauled butt back down the hill. I had a very important promise to keep with my oldest boy and my buddy's oldest daughter- they got an evening moto ride before dinner.

Thanksgiving morning we went looking for big horn sheep up the Palm Canyon trail. If you guys are ever over in that area of the desert, bust this hike out, it's worth it. If you go early enough in the morning, you might also find some big horn sheep on the trail.

Palm trees in the distances

Palm trees up close

Hike back down with Font's Point in the background


Before thanksgiving dinner my cousin and his wife met up with us all the way from Prescott, AZ. He was part of the desert shenanigans all those years ago, and brought down his jeep truck. We took a run out to the pumpkin patch in Ocotillo Wells, but rather than go in the traditional entrace, we took the road out to fonts point, then hung a left on Palo Verde Wash, and followed that all the way into the backside of Ocotillo Wells.

Rocks were collected, and some asshole ducked me. (I suspect the guy in the fancy new gladiator, although no one would admit to anything). Jeepers man, can't take them anywhere.

Once I was sufficiently shamed with a small rubber duck, we proceeded to drive over things in 4 low. Here I am making sure my cousin knows there is dirt under his tires and not a mall parking lot.

Wife stole the keys
The little TJ does pretty good at running dirt over too


After that we realized we needed to get back to actually cook thanksgiving dinner so it was straight out the front of ocotillo wells... uh, just as soon as I figured out how to get there via this little wash

Our final day there it was all a free-for all. We hit up the local vistor center because kids, and then it was Jeeps, motos, and mayhem. We even lost my cousin and his wife to the desert on a solo mission for a few hours and he learned that there are many rocks you can't winch yourself out with.

For my part, I took my 6 year old out for his first point to point desert ride. He loved it.



After that, we scooped up grandma in the soccer mom mobile, and met some friends out at Font's Point to send a cheers up to my dad at sunset.

As part of the celebration we spread some desert wildflower seeds around fonts point. There's talk within our group of coming back in the spring to see if any took hold.