Sunday, March 1, 2015

Wild, Weird Jacumba, CA(For The Sacramento Bee)

Shot a travel story on Jacumba, CA (pronounced Ha Coomba), a tiny town about 70 Miles East of San Diego and right on the U.S-Mexico Border. It's a funky, weird little enclave which basically consists of a spa hotel (Jacumba Hot Springs Spa) and a clothing optional RV park (De Anza Spa). I didn't know of this from my assignment sheet and was pleasantly surprised as my guide, David Landman, who owns both sites and is the unofficial mayor of the town, drove me into the RV park. As we got out of the car, we headed into the clubhouse where there was an office, pool area, restaurant and activity room. The walls were filled with photos of nudists playing Bingo, swimming, and socializing. Dave went out of his way to show me a photo of a Guinness Book of World Records contest where they were trying to cram the largest number of nudists into a pool. I think they were off by a few but was assured they would keep trying. He then invited me to come out on Memorial Day to participate. I politely declined. I was then whisked into an indoor pool area where there were several folks engaged in a game of nude water volleyball. I can honestly say I've never shot that before. Also, evidently, there is a league where they travel to different RV parks to compete.
I then just walked around the park; there was a bulletin board which posted clothing-optional activities such as hiking, BBQ dinner, Jenga Contest, and several other day and nighttime social gatherings. After shooting for about an hour, Dave took me down to his other property, the Jacumba Hot Springs Spa, which was a bit more tame. There were a few pools and a large Jacuzzi, which had that unmistakable smell of sulfur from the mineral water being pumped into it. There was a friendly bar and restaurant, and everyone seemed to know each other. I walked about a block down into the heart of town which had a small strip of abandoned shops on one side and a Mini-Mart on the other. It felt very desolate.
I would say overall it's an incredibly unpretentious place that is cheap and only an hour from San Diego. You really feel like you've time warped a few decades back. For me it seems like the total embodiment of the West. Come out, be free, soak up the sun, look out over the border into Mexico, and admire the strange rock formations and endless skies.

1 comment:

Courtney Olean Paige said...

I love how your job leads you into the most unique situations. What a good time. :)