Borrego Springs #30before30 Adventure

This trip was an adventure for sure, and one that is technically still going on right now. My fellow adventurer, Xavier, met at my house and we hit the road about 9am. Ish? Our first stop was for coffee and donuts! The last time we hit up a donut place was Peterson’s in Escondido and we had high hopes for this second shop after that overwhelming success. Unfortunately, I don’t think that Danny’s Donuts in Vista quite lived up to the hype. Well, I guess that isn’t entirely true. Danny’s made my 30 Before 30 list because of their blueberry cake donut.  It was ranked #6 in blueberry cake donuts in the country! So obviously, I had to true it out since those are my favorite donut. I also got a sugar-raised twist, which is my other go-to. We got our donuts (and coffee for X) to go and hit the road east. While driving (safely!) I had the sugar-raised twist first. It was okay, not spectacular. I thought it was a tad dry. But not too bad!


I was really, really excited for the blueberry cake and it did not disappoint. It was SO delicious! Xavier immediately regretted not getting one himself. He got… two other donuts… maple? apple? I don’t know, I was driving and focused on the amazing flavor in my mouth… BLUEBERRIES!! The donut to jammed full of them and it had a nice glaze with a hint of maple or caramel or something amazing. I wish I’d just gotten two of those and not wasted time with the twist. So I guess I recommend Danny’s Donuts in Vista, but only for their signature blueberry cake!


With our bellies full of sugar and sweets, we continued east towards Borrego Springs, CA. This is an inland town in the desert about two hours from the coast. Why was I choosing to go to the hot desert? To see the sky art! What the heck is that? It’s a collection of 129 larger-than-life statues scattered throughout this town. Dennis Avery and Ricardo Breceda partnered to bring these exciting works of art to this sleepy town. They were installed in waves from 2008 to 2012 and span a five mile area along the main corridors leading into and out of town. We didn’t know much more than that going in, but we luckily stopped at Gringo’s Gas Stop for fuel and drinks on our way into town. An extremely helpful gentleman pumped our gas and gave us a visitor’s guide that included a map and brief description of the sculptures. He also recommended the best route to see them all and we were off!


One of the first statues we found along the side of the road was this duo of ground sloths. Look at the texture and detail! At this point, I was REALLY excited to continue the journey. We wandered throughout Galleta Meadows Estate and were pleasantly surprised at every corner. Most statues were right off the road and we could follow the hard-packed sand trails of our fellow adventures. For this section of the post, I’m going to let the pictures do the talking… So enjoy the photo tour below of some of our favorite statues!




046The T-rex shown above was a little further off the paved road, so we had to do some off-roading along the sand trails. Unfortunately, on the way back from this guy we kicked up some rocks under Funshine. After a quick pause to check for damage (photo below), we were on our way. Little did we know that the damage was already done… I insisted on driving in to see the wholly mammoth statue as our last one of the day. Isn’t that always how it goes? The last one? Anyone, on the way to see the wholly mammoth we hit a patch of deeper sand. And got stuck. So we got out, scooped out, and spun out… but we were making progress! Unfortunately, we noticed that the sand was wet… and smelled like oil. Uh-oh. After a few park rangers helped tow us as far as they could before spinning themselves, we gave in and called AAA.

052This is when the real adventure began… I was going to let it all out in my description, but I think I’ve expressed enough concern through supervisors, surveys, and Yelp reviews at this point. I’ll give you all the short version here, lol. After my call at 1:20pm, the first help came in 40 minutes and winched us out of the sand and back on the side of the road (truck shown below). Unfortunately, this shop’s flatbed tow truck was out of commission, which they hadn’t told AAA. So we were abandoned on the roadside. And back on the phone with AAA around 2:20pm. By 2:40 they had found another tow truck that could come in 60-90 minutes. Woof. We were in the middle of nowhere, but still! We settled in for the long wait after confirming that there were no other options in Borrego Springs. Ugh. Thank goodness for Xavier at this point because misery loves company.


067Around 4pm we heard from the second tow truck that he was still 45 minutes out. Meaning just over two hours from our second call. I was NOT happy. I’d already called AAA several times about the first mix-up and was now back on the phone with a second supervisor. Our concern at this point was the new ETA of 4:45pm. That is dangerously close to closing time in small towns, but we knew Mac’s Desert Auto Center (attached to Gringo’s) was open until 6pm and they had been expecting us… for three hours. When our second tow truck arrived, we quickly hooked it up and hustled into town knowing at this point it would take a small miracle for us to get home last night. Luckily, Xavier had already planted the seed in our best friend, Sean, that we might be needing his rescue efforts. Ugh.

069After looking at our poor Funshine, it was determined that the rocks we ran over after T-rex had scraped open a hole in the oil pan. That’s not good. Then we were informed that the part would have to be ordered, which would take three days to get to tiny Borrego Springs. Perfect! Xavier launched Operation Rescue with Sean, who graciously got in his car and started heading our way. While he was doing that, I was talking to the mechanic about any possible temporary fixes that could be done to get us home. He finally agreed to try welding aluminum bars (which he had to get from home) onto our aluminum oil pan. I gave my permission and we watched the gas station while he ran home right quick. Fortunately, after a minor fire problem… and some sparks… and then a topping of silicon, we were good to go! The gushing oil leak was now a slow, slow drip and with a few extra quarts of oil for good measure, we were cleared to drive home. We stuck to major-ish roads and booked it as safely as we could. It was 6pm when we rolled out of Borrego Springs, CA and after a quick stop in El Cajon for Taco Bell (X’s choice, for his good attitude all day) we got back to Encinitas around 8:30pm.


See that sand in the undercarriage on the left? Or the dark spot on the scraped oil pan? That was the issue… But I managed to add oil this morning to get Funshine to an auto repair shop in Encinitas and hopefully they can replace the oil pan. Then Funshine will be as good as new! Just like the first time I ventured into the desert, that time for a Megaslide, Funshine came back slightly bruised and broken, but not down for the count. Anyway, thanks to my best friends Xavier and Sean for helping get Funshine and I through this exciting day! And thanks to Borrego Springs for having amazing sculptures for us to visit!







1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Revised 30 Before 30 Project | Rays of Funshine

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