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November 08, 2015

Ocotillo Wells SVRA, CA

Ocotillo Wells SVRA is a great OHV area on the west side of the Salton Sea.  Although well known for its OHV activity the park offers hiking, biking, geocaching and an unlimited area for dispersed camping (boondocking).  But I really appreciate the uninterrupted view to the east, with little light pollution it’s a great place for the night sky.

It’s been a bit since the last post.  Rufus has now been serviced at the Commercial Vehicles center at Mercedes Benz of San Diego,  along with maintenance on our home … it all takes time.  But now it’s time to prepare for the upcoming adventures.  Ocotillo Wells is an easy shake down test.
The route from San Diego passes through Santa Ysabel, the home of Dudley’s.  A wanna be Erick Schat’s, and like the stops at Erick’s, ordered the turkey sandwich.  
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The park has a nice 11” Celestron that they will have available in the Spring for viewing our solar system in evening sky.  However with all the recent solar activity they only had their solar scope out this weekend for viewing that pesky sunspot causing the beautiful Northern lights.
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Sunrise with a view from the campsite.
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Today’s ride will be a loop and include some of the main highlights of the park.  Shell Reef has rocks with the fossilized remains of clam, oyster and scallop shells.
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The ride from Shell Reef to the Pumpkin Patch has a few ‘technical’ spots along ‘Cut Across Trail’ with some great views of the expanse of this area.
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Since it is just past Halloween, what better stop than a Pumpkin Patch?  The globular sandstone balls are formed similar to a pearl with the cementing of outer layers over a smaller object.
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And critters!  This is on the back side of Devil's Slide.  These prints were pristine early in the morning, but by the time I got back with the camera the wind all but covered them.  Earlier this morning bird and snake prints were also visible in the sand.  Just a guess but it looks like a young Jack-a-lope (jack rabbit) avoided a fox.
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The Gas Domes are bubbling mud pots.  Unlike the mud pots of Yellowstone this water is cold.  The Salton Sea is visible to the east.  If in the area sure it’s worth a stop, but there are way better ‘mud volcanoes’ on the south-east end of the Salton Sea.
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Just south of the Gas Dome is an Artesian Well.  The ‘Wells’ in Ocotillo Wells is not from the artesian wells but from the extensive efforts to find oil.
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But even with more water than oil found, the drought takes a toll on what is already a dry desert area.
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I forgot to mention that Santa Ysabel is also home to the Julian Pie Company, try the Apple Mountain Berry take-n-bake.  yum …
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Ramona is home to some 30 tasting rooms servicing some 60 vineyards and growing.  My favorite – without doubt – is the little Edwards Vineyard Syrah.
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But with all the new competition maybe it’s time to reevaluate that choice – want to help?

San Felipe next …


  1. We did a lot of these sites a couple years ago while staying in Anza Borrego SP. We really enjoyed the Pumpkin Patch and the Gas Domes! We'll be revisiting in a couple weeks when we take our friends to see them.

    1. Hope the great weather continues for your hikes. Some of my favorites are up Coyote Creek and down in Blair Valley. And for certain the Jeep will come in handy. Looking forward to your next blog, you do the fun stuff 😃


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