Walter and Sara Let the good times roll
We left off in Part II in Anza Borrego State Park ready to go looking at the sculptures arrayed around the town of Borrego Springs. Borrego Springs is located smack dab in the middle of the park and includes hotels and golf courses and high end RV parks. It’s a small desert town with no galleries or anything like that so we didn’t know what to expect.

Multimillionaire Dennis Avery (think Avery labels and office supplies) bought a HUGE block of land called Galleta Meadows in the 1990’s. He eventually built a resort, country club and golf course there along with a winter home for himself. He decided not to fence the property and instead marked it here and there with signs. Some look like they are for some future housing development—the kind made of stone and brass letters that say Galleta Meadows Estates. And others look like historical landmark signs like this one.

Galleta Meadows Sign Borrego Springs CA

The date between the crossed shovels at the top is 1774, the year that Juan Bautista de Anza with the help of Chochimi Indian guide, Sebasian Tarabal, made the first expedition across the valley and on up California to San Francisco Bay. We’d seen the signs the last time we were in Borrego Springs but we didn’t know what they were about.

This time we heard about the sculptures when we were at the state park Visitor’s Center where they gave us a map so we could visit them. We really had no idea what we were getting into! There are 27 installations of these sculptures scattered around the edges of town. The sculptures were all commissioned by Avery and are all made of sheet metal by Mexican artist Ricardo Arroyo Breceda. They started with the pre-historic animals that lived in the area millions of years ago inspired by a book called Fossil Treasures of the Anza-Borrego Desert.

They range from critters like this Gomphothere (notice the enormous scorpion behind him).

Gomphothere sculpture Borrego CA

to things like these Camelops.

Camelops Sculpture Borrego Springs, CA 

Camelops Sculpture Borrego Springs, CA

There are also gracile saber tooth cats,

gracile saber tooth cat sculpture Borrego Springs, CA

extinct horses

extinct horses sculpture Borrego Springs, CA 

extinct horses sculpture Borrego Springs, CA

and giant tortoises.

giant tortoise sculpture Borrego Springs, CA

They’ve continued to add to the collection over the years including Merriam’s Tapirs

 Merriam’s Tapirs sculpture Borrego Springs, CA

and Peccaries

Peccaries sculpture Borrego Springs, CA

And even this fantastic Incredible Wind God Bird in his nest and with his prey.

Incredible Wind God Bird in his nest sculpture 

Incredible Wind God Bird with his prey

There are also African Elephants (I’m not sure how they fit in but they’re swell).

African Elephant sculptures Borrego Springs, CA

Things get more fantastic as you go along. There are Velociraptor’s (I love the little curly toes and the implied motion in these).

Velociraptor sculptures Borrego Springs, CA  

Velociraptor sculptures Borrego Springs, CA

And this huge serpent stretches from one side of the road to the other. You can see how huge this sculpture is by comparing it to the SUV and the three people on the road next to it.

Dragon across the road

He was my favorite bar none. Yes, that’s Fernando off in the distance on the road.

Dragon sculpture's head Borrego Springs CA

They’ve also included some historical figures for the area like this Indian Head in honor of Juan Bautista de Anza’s Chochimi Indian guide, Sebasian Tarabal.

 Indian Head in honor of Juan Bautista de Anza’s Chochimi Indian guide, Sebasian Tarabal

And a 1946 Willy’s Jeep.

1946 Willy’s Jeep sculpture Borrego Springs CA

Out near Avery’s Resort there’s an old miner and his mule.

Old miner and his mule sculpture Borrego Springs CA

Just past him there is a collection of the critters that Borrego is named after: Desert Big Horn Sheep (Borrego in Spanish).

Desert Big Horn Sheep sculptures Borrego Springs CA 

Desert Big Horn Sheep sculptures Borrego Springs CA

Desert Big Horn Sheep sculptures Borrego Springs CA

My favorites were these two rams silhouetted on the ridgeline in the late afternoon light .

Desert Big Horn Sheep sculptures Borrego Springs CA

By the time we’d stopped and gotten out of the truck to look at all of these, the shadows were lengthening and the sun was nearly over the mountains. And we were tired.

Borrego Springs afternoon light

Borrego Springs afternoon light

The next morning we packed up our gear and headed east to Phoenix. You drive out towards Salton Sea where there are heat heaves in the road that make it feel like you are skiing through moguls.

For Christmas our daughter, Leslie, got us a Garmin GPS. Walter set it up with a female voice and by the time we got to Anza-Borrego, he’d decided that her name should be Carmine Garmin. So Carmine tells us where to drive Fernando who pulls Rosita along the way. Carmine wanted us to take the shortcut through Mecca to join up with I-10 but we’ve done that before. It’s a dirt road and once was enough thank you very much. So we turned her off so we wouldn’t have to listen to her tell us to turn around over and over again.

We rolled into Goodyear, AZ (a Phoenix suburb west of downtown) late in the afternoon. We got checked in and set up in time to join my sister, Kathy and her husband, Mike, for dinner that night. In Part IV, we’ll go with them on a hike to a sometime waterfall in White Tank County Park.