With all the rain this year, our hills, valleys and mountains in the backcountry have turned green, so where are the best spots to find some visual treats?

One of my favorite backcountry drives — and one of the easiest to visit — is  Crazy Couser, available as a Kindle e-book and as Chapter 7 in my Joyrides Around San Diego.

What I like: It’s really easy to get to, paralleling Interstate 15 north of Escondido from the Deer Springs Road/Mountain Meadow Road exit to Pala Road. There are enough wide spots and places to stop that if you get tired of the curves, pull over and enjoy the view. Traffic is usually light.

Challenges: It is twisty and curvy, but don’t worry, you’ll make it. It’s a nice, paved road all the way. If you’re uncomfortable on twisting, narrow, country roads, just take it easy. It’s a San Diego day trip that will refresh and relax.

Our backcountry is usually brown, but with the rain, both native and non-native plants come alive. They’re used to our soak-or-drought climate. No snow here, by the way; you’ll be traveling in the Lilac area between I-15 and Valley Center.

Eat first at the restaurant at the (Lawrence) Welk Village Resort, check out the wine and classic cars at Deer Park, and stop in for more food at the Yellow Deli. I’m going to be heading out there once the weather clears up to taste the Yellow Deli, as I’ve never been there. Hope to see you on the road.  


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