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By Rebecca Person


March 4, 2023 (Jacumba Hot Springs) - In San Diego’s high desert backcountry off I-8 East, a forgotten hot spring oasis awakens to a new future. Jacumba Hot Springs’ revival at the hands of a tribe of youthful designers and creators brings promise to town.

Inspired by all the changes, David Lampley has opened a vintage clothing shop directly across from the town’s hot spring lake. Since its heyday as a retreat for Hollywood in the 1930s, Jacumba has attracted a long list of international visitors.  

We’ve been calling Jacumba the corner of humanity, “ says Lampley, who chose Jacumba for his longtime dream of owning a business because he always liked the area. The Impossible Railroad Trading Post is named for a defunct rail line that used to bring revelers and health seekers to enjoy the town’s healing waters, fresh air, star-filled nights and the old hotels, now gone. The old tracks and train cars are a short stroll away from the shop’s front door, itself only a few hundred feet from the towering spectacle of Mexico’s border fence.

Open since December of 2020, the Trading Post offers a collection of vintage clothing, boots, hiking gear and apparel, workwear, blankets, hats and cold weather items.

A stop at the Trading Post can start a day of desert exploration, kayaking on the nearby lake, soaking in mineral-rich geothermally heated waters, and general relaxation. 

Musicians can also ask Lampley to create a unique old-time recording of their acoustic instrumentals or vocals on his 1938 Presto record-cutting machine. The results are a sound reminiscent of Victrolas of the past. The device was originally used by music historian Alan Lomax, who documented Appalachian folk songs for the US Library of Congress years back.

The Goat Canyon Trestle, built of redwood,  is part of the legacy of the old railroad, a magnet for hikers and photographers in the backcountry.

Impossible Railroad Trading Post 

44555 #A  Old Highway 80

Jacumba Hot Springs CA 91934.

Open by appointment and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Instagram:  Impossible Railroad Trading Post









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