Breakfast Club
An Affiliate of the Arizona Pilots Assn.

The Knife & Fork

Breakfast Club Visits Borrego Springs/Resort

7 Nov 2009
by Warren McIlvoy

For a number of years, the Breakfast Club had gone to Borrego Springs, California and to the La Casa del Zorro Resort. For a resort in the middle of nowhere (or at least you can see the edges from there), it was a truly beautiful destination. A couple of years ago we tried to set-up a fly-in event there but apparently the resort got very snobbish and made it clear that they did not want a bunch of "wing nuts" to darken their threshold. They have since changed the resort name to something else and we learned from the folks at the Borrego Valley Airport (L04) that the resort is in financial straights and may fold-up their "drawbridge". Fine with me. However, late last year I learned about another resort there called the Borrego Springs Resort ( We were going to discover weather or not this location was a good replacement for the La Casa.

Since California was now on standard time, we moved our arrival time at the destination to 1000 Arizona time. This would mitigate having to get up at "O dark thirty" to be there at our usual 0900 arrival time. The winds aloft were supposed to be about 200 at 8 kts but we found this to be a lie. Luke was closed as it was Saturday so once we got clear of the local traffic, I dialed-in our "group flight following" frequency to see if there was anyone else in route. It turned-out that there were some folks that were nearing Quartzite already. I had planed to make the trip at 6500' but the winds were actually about 12 kts on the nose. The folks out in front said that they were at 8500' with less wind at their altitude. With some reluctance, I decided to join them at 8500' to get out of the headwinds. At 8500' the winds were no different. It seems that the further west that you were, the lower the headwinds. Where I was, it made no difference what altitude that you were at.

As we neared Quartzite, you could plainly see that the winter visitors were making their way to this curious desert settlement in far western Arizona. During the hot summer months, you could fly over this area and almost not notice this burg but in the winter months, it becomes a thriving metropolis. From here I could see the Colorado River and the agricultural center of Blythe, California. Once you get past the irrigated farm land, the term "desolation" is most applicable. You do not notice any sort of vegetation for as far as the eye can see. The barren geography is broken by the many small, non-descript ridges that dot the scene. When you reach the little berg of Desert Center, you can also see the eastern shores of the Salton Sea to the south.

A little bit further up the "road" and just off to our right is another of the Breakfast Club's favorite destinations of Chiriaco Summit and General Patton Museum. Just as Chiriaco Summit slipped behind us, we arrived at the waypoint of SHADI Intersection. It is at this point that I turned to a more southerly direction to cross the Salton Sea. At about the mid point of the Salton Sea, I begin my descent for Borrego Springs. The Borrego Valley Airport is a favorite of the aerobatics folks as there is an aerobatics box on the north side of the airport and one is advised to avoid approaching the airport from the north to avoid swapping paint. However, on this day the radio was eerily quiet except for the arrival of the Breakfast Club gaggle. Since there was no wind, left traffic for runway 9 was the order of the day.

After a good landing and taxing to the ramp, I secured my trusty aircraft and started the ritual of taking photos of the aircraft that were already there as well as those that were still arriving. It has been a while since our last visit but I noticed right away that there had been some changes. The fuel tank had been moved from its old location next to the terminal building, to a self serve facility at the east end of the ramp. There were also a number of new hangars at the west end with a "hangars for rent" sign prominently posted. As I entered the terminal building, the van from the resort had arrived and was loading the first wave of starving aviators. Since I needed to make a "pit stop" after our nearly 2-hour flight, I opted to take the second run of the van to the resort.

In a little more than 10-minutes, the van was back for the second wave. We proceeded west for about a mile to a stop sign (no stop lights in this town) and turned south for about another 2-miles or so. The van stopped in front of the Arches Restaurant and the disembarking passengers entered the restaurant and were directed to a dinning room with a large fireplace that dominated one wall. The first order of business was the downing of the rocket fuel while scanning the menu but there was a buffet available in another room so I had to reconnoiter the buffet before making our meal selections. It was a difficult choice but my wife and I opted for the buffet. The assortment of fruits and pantries along with the traditional scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, and fried potatoes was very well presented. I saw some of the menu items that were being served and all were ample in size and well presented. So far, the Borrego Springs Resort had been very impressive. After taking some photos in the dinning room, I, along with a number of folks opted to walk outside to view the surroundings.

While standing on the patio, one is struck by an impressive view of the golf course. The Santa Rosa Mountains to the west provided an appealing background to the golf course and the weather was just gorgeous with some high circus clouds that added just the right amount of color to the scene. I noticed that on the east end of the building was a large outdoor dinning patio that, had I known, would have been the perfect place for this mornings breakfast. The next time that we are here, that is where we will be sitting.

While waiting for the van to take us back to the airport, I walked across the circular drive to the main hotel building to get a sense of what else could be offered at this destination. After entering the lobby, I walked up to the check-in desk to get some information on the hotel rates. I was a bit shocked to learn that the rate, now in what is classified as their "high season" and on a weekend, was only $135 a night including the taxes. Sunday thru Thursday was only $121. I would not have been a bit surprised if they had quoted a rate twice that amount. Now I was even more impressed.

By now the van had arrived for our trip back to the airport so my wife and I made the first trip. One more pit stop and a few more photos and soon we were back in the air for our return trip. I chose 7500' for the return as we took advantage of the slight tailwind that would shorten the trip by a few minutes. The air was still smooth as glass as I watched the scenery unfold as we return home. I was very impressed with the Borrego Springs Resort and it will definitely be considered for a return trip in the future.

The Borrego Springs Bunch

What's Next?

The December Breakfast Club fly-in will be to White River. It has been a while since we were here last so it should be interesting in getting reacquainted. January 2010 will be the beginning of our 17th year of monthly fly-ins. I don't know yet where we will be going but our event committed will be meeting in November to figure that out. That's all for now but remember, fly safe.

Click on the Borrego Springs link to view photos of this event.