Originally Posted by TGYoung
Can anybody suggest a suitable starting/ending point where a car might park for 6 or 7 days safely? Looking at the map we've identified a couple of towns (wide spots on the road?) that might be suitable: Warner Springs on Hwy 79 about 20 miles west of Borrego Springs, Ranchita on S-22, or possibly even Borrego Springs itself. Can anybody comment about these spots, or suggest others to consider?
I rode that stretch last April on my tour from LA to the Grand Canyon. From Oceanside, I took Hwy 76 east, past Pala, Pauma Valley and Lake Henshaw, then north on Hwy 79 and east on S2 and S22 passing Ranchita.
Continuing east on S22, you will descend Montezuma Grade to the Anza Borrego Desert and Borrego Springs.
Here's my 2 cents
--The area east of Pauma Valley to Lake Henshaw and then to Ranchita is beautiful biking! It is fairly remote (for SoCal) and not many services. West of Pauma, traffic is bad because of the casinos. I stayed at at the LaJolla Indian Reservation Campground near the summit, but they don't open until mid-April.
--I doubt if Ranchita has any parking facilities. It's just a blip on the map. I didn't pass through Warner Springs, but I think it's a full service town. East of Ranchita, it will be all downhill to Anza Borrego. Trust me on this...you WILL enjoy that downhill
. That means coming back the other way will be a bit*ch if you parked your car at the top.
--At the bottom of the mountain is Borrego Palm Canyon Campground. They have no-reservation hiker/biker sites for $3!. You could also call and ask about leaving your car there or even reserving a car camping space (for a lot more $) This would make a good basecamp for your bike touring. It's crowded in the spring, so you need to make reservations.
--Try to stay a night at Aqua Caliente Springs. They have hot springs to soak in after a long day in the saddle.
--Beware of strong winds, even in the morning. Not so great if you're going the wrong direction. On Hwy 78 near Ocotillo, I averaged 20-25 mph for 15 miles (without pedalling once!)
--Temps in the desert should be great in March. In the Cleveland Forest, near Lake Henshaw, it can go to freezing at night.
Good Luck. Hope you catch the spring wildflower bloom. Here's some pics of my trip: