Sunday, March 30, 2014

Good Ride and Very Pleasant Days....

Friday was our planned motorcycle ride to Yuma for a visit with my brother and his wife.  Jeanette and I rode out of our Desert Hot Springs RV spot at 9:00 am.  The weather was picture perfect - no wind, no rain, no dust.....and with rich blue skies!
We rode east on Dillon Road before turning south on Highway 86.  Choosing to ride Highway 111 to Brawley - along the eastern shore of the Salton Sea - we were rewarded with very little traffic.
 The Salton Sea
Highway 111 is in very good condition.  For the most part, it is a well paved, two lane road, offering good views.  There was a slight breeze from the west that cooled the air a tiny bit, along the shoreline.  It was refreshing.

Weekend boon dockers on the sand dunes west of Yuma, AZ.
I-8, between Yuma and San Diego, was quite busy with weekend traffic. We joined the Interstate, just east of El Centro, for the final leg into Yuma.  The sand dunes area - a popular recreational area for dune buggies and quads - was showing signs of increased activity.
A major canal that diverts Colorado River water to southern California.
The vegetable farming lands, prevalent in this area, were very green.  

Rolling into Bernie and Rita's winter home in the Country Roads RV Resort - Yuma, AZ.
By 12:12 pm, we rolled into Bernie and Rita's place.  It was a gorgeous day there and we nestled ourselves under cover, in the shade,  to enjoy a nice lunch prepared by Rita.
Bernie and Rita will be closing up their winter home around the 6th of April before they head back for home in Alberta.
Our four hour visit went by quickly; too quickly.  By 4:00 pm, we saddled up for the return ride back to Desert Hot Springs.  We prefer to ride by day and our choice to leave when we did had us back at our site by 7:20 pm, just as nightfall hit the hills in the Palm Springs, CA area.
Enjoying a nice visit.
Another view of the sand dunes on our return motorcycle ride along I-8 west.
Choosing to ride back on route 111 proved fruitful. The late afternoon sun lit the Chocolate Mountains, to the east, with amazing shadows.  One doesn't tire easily of the views in this area.
Great view.
A fading evening sun adds a red richness to the landscape.
Back in our site, it was not long before Jeanette and I donned our swim wear and headed for the pool.  Several minutes of soaking in one of the four natural hot springs pools was relief from a great day on the motorcycle.  Once showered, we walked back to our site and tapped in to one of our Canadian all news channels to see what had happened in the world while we were away.

A beautiful Saturday.
Saturday was a 'stay at home one' - other than taking our truck into a local Ford dealer in Cathedral City for a planned oil and filter change.  By 7:30 am, I drove out to the Quick Lube service bays at Palm Springs Ford and, within minutes, our truck was being serviced. That was followed with it being taken to a wash bay for a free wash and detail.  What service!   This is a first class operation.  

While at the Ford dealer, Ginette 'Face Timed' me and I was so pleasantly surprised to see our newest grandchild, Brie (40 days old), having a nice sleep while her mother spoke with me.  Easton was out for a walk with his dad but he did return home and I was able to spend some nice time with him too.  By reversing the camera on our iPad, he was able to see our truck in the service bay and was quick to point out that it was his Grand Papa's truck.  That was a nice 'Face Time' visit had.  We fully intend to be back for Easton's 2nd birthday this April 10th.  Looking forward to that!
The man-made lake at our resort - Sam's Spa and RV Resort, Desert Hot Springs.
Back at our site, I completed three primary items on my 'to do' list while Jeanette got the laundry done.  I also detailed the inside of our truck and cleaned the motorcycle.  By mid-afternoon, we were free to go for a nice walk. 
One of the several waterfalls this RV park offers its guests.
With our walk done, we found ourselves at the spa area and we splurged on two soft ice cream cones offered up in the spa store.  With cones in hand, we made our way to the little lake to watch the waterfowl and numerous birds that call this place home.  As usual, when the fish see anyone walking nearby, they all swim over for anticipated treats.
This fella is patiently waiting for a nice fish treat to swim by.  We watched him gulp down a small fish.
It was a pleasant time spent in the spa area but the pools were overly busy with families enjoying the 'spring break'.  With so many people around, we choose to wait till evening before using the facilities.  By then, everyone is holed up indoors watching TV and the resort facilities sit idle waiting for us.
Mr. Turtle caught swimming amongst the fish.
"Here fishy, fishy, fishy......!"
Hector and Diane had been away on an overnight visit with friends and had returned, as planned, for an evening barbecue dinner at our site.  It was a splendid evening outdoors, enjoying good food, as the sun was setting over Mount San Jacinto.   By 8:30 pm, they headed back to their site and, after cleaning up, we settled in for a nice evening.
A perfect evening for outdoor dining.
The wind reared its ugly head again, during the night, and, by 5:00 am, I was up and about.  I went outdoors for a walk in the dark and found myself picking stuff up and returning it to the nearby sites I thought the stuff had been blown from.  Several families are camped in tents and most of those did not fare well in the strong Santa Anna winds.  I'm sure there will be some tired campers today.

