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Day 16 – Apr. 4th: The Borrego Springs Jeep

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<– Day 15 – Apr. 3rd: Joshua Tree National Park | OVERVIEW | Day 17 Apr. 5th: Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor –>


The Borrego Springs Jeep Sculpture — Awesome!

We spent Thursday night in downtown Palm Desert. I’d like to explore it more some day, but on Friday morning we had no time to see it. Instead, we had a specific mission: find the jeep sculpture in Borrego Springs, California.


We drove from Palm Desert to Borrego Springs. From there we drove to Ontario for cheaper weekend stay and for a Sunday excursion to Hollywood.

Before leaving Palm Desert, more food was needed and, after some googling, we landed at Jensens. One look at the deli case — lobster pot pie, sliced medium rare lamb, and more — we knew we’d better tread carefully, or we wouldn’t have any money left for the remainder of the trip. We couldn’t resist a few slices of lamb, but did pass on the lobster pot pie (Drats! I really wanted to know how that tasted).


Ready for our trip into the desert, we drove east before turning south. The highway took us down the western side of the Salton Sea. Back in my Manyone Network (circa 2006 and pre-eWillys) days I worked with a group to develop a portal about the unique aspects of the area. I’d always wanted to see the sea in person and finally got that chance today. While I’d seen it in photos, it is much bigger in person than I’d imagined.

When we reached Salton City, we began our trek west to Borrego Springs, but part way along our journey we discovered a bit of jeeping nirvana: Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area. First, we spotted a sign for a “4×4 Obstacle Road”.


Henry saw the 4×4 road sign and was ready for some off road action. But then he saw the pipes and tires and thought better of it.


This is part of the obstacle course. A large pile of tires is on the left and some drainage pipes are on the right. The hills are steeper than appear in this photo.

Then we discovered is was only for four wheel drive vehicles. After reading some of the signs, we began to understand that we were standing in the middle of miles and miles of offroading. Oh how I wished Biscuit was here!!


Lots of 4×4 options at Ocotillo Wells


I don’t buy that Ocotillo was the birth place of off road rec, but I can believe they were an early favorite.


Biscuit, Oh Biscuit, where for art thou Biscuit???

From there we drove to Borrego Springs, which is truly an oasis in the middle of a desert. We arrived to find a small farmer’s market in progress at a park in the town’s center. The town lacks any large chains or box stores. It looks to be a little arts-oriented town.


Christmas Circle is a circular park in the middle of town. Neat spot.

After adding some strawberriess and chipolte hummus to our cache, we bought a map of the sculptures and learned more about them.

The sculptures, or “Sky Art”, were made by artist Ricardo Breceda. Formerly in construction, Ricardo slipped a couple of discs as part of an accident around 1999. Unable to do much, he began to dabble in metal objects to pass the time, which he gave out to friends. His daugther, six years old at the time, dared him to dream bigger. A dinosaur fan, she’d just seen one of the ‘Jurassic Park’ movies and suggested he build one. The first two were a Tyrannousaurus Rex and a Spinosaurus. He placed them on property near an interstate freeway.


A couple of T-Rex’s are ready to feed on Henry and Ann.

An amateur paleontologist and wealthy philanthropist named Dennis Avery learned of Ricardo’s work and commissioned him to make more, to create examples of the dinosaurs and animals that used to roam the Borrego Springs area. Completing those commisions led to more works. Currently, Borrego is home to 131 sculptures, some small, some big and some unexpected.


To reach some of the ‘Sky Art’ south of town required some off road driving.


That is one big grasshopper!


The back had of this serpent was placed on the other side of the road, making it appear to be flowing under the road.

I believe the jeep falls into the latter category. Located north of town, the jeep appears in action, resting on hits hind wheels as the driver appears to be passing over a pile of rocks (as I understand it, the rocks were not a part of the original sculpture). It’s cool. They are all cool. I’m sure at some point the areas will be roped off, but for now, people can drive right up to the sculptures, though some are only accessible by driving offroad 🙂

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After enjoying the sculptures, we tried leaving Borrego Springs, but a wrong turn led us to a Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitors Center we didn’t know existed. Inside were some great education dioramas.


Most of the visitor center is underground, which suggests this area gets pretty hot in the summer.

On our way out of the visitors center, we made one more discovery, the Palm Canyon Hotel and RV Resort. It is modeled after an old west town. Ann and I agreed the place looked like a kick to spend a few nights. Unfortunately, it would kick our present budget.


After sneaking a few photos of the hotel, we began a beautiful drive west out of Borrego Springs up a long, winding hill. When we summitted the hill, the desert turned to mountain meadows, trees, and grass. The change was abrupt, but welcome.

For the next two nights we’ll be in Ontario (cheapest/best digs we could find). Sunday we hope to head for Hollywood to listen to a Wurlitzer Organ. Sunday night we will stay at a special location on old Route 66!

Here are a few more photos of the sculptures:

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<– Day 15 – Apr. 3rd: Joshua Tree National Park | OVERVIEW | Day 17 Apr. 5th: Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor –>


4 Comments on “Day 16 – Apr. 4th: The Borrego Springs Jeep

  1. A. Gayland Leddy

    If you are in the Oxnard area, drop by the Seabee base at Port Hueneme next door. They have a brand new museum that will have some Military vehicles.

  2. Joe in Mesa

    Those sculptures are absolutely epic. WOW. Thanks for posting. I’m adding Borrego Springs to my bucket list.
    And on top of your many adventures you posted FIVE 1942 GPWs today! (…or was it 4?) Either way, what a great way to wake up 🙂 Thanks and safe travels!

  3. mmdeilers Post author

    A. Gayland, the Seabee museum looks like a good idea. We’ll check it out. Thanks for the tip.

    – Dave

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