Bungalows of the Desert
Last updated 3/6/2023 at 10:02am
Imagine setting out to the Anza-Borrego Springs Desert and being able to wake up right in the middle of one of the best places Mother Nature has to offer. Well, thanks to one man's dream, drive and passion, he has made that into a reality, in a unique way.
Borregan Juan Fernandez, or as many know him as, Junior, who has been in Borrego since 1988, woke up one day and decided to buy vintage trailers and start renting them out. Thus the business, "Bungalows of the Desert" coming to life.
"Bungalows of the Desert" prides itself on rescuing neglected and abandoned vintage trailers with the fleet including trailers from the 1950's to the 1960's.
But to bring this idea to life, it took Junior and his family about two years to go from 0 to opening the doors at the office.
"I'm the type of guy who wants to get things going, getting things done quick – the quicker the better. There's a plan somewhere in my brain and I just go and get it or go and do it," Junior said.
So working day in and day out, getting the ball rolling and having this creative aspect go from paper to a product, the Bungalows were now a reality. And what makes them different is not only their color, but their theme.
Having a total of 10 trailers, with five at the ready to be rented out, all have a different theme.
They have: The Western, Frida – inspired by the artist Frida Kahlo, The Tiki, The Diner, and the last is inspired Junior's daughter's dream, which is a BoHo look.
In the current plans, they're going to have one that is WWII inspired, with the name "Betty Bomber," and she is a '52 trailer, canned ham, and another that is also a '52 inspired by Elvis Presley, with more themes in the works.
With each displaying its own theme, Junior has the idea come to him, just by sitting in it. How does one come up with a theme by sitting in an old worn down camper trailer with rust, broken parts, ready to be in the junkyard?
"It's funny because I sit in them and probably sound crazy, but I sit in them and I visualize, but I don't know if it's the look or the style, but whatever pops in my mind, I'm like 'There you go,'" he said.
Chuckling, he adds, "My wife and kids they kind of stop suggesting things to me because I'll ask them, 'What do you think about this?' and they tell me, 'What's the point dad, you're gonna do whatever you want.'"
Previously, he was a chef for 28 years, but has always been into vintage anything.
"That look from the 1950's, the early '60s, there's something about it. I remember the first time I saw an old car at a car wash and it was actually a low rider and got my attention and it kind of clicked for me, and as I grew up, I've had a couple of old cars," he said.
"Five or six years ago, I saw someone pulling an old vintage trailer and I said, 'hey, I want one of those.' So we went out, found one, and a couple of months later we found a second one, and took that one home too. Before I knew it, I had six or seven of them, now we have 10."
The next step for Junior was, "Why don't we make some money with it?"
However, to him, it's not even money that motivates him to do any of this.
"People are gonna think that I'm crazy. But one, it's my family. I want to leave something for them to remember me by. Two, it's the dream. Taking something that is in your mind and taking that, making it real to share with other people. That is so important to me and my family. That experience for people to come out and again, waking up in the middle of nowhere and saying, "Wow," that's important to me," he said.
With the years of work to make this an unforgettable desert experience, Junior and his family bring you beautifully refurbished trailers to rent, all with a set price of $150/night with no clean up fees and no taxes. Everything is included in the price. And just like a hotel, check-in is at 3 p.m., and check out at 11 a.m.
Amenities are included – coffee/French press, propane single burner, propane heater, linen, fire pit with limited firewood, umbrella, outdoor seating for two and a travel toilet with hand washing station.
They however, do not provide showers, running water, electrical hook-ups or functional kitchen area. Guest(s) are essentially responsible for bringing any additional supplies needed for dry camping and off the grid accommodations.
By visiting their website, you are given the choices of trailers, and able to get a virtual tour of the variety of trailers. If it's available to book, you are able to choose a spot in the desert or they can choose for you, and set it up. From the coffee, the water, the one-burner stove, patio set, the carpet, the awning, porta potty, you name it, you get it.
As for spots in the desert, Junior says the trailers can be parked anywhere in the park, but with some limitations.
"If it's either private land, or other land, if they want to park it on the park's property, we get a day pass for it and we can put it out there," he said.
"So basically anywhere they like that we can get to, as long as it's not too far into the desert. Keep in mind these are like 60 – 70 years old so their bones are getting older.
If they don't like where we set them up, they can suggest a different place."
This is one of the worst things about these trailers, as stated by Junior is worrying about the trailers since they are older.
However, that is the only negative he sees.
"The worst part to me, honestly, as owner and operator, I don't see a downfall, I guess that's a better question for the customer. As far as I know, people are very happy when they rent with us."
The best part he says, "As far as personal, I think it's just the experience of waking up in the desert. That's priceless."
Let them remind you of nature's true beauty with colors and textures through the vintage time machine. With the pockets of flowers this spring, why not wake up near them thanks to the Bungalows of the Desert?
For more information, visit http://www.bungalowsofthedesert.com or contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 760-310-0205.
Or visit them at 860 Palm Canyon Drive Borrego Springs, California 92004.