Monday, May 31, 2010

Mountainside, CA 92060

I hope everybody had a wonderful first holiday weekend of the summer. We visited Palomar Mountain State Park, camping overnight. We used to go there more often when the kids were little and when my wife wasn't so busy becoming supernurse.  We have the art of tent camping down to a science and we can set up and take down very quickly.

Palomar Mountain, which we affectionately call Mountainside, is a special place in southern California.  Too distant from both San Diego and Los Angeles to be convenient for them, we have it to ourselves.  Palomar Mountain is a real community, comprising 5th and 6th generation homesteaders, bikers, ex-hippies in exile, egghead scientists (associated with Caltech's iconic 200 inch Hale telescope and Observatory), and an ever so-slowly creeping influx of retiring boomers. The town comes alive on weekends in the summer months, and curiously, also in the winter months after frequent snowstorms when the gawkers drive up 5,000 ft to experience snow.

"Mountainside" is about 45 miles east and a mile up from Oceanside. In the 1930's, San Diego County built a road to Palomar Observatory which was then called the "Highway to the Stars." The highway was marked with the following road sign:

Over the years, the road signs became so popular with thieves that they were all stolen.  Today the road is known and marked as County S-6.  The best part is 7 miles of winding road with an ascent of a few thousand feet. There are turnouts with breathtaking views all the way to the Pacific on clear days. This time of year, there tends to be haze. It's a popular (and dangerous) route with the bikers in the summer.  There's a popular watering hole at the summit (the mountain is also famous for its spring water).

[added] More iconic imagery:


  1. Camping with the kids has to be a lot of fun. I bet it brought back memories of what you used to do with you dad on you scuba diving trips. Sounds like a lot of fun.

  2. I am going on a cruise for July 4th with my granddaughter and a bunch of nieces and nephews. I might be able to teach them a thing or two. Like how to order the correct wine with dinner. They are about ten years old. Just about right to start learning.

  3. I am going on a cruise for July 4th with my granddaughter and a bunch of nieces and nephews.

    Sounds like they'll be looking up to you as the wise old Uncle Troop.

    Where you going, off the coast of FL? I hope the seas aren't awash with tarballs!

  4. No, we are going up to Canada again.

    My nieces and nephews love me. Kids are like cats. The less you want to do with them, the more they want to hang out with you.

  5. Liking the links, El Pollo, as I'm finding posts I haven't read before. I especially enjoy the stamp and quote.