You Can Always Go… Downtown Part 2

image  By April of 1888 Elsinore became a thriving city. Brick buildings began to line Main Street downtown. A post office delivered mail daily. The soil, water, and climate contributed to successful harvests of fruits and nuts. Coal, clay, and gold mines prospered.

By the 1920s, Lake Elsinore was a favorite playground for the rich and famous. High speed boat racing was popular. The mural below is on the corner of a building at the intersection of Main Street and Graham Avenue.

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The writing on the bottom reads: Scenic Lake Elsinore circa 1924, The Clevlin Pier on Lakeshore Drive. Yacht racing and the “Princess” can be seen in the background. 

Celebrities seeking an escape from the glamour of Hollywood built vacation homes on the hills overlooking Lakeshore Drive. Apparently the house built by actor Bela Lugosi, the original Dracula, still stands today on these hills in the district called Country Club Heights. A famous house that can be seen from Lakeshore Drive is a unique Moorish-style temple called “Aimee’s Castle.”

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In 1928 Aimee Semple McPherson, a famous evangelist based in Los Angeles, built quite a palace which she lived in part-time until 1939. A Canadian-American, Sister Aimee founded the Foursquare Church and became a media sensation known for her radio broadcasts. Rumor has it that Johnny Depp once owned this spacious house.

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en.m.wikipedia.com

 

 


More Lake History…

Ah, the lake! It has survived a pattern of droughts and floods, floods and droughts. After going completely dry in the 1950s, something had to be done. In 1964 the lake was filled artificially with water brought in from the Colorado River. And in 1972 the city was officially named Lake Elsinore. With lake in its title the city had to do something to end the cycle of flooding and drying. So it lobbied the federal government in 1984 and received a loan and grant to implement the Lake Elsinore Management Project which was completed in 1995. By 1997 the Recycled Water Task Force successfully supplements the lake level with recycled water that is safe for full body contact.  The recycled water also irrigates the land in the area. There are plaques along the River Walk that explain this process.

(lake-elsinore.org, en.m.wikipedia.org)

Hudson, Tom. Lake Elsinore Valley, It’s Story, 1776-1977. Lake Elsinore, CA: Published for Lake Elsinore Valley Bicentennial Commission by Laguna House, 1978.


Today Lake Elsinore has a population of 51,821. (suburbanstats.org) Main Street is home to antique stores, thrift shops, restaurants, specialty stores, and city hall.

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City Hall

City Hall

You Can Always Go… Downtown Part 3

imageAs we head back to the Marina and our RV, 2 more venues deserve our attention on Graham Avenue.

A cash-only dive bar, Wreck, commemorates the November 2014 Grand Prix racing on its colorful outside mural. Inside, local color and hospitality greet customers.

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The Motorsports Park on Cereal Street hosts annual races each November.

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Jack’s BBQ Shack serves monstrous proportions of beef ribs and sides. Its motto is real wood, real fire, real smoke… real good! And, I might add, real spicy! First time customers are invited to try a sample from the pot. Delicious!

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Walking in Sunshine… Santa Rosa Plateau Part I

image 40 Miles of Sunny Trails

A little less than 15 miles from our Marina home is the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. We discovered it one weekend when we were headed up the Ortega Highway for a hike in the Cleveland National Forest. The Highway was closed off at Grand Avenue so we continued driving until we intersected with Clinton Keith Road remembering that there were hiking trails accessible from this area. Turning west toward Murrieta we happened upon the Reserve.

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The Santa Rosa Plateau  Ecological Reserve occupies 9,000 acres along the southern end of the Santa Ana Mountains. The Santa Ana Mountains are also referred to as the Ortega Mountains. And yes, it is quite confusing to definitively name all the mountain ranges surrounding Lake Elsinore because so many segments carry their own local nicknames.

As we begin our hiking adventure we are pleasantly surprised at the flatness of the trails and dirt roads since there are not many trees providing relief from the sun shining brightly in a cloudless blue sky. However, as you will notice in the pictures below, the scenery does not disappoint.

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Now, as soon as I mention this, we decide to turn onto part of the Vista Grande Trail which climbs up steadily but lets us capture some beautiful panoramic views of how much of California looked before the San Andreas Fault produced volcanic and earthquake activity.