Yesterday, Mike - one of the gracious hosts here at Sam's Spa and RV Resort - remarked how the Santa Anna winds - more prevalent at this time of the year - were stronger than normal.   That said, the winds are warm.  They come and they go.

This RV park is quickly losing its winter clientele.  With our departure this coming Tuesday - and more leaving daily - it won't be long now before the park is ghost like.  More than half the available sites are vacant.

As I am about to post this blog, the wind is showing signs of abating somewhat. That bodes well for another nice desert day here in southwestern California.

That covers it from here for now.  Thanks for dropping in.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sand Blasted in Palm Springs

Wowwy!  Did the winds ever blow through this Palm Springs area these past several days.  If the locals (and long, long term RVers) are to be believed, this past wind storm was the worst every seen in these parts.  It was 'rock 'n roll' and gale force too!
The wind is blowing and gusting.....with sand flying every which way!
Other than a quick shopping trip, the wind pretty well kept everyone indoors.  One had to be very careful when opening or closing RV doors.  A quick snap of wind could easily injure one's hand or fingers with a slamming door.

Looking south towards Palm Springs.
The sand was blowing so hard and fast that one could not see the cities of Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, etc., from our vantage point in Desert Hot Springs.  The entire valley was greyed out with blowing sand and dust.

Our Panoka, Alberta, friends left the day before the 'big blow' and they were sure happy about that.
Gusting winds and blowing sand did not keep us away from some fun activities though.  A large group of us headed back to the Dillon Roadhouse, this Wednesday night past, for a 50's and 60's music revival.  The singer was very good and the food did not disappoint.  We met some good friends there and shared an evening of pure pleasure while the outdoor wind continued its sand blasting ways.

The winds died down sufficiently yesterday (Thursday) to allow Hector and I to join my nephew Ted who is the Palm Desert Country Club golf superintendent - and another golf superintendent from Edmonton, Alberta - for an 18 hole round of golf.  It was pure pleasure to play with these two talented golfers.  

While we plied the course, Jeanette and Diane managed to get plenty of exercise walking from store to store to store in the Palm Springs/Palm Desert cities. 
Not sure what this is...but Diane is giving it the once over.
We returned to our RV sites within minutes of each other.  With a crock pot simmering all day long, it took little time to get a salad together and for the four of us to enjoy a hearty meal indoors.  With the harsh winds finally abated, the air had cooled down and sitting outdoors would have meant wearing some jackets.  We opted for indoors.
A ride is set for today - Friday
Today is Friday.  Jeanette and I have a planned motorcycle ride from Desert Hot Springs, CA, to Yuma, Arizona, and back by early evening.  We made plans for the three hour ride to share lunch with my brother and his wife at their Yuma, AZ place.  There are two reasons for the ride. First off is the chance to see them, once again, before they head home for Alberta and before we head home to British Columbia.  The second reason is pure enjoyment of riding the motorcycle one more time before it gets loaded on the swivel wheel, behind our fiver, for the journey back home.

The wind was quiet all night and, as I write this blog, it seems it has died right down.  Yea to that!  Motorcycling to Yuma should be most pleasurable.

Tuesday is departure day for us.....and the preparations will begin in earnest in the days ahead (photo taken one month ago)
Sam's RV and Spa is beginning to show true signs of vacancy.  Many RVers have left for home and more leave each and every day.  Our turn will come next Tuesday when we begin our slow journey back for Langley, BC. In years past, we have dead headed for home but this year's plan is to take our sweet time rolling back.  We want to roll into our driveway on the 9th of April.

Looking out our RV door yesterday morning.  Our RV park has plenty of vacant spots now.
That covers things from here.  As our winter vacation comes to a close, we set our sights on the drive back for home and the events and activities that are planned following our return.

Off to Yuma......!

Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Awesome Ride and Owen's 1st Swim...

Our Tuesday begins with a sunny, calm and most beautiful sky, here in Desert Hot Springs, CA.

With a quiet Sunday on the books, Jeanette and I felt like riding and, with no real destination in mind, headed east on Dillon Road and south on  Highway 86.  At the corner of S22, we rode west towards Borrego Springs.

Nice day for a ride.
Both surprised by the low volume of Sunday traffic, we decided to check out a few RV parks in Borrego Springs.  Of particular interest was 'The Springs @ Borrego'.  
Very nice looking golf course.  For me, this is a major attraction.
We have friends who have spent time at 'The Springs' and we could certainly see why.  The sites are very well spaced.  There are several long drive through sites too.   Due to its recent design and build, it was focused on 'big rigs'.  The site designers really came through in this park.
We both felt so attracted to this area that it may well become a drop in for our RV activities in the future.
Beautifully sculpted golf course with water and sand bunkers.  It's easy to see how it would test a golfers metal.
Having had a good look around the RV park, we rode into the town of Borrego Springs.  This place never disappoints.  It is quaint, organized and clean.  It offers the amenities most RVers would need.

