by Barber E. Lane
Lake Forest, California
October 6, 2002
The San Diego Freeway (I-5) runs through the center of the base and it''s not unusual to see marines in tanks and helicopters conducting exercises as you drive the 20 mile open freeway stretch 30 minutes north of San Diego. It also gives an unobstructed ocean view from the freeway for these 20 miles. The town of Oceanside lies at its southern end and largely made up of military personnel and their families.
In the past, self-guided tours could be taken. This may have changed with the tightening of security since 9/11. It''s best to call, 760/725-5569, to inquire about this possibility and the hours available. With reservations, a free guided tour is given once a month.
An Amphibious Vehicle Museum is located on base. A traveling scaled-down version of the Vietnam Wall located in Washington D.C. has made several trips to Camp Pendleton and is open to non-military visitors for viewing. Visitor passes and self-guided tour brochures are obtained at the main gate on Vandegrift Blvd. in Oceanside California.
To obtain access and entry to the base, you must stop at the guard house at the entrance, present valid driver''s license, vehicle registration, and proof of vehicle insurance. Be sure to observe the posted speed limits -- the marines are a no-nonsense group when it comes to breaking the laws.
From journal A Day At the Beach