Day 10 in the car on the way back to Palm Springs.
We woke up at 7:30AM to a very sunny, warm desert morning and packed camp to head back to Julian for a shaded, cooler spot to eat and organize.
After getting everything in order, we drove to Pacific Beach to meet my cousins Michael and Nathan. We had lunch with Michael at Fat Sal’s Sub Shop and called or grandpa for his birthday (happy birthday Grandpa!).
We went for a walk to see the beach and town while we were waiting for Nate to get home.
Once Nate was available, we walked to his new house to visit for a bit.
After a great (albeit to short) visit with my cousins, we drove to Venice Beach to see my Aunt Mitzi, who was kind enough to let us spend the night at her house. We stopped for gas on our way out of Pacific Beach, which cost a whopping $4.39 a gallon.
Aunt Mitzi helped us settle in and relax for a bit before we had to head out for a night of road cruising near Palm Springs.
We went to a very crowded In-N-Out Burger at Morongo (Rhett’s first experience) before hitting the streets.
Despite 4 hours of searching, we only saw 1 red-spotted toad (Anaxyrus punctatus, thanks again Kent!). We met another, very friendly herper (Marc) who offered his advice and help for trying tomorrow night. Thoroughly disappointed, we made the long trek back to Venice for the night.
We woke up at 8 too a cool, sunny, mountain morning and got right to processing the DOR red diamond rattlesnake from last night.
After preserving the snake we spent the late morning and early afternoon doing laundry and getting another shower at camp. While the laundry dried, we made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Feeling refreshed, we headed to Julian, CA, to meet with two local herpers (aka people who look for reptiles and amphibians), Bill and Kent. Before meeting them, we had spent some time in Julian, which is a fun small town that we all really enjoyed. The residents were all very nice and welcoming, the weather was beautiful, and they have tons of neat shops and places that sell local goods. I recommend visiting if you get the opportunity. A nice, older gentleman, fondly called “Whiskers,” told us that the town was founded by confederate soldiers who settled because of the area’s rural, secluded peacefulness. Jason and I also enjoyed aJulian Pale Ale each at the Nickel Beer Company, a very fun, relaxing local hangout. We all tried their chipotle pickles, which were quite an experience. Thanks to everyone we met in Julian, we’ll be back!
We picked up some local sausages in town and headed to Jess Martin Park to make dinner (sausage pasta). While there, we met the park’s caretaker, Chris, who was really nice, offering to help us in any way he could and telling us some fun snake anecdotes.
After the delicious pasta, we met up with Kent and Bill to road cruise. Kent was nice enough to have been following with our blog, and helped us correct a few misidentified lizards that we had posted (thanks, Kent!). Bill and Kent were a wealth of information about southern California, snakes, and other fun wildlife. We really enjoyed the ride with them, especially since they guided us to some Pacific rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus). We also salvaged a DOR glossy snake (Arizona elegans), saw 2 live glossy snakes, and one live spotted leaf-nosed snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus), a new species for us.
We stopped to camp at 1AM on BLM land.