Although our address is in Pine Valley, Sandy Creek Ranch is not quite anywhere. We are a few miles past Pine Valley and a few miles away from any other declared community. The most accurate description of where we are might be The Back Country. When you head east from San Diego, you are taking a trip to the back country. This is where urban ends and rural begins.

The closest "town" is La Posta, which means relay stage or post in Spanish. It was a stage stop on the San Diego-Ft.Yuma route. Today, the population of La Posta is about 13 souls. The town's most prominent feature is the La Posta Diner.

About 9 miles south is the larger town of Campo. Buildings still remain from Camp Lockett, constructed in 1940-41 as the last U.S. Calvary military installation. This was home to the famous all-black regiment, the "Buffalo Soldiers" of the Indian wars. The San Diego Railroad Museum is also located in Campo, maintained by volunteers and offering excursions on vintage railroad cars. We recently took a trip on the railroad from Campo to the Mexican town of Tecate, about 30 miles away. Campo is for sale if you happen to have an extra $2 million or so.

Boulevard lies about 7 miles east of us. It used to be known as Eckener Pass in honor of Dr. Hugo Eckener and his Graf Zeppelin that flew over the area on August 27, 1929. We appreciate Boulevard for its Wisteria Candy Cottage, the last candy factory in San Diego that still produces hand-made chocolates. The Candy Cottage has been in operation since 1921.

There are many other sites of historical interest sprinkled throughout the back country. We are still learning interesting things--like Thing Valley, to the north of us, which was owned by the Thing Family. Interesting. Also, there's the thing about Charles Hatfield, the Rainmaker. In December 1915, the San Diego City Council promised to pay Hatfield $10,000 if he could fill Lake Morena (here in the back country) to overflowing. On January 10, the county was hit by heavy rains that destroyed bridges, knocked out communications, and closed businesses. On January 27, the Otay Dam collapsed and a 40-foot wall of water hit San Diego, killing 20 people and causing millions of dollars worth of property damage. Morena Dam was filled to overflowing but the city council never paid Hatfield's bill. Sounds about right.

Credit for the information on this page goes to The Historical Guide to the Back Country,  published by the Mountain Empire Historical Society, Campo, California


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