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And close-ups…

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On our way back to the car we choose the Granite Loop Interpretive Trail hoping to learn more about the Reserve via the 15 plaques and brochure guide we picked up. Working backwards is difficult, but I will do my best at an attempt to highlight the animals, plants, natural processes, and historical landscapes.

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Chaparral is the most common plant community in California. These small shrubs and bushes surround the granite rocks and boulders with their tough, tangled, thorny, and woody stems.

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Hundreds of years ago Native Americans stood in the pictures below.

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Archeologists affirm this because ceramic pots used for water storage, ollas, were found here. As you hike further into the Reserve you can’t help but see, smell, and hear what the American Indians experienced once upon a time!

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Granite rocks dominate the trail. About 100 million years ago these rocks were buried underground. As pieces chipped away and melted beneath the earth, they formed magma which cooled slowly. As wind and water eroded away the surface rocks, the magma rocks (granite) rose to the exterior.

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The Engelmann Oak Tree is only found here, in San Diego County, and in northern Baja Mexico. This tree can survive in drought conditions because it can lose or drop its leaves during extremely dry conditions. Once it rains again, new leaves grow.

Lots of lizards appear and disappear along the trail. Here are my favorite pics:

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Walking in Sunshine… Santa Rosa Plateau Part II

image Several weeks later we return to check out the vernal pools and historic adobes.

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Vernal pools:

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These shallow pools fill up temporarily from winter to spring. The presence of fairy shrimp and other minute crustaceans, laying eggs and hatching, define these pools as vernal. (en.m.wikipedia. org)


Our trek to the adobe houses takes us through grassland prairie, coastal sage scrub, and oak woodlands.

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These 2 buildings are the oldest structures in Riverside County, CA. The Moreno adobe was constructed in 1845 for Juan Moreno’s crew of cowboys whose task was to herd cattle through the Santa Rosa plateau.

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According to an 1846 map, the adobe consisted of 4 rooms and sat upon 48,000 acres known as the Santa Rosa Rancho. Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of the California territory, granted this land to Juan Moreno. In 1884 a severe winter storm washed away 3 of these rooms. In 1885 the US Attorney General challenged the right of Moreno to own these lands. Unable to afford the court fees, Moreno sold the Santa Rosa Rancho to Agustin Machado in August of this same year. The price was $1,000 plus $500 worth of cattle. Machado built the larger adobe for his ranch hands in 1885.

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A 400 hundred-year-old tree shades this area and a quaint picnic area separates the adobe bunkhouses.

(Except for pictures, information above comes from the Santa Rosa Plateau web site at rivcoparks.org) 


We head back via the Adobe Loop Trail that leads us on a picturesque hike.

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We even experience a tenaja!

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Riparian wetlands are low lying areas where gravity accumulates pools of water called tenajas. (rivcoparks.com)


Captured Candids of Cute Critters:

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Noisy crows building a nest in a palm tree:

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The woodpecker flew away before I could snap a picture, but who knew this bird loved the bark of palm trees?

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Car Trippin’… Joshua Tree National Park

image I found out!

From my Old Testament history, I know that Joshua became the leader of the Israelites after Moses died. But why is a tree in the desert named after him?

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Jeff and I spent the first day of 2016 here. As we were becoming more comfortable with leaving the dogs behind in the RV in Lake Elsinore, we traveled without them for our day trip.

Located in southeastern CA, the park encompasses 2 deserts each with its distinct ecosystem determined primarily by its elevation. (en m.wikipedia.org)

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The Mojave Desert has elevations above 3,000 feet. Amid the boulders, that attract rock climbers from all over, are pinyon pines, scrub oaks, yuccas, and prickly pear cacti. (park brochure)

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As a matter of fact, the crazy looking Joshua tree isn’t really a tree at all, but a species of yucca. Branching occurs after its cluster of flowers finishing blooming from February through April. (park brochure)

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How the tree was named:

Mormon immigrants crossing the Colorado River in the mid 1800s encountered the tree and named it after Joshua fro the Bible. The outstretched limbs reminded them of hands reaching out in prayer, guiding the pioneers westward. (nps.gov) (Jane Rodgers)

The Colorado Desert lies below 3,000 feet in elevation. Creosote, ocotillo, palo verde, and jumping cholla cactus dominate this landscape. (park brochure)

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The rock formations:

These stacked boulders started forming eons ago from underground volcanic activity. Magma, in a molten form of monzogranite, rose fro deep within the earth and intruded its way over the existing rock. As the granite cooled, it crystalized underground and created horizontal and vertical cracks called joints. The granite continued uplifting where it came into contact with groundwater. As the surface soil eroded, piles of monzogranite scattered across the desert. (park brochure)

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Car Trippin’… Mission Inn

image Sunday driver!

