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DeAnza Springs Resort, California

May 1999

I arrived at DeAnza Springs Resort on Monday afternoon, May 17, after a 5-hour drive from Phoenix. The resort was easy to find, only 1.5 miles from the Jacumba exit on I-8. (If you're coming from the other direction, the exit is 74 miles east of San Diego). I checked in at the office and found that they had reserved a nearby site for my '85 Chevy van conversion. I was able to pull through, as it appears you can do with most of the sites. After getting comfortable, I began to look around.

The place is huge. They have over 500 acres. The site is in the high desert of southern California, surrounded on three sides by golden-colored granite hills. To the west is a valley with thickets of green trees. In the center of the resort is a very large clubhouse, which houses the office, a restaurant and bar, a game room, a fitness center a dance floor and a huge TV set. Surrounding the clubhouse is a beautiful lawn with shade trees and a barbecue pit, as well as two swimming pools, a hot tub, four horseshoe pits and a brand-new shuffleboard court. There is a large porch on the poolside of the clubhouse, with picnic tables and gas barbecues. Nearby you will find two of the most beautiful tennis courts I've ever seen, along with two grass volleyball courts and a children's play area. A sand volleyball court is in a nearby wash.

You couldn't ask for friendlier staff. Dave and Helen, the owners, and Rick and Debi, the managers, went out of their way to be helpful.

One of the major attractions of DeAnza is the hiking trails. Those granite hills are part of the Anza-Borrego State Park, and there are numerous trails you can hike -- in the buff if you want to. Up close, the hills are covered with a jumble of huge granite boulders. If you know where to look, you can find Indian pictographs and other traces of the prehistoric population of the area. There are lots of cactus -- most of it in bloom when I was there -- and other interesting desert plants. And there are coyotes and mountain lions living in the surrounding area. Often you can hear the coyotes at night. And the stars are amazing in the clear desert air. Us city dwellers sometimes forget that stars exist! And you don't know what beauty is until you see a full moon rising over Temple Peak!

Hiking alone is not a good idea. But one or more of the "regulars" in the park are usually willing to hike. There is a book in the lobby with directions to the principal hiking trails, and guided hikes are available every other weekend for a very modest fee. Marlene and George will guide you to Indian sites and abandoned mines and the amazing and deserted Carrizo Gorge railroad with its spectacular Goat Creek trestle.

I left DeAnza on the following Monday and returned that Friday for the long Memorial Day weekend. The resort hosted the California Camping Bares and the Canyon State Naturists that weekend. So I got to see the place during both quiet and busy times. The resort absorbed the crowd so well you hardly knew they were there, except for the fact that so many sites were occupied. It was a great weekend. The food was good and reasonably priced. DeAnza is scheduled to host AANR 2000 next year, and I predict that it will be a stellar affair.

On Tuesday I bid farewell to DeAnza and headed back to Phoenix. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and look forward to my next visit.


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