Hopefully it doesn't rain because some roads are dirt/unpaved, which can get muddy & unsafe for driving.
These are helpful:
In addition to checking the weather, we can also check for new photos/updates at...
Another variable is everyone can choose to go for a 1-day trip or an overnight camping trip.
Carrizo Plain National Monument is far.
Drive time is about...
3 - 3.5 hours from LA - https://goo.gl/maps/9fSQXGTaRtA2
3.5 - 4 hours from OC - https://goo.gl/maps/wADWxakvRx92
We don't want anyone to feel misled or disappointed.
Despite what photos and videos show from previous years (especially the super bloom in 2017), it's very possible and likely this year's bloom will be less colorful and vibrant.
Some of you might have heard (and seen on social media) this year's bloom at places like Anza-Borrego, Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore, Joshua Tree, or other parks, valleys, & meadows throughout SoCal.
My expectations for Carrizo Plain is low because one knowledgeable person from online said rain during the early winter was not enough for a "super bloom."
However, if this year's bloom at Carrizo Plain is average / decent, I still want to go.
If anyone else wants to join, please have reasonable expectations and please don't get mad/angry if the flowers are underwhelming or not as plentiful as what you saw online. Thank you.
Some parts (roads) in Carrizo Plain are paved.
However some road are unpaved / dirt.
Some might view the dirt, unpaved roads as horrible and bad/unsafe for their vehicle.
This person said they drove on a lowered Honda Civic -
Each person/driver should decide to drive on such roads or not.
I've seen photos & videos of regular cars/sedans drive on these roads, but ultimately, each driver has the prerogative and familiarity of their vehicle (and tires) to determine if it's safe/okay to drive on or not.
Please check online for Youtube videos and photos to get a better visual of what the dirt roads look like.
If it's an issue/concern, totally understandable. It's fine if anybody changes their mind and doesn't want to go anymore.
Other places have better roads (Anza-Borrego, Joshua Tree, Antelope Valley, national & state parks, etc...)...so definitely feel free to go elsewhere that is better for you and your vehicle.
Another thing to take into consideration is there might not be much to see and do, compared to a national park or state park.
Other places might have many trails and stops to keep you busy all day, but this national monument might have limited activities.
In addition, there is little-to-no cell phone reception, and no water, food, or gas service inside.
This area appears to be isolated / secluded, so one good thing is it should be less crowded compared to Antelope Valley and other popular spots for flowers.
Your choice: day trip or weekend camping
If anyone wants to go only on Saturday, that's fine.
Feel free to post in the comments section if you want to carpool (either as a driver or passenger looking for a ride). Include what city / area you live in, and maybe someone nearby or along the way can pick you up or ride with you.
Sometimes people don't post comments, so feel free to message me directly, and I'll also keep you updated if someone else contacts me about driving (or looking for a ride).
If anyone is interested in camping overnight, two primitive campgrounds are in Carrizo Plain, but they both have very few sites, and are first-come, first serve.
There is no guarantee a campsite will be available on the day we go.
But I'm optimistic and hopeful, so if all campsites are taken, I'm willing to ask others there if they can share...or maybe find some BLM dispersed land to sleep overnight.
Worst case scenario if we can't find a spot to set up tent, is to return home on Saturday night...but my conjecture is we can find someone who is friendly that has extra room or somewhere else that has space. :)
If a few people are sincere in going and really want to camp overnight, I might be willing to drive on Friday to increase our chance of securing a campsite on Friday over Saturday.
The two campgrounds are called Selby and KCL.
They have picnic tables, fire pits, and a vault toilet.
They do not have potable water, electricity, or trash removal service.
We have to bring our own water, food, firewood, and pack out all trash.
Since cell phone reception is weak inside Carrizo Plain, and communicating with each other will be challenging, here's one idea since people might depart SoCal from different cities/areas and drive at different speeds:
Let's meet somewhere that has phone reception and free WiFi.
I looked online for a Starbucks, and the closest one is inside an Albertson's grocery store in a small city, Taft.
On Google Maps, a McDonald's is near the highway, so maybe that might work for a rendezvous spot.
So for example, if a few people start driving on Saturday morning (maybe around 7:00 am from OC and 8:00 am from LA), how about meeting at 10:00 am at this McDonald's.
10001 Kern Street, Taft, 93268
If anyone prefers Starbucks coffee, the Albertson's is at
1044 W. Kern St, Taft, 93268
Here's a map.
