Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 8 - Slowing down

S-L-O-W-I-N-G it down.  Time to relax and enjoy.

Started our day with a walk around the resort.  Headed west first…with a great view of Mount San Jacinto.  This mountain rises almost 10,000 feet from the valley floor.  No foot hills here…just up!

The resort is hosting an auto show and auction. Duesenbergs, Masseratis, Corvettes, Thunderbirds, Bentleys….you name a classic car and it’s here.  The cars added highlights to the scenery of palm trees, bougainvillea, and waterfalls throughout the resort.  Will scatter a few shots of the car show throughout this post.

We walked to the west end of the resort and turned back wandering though the resort and learning our way around.  They say that sometimes you learn best by error.  With that in mind we followed a paved path up through some hills and towards some more villas.  Wrong…it was a golf cart path and those weren’t villas, they were homes.  We ended up in a gated community where every house was a different shade of tan and every yard had the same variegated petunias in the front yard.  The entire community is color-coordinated, almost down to the cars driving through. 

Try as we might, we could not find a way out.  We’d walk down a promising lane only to end up at a padlocked gate.  Backtrack, then repeat!  At this point I must note that this was a morning walk, and everyone knows that Mona is the consumate morning person and she dearly loves challenges early in her day!  After trying several different routes  and using the iPhone GPS we finally found our way out.  (Yes, we used the GPS for the wrong ways, too.  Unfortunately, from the GPS you can’t tell that the gate is locked!)  All was not lost…we got to see some beautiful homes and two hummingbirds…and we got our morning walking done…just a little longer walk than we had expected!

A new Maserati and a new Bentley...
Fit companions for our 1999 Olds!
After lunch I geocached while Mona got her hair cut.  Come to find out, I had never logged my find of "Dead end here?" so I had to refind it and log it.  This cache is the inspiration behind my caches: "Road to Nowhere", "C-Cubed" and "23 Flavors". 

Afterwards we went to Ralph’s to stock up on groceries.  Ralph's is the Culinaria of Southern California.  Gotta love Ralph's!

A little about Coachella Valley.  It was a typical desert valley inhabited primarily by about 1000 Cahuilla Indians.  The Indians’ villages were centered around the oases created by the fractures in the earth created by the San Andreas fault. Palm Springs got its name from these oases.  (Did you know the plural of oasis before now?  I didn’t!)   In the summers, the tribes would move up the mountains to escape the scorching heat.  They lived off the land and it was a hard life, but peaceful.  Peaceful, because no one else wanted this arid land.

Bougainvillea on a Villa
That changed in the late 1800s when the railroad came through.  The government decided to “share” the valley with the Indians and the railroad.  The U.S. divided the valley into something resembling a large checkerboard of squares with one mile sides.  The Southern Pacific Railroad got the black squares and the Indians got the white.  Also in the late 1800s artesian wells were discovered in the Palm Springs area.  Further investigation found that the whole valley was sitting on top of one of the largest underground aquifers in the United States, with enough water to supply the valley for an estimated 100,000 years.

Fast forward to “now”.  The valley is now home to over 600,000 and the population is one of the fastest growing in the nation.  Virtually all of the original native Indians are gone.  They became incredibly rich by leasing their squares of land and by building casinos.  They come to Palm Springs for important religious occasions, but the rest of the time they are scattered in other exotic parts of the world like New York, Rome and Paris.
Opposite side of Bob Hope Drive
Without irrigation

One side of Bob Hope Drive
With irrigation
Irrigation abounds in the valley.  Wherever there is irrigation the land is lush with emerald green grass, waterfalls and palm trees.  Where there is no irrigation there is stark brown desert.  One side of a street can be a lush tropical heaven while the other side is burning desert.  Most often, this contrast still follows the checkerboard pattern created by the U.S. government back in the late 1800s.

One more interesting note about this area is the speed limits.  The primary streets are named after celebrities: Dinah Shore Way, Bob Hope Avenue, Gerald Ford Drive.  The speed limit on these primary streets in the urban areas is 55 mph!  You can get from one side of the valley to the other very quickly!

Back to us… We had a nice quiet afternoon…caught up on laundry, read and people watched out on the balcony.  Watched a little of the Academy Awards and had shrimp, cheese, bread and wine for dinner.  R-e-l-a-x-e-d!

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