The Mission Inn is an historic landmark hotel in Riverside, California. Jeff and I met John and Amanda there one Sunday afternoon for a tour.

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The History of the Inn:

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in 1874 Christopher Columbus Miller, a civil engineer from Wisconsin, worked on setting up a water system in Riverside. Soon his family joined him and they set up a boarding house in the center of town. By 1880 his son, Frank, took over the property. Inspired by Mission Revival architecture, encouraged by California Mission tourism, financed by railroad tycoon Henry Huntington, and aided by architect Arthur Benton, Frank began enlarging the original boarding house.

The building grew in stages influenced by regional architectural trends and Frank’s travels throughout Europe and Asia. By 1903 the first wing was open. By 1931 four wings were open. The Inn was a labyrinth of gardens, towers, arches, and winding staircases.

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It took up an entire city block and was filled with art and artifacts owned by Miller, to the delight and enchantment of his guests.

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The Inn started losing business to nearby tourist hotspots,  so when Frank died in 1935,  the family sold the Inn to Benjamin Swig, a hotel man from San Francisco. Swig sold off 1,000 pieces of art and redecorated the Inn in mid 1900s style. But the building continued to struggle financially. Eventually the rooms were made into dormitories and private apartments.

Local citizens and volunteers organized into Friends of the Mission Inn in 1969 to promote the hotel and safeguard the remaining art collection.

The city of Riverside purchased the hotel in 1976 and in 1977 the building became a National Historic Landmark. In 1985 the city sold the Inn to a Wisconsin firm which then closed it for renovations over the next 7 years. By 1988 it was bankrupt again. Finally, Duane Roberts, a Riverside resident, purchashed the Mission Inn and reopened it in late1992. (missioninnmuseum.org)

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Car Trippin’… Santa Monica Pier

image Taking the easy way out!

One glorious weekday morning, Jeff and I met John in Irvine and he drove us into Santa Monica to visit the iconic pier. The traffic gods were in our favor as we whipped along the freeways with no delays. Driving back was a nightmare, however, but that’s another story.

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SANTA MONICA PIER

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Some History:

The pier began as  the first concrete pier, a 1,600-foot long Municipal Pier to dispose of the city’s sewage. In 1909 an underline pipeline ran treated sewage out to the ocean. This was discontinued in the 1920s.

In 1916 a shorter and wider pier was added on by Charles Looff, a carousel carver, to satisfy community wishes for an amusement park in the immediate area. Naturally, the first ride to open on the new Looff Pleasure Pier was a carousel.

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The Blue Streak Racer roller coaster, bowling and billiards buildings, and a fun house followed soon after. Live music entertained crowds.

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US Navy warships often visited the Pier. On one such visit in 1919, the deck gave way to the weight of a sizeable crowd. The concrete piles had rusted. Over the next 2 years the concrete piles and deck were replaced with creosote-treated wooden piles and deck boards.

The La Monica Ballroom opened in July of 1924 and was the largest dance hall on the west coast. With 15,000 square-feet of hard maple flooring, the ballroom could accommodate 5,000 dancers. The Great Depression, however, ended its dancing days. By the mid 1930s the ballroom served multiple purposes including, as a convention center, lifeguard headquarters, and the City Jail.

A frequent visitor to the Pier was E. C. Segar. He would spend afternoons on fishing trips with a squinty-eyed retired Norwegian sailor, Olaf “Cap” Olsen. (community.digitalmediaacademy.org)

Olsen officially “unretired” himself on the Pier in 1925 to create his own fleet of recreational fishing boats to keep commercial net fishing out of the bay. During the Depression he helped feed needy families by donating a portion of his own daily catch. If his name doesn’t ring a bell, you might recognize him with his cartoon name. Elzie C. Segar needed a hero for his comic strip Thimble Theater, so he drew up a rendition of Olsen and named him, Popeye.

image community.digitalmediaacademy.org

The Pier was used mainly as a ferry landing during the Depression. All the amusement rides were gone except for the carousel.

