California Mountain Camping

On Earth Day we arrived for four nights of non-hook-up camping at our favorite mountain campground, William Heise County Park, near Julian, California. During this second year of camping with our Airstream, we are learning to appreciate the rhythm of the seasons and the variety of topographies and micro-climates that are within a two-to-three hour drive from our home in San Diego. This is becoming increasingly important to us as the price of fuel sky-rockets, leading some to wonder, “Is this the beginning of the end?”


So at this time of year, as our nearby deserts heat up, we find comfort and interest in the Cuyamaca Mountians. The air was still cool, the flowers still blooming, and the turkeys were frolicking when we returned to William Heise County Park.



This park is located near Julian, a former California gold-mining-boom-town, and now a quaint apple-growing center, visited by many people, especially during the fall Apple Days and Bluegrass Festival. Occasionally, it is also visited by the Plague Doctor.

This area is also plagued by wildfires, especially during the Santa Ana wind conditions prevalent in late summer and early fall. The October 2003 wildfires burned 70% of William Heise Park. Seven miles of pleasant, wooded loop trails provide opportunities to follow the stages of re-forestation that occur naturally after fires.


During this second year of camping, we are also learning to keep an eye on naturally loosening screws in our Airstream. On this outing, Larry heard something drop as he was closing a window. The tiny hex screw that holds the gray plastic knob on the window-opening-arm-bracket had fallen out and was luckily found.


Last year Larry assembled two bags of essential tools, which included two sets of hex keys (also known as Allen wrenches) of various sizes. Larry used the 1/16th inch hex key to screw it back in and tighten all of the other window knob screws which had begun to loosen.


This underscores the importance of making and maintaining an essential tool bag.



  1. says

    I keep a set of Allen Wrenches for my bicycle. I’ll have to examine the Airstream for extended applications. 🙂

    The photos look great once again!

  2. Bill D. says

    Thanks, Gadget, for your comments… and for your scenic podcast with music of your visit to Julian, which can be seen by clicking on the “visited by” link above (takes a few moments to load).

    BTW, the Ukulele Frenzy continues… Click on the “California” link above!

  3. says

    The timely tip about loosening screws is one of the best yet — thanks !

    Love those gangs of turkeys roaming about the place 🙂

    Now I’m interested in the post-fire re-growth at W. Hiese… just wish my dogs could come along on the hike! How do you guys handle the restrictions that disallow the pups on the hiking trails at W. Hiese?

  4. says

    Yeah…you gotta’ check those screws so that the Airstream doesn’t fall completely apart!!

    I love the turkey pictures…it looks like you were met with wonderful weather on your trip. I’ll have to check for the scenic podcast as well…

  5. Bill D. says

    Thanks Sadira and -jd for your comments.

    Regarding dogs: We observe and obey park rules and regulations wherever we camp, which means one of us stays with the dogs in camp while the other takes a hike on the trails.

  6. Dennis Pierce says

    Throw a tube of red Loc-Tite in the tool box to use on those pesky set screws. Road vibrations have a way of backing out a lot of fittings that were tight on the pre-trip check