The city of Taft is circled in yellow, on the right side.
So after taking a bathroom break and waiting a few minutes for others to arrive, how about leaving the McDonald's around 10:15 am and try to caravan together?
The visitor center in Carrizo Plain is approximately 1 hour away.
It's called Goodwin Education Center and it's circled in yellow on the left side.
17495 Soda Lake Rd, Santa Margarita, 93453
From the McDonald's in Taft, get back on Highway 33 and head east.
Eventually get onto Highway 58.
One route is to exit 7 Mile Road (heading south)...
...and then turn left (heading south) on Elkhorn Road.
Note: The road looks unpaved, so it's up to the driver if you feel comfortable driving on this road.
Turn right on San Diego Creek Rd (heading south), which might turn into Simmler Road.
Then turn right (heading south) on Soda Lake Rd.
This might sound weird, but Google Maps shows Soda Lake Rd goes in 4 directions at an intersection...but based on Google Maps, you turn right at this intersection and the visitor center (Goodwin Education Center) is at another intersection of two Soda Lake Roads. Sounds confusing, right?
If all works out, hopefully we can all meet at the visitor center around 11:00 - 11:15 am.
From there, we can pick up some maps and ask them about hiking trails, and go together to spots like Soda Lake and Caliente Ridge and elsewhere for flowers.
If anyone attends, please remember to fill up on gas, and bring water, snacks, lunch, toilet paper, and maybe a plastic trash bag.
Maybe a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses...depending on the weather.
Oh, and also bring your phone charger cable (car adapter) or external portable charger if you're riding with someone else.
Here's another map that shows the visitor center, Goodwin Education Center (circled in yellow), as well as the campgrounds.
Since phone reception is weak, I recommend saving both maps on your phone.
If anyone is new to Meetup, please disregard / ignore the RSVP list.
The majority of people who signed up will probably not go.
People can easily change their mind, get busy, not want to drive, not be able to get a ride, make other plans, etc...so the number of people who signed up does not accurately reflect the number who will actually go.
My guess is maybe 1 - 4 people will end up going.
My expectations are low.
It's far, and driving on dirt/unpaved roads might scare away some people.
Nobody or very few people will want to drive imo.
Anyhow, if anyone wants to go, either as a day-trip or camping, feel free to post a comment or message me directly.
If anyone wants to camp, lmk and I'll think about going on Friday to try to get a FCFS walk-on campsite (either at KCL or Selby).
If I go on Friday, then I won't meet at the McDonald's in Taft.
Instead, whoever else is going can meet first at 10:00 am, and you all can then caravan together to the visitor center.
If I arrive on Friday and am already inside Carrizo Plain, then I'll meet you all later at the visitor center, Goodwin Education Center around 11:00 am.
After exploring Carrizo Plain on Saturday, those who just came for the day can depart and drive back home on Saturday night.
For any who want to spend the night, crossing fingers, a campsite will be available at KCL or Selby for us to stay at.
Then on Sunday, I'm thinking of going somewhere else for hiking...possibly:
Wind Wolves Preserve - https://www.wildlandsconservancy.org/preserve_windwolves.html
Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge - https://www.fws.gov/refuge/bitter_creek
Hungry Valley SVRA - http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=21945
...but everyone else is free to explore another area of your choice or return to SoCal.
I don't mind going solo/alone in search for flowers. :)
If anyone wants to camp, please remember to bring extra water, snacks, and food.
The campground is free (BLM land), so we're not going to ask for any contribution/donation. $0.
However, if each person (who is camping) can bring a bundle of firewood, that would be appreciated.
I'll bring extra trash bags, toilet paper, paper towels, and a few other miscellaneous items.
If anyone wants to borrow any camping gear/equipment, just lmk.
Examples of recommended items to bring:
Sleeping bag + pillow
Sleeping pad / mat or air mattress
Tent (or share with someone who has one)
Rain fly, stakes, and guy lines for your tent b/c it might get windy at night
Appropriate clothes, socks, & shoes
Toothbrush, toothpaste, & other hygiene items / toiletries
Lip balm / chapstick
Hand sanitizer or baby wipes / wet naps
Sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat or bandana
Flashlight / Headlamp
Cell phone charger cable (car adapter) or portable charger
Water (or water filter)
Water bottles or hydration pack
Food (and cookware)
Music or games
More comprehensive list - https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/family-camping-checklist.html
Photo Source/Credit: Bob Wick, BLM, & Ronald L. Williams