Ah, The Wonders of The Road Trip

The California Desert is Alive and Well—Go Visit!

Greetings Boomers, we’ve successfully passed the Summer Solstice and now it’s almost the end of June, which will mark the half-way point in the year 2020.  One would think living in these highly unusual and extraordinary times, that time would slow down just for a bit.  With the constant barrage of news and attempting to regain some aspect of normalcy, that doesn’t appear to be the case.  It seems we blink and it’s the next day.  Even my young GenZ friends say how fast the time is passing.  

So I’m here to say, let’s not waste a minute of our lives, especially with those things that are completely out of our control.  Let’s live the best and live the best we can each and every day.  Easy to say, huh.  But, really, we have so much to be thankful for.  Our friends and family are ever present, and just look around at the surroundings mother nature brings forth.  

As the second greatest generation, we Boomers still strive for the best we can be.  Yes, my BoomerGuy and I have certainly had our share of issues throughout our lives, and they still go on because they’re not over by any means.  Nonetheless, we get up each morning and dust ourselves off with as much positivity as any two people I know.  My BoomerGuy is the most optimistic person I have ever been around.  

We are so richly rewarded living in southern California.  We can point the car in any one of a number of directions and be transported to a wide variety of venues and scenery like no place on this earth.  Towering mountains, agricultural lands that stretch forever, lovely beaches and the ocean, high and low deserts, et al.  

On the way to the desert following I-10 East, one of the first sights are the thousands of windmills generating electricity for Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley
One of the many scenic views outside of Palm Springs near Tahquitz Canyon which has been inhabited by the Cahuilla Tribe of Native Americans for over 2000 years

So, what do we do about it.  Alas, the Road Trip.  We were going to take a road trip to the wineries in Temecula this past week.  Unfortunately, our schedule got a bit turned around due to the needs of family.  So, we punted and hit the road slightly closer to home, namely the Coachella Valley for a day trip.  As I’ve mentioned, we lived in the desert for over 11 years and enjoyed all things “deserty.”  As now, when the temperatures hit 100 degrees the colors of the desert absolutely pop!  The Mesquite, Agave, Jacaranda, Mexican Bird of Paradise, Bougainvillea, Lantana, and an assortment of flowering cactus…  Actually, you can take the heat up to about 105 only because it’s so dry but be very careful.  Stay hydrated because your body will not perspire like normal at least that you will notice, and all of a sudden you begin to feel faint or disoriented.  So drink plenty of fluids—a large amount of Gatorade and Vitamin Water is still not enough.  I always bring little ice packs purchased from Amazon, along with frozen bottled water in an ice cooler.

One of the most spectacular, ornamental, flowering plants in the desert is the Bougainvillea, pictured in the foreground is an Agave Americana which requires very little supplemental water to survive–in other words, a perfect species for the desert
One of the many hiking trails available to the adventurous. The San Jacinto Mountains are in the background. The peak, which can be reached by a tram, is 10,834 feet above sea level.
Just north of Palm Springs is the Joshua Tree National Park–a great side-trip if you have the time. These spectacular creatures live to 1000 years, which means they can tell you a bit about our history as humans.

For us older folks, the one good thing about the dry heat is that your body does not seem to ache.  In my case, having rheumatoid arthritis, it’s truly amazing.  I am limber and without pain.  Talk about free therapy.  However, let’s not forget, it’s hot out there and will be through October.  I always said we could count on cooler days when Halloween arrives.

But it’s truly a sensational place to get away from the doldrums of the coronavirus, even if it’s just for a day or perhaps a weekend.  There are so many things I love about the desert, and apparently so do the folks from LA.  They have been coming out in droves over the past number of years driving real estate prices to new highs.  And of course, there’s the Coachella Music Festival and Stagecoach which draw hundreds of thousands to enjoy fun filled music concerts, rock and country, respectively.  This year due to the pandemic, both have been rescheduled from April to October.  If you’re so inclined, buy your 3-day tickets and prepare for a thrilling explosion of light and sound, not to mention wall-to-wall crowds.

A wonderful example of a mid-century home in Palm Springs, just waiting for someone to come along and offer $1Million for roughly 2000 sq ft.
The Coachella Music Festival, better known as Coachella held in Indio, California at the Polo Grounds every spring, except this year it’s been moved to October due to the pandemic. This is a photo of the “Electric Daisy Carnival.”

The great thing about a desert road trip at this time of year is that there is little traffic congestion.  The snow birds have departed which makes it quite easy to venture about and explore, and now the stores and restaurants are reopening making it even more inviting.  

Just recently, my BoomerGuy and I spent six months for a business engagement at the spectacular Legacy Villas which is located in La Quinta.  Once through the gates, it’s as though you are transported to a quiet place in Spain or Morocco.  The Santa Rosa mountains are right outside your door and if you’re lucky, you might see Bighorn Sheep roaming about, or hear a baby calling for its mother.  This particular development has pools galore, so it’s a great place to bring the grandkids and let them splash about in wonderment, and be sure to bring your pool noodles.  Check out the photos below.

The villas are nestled right up against the Santa Rosa Mountains.
Dip your toes in the water when it’s 105 outside, or better yet, take a swim in one of the many pools, see below.
The cabanas are for us old folks…ha.
The Santa Rosas right out your backdoor. If you look closely, you might just spot a Bighorn Sheep. They will come down in the early morning and late evening hours to graze on the grasses and sip the water.

Most people when they hear about the desert think of Palm Springs with its touristy feel of shops and restaurants along with the explosion of mid-century homes.  But I have found the communities of Palm Desert and La Quinta to be a bit more on the charming side.  El Paseo, aka Little Rodeo Drive, is well-known for its high-end fashion flair, and is now adorned with hundreds of American flags in advance of the 4th of July weekend.  And old town La Quinta is a perfect spot to stop and have coffee and a pastry at one of the many boutique coffee spots.  The historic La Quinta Hotel and its grounds are truly breathtaking.  

Yikes!!! The pandemic has definitely had an impact on the traffic on El Paseo. This shot was taken on a Sunday morning before the shops opened. As you can see, the flags along the boulevard as they are preparing to celebrate, honor, and acknowledge the upcoming 4th of July weekend.
Moller’s Nursery and Garden is one of the many such nurseries in the Coachella Valley. However, it is the preeminent one and our absolute favorite. This photo was taken on the same Sunday when, unfortunately, they are closed. But as you can see, the vegetation abounds.

Remember, this can be yours for a day trip or a weekend get-away from it all if you live in SoCal.  Please don’t hesitate to go out and explore using your own day trips wherever you might live.    And right now, I think many of us could use just that kind of respite since we’re still reluctant to jump on an airplane or cruise ship.  

Please stay healthy and safe and remember to practice good hygiene to protect you and your loved ones. 

Saying goodnight and goodbye to the glories of the California desert. I had an absolutely marvelous time–what a great way to celebrate a non-news and non-coronavirus weekend.
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