Welcome and thanks for stopping by.
My reference links will open in a new tab.

If you have any corrections, suggestions, comments please use the Comments at the end of the post.
I do respond to all comments. - Thanks!

November 26, 2019

Observatory Campground - Mt Palomar

I knew my chance of seeing any of the Alpha Monocerotid Meteor Shower was zero, I'm too far west.  But I could hope that there would be a few outside the main event.  The east coast prediction was of 400 meteors an hour ... it was just too tempting.

Plans were made months ago to a spend couple nights on Mt Palomar at the Observatory Campground.  Even without the meteor shower, the sky would be moon-less ... perfect conditions for setting up my telescope.

I reserved site #40, a site with its own telescope pad, this is the same great site we had on our last trip here.

The East Grade Road from Lake Henshaw is an easier assent for an RV than the steep climb up the South Grade Road from Escondido.  There’s a nice viewpoint overlooking Lake Henshaw on the way, which would be an awesome stop on a clear day.

But today is not a clear day!  Fog and low clouds prevail, the predicted sun has not yet shown up.  

Not only was the meteor shower a dud on the east coast, it was in the midst of our first winter storm on the west coast.  Neither Fran, nor her brother Bobby, decided to join me.  Good decision!

There’s still patches of snow at my campsite.  No surprise I’m the only one here.

Last time here Fran and I took the Observatory Trail up to Palomar Observatory.  This time I only went as far as the Mendenhall Valley overlook to get a cell signal and text Fran of my safe arrival.

The trail is easy to follow despite being covered in oak leaves and acorns.

Overnight the temperature dropped to 24 F, a new low for the RV.  I never even considered setting up the telescope.  However, when I looked out at 4am the sky was clear and filled with stars, but it was 24 degrees!

It began warming quickly as the sun melted the frozen dew from the grasses.  A beautiful dawn, but another bitter night being predicted.

I decided not to stay another night.  But waited for the Visitor Center to open at 9 am.  When I arrived the snow was still being plowed from the parking lot.

The museum has improved several times over the years.  Definitely worth a stop.

The 200" mirror was brought to California from new York aboard a specially modified flatbed rail car.

The big dome housing the Hale Telescope is impressive against the blue sky.

The astronomer can still sit in the booth at the top of the yellow stairs, just below the 200” mirror.  However, most of the real science is done by the computers located well below ground level.

Campground Overview:
RVs up to 32’ are welcome, as are pets on leash although no pets on the trails.
There is a large presence of poison oak surrounding the campground and along the trails.
Hot showers take quarters

This is our go-to campground ($15/7.50), over either the Palomar Mountain State Park ($30) or Fry Creek ($15/7.50).
No cell service in the campground, nor at Palomar Observatory
No auto services on the mountain

The only restaurant on the mountain is Mother's Kitchen, a fun vegetarian/vegan restaurant 

image from shutter stock
I have added the pancreatic cancer purple ribbon to support Our Awesome Travels.  I had the pleasure of meeting George and Suzie last year at Pegleg Smith near Borrego Springs.  Instead of enjoying the warmth of the desert southwest, this winter George is fighting a battle with pancreatic cancer in Stratford, Ontario.  


  1. Thanks for the update on the weather conditions.
    We are also Praying for George and Suzie at this time.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. I only met George and Suzie that one. George in his straw hat, vest and infectious smile ... what a nice couple they are.
      Thanks for posting I can now follow your blog too.

  2. So sorry to hear about George.

    1. Of course we all are to hear of bad things happening to good people.

  3. Nice tribute to George and Suzie... Our paths have crossed several times in Arizona and Texas...

    1. Thanks John, I remain optimistic that I will cross paths with George and Suzie again. They are good people.

  4. 24° is far too cold for camping or telescopes. I am sorry to hear about George.

    1. It was indeed cold! Only warmed up to mid-40s during the day, I came home a day early, too cold for me!

  5. We actually had a couple of nights with 18 degrees when we left Moab...yep, it’s way too cold for an RV! Sorry the weather and sky didn’t cooperate.

    We never met George and Susie, but have followed each other’s blog since 2013. We also have them in our thoughts and prayers.

    1. 18??? I thought 24 was silly cold!!! I made the plans to head up to Palomar long before the meteor shower. Just could not give up the 2 nights I had paid for :)

      You would enjoy meeting up with George and Suzie, nice couple that are easy to chat with. We'd planned I take the Jeep out this year and do a few easy trails. Pray we can do that next year.


I welcome any corrections, additions and more links that tie in to this post. Please place them in your comments. Your comments are always appreciated! and I will reply to all comments.