The bridge and entry gate, along with the the blue neon sign, Santa Monica Yacht Harbor, were constructed in 1938 by the federal Works Project Administration.

In March of 1943 Walter Newcomb purchased the Santa Monica Amusement Company’s lease and changed the name of Pleasure Pier to Newcomb Pier.

By the 1960s the Pier had survived 2 World Wars, the Great Depression, and became a reputed fishing pier, amusement park, ballroom, and hot venue for locals and tourists alike. Unfortunately city leaders only saw an aging Pier that looked seedy and was an eyesore. But to the people who lived on the Pier: the fisher men and women, the artists, and the political activists… it was a neighborhood over the sea.

In 1972 the City Manager proposed plans to City Council to replace the Pier with a bridge that leads to a fabricated resort island. The local community revolted but City Council voted to destroy the Pier anyway. So, the community rallied again. This time Proposition 1 passed in 1975 to preserve the Pier forever.

But Mother Nature had other plans. In 1983 two storms threatened the future of the Pier. On January 27th, swells of 10 feet destroyed the lower deck. Then on March 1st, a crane repairing the prior damage, got dragged into the waters by yet another storm and destroyed one third of the Pier as it battered the pilings.

By 1990, the Santa Monica Pier is restored and alive and well once again!

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Car Trippin’… Venice Beach

image Day tripper, yeah!


I am post-dating this experience from a year ago, when Amanda and John still lived in Irvine and Jeff and I spent our first winter in Lake Elsinore. As we are getting ready to head north for southern Oregon, I need to tie up some loose ends.


After visiting Santa Monica Pier and enjoying a yummy lunch at Big Dean’s Ocean Front Cafe, John insists we take a peek at nearby Venice Beach, and I am so glad we did!

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Big Dean’s, Santa Monica Pier (green awning to right of palm tree)


VENICE BEACH HISTORY

Fourteen miles west of Los Angeles and originally named “Venice of America”, the city of Venice was founded by tobacco millionaire, Abbot Kinney, in 1905 as a seaside resort. He dug canals to drain the marshy land and built a 1,200 foot pier. The canals inspired the Venetian theme. Tourists could ride gondolas to visit the dance hall, auditorium, arcade, and restaurant, all decked out (ha, ha) in Venetian architecture.

img_53661909, Public Domain

By 1910 attractions on the Kinney pier became more amusement-oriented with  rides and game booths.

img_53681920 or before, Public Domain 

Unfortunately the amusement pier burned down in December of 1920, 6 weeks or so after Kinney died. His family, however carried on and quickly rebuilt the pier adding more rides and game booths. By 1925 the Venice amusement pier became the best one on the West Coast.

In 1926 Venice was annexed to Los Angeles due to a fractitious political climate and deteriorating roads, water and sewage systems. The city of LA paved in the canals to make more streets in 1929. In 1946, the year their leases expired, Venice’s 3 amusement piers were closed.

Meanwhile Los Angeles continued to neglect Venice and in the 1950s, the annexed city became known as the “Slum by the Sea.”

Run-down bungalows with low rents attracted European immigrants, many of which were Holocaust survivors, and young counterculture artists, poets, and writers. (en.m.wikipedia.org)


VENICE BEACH TODAY

The iconic site to visit in Venice is the promenade stretching for 1 1/2 miles along the Pacific Ocean. Also known as the “Ocean Front Walk” or simply the boardwalk, (en.m.wikipedia.org) this is the most colorful place to wander, people-watch, be spontaneously entertained, exercise, and shop. Each day is different. No day is boring.  From Muscle Beach to the handball, paddle tennis, and numerous beach volleyball courts, to the Skate Dancing plaza, bike trail, souvenir shops and stall, medical marijuana dispensaries, and street performers… Venice Beach is an eclectic mecca for the culturally diverse.


VENICE BEACH MARCH 2016

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VENICE BEACH LIVE

Checkout the Venice Beach Cam for a live streaming HD webcam courtesy of westland.net

ENJOY!

