Kitchen Creek near Mount Laguna, California

Jul 2, 2020by Pamela Redman

So I'd been telling Pam that I had all of our Overlanding stuff ready to go at a moment's notice. Then she goes and calls me out on it: "How about after work we go camping somewhere?"

So we got home from work, I loaded all the gear into Adventure Truck while Pam loaded up the cooler and pantry box. Probably 45 minutes later we had Tasha in the truck were heading East.

We were headed towards Cibbets Flat campground in the hills above Buckman Springs. We had been there a few times (once to check it out, another time to test our cell phone booster antenna), but hadn't actually camped there. We knew there was a chance it would be full because it's pretty small, but figured we'd give it a shot. Turned out it was full up, so we decided to head up to Sunrise Highway where we knew there were some more campgrounds.

So we are driving up Sunrise Highway when I remembered reading about a road that went off to the right that had primitive campsites: campsites that are nothing more than a place to pull off the road and set up a camp. No amenities, or fees. I was about to pull over and look it up when there it was: Kitchen Creek Road!

There was a gate, but it was open. The road itself is paved but pretty rough. We are driving through the woods and we keep seeing people camped off to the sides in open fields or under the trees. The road winds through the hills and woods for about 3 miles, then you hit a gate overlooking a valley. Turns out it is the valley where Cibbets Flat is, but you can't go all the way through anymore.

We turned back and started going down dirt trails leading off the road, but it took us a few times to find an empty spot to camp. It was beautiful though; a field, big trees to park the rig under, and nobody really close by. Put Tasha on a lead attached to the truck and got camp set up before it got dark.

We made some dinner, then just sat back, enjoyed the quiet, and looked at the stars through the trees. There must have been a farm nearby because all we could really hear were some cows mooing somewhere.

It started getting cold, which we were not expecting, but it was nice and warm up in the tent. Everything was perfect until a group of people showed up somewhere near us and had a party. Not close enough to be annoying, but it did break up the peace and quiet a bit.

We were going to have a leisurely morning and make breakfast, but the heat started rising pretty quickly, and with it the bugs. We decided to pack up camp and find breakfast somewhere else.

It was really nice to find a free camping spot so close to home. I'm going to map out all of the similar places nearby and we'll keep those in mind when we need a quick getaway.