Beer Sommeliers Invade Jojoba Hills!

We have begun winding down our time at Jojoba Hills, turning our attention to organizing our 5th-wheel and preparing to wedge, cram, and squeeze all “travel must-haves” into our truck camper, so we weren’t expecting to meet any full-timers until we hit the road again.  Much to my surprise and pleasure, a female solo traveler whose blog I have followed for some time dropped me an email.  She had remembered that we were wintering at Jojoba Hills and let me know she was heading our way…yes!  It was none other than the lovely Suzanne from Take to the Highway!  Before we knew it a few of her other friends also descended on the park, and we had ourselves a regular mini bloggerfest goin’ down at happy hour.

L-R: Terry, Judy, Debbie, Suzanne, Jim, Gayle.  Note that Jim’s sole focus is on the beer!

Judy from Travels with Emma is also a solo wanderer, traveling with doggie Emma and Jim and Gayle write the engaging blog Life’s Little Adventures.  Terry and Debbie live the leisurely life reading other bloggers’ musings.  My apologies to Suzanne as I snapped the photo above when she was enjoying some yummy snacks, but that’s the way it goes sometimes when candid shots are taken.  In fairness I have posted a lovely image of her below enjoying a few of her favorite craft brews.

As the number of brews continued to grow, I felt I was watching beer sommeliers in action, with words like full-bodied, caramelly, and creamy mouth feel being tossed around.  Beer drinking just got elevated to another level!  Unfortunately I was on a restricted diet at the time and beer wasn’t on the list but you can bet I was taking copious notes for a later date.

 Suzanne and her many friends

After our little gathering Terry headed east to assist his mother with moving into new living  arrangements and I was entrusted with preparing our rigs for departure, a daunting task but I was up to the challenge.  First item on the agency was to take a break from all this planning and head for the hills to hike with the gang.  A girl needs exercise too, right?

Jim and Gayle’s friends George and Tina, who have a beautiful home nestled into a canyon outside Hemet, invited the group for a hike in Simpson Park.  We enjoyed a rolling 7-mile hike on the Fireman Trail, with lovely views of Diamond Valley Reservoir and citrus orchards providing a brilliant verdant backdrop to the surrounding mountains.

Fireman Trail with Diamond Valley Reservoir in the distance

L-R: George, Jim, Tina, Gayle, & Suzanne

Suzanne happily capturing wildflowers still clinging to the trail’s edge

A brilliant splash of green provided some captivating views

A couple more happy hours rounded out our time with the gang.  We are thankful they included us in their little group and feel certain we will all meet up again somewhere down the road.  When we do, I better have a notebook handy as I’m sure there will be brews to add to the list.  I see some homework in my future. 🙂

The past several months have sped by for us while we were busy establishing a new winter base, making new friends, and developing new interests.  Although it is difficult to say goodbye to such great folks, we leave with the knowledge that we will all gather back at Jojoba Hills next winter with lots of tales to share.  Our travels will take us to the Northwest this summer and we’re looking forward to reconnecting with many friends who are heading the same direction.  It’s shaping up to be a great summer.  Hope yours is too!

Spring brings new life to the ponds at Jojoba Hills

We are heading up the 395, something we have not done in the spring.  Tips for places to stay, things to do, and trails to hike are always welcome.

Next Stop:  Lone Pine, CA, where the Alabama Hills are calling.

Little Gem in the Desert ~ Jojoba Hills RV Resort

Lovely clouds blanket the mountains and cast interesting shadows on the desert floor.
Lovely clouds blanket the mountains and cast interesting shadows on the desert floor.

We have been in our winter home at Jojoba Hills RV Resort near Temecula, CA for almost three months now and are enjoying it immensely.  I must confess to being a bit skeptical about the thought of spending so much time being stationary, at least the wheels on our home.  But this new lifestyle, a wonderful blending of community and travel, suits us just fine.  We have found an active group of caring, supportive folks that we bonded with immediately.  I am pleased to call Jojoba Hills our winter home and wanted to take a moment to share a little history of this beautiful resort.

Twenty-five years ago a small group from a local chapter of an Escapee’s RV Club had a vision, one that many might consider reckless or foolhardy.  Thank goodness for grandiose dreamers, those with a pioneering spirit, for this is what it took, along with a huge dose of tenacity, hard work, and synergy, to breathe life into Jojoba Hills RV Resort.  What was once barren desert is now a sparkling little gem overlooking Palomar Mountain and the Aguanga Valley.

This small band of visionaries, men and women with a median age of 67, began the arduous task of clearing 145 acres of rattlesnake-infested hills and canyons.  Although many tradesmen were represented, I learned that volunteers were transformed into whatever was needed – “salesmen became electricians or plumbers and hair dressers became welders”.  Women who had never wielded a hammer stood alongside the men building the sheds and setting the forms for concrete patios.  The “Rockettes”, most if not all women, painstakingly placed 25,000 feet of rocks into drains and culverts, securing the drainage system, all the while considering the aesthetics of the resort.

My new favorite sport – pickleball!

Over 292,500 volunteer hours moved 1.2 million cubic yards of dirt, 2700 tons of rock, built 5 miles of road, dug 35 miles of trenches, poured 119,000 square feet of concrete, etc., etc.  Except for a handful of professionals who were paid a fee, the remaining crew did this back-breaking work for nothing more than coffee and their daily ration of homemade cookies…an immense labor of love.

My sense of reluctance at finding enough to interest me and occupy my time has been transformed into wonderment at all this resort has to offer.  There are pickleball and tennis courts, a lap pool, hot tubs, saunas, a well-equipped fitness room, yoga class, photography club, art classes, sewing room, hiking club, book club, pottery classes, woodworking shop, and, be still my heart, a writers’ group.  The list of amenities is extensive, not to mention the countless opportunities to volunteer, which is highly encouraged, as this resort is maintained by the generous volunteering spirit of its members.

One of six lovely ponds grace the property.
One of six lovely ponds grace the property.

Many of the founding residents are now beginning to move on to the next phase in their lives, but those who remain have the most delightful stories to share.  I have found the most heartwarming sense of community here at Jojoba Hills, and have lived nowhere else where the support of neighbors is so pervasive.  You cannot walk or drive by anyone without receiving a warm smile and a wave – the Jojoba way.

A new day dawns at Jojoba Hills.
A new day dawns at Jojoba Hills.

Temecula is only 17 miles away and has a great farmers’ market and lots of opportunity for retail therapy, if that is your thing.  Jojoba Hills is surrounded by wine country and within an easy drive of San Diego, Anza Borrego, Palm Springs, and Joshua Tree National Park.  There are countless other adventures to be had across California. Death Valley is on our calendar for this winter, as is the Central Coast.

If you find yourself wandering around in the deserts of So. Cal, you might want to check out Jojoba Hills.  They’re an awfully friendly bunch here. 🙂