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Ramona Canyon…

Posted by on January 19, 2014

January 19, 2014.

Brad’s birthday. Hard to believe he’s grown, married and the father of two little boys. It seems like just yesterday when…

We’ll be here in the San Diego area about a month before heading north up the Oregon coast to Washington State to visit Florence’s brother in Toutle, near Mt. St. Helens. After a week or so with him, we’ll see the rest of that beautiful state for a month or two and then head to Monument Valley, Zion and that area. After that we head across the country for the East coast. We plan to “follow the Fall colors” down the eastern seaboard and then “winter” in Florida or Texas.

Ramona Canyon, February 2012 001

This park is on Old Highway 78. It meanders through the hills with lots of turns and blind curves. Without this sign at the side of the road, I’d never have found the place.

The reason for our San Diego stop right now is that each of us still has some medical and dental issues to resolve with our doctors. We’ll spend lots of time, also, with friends and family as the next time we depart it will be “for real.” I don’t know how soon thereafter we’ll be back in San Diego, perhaps not for a couple of years. Feels very, very strange and frightening to be gone so long from what’s been home almost forever!

Our spot right now and for the next few weeks is Ramona Canyon RV Resort. It’s located on Old Highway 78 in the town of Ramona. A quiet and peaceful spot to stay for a while. We’re here primarily because after purchasing all those affiliate memberships we are now in a position to cash in and begin to amortize the acquisition cost. Accordingly, the cost at our current location is…nothing! There are lots of amenities: Gated Security, Clubhouse, mail service, laundry facilities, library and book exchange, heated pool and spa, freshwater fish pond, Chapel of the Oaks, cable TV and Wi-Fi. It’s just a short drive to Julian and Dudley’s Bakery and only about 40 minutes to San Diego. After a couple of weeks here we’ll return to Sweetwater Summit Park in Bonita, to re-connect with friends there and to finish our business in San Diego. Then, we’re really going to see America.


Who’d have guessed we’d find a Camel dairy in Ramona?

Back to my remarks about Ramona. As long as we’ve lived in San Diego, neither of us has ever spent any time here, other than to camp at Dos Picos and to drive through town on the way to Julian. Ramona is affectionately known as the “Valley of the Sun” and it has a definite small town ambiance and a western feel that coincides with the tack and feed stores and the country dancing bars studded along the main street in town. But here’s a little known fact about this spot: Right here in Ramona, far away from the desert winds of the Middle East or the North African continent, you can get up close and personal with camels at the Oasis Camel Dairy. Pet, feed, ride and learn more than you ever thought you wanted to know about the gentle giants. While you’re there you can pick up some soaps and lotions or chocolate made from camel’s milk. The owners have created a unique sanctuary where camels in need can come for care and rehabilitation in order to become productive, vital animals. There is more to see and do than ride a camel at this working farm. Walk the 34 ares, go on photo safari, or enjoy the hilarious tricks and antics of owner Nancy’s performing birds at her bird show, which she stages at the farm and also takes on the road. Training seminars are available for those interested in learning to care for camels…anyone seriously interested? Not exactly something on my bucket list!

Ramona also boasts a growing wine industry. Only ten years ago wineries were few and far between in town, despite an ideal grape-growing climate. Now the region holds numerous vineyards and boutique wineries, many of which have earned honors in wine competitions held throughout Southern California. You just never know what’s there in these little rural towns just outside San Diego. Funny, it’s not until we’ve left San Diego that we’re discovering some of these little-known secrets in the area.


Arriving at Ramona Canyon. Lots of green grass and large established oak trees. Also a small stream and a fishing hole!


Dudley’s Bakery, about 15 miles from Ramona.


Rural mailboxes in Ramona.


Dos Picos Regional Park is also located in Ramona. We camp here often with our Third Weekenders group.

Here’s another truly interesting fact about Ramona.  In the 1960s boxer Archie Moore held a training camp here.  It was called “Salt Mine” and  trained George Foreman and Muhammed Ali. Moore fought from 1936 until 1963 and battled the top names in boxing at the time, including Rocky Marciano, Floyd Patterson and Muhammad Ali. He won 185 of his 219 bouts before retiring at 49 years old after losing to Ali. Moore’s connection to San Diego was his retreat, the Salt Mine Training Camp in Ramona. He called it “Salt Mine” because he said he worked as hard there to get ready for fights as anyone did in a salt mine. The property, at the foot of Mt. Woodson, included 120 acres with five homes, a boxing ring, a sweatbox (steam room) and miles of winding country roads and trails that Moore used for road work. Moore often encountered rattlesnakes and even mountain lions on his runs. Finally, Dudley’s Bakery is not far from town and it’s always a fun place to visit. It was founded in 1963 by the late Dudley Pratt. At the time, Mr. Pratt was a 53-year old expert baker who had previously operated a bakery in El Cajon, California. Upon deciding to build a new bakery in Santa Ysabel, he met a lot of skepticism from those who thought the bakery was just “too far away.” He took the risk and built it anyway. Soon people from near and far traveled to taste Dudley’s enormous and delicious selection of breads, fruit bars and pastries. The bakery continues to this day, producing thousands of loaves every morning. They don’t last long!

In addition to seeing all of our doctors, we have a list a mile long of things we need to have done to our motor-home. Bob and Mark, at RV Specialists, will be glad to see us. The kinds of issues for the rig are not really problems at all. If we were still living at home and just using the rig for long weekends and short vacations, none of these projects would get done. However, since we’ll be living aboard for what appears to be an ever-increasingly long time, we’re not going to deny ourselves: Some new cabinet work, another set of stereo speakers in the cab area, a soft water system and things like that. We’re planning to accomplish all of this “unfinished business” as quickly as possible. We are really ready to get on the road to some destinations a lot more new and different for us. If you’re from San Diego, “hang in there” with me. This travel blog will soon get far more interesting for you…promise!

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