After coming out the bottom end of Anza Borrego State Park, I hopped onto Interstate 8 for the drive west to San Diego. I had no idea that I’d be passing through a dramatic mountain region, or that I-8 would make such a big climb into the mountains. All those videos I’d seen of illegal immigrants running towards the border showed a wide, flat desert. This was quite different.
West of Ocotillo, Interstate 8’s east and westbound lanes split apart, as they tangle with rocks and hills. Before I knew it, I was flooring the gas just to keep up my speed as the rental car chugged towards the top of the hill, where a reward awaited:
Desert View Tower has held a perch over Interstate 8 since long before Interstate 8 existed. It was built in the 1920’s, and has undergone various waves of success and hard times since then. I had arrived too late in the day to pay my $2 admission fee, and climb to the top of the tower…
… but I can’t imagine the view towards the northeast could be much better at the top.
Instead of hopping back onto Interstate 8, I decided to spend the final few minutes of daylight staring into a different country. Old Highway 80 heads south from the In Ko Pah exit…
… for a very close encounter with the international border. The picture is a bit grainy, since it was so dark, but you can see the fence that separates the US from Mexico, as well as a couple of Border Patrol vehicles parked on the road that runs alongside the fence.
It’s a strange feeling to know you’re looking at a place you can’t go, or at least, probably shouldn’t go. Even though I was within a stone’s throw of the international border twice on this trip, I didn’t cross. Increased violence on the border made me unenthusiastic about a visit to Mexico.