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Author: Subject: Possible San Pedro de Martir trip in the near future.
surfhat
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[*] posted on 5-11-2018 at 07:11 PM
Possible San Pedro de Martir trip in the near future.


I have some friends interested in going to the observatory during the warmer time of the year. They are mostly beyond the age of wanting to do much hiking in the mountains, so that is out, but I do want to set up an itinerary for where to stay on the way there and, if possible, experience what the observatory at night has to offer.

I have the van to drive them and am looking for ideas. The Dark skies Inn always sounded cool, but I haven't read much about them lately.

There will be five to six of us going, half men/half women, no couples, so sharing rooms can work with each gender.

I have been a Baja star gazer for decades and have wanted to do this trip to the observatory for years. I do hope to time this with no moon. I recall walking around the desert by starlight alone and it is amazing how much you can see by starlight without any light pollution.

This was just brought up to me this morning, so here I am looking for ideas from the ultimate Baja authorities. Thanks to all here.
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[*] posted on 5-11-2018 at 08:14 PM


The observatory only does tours during the day, just to see the facility, no star gazing (the scopes are optics and sensors, not conducive to casual eyeballing except on a computer screen)
I think Baja Dark Skies is semi-closed, but try their FB page to confirm (you need a gnarly vehicle to get in their road, but it's a beautiful place).
Options to stay are camp in park (really nice camp ground in the pines), stay in park's cabins (rustic, bring your own bedding and food to cook, sort of "rustic industrial" [I dont recommend it]), Meling Ranch (nice place, old-timey baja ranch) and Coyote Ranch (mostly offroaders, not as nice as Meling).




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David K
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[*] posted on 5-11-2018 at 11:11 PM


See my trip report #7 from last October for the entire scoop on the observatory drive, hours open and camping and lodging. Meling and El Coyote have rooms and meals. There is a family cabin for rent in the oak grove area (Cienéga de Soto), and the road to La Joya and Dark Skies Inn was thrashed. However, see their Facebook posts as they are seeking guests again. Go to the Nomad Baja Trip Reports forum to read and see my photos up there.

San Pedro Mártir covered in this Trip Report: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=87976

San Pedro Mártir highway article: https://www.bajabound.com/bajaadventures/bajatravel/san_pedr...

Baja Dark Skies Inn Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BajaDarkSkies/

Cabin ad:



[Edited on 5-12-2018 by David K]




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[*] posted on 5-12-2018 at 09:37 AM


Thanks guys. I will review the choices presented and see what my friends prefer. As always, Nomad comes through. Many thanks to all here.

Got a little rain last night in north SD county coastal, almost a free car wash. Might be a little more in-store for today. It was clear at dawn but has clouded over.
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[*] posted on 5-12-2018 at 10:24 AM


I had inquired last year about housesitting there for them but was informed it was advisable to have a 4-wheel drive so didn't go. A couple of places I read about people taking the trip in vans said their van overheated several times going up the (apparently) tortuous road so I would do more research- as not everyone who drives around Baja has 4-wheel drive and/or a truck.
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[*] posted on 5-12-2018 at 10:49 AM


Your best bet stay at Coyotes or Melings Food is great both places. With Coyote being the best. Last time I was at Dark Skies only care taker no one else around. Nice if they got things going again. There is a nice cabin for rent up in forest before Park gate. But 4wd needed Owner can pick up and deliver people.
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[*] posted on 5-12-2018 at 10:59 AM


The road to SPM and the observatory is still a paved cruise, right?



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[*] posted on 5-12-2018 at 01:08 PM


We are going to be up there right after Memorial Day for a couple nights camping
This time of year the afternoon thunderstorms can come up fast, so if you are camping keep stuff covered and be prepared.
About 4 p.m. is when the booming starts,
Just cover your stuff, lean the seats back in the pickup and take a nap
It blows over fast and starry nights are awesome
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[*] posted on 5-12-2018 at 01:24 PM


Quote: Originally posted by SFandH  
The road to SPM and the observatory is still a paved cruise, right?


Yes. Click on my links above... text, log, and photos of the 62 mile paved road is all there.




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[*] posted on 5-12-2018 at 07:05 PM


David, do think there could be any accommodation for a 96 year old WW2 bomber pilot who flew 37 missions over Europe and who had nothing but the stars to navigate with, in allowing a nighttime experience at this number three rated in the world celestial observatory?

BTW, we went to the recent WW2 air show at Palomar Airport and were interviewed for ten minutes by a Fox News reporter about his experiences with several of his friends and myself standing beside him, and supporting him. His one statement that stuck with me was that the Flying Fortress B 17 was the best plane he ever flew. His part of the interview was mostly cut. Bummer.

Everyones life has its own dimensions, whether predetermined or not, but I would love to be able to give this to one of our greatest generations members, much like my own Marine pilot father who flew bombers in the Pacific theater. Theater is a curious term, I have to admit.

I suppose this would be better asked to others who had authority to rule over any extended privileges.

I so appreciate the recommendations for places to stay on the way up there. We will be taking these suggestions in serious consideration and I can't wait to go, whenever it happens on a moonless night in the near future.

I would imagine that there could be a waiting list for these dark nights during the more pleasant temperature times of the year. ?

