Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 16 - 29 Years!

We started our day with a long walk through the resort, with a slight detour to pick up a geocache.  The grounds of the resort are beautiful, with water features and incredible landscaping at every turn.  We love walking here...it's so relaxing and there is so much flora and fauna to admire.  The entrance to the resort is lined with palm trees interspersed with waterfalls.  It's a perfect place to sit and relax, but of course we're on a brisk morning walk, so no relaxing for us!

We head to the Market Place to buy stamps.  While in line, someone spys a chocolate cupcake, just calling her name.  Now, the "brisk morning walk" slows down a bit a we share a cupcake and a mocha latte while enjoying a mountain view.  Now, we must walk even more briskly to work off our cupcake!
The flora around here also has its share of cactus, aloe, and other succulents.  These plants, along with the palms, mesquite and bouganviella make it virtually certain there's always something in bloom.  (Not to mention all the seasonal flowers planted by the resort.)  These blooms make this a haven for hummingbirds and we see them every day.  Sometimes they put on a show for us, doing loops and flips as they zoom to and fro.  Every now and then they surprise us by zipping right up to our face!

The fountain outside the lobby is shaped like the little pincushion cacti that surround it. We must have 30 pictures of this fountain as we take multiple pictures of it each time we visit.  Guess we're still trying to get that perfect shot!
Covert of Coots!

One of the animals that we often see here are coots.  These are small black duck-like birds that tend to stay together in large groups called coverts.  They aren't as much fun as ducks as they don't come up to you begging for bread.  But they are fun to chase around, trying to break up the covert! 

The resort offers all kinds of recreational activities: golf, tennis, walking trails, painting lessons, trivia nights, etc.  We don't golf or play tennis, so we pretty much concentrate on the other activities, such as a sprited chess game outside the rec center.

We love to sit out on the balcony in the late afternoons/early evenings.  It's about 82 degrees today and we have a great view of the San Bernadino Mountains on our left and the Santa Rosa Mountains on our right.  In the distance we can see three hot air balloons drifting eastward.  We took a balloon ride here a few years back.  They picked us up before dawn and we were out in a field blowing up the balloon before daylight.  At daybreak we were off...drifting eastward towards the Salton Sea. It's so peaceful up there, and a great way to see the checkerboard of the valley.  When we landed we had a champagne brunch.  Loved it!

No balloon rides for us today. But, we're enjoying "our show" nonetheless.  We have a covert of coots hamming it up for us.  There must be a couple of hundred coots out on the fairway in front of us.  Three golfers get out and do their thing and the coots ignore them.  The fourth golfer to come up does the same thing as the others and the coots flee in mass, quacking madly and flying into the nearby lagoon.  Crazy as coots!

We have golfers for entertainment as well.  They're typically lots of fun to watch this late in the day.  In front of our villa we have a sandtrap, the fairway and a lagoon.  Most of the balls are landing in the lagoon and sandtrap.  We love their late-afternoon golf cart driving.  Helping their carts go faster by pushing with a leg dangling out of the cart; slipping into the sand traps; playing bumper carts...geeze, hope none of these folks are driving home!  We can see the green and the flag from here, too.  Almost no one is putting the ball into the cup; instead, they get within ten feet or so and then head for the next hole!
Zipper on Guard
Our last "entertainer" for the afternoon is Zipper, our resident hummingbird.  He's a Black-chinned hummingbird, about 3 inches long.  He loves to perch on a little twig just off our balcony.  He zips away for awhile and then returns to rest and preen.  He's been here all afternoon.  Another hummingbird came close to the balcony and Zipper zoomed up to ward him off.  We feel safe from errant hummingbirds with Zipper protecting us!

It's Monte and Aleta's 29th wedding anniversay and we're headed out to dinner.  As we step out our front door we are treated to a beautiful sunset above the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio Mountains.  It is breath-taking and we all stop to enjoy the view.  There are a lot of beautiful man-made sights in the valley, but none can compare with the sights that nature provides.

M&A have chosen the Jackalope, in Indio, for their anniversay dinner.  This amazing restaurant covers seven acres and cost almost $40 million to build making it the second largest free-standing restaurant in the U.S., as well as the second most costly to build in the U.S.  This masterpiece was the vision of Don Callendar, founder and owner of Marie Callendar's restaurants.  Sadly, he died the day before it opened.

We turn the corner into the restaurant and immediately see a jackalope.  He's standing proud in his glory, surrounded by flaming torches.  We aren't sure if he's happy to see us or not, so we just move along quietly.

One of The Jackalope's Many Gardens

Entering Jackalope you first step into the inside dining area...hundreds of full tables and quite noisy.  However, we quickly move through this area and to the outside patio.  Here there are fewer tables and it's much quieter.  There's a bit of a chill in the night, so the propane heaters are on, adding warmth and more color to the luxurious gardens and waterfall views that we have from our tables.This place is a perfect place for an anniversay dinner!  M&A have chosen wisely.

We all love our meals, three had their signature ribs and one had the Dover Sole.  All were too much and no desserts tonight!  We also tried their signature tamales and declared them "almost as good" as Mi Jalapenos.  Damn good!

We are at the Jackalope exit and starting to turn west back to our resort and we see these lighted palms.  There are many places throughout the valley that do this lighting and they always appear magical.  These are no exception and they provide a fitting close to a magical evening.


  1. You guys are really making me want to retire with this blog. :)

  2. Ahhhh...love those magical moments.

  3. Awesome pictures again. I like the hummer on guard and your lit palms. Cool!