Monday, November 29, 2010

Exploring Around Lake Cahuilla


This is a great area, with lots of things to do, so we’ve managed to keep busy the past couple of weeks. Besides hiking the trails around the park, we’ve ridden our bikes into Old Town La Quinta and the Cove area, where we found a nice paved bike trail, and beautiful homes to look at. And after the horrible weekenders left, the Thanksgiving crowd was pretty well behaved.

One day we drove to Palm Springs and walked along Palm Canyon Drive, a street lined with palms, shops and restaurants. We had a good lunch at Las Casuelas, and saw some cute things in the shops, but as usual didn’t have a need (or room) for any of it. On the way home, Jim was kind enough to let me and Debbie stop at every thrift and resale store we could find, and there must have been a dozen. I am looking for some pinch pleated drapes to make a new pair of privacy curtains for the windshield, but they have gone the way of the dinosaur. We only found two pair, but not the color I wanted. Yes, we may be trailer trash, but pink just wouldn’t do.

Saturday Debbie and I went to the Palm Desert Street Fair, which takes place every Saturday and Sunday morning. There are over 350 vendors selling a little bit of everything. We bought a few things, most of it produce, but it took us a few hours to walk around the entire market.

Yesterday we took a ride to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument Visitor Center just south of Palm Desert, watched their film, and hiked the three mile Henderson trail. It is rugged desert country, but a nice walk to some good views.



The far mountain in the right rear is Mount San Jacinto, at over 10,000’ elevation, which you can get to by taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tram. We did that years ago when I came for an ophthalmology meeting, and there was so much snow at the top we were unable to hike. You can’t see the snow very well in this picture but last week the nearby mountains got several inches.


Found this picture of what this area looks like in the spring. Quite a difference! Would love to come back and see it in when the desert is in bloom.


Tomorrow we are moving on to another county park near Riverside.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving



Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving on this beautiful day in southern California. Now I must go and start preparing our vegetarian feast of black beans and polenta, fresh baked whole wheat bread, spinach-cranberry salad (courtesy of Debbie), and my famous fat-free, no- crust pumpkin pie.

Don’t you wish you were eating with us???

Monday, November 22, 2010

We’ve Had Better Weekends


Here is what we got to look at all weekend, and since the rains never came, our neighbors stayed through the howling winds and dust. The gray and black tent on the far left is the one they tied to Debbie’s bumper. This is one of the rare times it wasn’t blown over.


Here is what it looked like most of the weekend.


The group of guys, kids, and a dog, spent most of their time drinking beer and rum, cussing, fishing, and peeing wherever and whenever they felt like. That was when they weren’t breaking beer bottles and throwing fish heads in the fire pit. We did complain but the camp host didn’t seem too interested. The second night Jim called to complain again, and a different host came down and talked to them, which did keep them much quieter Saturday night.

It took them all day to pack up the three tents and gather all the other junk they had laying around. The site looked like this until about 4 o’clock Sunday afternoon when they finally threw the rest of their stuff in a truck and left at 4:30. Checkout time is 1:00, but no one seems to enforce any rules here.


For our complaints going unanswered, we were offered 2 free extra nights, so we took them up on it. We are just hoping this coming weekend will be a bit quieter.

Here are some photos from the Cove to Lake hiking trail in the park. We got to peer down into the neighboring golf course.


And came upon this horse sculpture along the trail. There was no plaque to explain what it was doing there.


We’ve also walked around the lake several times, which we think is about 2.5 miles. It’s a pretty walk. It was especially so at sunset the other night when there were some clouds in the sky.

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Jim just got back from three hours at the dentist after having a new crown made. The one that fell off had a big hole in it so it couldn’t be cemented back on. In our two years of full-timing, Jim’s dental care has been one of the biggest expenses!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Living Desert, Palm Desert, CA


The Living Desert is a zoo and botanical garden in Palm Desert, similar to the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, in Tucson, which we haven’t seen yet. The difference is The Living Desert has plants and animals from all four North American deserts and Africa, where the one is Tucson only features the Sonoran Desert.

We got there by 9:30 to take the guided Nature Walk. We were the only 3 who showed up for it, which would have been okay except that our guide, a very nice gentleman, kept asking us questions we didn’t know the answers to, and we felt like we were in school and hadn’t studied for the test. I think Jim made a face or rolled his eyes or something at one point, and the guide realized we were not having a good time, so he promised to tell us things and not ask any more questions. We learned a lot if only we can remember it.

They have a very impressive animal hospital, but there were no procedures taking place when we were there. There is a huge viewing area with monitors, so visitors can watch.

Here are just a few of the animas we got to see.

A bat-eared fox.




Golden eagle.

The Living Garden,  Palm Desert

Serval. He was a beautiful cat.




Laughing Kookaburra.


This was Jim’s favorite. The small white sign near her feet says “I can bite”.


We enjoyed the park, but the best part of our day was lunch at ZPizza afterward.

Last evening our lovely and quiet park was taken over by the weekenders, with lots of tents, loud music, screaming kids, etc. Our next door neighbors even had the nerve to tie their tent to Debbie’s motor home when the wind picked up during the night, but she made them move it. There is a chance of rain and strong winds predicted for today and tomorrow, so we’re hoping it blows their tents away and they go home.