As we get older, the warmer the better, at least for me, and I am sure for the more aged friends that will be joining us. Thanks to all here, every day. I am addicted to Nomad.
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[*] posted on 5-12-2018 at 07:17 PM


Accommodations?
For a place to sleep: Meling Ranch and Rancho El Coyote would be the most comfortable. It gets very cold when you are over 8,000 feet, where the cabins and campsites are in the park.

For looking at the stars: As for the observatory, it is not a public telescope... and you can only see the building up close between 10 am and 1 pm, maybe... so no guarantees!

Baja Dark Skies Inn used to have telescopes for their guests to use (an extra charge). They (Mike) have been posting on Facebook as if they are still open... So do go to the Facebook page and contact Mike (AstroBaja on Nomad) to see how the road is for your vehicle and if you can look through his telescopes.

Very very cool about your (dad/granddad?) !! Can you find a link to the Fox News piece?




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[*] posted on 5-13-2018 at 10:28 AM


Not sure I would call MeiLling Ranch a "comfortable" place to stay. After staying there 1 night (with NO electricity, etc.) I would opt for staying in the park the next time.
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[*] posted on 5-13-2018 at 10:34 AM


David, I know the local San Diego Fox station broadcast their coverage of the airshow that same Saturday night at 10pm.

They interviewed a few of the surviving members of the greatest generation that had flown these same aircraft that were at Palomar Airport. My friend was asked questions for about ten minutes out on the tarmac, and maybe a minute was used on the broadcast. So it goes.

My Marine Corps Dads B 24 bomber did not make it this year due to maintenance needed in Florida. It was there last year though.

My local Carlsbad Army Air Force friends' B17 was there again this year with it being in the background during the interview.

I wonder if his whole interview could be accessed off the stations cutting room floor? I would love to be able to pass it on to him and his family. I will have to ask them sometime.

Happy Mothers day to all the moms. Thanks to all here.
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[*] posted on 5-13-2018 at 12:04 PM


Yes, I live just southwest of Palomar airport. Had an airshow of the B-17 and P-51 flyovers several times. I wondered where the B-24 was this year.

I can't imagine it being very crowded up at the park. Most the photos I've ever seen show the place almost deserted. Does anyone know if the campground has piped/potable water? I'd imagine you should plan on bringing your own.

John





[Edited on 5-13-2018 by John Harper]
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[*] posted on 5-13-2018 at 12:44 PM


Thanks surfhat. Like John, I am not far from Palomar... I am in San Marcos near the east approach glide path.



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[*] posted on 5-13-2018 at 01:30 PM


Quote: Originally posted by surfhat  

I wonder if his whole interview could be accessed off the stations cutting room floor? I would love to be able to pass it on to him and his family. I will have to ask them sometime.


Since it's likely digital, they probably backup any video shot each day, so they can use the cameras fresh. Possibly for archives too. The sooner you ask the better. How much "sometime" does your friend have left?

John

[Edited on 5-13-2018 by John Harper]
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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 01:07 PM


Thanks John. I will ask the station for more than was shown on the news segment that night.

When one is 96plus, time is precious. So is the respect I hold for the greatest generation who are tough enough to still be going. My friend lives alone, is mobile and still driving, has a second story bedroom, and gets by just fine with some in home daily help that stops by to help with whatever he may need. We should all hope we will be in good enough shape at that age to be independent. Good living and a clear mind serves him well. Thanks to all here.

David, Meling Ranch looks like the best option for us. Thanks for the photos that I can now show them.
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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 04:02 PM
Observatory


The Day we were up there the hours for visitation were over, We ran into one of the workers there and he took us up to where it instrument is and showed us around and then left us to enjoy the observation deck where we took some magnificent pictures. from that experience I determined the are very flexible It's just a matter of how you approach them.


[Edited on 5-14-2018 by J.P.]

[Edited on 5-14-2018 by J.P.]
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[*] posted on 5-15-2018 at 04:40 PM


David, I googled the Fox SD station and could never find a direct contact phone number or email address. Everything went to a national outfit, and even they could not provide a contact for me to our local outlet. They did say they could provide the video report that was broadcast, but not the edited out portions.

Surely, and don't call me shirley, there has to be a direct number or direct email address to the SD Fox station. I am a dinosaur. They must know I don't watch Fox news. Haha. Oops. Too much information.

The Meling El Coyote place looks workable once I come up with some possible dates from my friends. Thanks David and John.
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[*] posted on 5-15-2018 at 09:28 PM


Quote: Originally posted by surfhat  
David, I googled the Fox SD station and could never find a direct contact phone number or email address. Everything went to a national outfit, and even they could not provide a contact for me to our local outlet. They did say they could provide the video report that was broadcast, but not the edited out portions. ...


http://fox5sandiego.com/

Contact FOX 5

FOX 5 Studios
7191 Engineer Rd.
San Diego, CA 92111

FOX 5 Phone: 858-492-9269

Feedback: kswbreceptionist@fox5sandiego.com

FOX 5 Fax: 858-268-0401

Newsroom
Phone: 858-573-6500
Fax: 858-573-6600
email: news@fox5sandiego.com




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