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May 07, 2023

Campo Days - free museums and fun

Friday  -  Cinco de Mayo:

Friday was Cinco de Mayo, but the big celebration will be in Old Town on Saturday May 6.  For sure it’ll be more crowded then and I have other plans.

The only entertainment today is on the small stage if Casa de Reyes.  They will have a Folkloric group and a Mariachi group.  But the real fun will be Saturday.  Here’s a link when I brought Flat Stanley here a years ago.   Cinco de Mayo with Flat Stanley.

I’ve blogged both often enough on Old Town, so today I’ll wander the lesser known areas of old Town State Park.

The herrera (a feminine black smith) was showing of a sword hammered from an old car spring.

Only 2 donkeys in the corral.

New to me at Old Town is pay-to-park.  The 2 big city parking lots were asking $12 for the day!  A sign of things to come as San Diego continues to push for more use of their trolley system.

I had a FREE spot in the small lot owned by the state park.  FREE parking is also available at Caltrans after 5pm and on the weekends.  But guess I may start taking the trolley.

I stopped for my lunch with a margarita and tamale at Barra Barra.

Their tamales are interesting in that they have a bed of masa with my selected filling and salsa on top.  Although the masa is from their bulk bin the toppings are fresh.  Way better than the microwave ones some places serve.  Kinda like an ‘open faced’ tamale.

I’ll close with the flowers I saw in bloom in the park.

Saturday  -  Campo Days:

This is the first Campo Days since Covid.  The little town of Campo opens itself to attract guests.  And I was one of them.  All 4 of the towns museums are opened to the public free of charge.  

With the new water pump in Fran’s Jeep, I figured this trip would be a good test.  I chose to take 94 east through the Jumal Valley, Delzura, Tecate and Portero.

A lone tree rear the Tecate divide, prompted me to take a photo while driving.

After lots of turns, twists, gear changes and ear popping I arrived at the community of Campo.

Pacific Southwest Railway Museum:

The Railway Museum was right there as I entered Campo and makes an easy 1st stop.

There are a lot of signs to highlight the history of Campo; of railroads in the central valley; and the museum along with its collections.

Their trains no longer run to Tecate but still provide a nice ride through the area. Quite a few folks were taking advantage of the opportunity.

I continued following the signage and the tracks east to the Exhibit Hall.  In the past it was included with the purchase of the train ticket.  But today it is free.

These 2 have both run the San Diego to Yuma route.  Behind one is the parlor care of John D Spreckles, the sugar and shipping money that help finance the ‘Impossible Railway’.

The walls contain a collection of articles and photos of the Impossible Railway.  Certainly the most complete collection I have seen.

The many yards of the outside exhibits include one of the original San Diego & Arizona Railway engines.

Camp Lockett:

My next stop was Camp Lockett and its Equestrian Center.

Camp Lockett is where the 'Buffalo Soldiers’ trained, along with the Cavalry.  This day the grounds were being used for a rodeo event and open to the public.

and way too peopley

Camp Lockett is the 1st stop for those hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.  Camping and a shelter are provided for the hikers.

I had to back track a bit for the Buffalo Soldier Museum.  To get there I followed this water truck as it resurfaced the dirt road.

The numerous abandoned and boarded up buildings on the camp’s grounds certainly show the size of this establishment in its heyday.  Several buildings are still in use including the post office and hardware store.

The museum itself is in an old house on the grounds.

Oops my camera settings allowed for this one usable picture from inside the museum.

That shows the nurses that worked here in the army's first convalescent hospital.

To mark the training site, stands … you guessed it:

Just as I was leaving:

dang I could have taken the stage here.

During the Indian wars it was said the black army, with their black curly hair, fought like ‘wild buffalos’ and the name stuck.

FYI - if you are interested the best Buffalo Soldier exhibit we have seen, check out Fort Huachuca, AZ.

Campo Stone Store:

The infamous Campo Shootout took place after a robbery at the old stone Campo Store.

Now a museum, the shelves are stocked with item form the times.

The store sits on the wagon road between San Diego and Fort Yuma.

Much of the old wagon road is preserved in Campo and the road now provides easy hiking and picnic areas.

The road was used by freight wagons, like this restored one.

Motor Transport Museum:

My favorite are the old trucks, plentiful at the Motor Transport Museum.  Like this homemade RV.

There are a lot of rusty trucks here.

But even better than the old and rusty are the restored and functional.
A working fire wagon

Or an old bus converted to an RV

and a toy hauler, note the right hand drive on the 33 Riley!

They are currently restoring a Gotfredson delivery truck.  At least the chassis looks great in its powdered coated bumblebee yellow. 

The museum is on the grounds of the Feldspar Processing Plant.  Feldspar was mined nearby, crushed, then filtered through screens as it fell through the tower.  The filtered feldspar was shipped by rail to be manufactured into ceramic or porcelain.

And look who is also here today!

Mater from Radiator Springs (~Disney movie Cars).

Sunday  -  Family:

The kids, Kami and Jason are having their house painted.  That means relocating all the raised veggie beds and many of the flowers in the garden.  The hill is being relandscaped with their relocated flowers and my donations of agapanthus and tiger lilly. 

I also had a plumeria that is ready to receive a forever home.

The original veggie patch was alongside the house on the sunny south side.

and being reassembled, at least some of it, in the backyard as part of the retaining wall.

The couple asparagus octopus roots they started have now grown into an enormous cloned cluster.  After Jason dug out the roots, Kami divided them into almost two dozen new starts.  She gave a few away!

Doesn't look great now?, but there is still more to do!

We all went or lunch at In and Out to catch Aj at work.  She has passed station 6 (flipping burgers) at the perfect time and has been asked to apply to In and Out University to enter management.  But Aj has other plans.

She has been challenged by Embry-Riddle to enter into their aerospace program.  Nice scholarship package included.  She will be starting in Prescott in August.

Congrats Aj !!!!

I know this post is a bit long winded, but I had a busy weekend to share.  I hope you had a great weekend too!


  1. Yes the Buffalo Soldier exhibit at Fort Huachuca, AZ is pretty special.

    1. Much of the history at Camp Leggett has been lost, nice that there is still a tribute at Ft Huachuca

  2. Busy weekend indeed! Congrats to AJ!

    1. It was a very busy weekend for me, I'm usually a home body then avoiding the crowds. We're all pretty proud of Aj.

  3. Jodee GravelMay 08, 2023

    Thanks for the tour of some unique little places - what a fun weekend!! Those yard upgrades are a lot of work, but the results sure are lovely.

    1. You are very welcome Jodee! I don't often do anything that you two haven't already done! I was a very fun weekend and helping the kids with even a few hours of yard work was fun working together.

  4. Gay and JoeMay 08, 2023

    What a fun weekend! I love the old car museum! Patina rocks! Gorgeous stones on the old country store…l love bricks and stones too! Congratulations to AJ! You will have to head south to Tucson when you visit her…👍.

    1. Thanks Gay! and yes it was a great weekend! Aj relocates to Prescott in August ... to soon! Dave and Suzi are on the way too! It'll be a fun road trip when we go to visit.

  5. Blacksmithing, old stores and old machinery always fascinate me. I would like to try blacksmithing but I doubt my shoulders and elbows could handle it. They must have some serious muscles. One has to wonder if years of doing that takes a toll on their joints.

    1. No doubt being a smith is hard work, but then so is farming :)
      I really enjoy walking among the rusty old trucks, if they could tell their stories.


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