Strange Goings on along McCain Road
We were out mindlessly exploring for new campsites sites, when we spotted a sign showing a campsite up McCain Valley Road near Boulevard seven miles west of Jacumba off on Old Hwy 80. I drove up and saw a flock of blackbirds, mostly tricolored which then flew away as I was trying to roll down my car window, so we kept going. It was hunting season up on the high country, and people were out driving anywhere, even here.
First we stumbled upon a rather inconsequential sign, so inconsequential I never took a picture. McCain Valley Conservation Corps, which is not some YMCA camp for the outside. But then I noticed the property was marked with Department of Corrections signage. I laughed saying they misspelled McCain Valley Concentration Camp, not realizing how close I was to the truth. It turns out this is a nice way to describe a huge prison which is just over the hill and out of view. 2500 inmates, stashed out here, in the desert.
So we drove down the road, saw something called the Rough Acres Ranch, surrounded by rather new fence that looked more to keep people in, than the prisoners out. I sort of struck us as a front for some nefarious or secret activity. Either a front for criminal activity, a place to extract information from CIA type spies captured covertly, or maybe a high end brothel for sex slaves. I looked up the ranch. The place has a little history, back in 1963, after a really bad season, the coach of the San Diego Chargers brought the team up to the ranch to toughen them up for training camp for the season, they lifted weights were injected steroids three times a day, and then went back to San Diego and had the best season in the history of the franchise, winning the AFL Championship, the only Championship in franchise history, but that was the past.In 2020? Since 2014 The Hamann companies, a big family owned San Diego Construction company now owns the ranch has been trying to make the place a men's retreat and conference center. A men's retreat....? Hum.....I still am suspicious. Up the road they have built a wind farm operation, that also has quite a bit of CIA looking buildings, and these guys seem to have not made any friends locally, so the Hamanns have tried to become the kings of Boulevard by just building things, maybe like the railroad that goes nowhere (we'll get to that) getting friendly government money to do so.....I guess by the couple in Jacumba, being the local king up here isn't everything. But I learned a good football story, 57 years ago. Now I'm scared to go up a road for fear I'll be detained by the CIA or something.
The Border wall
Pacific Imperial Railroad
Nature never intended for man to build a railroad through the Carriso Gorge, but yet in the early 19th Century, they did. The 146 mile railroad was built from San Diego into Tijuana and on to Telcate, Campo, Jacumba, and dozen to Ocotillo and El Centro. This route has some of the coolest trestles, drops off the tracks of 900 feet, and 20 tunnels. Old fallen box cars sit where they fell. Now, the railroad is owned by the state and has been continually "operated" so that nothing has actually operated. Railcars, engines, equipment sit abandoned all over the line, which would have value at least for scrap. The whole deal in 2020 (which looks like the first time I was here (in 2012) three leasees later, a couple of frauds, and at least two bankruptcies as well, (the line is owned by San Diego MTS) not a car has gone down it and all looks the same except the weeds are growing up around the tracks and despite the railroad telling the government they fixed a tunnel collapse a jack rabbit would have difficulty getting through the supposedly fixed tunnel. So in 15 years of all of this, not a single railcar has moved past here. But despite a lot of governmental waste, the line is very photogenic.