“You’re not welcome here!”

“You’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here,” from thirty yards away in the dry desert air you could hear the old man muttering like Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade.

“You’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here.”  He was incessant, bent over like a question mark wobbling with his cane, never yelling, just talking so we all could hear.  Not exactly a welcome wagon greeting as we were setting up camp.  Our entire group, Old man Birch (OMB), Georgie, R, Amelia, myself, and Dusty, Jen, and Angie who were staying in town, but drove out to visit us…we were all doing our best to just ignore the crazy man.

“You’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here.”  Of course, Amelia took the bait and said, “Hey, you should be nice.”  Something about having a kindergarten teacher chirp at him made the old nut cower a little.  He shuffled to the other side of his trailer, but continued muttering and staring at us.

By now we were all on our second beers and having hors d’oeuvres.  The old coot was still mumbling, but now it was becoming humorous.  Three beers in, we all started mimicking him.  “You’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here.”

Crowds are to be expected on President’s Day weekend.  Rockhouse Canyon Rd, aka Clark Dry Lake area of Borrego Springs is a popular boondocking spot.  It used to be really wide open, but they’ve closed down a lot of the area.  Still, there’s a lot of open space. Thirty yards away from your neighbor on a crowded weekend would be considered good etiquette.

The Birchs and R arrived hours before us so they could secure a spot.  The old whack a doodle was being dickish even then and asked the Birchs to move their camper to the other side of R.  He was afraid Birch’s dog, Diego, would attack his cat.  OMB obliged and moved.  I guess us rolling in with the Airstream a few hours later unhinged the guy.

As usual, we all hit the hay before 9pm, and were up before sunrise, had a relaxing morning with no sign of Mr. Happy.  Mid morning, we were packing up the truck for a drive to a slot canyon hike, and still not a peep out of the grouchy old man.

Three hours later, when we returned to camp, there it was, what we all assumed was a nasty note, stuffed into R’s cup holder on his chair.




That’s Mr. You’re not welcome here’s trailer in the center, R’s trailer on the right, and of course our Airstream.


Breakfast with the dogs. Diego has an uncanny resemblance to a young Clint Eastwood when he’s wearing his jacket.


These signs are now all over the Clark Dry lake area, closing off a lot of the boondocking spots.


We had a group of ten for the slot canyon hike. These three beautiful smiles belong to Amelia, Tam, and Jen.


OMB entering a slot.


Amelia & Dusty at the top, R looking at them, and the Birchs smartly resting in the shade.


Smoke tree.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Clark Dry Lake.


Clark Dry Lake has a storied past. I’m not certain, but this may be from University of Maryland’s Clark Lake Radio Observatory (CLRO).  At one time it was the world’s most powerful and versatile low frequency telescope.  In the mid 80’s Ronnie Reagan shut it down with budget cuts to scientific research.  During WWII, the US Navy used the lake bed for a aerial gunnery range.  That’s Amelia’s new bazillion dollar used bike.


Amelia and OMB on Valentine’s Day.  Amelia found a heart shape “I love you” mylar ballon on the lake bed.  She tied it to her hydration pack.  You can see it trailing behind her.


It was a little nippy outside in the morning, but the sun was delightfully warm while sitting in the Airstream.


Amelia and Georgie, enjoying a little afternoon coloring session.


Coyote Creek was flowing, but unfortunately no flowers yet.

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Desert Blister Beetles (Lytla Magister).  The larger one is the male.  They were attached, and took turns dragging each other around.  We think this may be a mating ritual?


Borrego rock art.


Valentine’s day sunset.

5 thoughts on ““You’re not welcome here!”

  1. Such a fun time hanging w u all. We love Gary’s humor and clan Birch is easy and fun to hike with. So cool we were able to hook up without prior coordination; awesome impromptu-ness. Goodtimes talk about “back in the day” when an abalone was only a short walk to the beach. It was the first time our lil one made it the whole way on a big hike. She loves Amy!!!! We ALL love Amy!!!! Thanks again guys for including us.

  2. That handwriting does not look like it came from an old man. Maybe his cat wrote the apology letter. Great story and, as usual, amazing photos. Hey, I have a question: can you smoke the smoke tree?

    • Those were my same thoughts about the handwriting! We were thinking maybe his “partner” wrote the letter. I’ll ask R about the Smoke Tree, he knows all about smoking things!

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