Car Trippin’… Laguna Beach

image A one way ticket!


This is my last loose end from almost a year ago to post. So, once again it is back-dated for my organizational purposes. Don’t ask and I won’t tell. Just humor me or nod all is good.


On March 15th, 2 days before Jeff and I leave California to head east for Ollie’s first birthday, we meet Amanda and John at Nea in Laguna Beach for dinner. This will be the last time we see each other before they move to Dublin, Ireland.

img_5371lagunabeachbest.com


About Laguna Beach:

Laguna Beach is a small coastal city in southern Orange County, California.

Before John and Amanda were married they moved here from Minneapolis, courtesy of Amanda’s job promotion with General Mills.  (She grew up in Orange County and her parents live in Temecula in Riverside County, 73 miles south and east.) They leased a quaint cottage apartment on Terry Street, off the Pacific Coast Highway. John worked for College Living Experience where he assisted autistic students with transitioning into higher education at Orange County Community College.

The land in this seaside resort rises quickly from shoreline to the mounds and canyons of the low mountain range of the San Joaquin Hills. It’s isolated beaches, rocky bluffs, and craggy canyons have attracted tourists and artists since the late 1800s and early 1900s. Laguna Beach is also known for its environmental and historical preservation. (en.m.wikipedia.org)


So, before we meet Amanda and John for a farewell dinner of delicious pizzas and brewskis, I hope you enjoy with me the photos I captured of Laguna Beach before sunset.

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(What’s up with the mysterious green dot in the above pics? Apparently when I cropped my originals on my iPad, I inadvertently added a markup. For now I have to live with it cuz I can’t figure out how to crop it out on WordPress. And yes, I already deleted the original photos.)

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It’s a bittersweet experience as I say goodbye to one son and travel to share time with another, knowing that as I leave my second son I will head out to see my third bubba boy.

Sometimes I question my decision to live on the road. But I know my boys are happy for me. Besides, nothing is forever, except the love of family and friends. I know I am loved and I hope my family and friends feel the love from me.

On the Road Again… Highway 78

imageAfter 4 1/2 months snow birding in Lake Elsinore, California we unplugged the RV, hitched the car and headed across to Columbus, Ohio for a very important first birthday. That was yesterday and today we are waking up in Yuma, Arizona ready to do it all again.

Always looking for the scenic route, Jeff defies the Garmin’s common sense and opts for adventures off the freeway. Yesterday did not disappoint.

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We head south on I-5 and turn onto Highway 78 in Escondido where we pick up another portion of the Cleveland National Forest. These curves make the Ortega Highway look tame.

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The Forest weaves its way in and out of the town of Ramona. It may only be 36 miles away from the hustle and bustle of San Diego, but even a small glimpse makes you feel like you have stepped back in time to its history of miners, cowboys, vaqueros, Indians, confederate soldiers and Kit Carson. (experienceramona.com)

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The “Real” on Ramona:

  •  In the 1960s Archie Moore, the boxer, held a training camp  here called Salt Mine.
  • He named it Salt Mine in reference to how hard the training was; as hard as working in the salt mines.
  • George Foreman and Muhammad Ali trained here.
  • In 1973, 55-year-old tennis star, Bobby Riggs, challenged the top female player, 30-year-old Margaret Court to a match.
  • The match took place at the San Diego Country Estates in Ramona.
  • Riggs easily won. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

The trek from Ramona to Julian continues through the Cleveland National Forest. Nestled between the Cuyamaca and the Vulcan mountains, Julian is a quaint little mountain retreat known for its plentiful B&Bs. A cattleman named Fred Coleman discovered the first fleck of gold in early 1870. For the next 10 years gold diggers rushed to the town seeking their fortune. When the gold no longer panned out, settlers stayed to tend the soil and raise animals and discovered the area was excellent for growing apple trees. During the fall harvest, tons of tourists visit to eat, drink, buy, and enjoy everything apple. (julian-california.com) Here’s a fun fact from this web site. For a while the only indoor toilet in Julian was located in the town’s jail!

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Leaving Julian we expect a smoother ride, however…

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There are those hairpin turns again! And just as quickly, they flatten out.

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Well, almost…

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And then we are in the desert. Colorful cacti and scrub brush catch our eyes contrasting against the sandy soil and pale rocks.

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