One of my favorite spots in the desert is just north of Ocotillo on the eastern drain of Vallecito Creek. The sign at the turnoff reads “Palm Springs”. About two-and-a-half miles down the wash you come a prominent hillock famously known as “Hollywood and Vine”.
The street sign was installed during WWII by Army tank crews and has been maintained in good repair and fresh paint by rangers of Anza Borrego State Park. The signpost did much more than serve as a whimsical nod to the far off glamour of tinsel town. During war game maneuvers personnel used the signpost as one of the few dependable recon positions in a sea of identical looking dry washes.
“Hollywood and Vine” is a hill with unique features for it’s small size. Double ridges of mud and decomposed red granite pile up on two sides forming a small peak. Everything appears to be melting by the force of time. A weather-beaten little trail winds up the main ridge-line up to the signpost. At the top you are rewarded with a panoramic view of three massive dry washes converging on each other like a geologic freeway exchange as they skirt around the base of the hill. There is just enough room for one or two people to check out the view from the top. The ridges of the hill form a horseshoe that creates a natural bowl amphitheater. Protection from the wind for your bonfire. Privacy from other campers as they drive back and forth on the sandy wash all day and night. Lots of activity in this area of the desert for jeep 4-wheel drive action. The Mud Caves are nearby and remain a popular destination. A great place for an overnighter with friends. Sitting around a fire playing your git-fiddle.
Drawing of the Day ~ Four-pallet fire – “Hollywood and Vine”