Driving On Camp Pendleton

I have been driving by Camp Pendleton for decades, but I’ve never been on base until last week. I worried about getting off the freeway and hitting traffic, considering I was arriving at rush hour.

As I approached the exit from the 5 freeway, my fears were realized. The traffic sat backed up along the exit off-ramp. I groaned. But something interesting happened, something I’ve never seen at my Navy base. The line moved very quickly. Lightning fast. The Marine guards at the main gate waved us through efficiently and rapidly.

My directions were to drive along the main road, Vandegrift Blvd, for eight miles. Eight miles! What other base, other than Army bases, would you hear that?

The scenery on-base was just beautiful. I passed a ton of hills that I wanted to run. There were rivers and I thought I saw a sign to a lake.

In talking to a civilian (a ten-year Marine who left the service), he told me that there was a buffalo herd north of where I was going. And that it was the largest herd of buffalos west of the Mississippi River. Interesting. (Unfortunately, per this link, they had 147 head of bison back in 2008, which would not make it the biggest herd. But still.)

MCB Camp Pendleton logo

MCB Camp Pendleton

I finished my business and drove back the way I came. And I found myself staring at every other motorcycle. There were some Italian ones I’ve never seen before. Ducatis and big Ninjas. GSX-Rs and the like. Marines, like Sailors, love fast bikes.

Driving off base, four fire trucks and paramedics passed me. Lights ablazin’. I hope they were training and not actually responding to a real emergency. I did see two helicopters circling another part of the base. A drill, maybe?

It was good to finally get on-base at Camp Pendleton. But I really must bring my running shoes next time I go.

4 thoughts on “Driving On Camp Pendleton

  1. Camp Pendleton sounds similar to Ft. Sill in Lawton, OK. The base has some wonderful lakes – we take our kayaks and catamaran. The housing on the base is pretty incredible, too – funky old homes and apartments overlooking beautiful parks – not to mention the old Ft. Sill which once housed Geronimo. The base backs up to the Wichita Wildlife Refuge which has buffalo, elk, longhorns and such. The hiking and biking through the base and mountains are gorgeous. There is an upcoming bike ride through the area in May. We did it last year. Jesse had to stop on her ride to let a buffalo lumber across the road.

  2. It rather sounds like the camp in Maine my mother left me. At eighteen I hated it; no one there, no modern conveniences or television; and except for a gas generator which turned on every time you flushed or turned on a light, it was wilderness on the hoof…black bears, moose, elk and all the wild creatures you could imagine in the Maine backwoods….when I was stationed one hundred forty miles down the road at Winter Harbor, it was like heaven…I loved and appreciated it then…and do now and have missed seeing it and going there for almost three years…I hope to get back there this coming summer…it is a trip of over 2000 miles though and I suspect I should stay at least a month…the camp is located on a lake across from Canada….I guess we’ll see though….k

  3. 86 square miles of USMC territory. If Pendleton wasn’t there the Cali coast would be a solid megalopolis from Teejuwanna to Santa Babs. Imagine what those 86 sq miles of primo Cali real estate are worth to developers? Look what they’ve done with the former Fort Ord land.

    N1 – Get up to Casey Springs on Pendleton and see what California used to look like – views of the Pacific are priceless. Plus – love the math test required to comment although it probably excludes 47% of gubmint edumicated citizens.

  4. Lou: Army bases are huge. Navy, not so much.
    Kris: That sounds like a neat camp.
    Struan: Casey Springs? RGR!

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