Updated: May 5
Outside city limits, the mail system can be tricky to maneuver. In the San Diego backcountry, the United States Postal Service (USPS) delivers mail only along state highways and to the post office. Whether you are a new resident or planning to send mail to another resident, here is everything you need to know about receiving mail in the area surrounding Julian.
Before we get started, in general, expect to get your mail on the far end of the estimated delivery period. It’s almost like the Pony Express is still operating in small towns. There’s nothing you or the postal workers can do about it. Please be patient with them as they work hard to make sure you get your mail as quickly as possible.
USPS Post Office Box
Every residential address can get a free post office box or can put a box along the mail route. It is critical that you list the proper mailing address on everything to avoid mail being returned to the sender. In our house, we put the mailing address as the physical address whenever there is no mailing address section. Most e-commerce platforms will not accept a PO box. You can beat the system by listing your PO box number in the apartment number field, adding it to the end of the zip code, putting your post office box number after your name, or putting the physical address of the post office you receive mail at and adding # followed by your box number.
I will note there has been a problem with mailboxes along the road being broken into. This is one of the few crimes that has occurred in the area regularly. It’s recommended that you take precautionary measures to protect your mail.
One last thing that few people know is that in our area the USPS has the Amazon contract. This means that UPS delivers Amazon packages to the Post Office, and the USPS distributes them to recipients. The UPS arrival time is after the USPS daily mail is already out for delivery, so expect Amazon packages one day after the predicted delivery date. I have gotten Amazon packages from USP. It's best to just put both your addresses as the shipping address.
Physical Address Mail Delivery
Services like FedEx and UPS do deliver to physical addresses. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to tell which company a package is being shipped with. In this case, it’s recommended to provide both your PO box and physical address. To make the delivery carrier’s job easier, make sure your address is clearly marked in plain sight on your property. Backcountry roads are very hard to navigate.