The impromptu Saturday night entertainment we happened upon this past week was at Borrego Springs - the Peg Leg Smith Biggest Liar Competition. If only we were better liars!
It was late Saturday afternoon when we arrived at the Peg Leg Smith monument, a popular RV boondocking area, just northeast of Borrego Springs. We chose our site for the night and then noticed, only 200 feet from us, a couple of men were setting up a table filled with trophies, a huge metal fire pit, and enough wood for a hearty campfire. Curious as to what private event we would be camped beside, we ventured over to ask. "Nothing private about this evening," we were told. "Its the annual biggest liar competition and anyone who enters wins a trophy. Starts at 7pm so you've got a few hours to come up with your best tall tale. Only a few rules: It must be no more than five minutes long, in (relatively) good taste, and have some reference to the (infamous) prospector, Peg Leg Smith or the California desert."
We were informed this event, held here annually the first Saturday of April, is to honor the biggest liar that ever lived, Peg Leg Smith, who made more money off the lies he told, charging people for information to supposedly lead them to his lost gold mine, than many others ever made from a legitimate claim.
Right away, we recognized it as a perfect evening for the likes of us. No silly, not because we're good liers but because of its other qualities: Bring your lawn chair and beverage, impromptu, free, totally special, fun, and an easy walk "home."
By 7pm, more than 100 people had shown up for the event which, it was explained to us, owes its 35 years of success to the fact that it isn't advertised anywhere and the local Chamber of Commerce has nothing to do with it. Some contestants obviously came very prepared, costumes and all. Others had equally entertaining stories. We quickly figured out that, when you know in advance, it's a lie, the secret to success is to have a good punch line. We thought long and hard about it but didn't come up with any tale worthy of competition ourselves, however, without a word of a lie, it was a most entertaining evening :-)) Here are a few snaps:
So, what else has entertained us this past week?
Some excellent hikes in canyons and up to vista views.
On our day off from each other's company (a must for this duration of trip), I stayed behind at camp while Randy hiked a nearby slot canyon alone. Although I love slots canyon hikes, I didn't feel too left out because it's one we have done on a previous trip.
We found art in the desert. Dozens of giant metal art pieces are located on a private estate, Galleta Meadows at Borrego Springs. The owner has generously made this land open for public recreation, hiking, horseback riding, photography, and yes, even free camping.
Still it's hard to top the art that nature gives us in the desert at this time of year.
Or the great scenic campsites we find (pictured below) and the warm summer weather we're enjoying which tempt us (usually successfully) to stay on just one extra day in each location.
Days On The Road At Time Of Writing: 36
Camping Costs To Date: $27.00