After leaving San Diego, my friend Marian and I went a little north to Escondido. Our first adventure was to visit Queen Califia's Magical Circle, a beautiful circle of mosaic sculptures. That's Queen Califia standing atop a 13-foot, five-legged eagle.
The circle is enclosed by a series of snakes.
It was just beautiful, but only open Tuesday and Thursday morning. Fortunately, we timed it just right.
Afterwards, we drove out to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Loved the hairdos on these two!
This lion liked to hang out on top of an old car.
And we got to see the patriarch of the gorillas. Winston is 47 years old, and the oldest breeding gorilla in the US.
I liked this guy's hairdo too!
The flamingos were really vocal!
But the best part of the Safari Park is the area that looks like you are actually in Africa, with all different animals commingling. We took the free tram around the African Plains area twice.
But to get up-close-and-personal with the animals, you have to pay a lot extra. We didn't do it this time -
But 13 years ago, my daughter and I did the special tour, where you get to feed the giraffes.
Their tongues are REALLY long!
The last thing we did was to watch the Cheetah Run. Cheetahs can run 70 mph! This one was so fast he caught the toy right away the first two runs, but on this one you can see him go all the way.
After the Dance Rally, I headed over to see my daughter and her family in San Diego. One day we went to Old Town San Diego to do a little shopping. The Grandkids really like to shop. They must get it from me...
There was lots of Day of the Dead stuff there.
My friend, Marion, happened to be parked where I was, and one day we went to the top of Mt. Helix. You can drive almost to the top, then climb up the steps of the open theater that is on top.
Looking back down.
There's a cross at the very top -
And beautiful views all around. It was a little hazy towards the ocean -
But nice to the east.
Back at the Elks Lodge were I was parked, they had an arts and crafts fair going on all weekend. I bought some of these beautiful handmade quilled greeting cards, for a very reasonable price. They were selling them 2 years ago in the Big Tent in Quartzsite, and I bought some then too. And - GOOD NEWS - Yoder Do will be back in Quartzsite again this January!
It was a short visit, but we got to visit and do some ukulele.
While at the WIN Dance Rally, when I wasn't soaking in the hot springs tubs or dancing, we went on a few excursions. The Slabs are nearby, and the highlight there is Salvation Mountain. Built by Leonard Knight over the years beginning in 1984, it's quite a sight.
You are free to wander through it, and even climb to the top, as long as you stay on the "Yellow Brick Road." Some of the paintings are very detailed.
It takes A LOT of paint to maintain the mountain in all this sunshine. It is done by many volunteers and caretakers.
Leonard passed away in 2014, but I had the pleasure of meeting him several times. This photo was taken in 1999.
The Slabs are known as "The Last Free Place on Earth," because many people live free here all year long. They even have a library!
Some of the homes are really unique...
And they have their own natural hot springs pool. I imagine that's how a lot of them bathe.
We went over to the artists' colony in the Slabs known as East Jesus. There are some really amazing works of art here.
Is this what happens when RVers try to fit all their stuff into a small RV?
Looks like a plane crashed here...
Okay, I don't get this one...
What they do with old TVs...
We then went over to the old water tanks that have been painted by some really talented artists.
Leaving, we went by this large art work. I think it was my favorite. I'll probably like it even more when it gets a little rustier...
On another day, we went on another 4-wheel drive trip, where Paul had a little whoopsie, but the other cars got him out.
The highlight of the trip was when we saw a gigantic group of White Pelicans soaring in circles above us.
Well, maybe not the way you're thinking, but I have electricity! I'm at Fountain of Youth RV Spa and Resort for our annual WIN Dance Rally. I have a beautiful site overlooking the Salton Sea -
With a view of the beautiful Chocolate Mountains back behind us.
And even though I'm looking down on the Salton Sea, this is the elevation from my spot.
A lot of us got there before the rally started, and one day we went on a rather scary 4-wheel drive adventure.
We went under this old train trestle -
And saw a lot of rusty stuff - my favorite part of the drive!
When the Dance Rally started, we had lessons every day, and dances most nights. We had several theme dances, including Wild West night, where I got to play the cardboard guitar that was part of the wonderful decorations.
I'm fully equipped, so you better not cross me...
On Halloween night, we went to the dance put on by the park. I think I found my guy!
Some of the many participants at the Costume Contest.
On the 2 nights that we didn't have a band, we were entertained by Karaoke. The WINs have some very talented members!
One night we went to see our member Paul, who had a gig down at the restaurant in the park.
We had many other activities during the rally, including a yummy potluck.
On another day, we went to nearby Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. Right away, I saw a huge flock of Snow Geese.
We went on a little hike and saw some White Pelicans on a little island.
I don't think I've ever seen so many birds at one time!
Afterwards we went to Obsidian Butte. Some intrepid hikers went to the top, but I walked around it.