To top it off, one of Jim’s crowns came off while brushing his teeth last night. It’s been months since he had a dental problem, so I guess he was due. This is shaping up to be a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lake Cahuilla County Park, La Quinta, CA


After spending a week here in January, we knew we wanted to come back. So we reserved sites on the lake, and are staying the two week limit. The park is much less crowded than before, but the volunteer said they are fully booked over the Thanksgiving weekend. Glad we made a reservation. This was taken out our living room window as the sun was rising this morning.

Lake Cahuilla view from Site 42, Nov 2010 

Just after we arrived, Jim was using the Acer computer and the hinge completely broke.This is the same computer that developed a crack in the case when we were here in January. He repaired it with epoxy putty, which has held until now, and he thought about getting a replacement hinge and trying to repair it himself. Since the power button has been finicky for the last couple months, I think we were on borrowed time anyway. Yesterday morning we went computer shopping, and now have a Toshiba Satellite A665, which seems to be a really nice laptop, with an 8 hour rated battery. In real life, people get about 5 hours, which is considerably better than the Acer. Jim has spent a good part of the past two days getting it set up, and still has more to do. Glad he likes that kind of thing.

Yesterday afternoon Debbie and I splurged on a haircut at the Milan Institute of Cosmetology. The students were fairly new, so the instructor ended up doing 90% of my haircut. We were both very pleased with the results, although it took over an hour and a half. What we didn’t realize is that on Monday and Tuesday they had a special, $1.99 for a shampoo and cut. What a bargain! That’s my second time at a beauty college, and I will definitely seek one out again.

This morning Jim and I went for a bike ride around La Quinta where most of the local roads have wide bike lanes. The county park is surrounded by gated, high dollar golf course communities. The landscaping is such a contrast to the natural desert, but we like seeing the grass and flowers.


I also put up a hummingbird feeder on a window last night, and they found it fairly early this morning. Hours of entertainment for us and the cats, but not easy to photograph.



Sunday, November 14, 2010

Borrego Springs, CA


The solar panel installation was a success, it only took about 3 hours, and there was no bloodshed. And Debbie is happy to be getting more amps.


While they were busy working, I took a walk in the desert from our campsite. There was a sign down the road for Rockhouse Canyon, and I followed the washed out dirt road to a trail and small canyon. You can see our rigs off in the distance.


I also wandered down the road to look at some other potential camping spots, and found a nice grill/oven that someone obviously put a lot of effort into building.

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Then I found these two gravesites. I’m hoping someone just buried their pets




I think I may have discovered who owns this property. Not sure if they are still in business as we haven’t seen any big trucks but we can see what looks like a quarry near the base of the mountains.


We went into Borrego Springs for a late lunch at Carmelita’s, a local Mexican restaurant that surprised us with a very tasty veggie burrito. Borrego Springs is a quaint little town about 90 miles northeast of San Diego, with 3,000 year round residents, no fast food or chain restaurants, no traffic lights, and is completely surrounded by Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

After lunch we drove around the Galleta Meadows Estate areas to view these interesting metal sculptures of the previous residents of Borrego Springs, some 3 million years ago. The ranch owner hired Mexican sculptor Ricardo Breceda to create these sculptures and place them around his land. The sun had already gone down behind the mountains so these photos aren’t the greatest. The detail was incredible.









A few years ago started adding some more recent residents.




And we finally got to see some bighorn sheep.



We really like this area and wish we could stay longer, but we have reservations today at Lake Cahuilla in La Quinta. It would be great to be here in the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Anza Borrego Desert, CA


This is our home for a few nights. We are parked about 5 miles east of Borrego Springs, just outside Anza Borrego Desert State Park, in a popular boondocking area off Rockhouse Rd. There are quite a few other RV’s scattered about, but we have no close neighbors, so it is very quiet. The desert landscape is stark, but we are surrounded by scenic mountains. And we have a fairly good internet connection. We’re not sure who owns this land, but just as you turn off onto Rockhouse Rd, there is a no trespassing sign. I read about this on several blogs, and everyone said it’s not a problem. Let’s hope they’re right.
Yesterday we went into the State Park and hiked the Borrego Palm Canyon trail. It is a 1.5 mile trail to a native California palm oasis, our third attempt to actually make it to an oasis. We parked at the Visitor Center and saw a sign to the trail, but didn’t realize it was over a mile to the actual trail head, so our 3 mile hike turned into a 5 miler. Luckily it was a fairly level trail, except for some rocky areas and a bit of scrambling.

We came upon a small stream, and even a waterfall. There are supposed to be lots of bighorn sheep in the area, but we didn’t find them.


Then we saw the oasis.


And we finally made it all the way to the end of the trail.


And got to explore around under the giant palms. It was a beautiful area. Too bad there were about a dozen kids who got there just after we did.




While exploring Slab City a few days ago, we came across a solar panel dealer. Debbie had been thinking of adding a second panel, so before we left she stopped to see what he had. She got a great deal on a 90 watt panel, and today Jim is going to help her install it, since he was successful at doing ours last month. Let’s hope all goes well. I was wanting to do the Hellhole Canyon hike, so I think they schemed up this solar panel project to get out of another long hike!