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March 10, 2019

Spring Bloom - Anza Borrego

In my last post I reported on the awesome Winter Bloom in Ocotillo Wells.  This weekend we met friends to check out the Spring Bloom in Borrego Springs.  With a few hundred photos from the weekend to choose from I’ll select those that are unique or at least have a extension from my last few posts that convey new insights.

 As is our custom we stop at Dudley’s in Santa Ysabel for a lunch/dinner to share.  Since it’s windy and cold I wanted a hot sandwich.  I’ve had my mouth set for their ‘roast beef sriracha’ and ARG! it is no longer on the menu!  But the gal at the deli recognizes us and knows how to make it.  Sweet! and thanks Dudley’s, just what was needed for 3 meals!

We met up with friends, Doug and Marilyn, at Peg Leg Smith for a weekend of good times, good wine, good flowers and mostly good friends.  The campsite is easy-in/easy-out with level sites.  And has its own library.

 Our first sunset was pretty amazingly different – interesting sunbeams finding their way thru the clouds.

A campfire in the desert must be in an elevated metal container in most areas.  I take an old wash tub along for that purpose and find a few rocks to keep it off the ground.  An easy solution that provides a lot of heat.

Friday morning we headed to Christmas Circle for the Farmer’s Market.  Doug wanted to find some radishes and fresh cilantro for the Carne Asada planned for dinner.  It's not a big market but had what he wanted and it was fresh!

As I mentioned in my last post the Winter Bloom in Ocotillo Wells was awesome!  This trip is to check out what the spring wildflowers are like in Borrego Springs.  Our first exploration is up Hellhole and Little Surprise Canyons, where the cholla here are jumping!

Doug picked up an aggressive pod that just refused to let go!  I keep a comb in my pack for such an instance, but the pack is back at the RV.

The barrel cactus are in bloom.  I often wonder what they smell like, but have never had the desire to get close enough to find out.

As were the Bluebells

After our walk in the canyon we stopped by the Library.  This is the first opportunity for Doug to visit.  It offers a much better selection of reading material than the little library at Peg Leg Smith.

Altho I’ve been a few times before I did not notice that they offer laptop check out.  Not sure how that works but it’s certainly a nice option.

They are preparing for a book sale tomorrow.  The featured item will be the a complete Star Trek collection.  Many hundreds of books in the Star Trek series being cataloged for the sale.

For our next wildflower excursion we chose Coyote Canyon as it had been reopened after the rains, and freshly graded.  This is by far the best conditions I’ve ever seen, altho we only went as far as Desert Gardens.

Coyote Canyon is noted for the number of ocotillo that call it home

A beautiful indigo bush

Fairy duster

On our way into town we noticed this little airplane, not sure what it is doing here without its wheels. 

Fran and I have not done the “Borrego Wander” before. Now was the day to take care of that.

The ‘Wander’ is simply a meander through the field behind the Kiwanis fruit stand near Christmas Circle.  Each of the many plaques has a brief message. 

Along the wander is the Borrego Rock and Gem (BRAG) display offering a selection of the geology of the Borrego valley.

Both Kg and Aj have more knowledge of geology than I, but Fran selected 3 rocks that called out to her.  We have no idea what they are!

The sunset of our 3nd night looked like Julian was ablaze.  Nope just the way the sun reflected off the clouds. 

For breakfast it was our plan to have a chorizo taste-off.

Doug and Marilyn had a hog slaughtered, which provided a couple pounds of chorizo to go with the commercial offerings.
I scrambled up some eggs with onions, jalapeno and poblano peppers to go with our chorizo tasting.  From the top left are the chorizo entries :
1. Doug’s Private Reserve – yes Doug has his own secret stash!
2. Santa Ysabel butcher shop regular
3. Santa Ysabel butcher shop Hot - adds cyan and red chilies to the regular
4. Santa Ysabel butcher shop Hot Hot - adds habanero to the Hot
5. Borrego Springs Market

All sausage has a measure of fat, since we like our meat on the lean side, I wanted to test that too.  So all entries were pan fried until crisp and then in the microwave for 20 seconds to see how much fat might still be released.  And of course flavor and texture are important. Our test is pretty hedonistic, in that it was what we liked.

1. Doug’s Private Reserve – Leanest, best texture and good flavor.
2. Santa Ysabel Hot – Lean, good flavor, but lousy texture
3. Borrego Springs Market – Best flavor, good texture, but highest fat content by far.  Cook it well done and you’ll not be disappointed.

Not sure if the flowers help attract pollinators or deter pests.  Or just whimsy to add some beauty to the vegetable garden.


  1. Looks like you had a great time in Borrego with good friends. I first Chorizo I tasted was from Borrego springs market and got me hooked the flavour I love. Glad it rated # 3 on tour taste test. They have a beef and pork on here in Ajo I find not as tasty. But better than none.

    1. Keep in mind the Borrego Market was #1 in flavor! If taste was the only criteria it would have won hands down. As a chef you know that presentation counts, so we had to invent a couple other categories for the testing.

  2. With all of our stays in the Borrego Springs area, we have never done the "Wander." Good little tip for a future visit!

    1. You're welcome! Leave your hiking sticks at The Springs, this is truly a meander, with a bit of maintenance ADA approved :)

  3. Man I love me some chorizo and would have been very happy to judge those plates...

    1. WE could have used you John, another to share the experience and idea on how to rate them.

  4. I remember many sunrayed evenings camped along the House road. I do love that little AB market. Nice selection of flowers with good company and food, you can't go wrong.

    1. There were a quite a few folks over on Rock House Road enjoying the flowers and the sunsets. It indeed was a good weekend for us.

  5. Enjoyed the brief trip and the great company. The inner washer barrel put out a lot of heat and is a convenient size for an RV. I was like a dog with porcupine quills as my wife picked out the last of the quick, jumping cholla. I think your rating was a bit biased as I was involved, but glad you enjoyed the chorizo. I got it made at Tip Top Meats in Carlsbad from a 4H hog. They have told me that they are getting out of the business of custom preparation of the hogs.

    1. Ya know Doug, our chorizo would have been #1 even without our personal connection. Hope the leg is healing, next time I'll make sure there is a comb in my pocket and not left back at the RV.


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