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Jacumba Venture Dec 2013

On Friday December 27, several adventuresome cyclists started pedaling eastward from Pine Valley for a 30-mile hilly trek to Jacumba. The riders were Julie and Keith Topliffe, Kathy Strege, Chris Polta, Lois Horowitz, and Martha Way. Ken King provided sag wagon service. The expected mild tailwinds didn't materialize; Santa Ana winds from the east made the ride challenging for all. Thanks to Marge Cooper's detailed knowledge of the inland empire, we learned about an Italian eatery in Boulevard and enjoyed a generous meal there. Thanks to Marge for that recommendation!

In Jacumba we were joined by Joi and Paul Vogel, and Joan and Dick Wayman. Joan and Dick celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary by hosting a happy hour.

The Jacumba Hot Springs Spa and Resort has a checkered past. Jacumba (Kumeyaay Indian word for, "hut by the water") was originally established as a mail station on the Yuma route by James McCoy in 1852. Its recent incarnation started in the summer of 2013, when new ownership offered rooms with new furniture, a cleaned-up Jacuzzi, and a very nice restaurant.

The natural hot springs pools were a little too cool for us (wind and air temps were in the low 60s), but there was still plenty to do. Talking, drinking, and eating, using the Jacuzzi, exploring the town (population about 250 and dropping), and walking to the U.S.-Mexico border fence were all fun.

On Saturday we rode out to the Desert View Tower, 8 miles east. It was built from 1922 to 1928 as a roadside attraction by Bert Vaughn, a real estate developer who owned Jacumba. The three story tower houses a museum and has an observation deck on its upper level. The gift shop at the base of the tower is a later addition.
An ensemble of stone sculptures of animal, called Boulder Park, is adjacent to Desert View Tower. They were sculpted by M.T. Ratliffe (or Radcliff) over two years during the 1930s in the local stone. Both the tower and sculpture garden are works of folk art.
At dawn Sunday we were greeted by a crystal clear deep blue sky, warming temperatures and winds from the East (mostly) to blow the riders back to Pine Valley. While the number of miles wasn't up to the average of our tours, the riders got plenty of exercise because of the great climbs.

Thanks to all the participants for making this an enjoyable little vacation! Here's a place to look at the pictures. The Jacumba trip is the featured gallery.

Ken King