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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Double Rainbows and A Unique Hotel

March 17, 2024 (Sun)

We tend to have two modes of travel with Harvey:


  1. Go someplace and stay there for multiple days (such as here in Borrego Springs)

  2. Drive each day and stop for a day, maybe two if it’s a nice place or there’s something interesting to see.


Number one is Gini’s preferred mode, because it’s nice and relaxing, we can sleep in, we know where things are. Number two is Robert’s preferred mode, which he calls “Itchy Feet traveling,” because you get to see lots of different and new stuff.


We’re done the hang around bit, now it’s time for some Itchy Feet traveling as we make our way to visit our friend Joan in Anthem AZ!  



11:00 am Borrego Springs

We’re out, with seconds to spare! Well, out of our spot, but we still need to take care of some laundry and fill up with propane (we used four gallons for heat in the mornings and hot water).


The news is full of the heat wave that Seattle is having—it got up to 72°! The last couple of days here in Borrego, our high has been in the 60’s, because of some storms leaking over the mountains. Usually mid-day here is around 72. Still, Spring is arriving (well, phoning ahead at any rate), so it’s time to get back before it takes a nap.


1:00 pm Borrego Springs

Okay, now our clothes are clean, we have our mindset on traveling, it’s time to—Holy Moses! There’s a ton of people in downtown Borrego Springs. Christmas Circle is full of booths and tourists!


Apparently, this is Art Festival Day and there are many, many people who need to gawk at the Art of Borrego Springs (and the margaritas and tacos of Borrego Springs). Robert parks and walks half a mile to the store for some supplies, while Gini wanders through the art booths.


2:00 pm Near Palomar Mountain

Lots of twisty turny roads as we make our way up and over the mountain range that separates the desert from the coast and—ah, crap!


The Voodoo is back! The last couple of weeks, Harvey has been a perfect angel and hasn’t had any weird electrical issues. We haven’t plugged our phones into the console (it’s set up to use “Apple Play,” which kind of acts as a second screen for our phones).


We were sure we’d figured it out and now driving down the road, Robert looks over and sees a lovely view from the backup camera. “*$&%@(@#” says Robert.


The decision is made that we probably need brake lights more than headlights (all these twisty roads need some regular braking), but at least we’re not making any turns…


3:00 pm Pachenga, CA

We stop to get gas, possibly on a reservation because there’s a giant casino nearby. After fueling up and getting going again, the Voodoo is gone. Whew!


5:00 pm Murietta, CA

We stop at the home of Tom and Robin. These are folks that Gini knew from the last century when she attended Community Presbyterian Church in San Juan Capistrano. They have a lovely house, which they designed themselves, and it sits on some 36 acres of family land that’s up in the hills around Murietta, CA.


We know we’re in the right spot when we look out the back window and see not only a full rainbow but a full double rainbow! And it’s St. Patrick’s Day! We’re not sure on the mythology of double rainbows concerning pots of gold. Is there a second pot? Is it bigger? Is it still full of gold, or has it switched to jewels?


But it sure looks pretty!

It’s double-rainbows all the way, baby!

Robin & Tom’s country home


Harvey looks good wherever he’s parked!


Day 33 Travel

Our travel on Day 33 (Sun)




March 18, 2024 (Sat)

8:30 am Robin & Tom’s House, Murietta, CA

We spent the night in Harvey, because that’s where all our stuff is, but at 8:30 am, we show up at Tom & Robin’s doorstep for some coffee and breakfast. (Sort of like a B&B where you bring your own bed, but you get a great breakfast!)


We chow down on homemade turkey sausages, a veggie scramble (with all the vegetables) made with fresh eggs from their chickens, and fresh squeezed orange juice from fresh oranges. Yum! A fresh five stars from us.


There was lots of laughter and conversation and Gini enjoyed talking old times with them. Tom used to be a firefighter and although he’s a great story-teller, almost none of his stories are about firefighting (well, except for the one where he rescued a baby from a car rollover and the baby grew up to be a firefighter).

After breakfast, Robert (on computer), Robin, and Tom


11:00 am Murrieta, CA

Off to the east! Destination: Anthem, Arizona. We don’t expect to get there in one day, because we’re moseying and trying to avoid freeways where possible. So we find ourselves (once again) on Highway 76 going back over those pesky mountains.


We like that when we ask Google how to get to Anthem, one of the results is a straight line marked “Take a plane, dummy,” which it says only takes an hour. That’s too efficient for our tastes, but it’s a nice thought.


1:00 pm Julian, CA

We had such a good time the last time we were here a week or two ago, that we decide to stop here again and pick up a fresh-baked pie from the World Famous Julian Pie Company. This had very little to do with our decision. Really. We’ve mostly given up sugar for the last year except for a wee bit of apple pie, an occasional poppy seed muffin (and Oops! That delicious chocolatey dessert thing we split at the Rams Hill restaurant…)


Across the street from the Julian Pie Company is the Julian Grille, and we’re hungry so we head in. To our surprise, this is another cloth napkin kind of joint.


Gini is pleased that we’re again eating at a place with cloth napkins


This place said it was “pet friendly,” which we thought meant “it’s okay to bring your dog onto the patio.” But there’s more! They have a Doggie Menu! We’re not sure how Fido makes his selections, ”Bark twice if you want the hamburger patty.”

A doggie menu! This place has a doggie menu!



2:45 pm Julian

We’re having such a good time we think that Julian would be a fine place to spend the night. And there’s four or five lodging places in town, so let’s go! (Turns out Gini has longed for years to spend the night in the old gold rush hotel here. But who plans ahead and makes a reservation?)


Well, we’re not the only ones to have this thought and it seems that many people plan ahead. The old hotel and all the cute B&B’s are booked, and we don’t really want to stay in the one that looks like a psychiatric hospital. So we head on down the road.


4:00 pm Somewhere in the Anza-Borrego Desert

We finally get enough cell signal that we can make phone calls, so we pull over to see if we can arrange for a place to stay for the night. Most of the way, we’ve been barely keeping ahead of a monster storm that doesn’t look like very much fun. Every once in a while it catches up with us and pelts us with rain.


Unfortunately, all the RV places we call closed at 1:30 pm or they’re only open a few days a week. We do find one a mile up the road, but it looks like it’s the set for a desert-themed horror movie, with dust blowing down the empty lanes.


Gini decides that she would like to stay at a “homey hotel, preferably one that is haunted and not a chain.” We do a bit of internet searching and finally find one in a place called “Calipatria.” So we set our sights on Calipatria!

This is the storm that we’re running away from


5:00 pm Calipatria, CA

Here we are in beautiful Calipatria. We kind of wish we’d read the Wikipedia entry for Calipatria before deciding to stay here. Here’s part of it:


“Calipatria is one of the state's poorest cities in income per capita due to agricultural paychecks and a declined economy in the 1990s. [and gives a population breakdown that] excludes the multiracial body of state prison convicts.”


What that translates to is that this hotel is the sorriest, most broken-down looking place we’ve ever stayed. Everything that can be broken is broken (springs are shot on the desk chair, toilet paper holder in pieces on the ground, bathroom fan makes a screeching sound).


There’s a pool and jacuzzi, but they’re both empty. There’s an abundance of barbeques on the grounds, but they’re all propane and none of them are connected.


There’s easy wildlife viewing, although the centipede Robert finds on our floor is dead.

Local wildlife!

Robert tries to put a positive spin on it.


Robert: “The bed has a blanket!”

Gini: “And look—a vintage ironing board and iron.”

Robert: “There’s a microwave!”

Gini: “It’s unplugged, one of the dials is missing, and the front cover is falling off.”

Robert: “They do have good Wi-Fi here, though. Very Snappy.”

Gini: “Because we’re the only ones on it! And the desk clerk needs to keep busy during the day keeping up on the news.”


This is very much a Murder Motel (“Probably lots of ghosts, says Robert), and we appear to be the only guests here.


Gini: “On the plus side, we won’t have to worry about Harvey breaking down any more, because it’ll be stripped by morning and the whole thing will be much lighter.”

Robert: “That means our gas mileage will totally improve!”

Ghosts or space aliens? You decide!


Day 34 Travel

Our travel on Day 34 (Mon)


Gini & Robert                                                                                

Harvey Staff

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