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|February 2018 — Home to Agile Offroad|
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Copyright © 2015 - 2018 Larrie Easterly
There are times that I wonder about the inner guidance that comes through the Holy Spirit. It suggests doing things that just amaze me. One time it let me know that work would be sending me to China. Another time it had me buy a camper van that was located in Atlanta so that I could share the HU, a love song to God, with the owner. This time I was asked to have the camper van converted to four wheel drive so that I could take it on my trip into Mexico. Always willing to follow my inner guidance I made the necessary arrangements and planned the trip to Agile Offroad in Santee, CA.
Santee is a suburb of San Diego. That meant to get there I would need to drive through Los Angles. As I thought about the trip I realized that the best time to get through LA with the least amount of traffic would be on a Sunday morning. A friend on the Sportsmobile Forum confirmed this and recommended that I try to be south of LA before 11:00 am. That meant leaving Oregon City Friday morning.
Closely watching the weather the week before the trip showed that most afternoons three to six inches of snow was falling in the Siskiyou Mountains in southern Oregon. The road cameras were showing snow covered and slick roads with snow chains required. The long range forecast showed sunny and warming temperatures for the day of departure. The forecast held. When I left Friday morning the forecast still predicted sunny sky’s and warming temperatures. When I got to the Siskiyou’s, on Interstate 5, the roads were dry, the sun was shining, and there was little traffic heading south.
It is a beautiful drive down I-5 through the Siskiyou, Klamath, and Shasta-Trinity National Forests in Northern California. The forest eventually end and for a while I-5 bordered on both sides by huge groves of trees. When I went through the area in late February the groves were decked out in pink and white flowers. There were no signs indicating what was being grown. My guess is that they were some kind of nut trees.
My plan was to stay at a campground near Cottonwood. When I got there I discovered that the campground was for groups only and did not allow overnight camping. Time for plan B, stay at the Love’s Travel Center in Corning. Large truck stops are handy places. The restrooms are clean, many of them have showers that the weary traveler can use for a fee, there is usually a restaurant on site or nearby, and you can sleep in your vehicle in the parking lot for free. The down side is that they are not the quietest place to sleep.
The scenery becomes less interesting the further south you travel on I-5. Traffic was light with the occasional truck convoy. The campground at Hungry Valley State Recreational Vehicle Area just north of Castaic was my next overnight stop. It is quite nice with cabanas to shade the picnic tables that are widely spaced. There were some family’s playing on all terrain vehicles and motorcycles in the area when I arrived. As the sun went down they left and I had the place to myself. It was very quiet, peaceful and cold with clear sky’s.
Hungry Valley SRVA — Photo Galley
Sunday morning I was up early and ready to drive through LA. That morning Siri was showing three hours to drive the final leg of the trip to El Cajon. The night before Siri showed six hours.
The hardest part of driving through LA was staying in the correct lane. The lanes would shift left or right for no apparent reason. To make matters worse the lane striping was very faded and difficult to see. I was glad that traffic was light. It took a lot of concentration to stay in the correct lane.
The last time I drove through LA was in 1975. The difference in air quality is amazing. In 75 the air had a metallic taste to it and it was not possible to see the surrounding mountains. This time the air was very clean and you could see the mountains in the distance. South of LA the Aliso Creek Rest Area right on the coast. It was a welcome relief to get out to the van and stretch my legs, smell the ocean and enjoy the warm California sunshine after the early morning drive.
Aliso Creek Rest Area — Photo Galley
After checking into the Motel 6 in El Cajon and getting things in the van stowed away it was time to meet my friend Bruce, from the 2017 Death Valley trip, for dinner. We had agreed to meet at the Harbor House restaurant on San Diego bay. We had a good dinner and got caught up on events over the past year. As I told him about my plans for getting to Douglas, AZ for the Mexico trip he decided to come on the Camino Del Diablo with me. We are both going on the Copper Canyon, Mexico trip in April.
One thing I learned about Motel 6. Due to the wood construction you want to stay on the top floor. I was staying on the first floor and could hear the couple above me walking around and turning over in their bed. It made for a rough nights sleep.
Monday I dropped my van at Agile Offroad in Santee. They will be doing the four wheel drive conversion and will have it completed when I return on April 16th. John, the owner, dropped me at the San Diego airport for the flight home.
It has been a long time since I have drive that far south on Interstate 5. There have been lots of changes along the route. It was a fun trip. If I needed to head that far south again I would take more time and chose a different route.
Barrancas del Cobre
282 feet below sea level
Summer Lake Hot Springs