Dec 29-Jan 12 - Palm Springs CA
We like the Palm Springs area. It's kind of what you expect a modern desert oasis to be - lots of Palm Trees, blue skies, mountains around the edges (some with snow on top), and plenty of places to indulge yourself. Best of all, it's not cold. Chilly sometimes, but far as we could tell, about the warmest place in the country the two weeks we were there.
We settled in amongst the date palms at the 1000 Trails park near La Quinta, and scanned about for things to do. After buying some tickets to shows we wanted to see, we came to the realization that one of the larger RV rallies in the country was happening here during our stay. So it turned out that our Palm Springs stay was a little busier than we'd anticipated.
New Years Eve was pretty normal for us old folks - watch the ball drop in NYC around 9pm our time, while sipping an appropriate concoction - and thence to bed at a reasonable hour.
The nearest National Park to Palm Springs is Joshua Tree National Park, named for the abundance of those particular variants of the Yucca found there. But the park is also home to some spectacular rock formations. They look like somebody dumped huge piles of rocks in the middle of the desert, but in actuality they're volcanic granite formations. The lava oozed upward, filling voids between and around the existing sandstone. As the granite cooled, it cracked, creating lots of pieces - many that looked almost symmetrical. Over time, uplifting and weathering eroded most of the sandstone away, leaving just the granite. Some of the deposits are pretty spectacular. We spent most of a day at Joshua Tree, enjoying it greatly.
When we were here in February, we went to a performance of the "Fabulous Palm Springs Follies" and enjoyed it a lot. So we bought tickets for their current show. These Follies are a lot like the follies of the 30's - populated by "long-legged lovelies" and "dapper dancing dans". Songs, dancing, novelty acts, comedy. The twist is all the performers are over 55 years old. Some are way over. There are two dancers in the company in their 80s. Many are in their 70s. All are well-credentialed professional performers who came out of retirement to return to the boards, 9 shows a week. Special guests while we were there were the original Four Aces (the lead singer is 79). They still sound pretty good, too. One cool thing about going places with high concentrations of seasoned citizens is the entertainment you get is often of the same vintage as you.
The major performing arts venue in the Palm Springs area is the McCallum Theatre, and their winter season opened while we were here. The opening show of the season was the Peking Acrobats, probably the best of the many touring groups of Chinese acrobats, and they were also just beginning their annual US tour. We managed to get a couple of seats in almost the last row, but even from there, the show was absolutely spectacular. The skill, strength and flexibility of these kids are amazing. Know anybody who can climb a pole? Without using their feet or legs? While upside down? We ache just thinking about it.
The Family Motor Coach Association holds their Western Area Rally in Indio, just down the road, every January. It wasn't on our radar at all until we started noticing lots of FMCA members in our RV park. Did some checking around and found out about the rally. Over 1300 motorhomes were parked at the rally site. We decided to sign up as day trippers. There are things you can buy at RV Rallies you just can't find anywhere else, and we bought some of them. Judy went to the Red Hat Society Tea one day, but mostly we wandered the exhibit hall and the motorhome exhibits. Tiring, but fun. We commuted the 8 miles to the rally when we wanted to go (which turned out to be every day). We'd probably have spent more time there, but we'd already bought those performance tickets. Maybe next year we'll include the rally in our plans, if we get back in this area around the first of the year.
We've been watching the weather in places we're heading from here, and here is looking pretty good. Our temps have been mostly in the 70s. At most of our planned destinations in South Texas, it's been near or below freezing and looks like it's going to stay that way for a while. Even New Orleans has had frost. We want warm, but apparently to find it we'd have to go further south. We hear Costa Rica is pretty comfortable (big grin).
Only about 40 pictures in our slide show this time. Check them out here.