I spent yesterday at the south end of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park testing a 2017 Jeep Cherokee, looking for great trails and spring flowers. I found both.

You’ll find more about this in a few weeks when my column runs in the San Diego Union-Tribune, but here are a couple of quick remarks.

My destination was just about a half-hour north of Interstate 8 at Ocotillo Wells, around the old Dos Cabezas train station. I crossed the San Diego and Arizona Railroad tracks and headed up into a rocky canyon west of the rails.

The drive was through a near-forest of ocotillo (following a drive through a tower forest in the Ocotillo Wind farm) that look to be ready to bloom. Lots of green in the desert this year.

In a beautiful, rocky canyon I found a few flowers in bloom, with many more on the way… only about 10 percent of the buds had opened. It looks to really be a fantastic year and it starts in a week or so, in this area.

The Cherokee proved itself as a capable and surprisingly comfortable on-and-off road. A couple of nasty, sandy and rocky stretches were along the way. With the windows rolled up, the a/c going and Jimmy Buffett’s Radio Margaritaville on the Sirius/XM stereo, it didn’t seem like I was in the middle of nowhere.

And just where was this? I’m going to have to go through the maps and figure that out. In a wilderness area, especially deserts, the roads aren’t well identified. Keep an eye out for the date of that next column to find out.

By the way, if you’d like to make this your San Diego day trip, head east on Interstate 8 to Ocotillo Wells, then follow Highway S-2 north. Find a road and explore. It’s about 2 hours from central San Diego.

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