Borrego Springs is a census-designated place (CDP) in San Diego County, California. The population was 3,429 at the 2010 census, up from 2,535 at the 2000 census. Many residents are seasonal while others remain year round. Borrego Springs is completely surrounded by Anza-Borrego State Park, the largest of California's State Parks.

The village of Borrego Springs has a pueblo-style Visitor's Center & Chamber of Commerce near the heart of town. There are 2 shopping malls, several restaurants, accommodations of every kind and unique shops. There are no stop lights in Borrego Springs and night time lighting is kept to a minimum to protect the extraordinary magnificence of the starlit sky. Many describe Borrego Springs as a Palm Springs that existed 50 years ago.
Beautiful town.
Heading further south from Borrego Springs.
That we were early in Borrego Springs had us thinking about riding further south and west to the wonderful town of Julian.  We had been there several days earlier but we were attracted to go back again.  The weekend tourist trade proved far busier than our earlier mid-week visit but it was still a fine day to drop in.
Busy town....and a magnet for motorcyclists.  We understand why.
It was nice and warm and it was time for a motorcycle break.  Lunch seemed to be a draw for us and we found another quaint little bistro style restaurant that met our expectations.  The food was very, very good.  The waitress offered up a dessert menu but, having shared one large sandwich, we chose to ride further west to the little town of Santa Ysabel for a dessert treat from the Julian Pie Company.
We thoroughly enjoyed our drop in here.....and the coffee with pie was well worth the ride.
Santa Ysabel (Diegueno: 'Ellykwanan[1]) is an unincorporated community in California, in the east half of San Diego County. It is home to Santa Ysabel Asistencia, a Spanish mission. The town is located near the San Diego River just north of the Cleveland National Forest at the junction of Highway 78 and Highway 79.
Some other notable sights of the small town are the famous Dudley's Bakery, and Julian Apple Pie factory, The town serves as a gateway to the mountains of San Diego County, including the Laguna Mountains, Julian, and Palomar Mountain.

The photo below, with the door handles, spells the truth about entering the Julian Pie Company.  The smells are so, so dramatic.  The fresh baked pie smell emanates the entire building and captivate tourists to purchase a slice or two.  We could not resist.
Nice entrance to the Julian Pie Company.
By 3:00 pm, we continued our ride north on Highway 76 and later, we turned east on the route that would return us to Highway 74 and the final leg over the twisty and every changing elevations in the Santa Rosa Mountains before our descent into Palm Desert.
At an elevation of 4,000'
Monday was set aside for a visit with Courtney, Owen and Deni.  They came over for breakfast and a swim.  The swim in the resort facilities would be 2 1/2 month old, Owen's first ever swim in a pool.
Hanging out while breakfast preparation was underway.
Our little fella, Owen, was his usual happy little guy - unless hungry or needing a diaper change.
Sitting outdoors on such a beautiful day - with a beautiful little family - is hard to top.  Owen was pretty happy lying about and watching us enjoy the food.

A relaxing time as Deni engages his mom in chat.
With breakfast completed, Owen had to join in with us and loves this sitting position.  He can see what everyone is up to.
Time to head for the resort pools.
Owen's parents - his grand parents too - were quick to get the little fella to the spa pools to let him enjoy a nice soak.  This is Owen's very first swim since birth. He loved the event.....other than being splashed once or twice.
Ready.....set.......GO for the first dip in nice, warm water.
He was most relaxed with his dad in the pool.
 What a treat for Owen to share a nice swim with his mom and dad.  Nana, Jeanette, looks on as the little fella is swirled around water.

Very near the end of his first swim, Owen sends signals that he is ready to shower and dry off.
Before long, Owen and his folks had showered, dried off and, once dressed, made their way back to our site in preparation to drive off to downtown Palm Springs where they would be meeting Courtney's mom, Barb, for some shopping.

The little family left very early this morning for the drive back to Las Vegas and their flight back to Edmonton, Alberta.  While here though, their visit was thoroughly enjoyed.

That covers things from here for now.  Thanks for dropping in.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Song, A Hike, A Birthday Dinner....

Deni, Courtney and Owen had their Friday evening planned with Courtney's mom so Jeanette and I accepted an invite to a Karaoke evening with friends.  Well....was that fun?  You bet!
Me, Hector and Lucky entertained the crowd...and, by all accounts, we did well. And, we choose to believe that we did well......
The Dillon Roadhouse offered up some great food....and entertainment.  Richard, the Karaoke handler, was equally good at motivating the crowd.  Who knew we could have so much fun doing this.  But, fun it was!  It was our last opportunity to get together with Lucky and Trena who are heading back for the BC home this Monday. We were 5 couples who thoroughly made the evening a fun one.

Saturday morning hike at the Coachella Preserve.
Our kids were up for a hike!  We chose the  Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve in the Coachella Valley Preserve System - Home for that outing.  It was our first time there.  Based on our experience, we will hike this area again.  To hike through thick palms to an oasis is quite a treat on a hot day - or any day, for that matter.
Thick, uncut palms!
In spite of the often bumpy ride, Owen slept through the entire hike.  He woke up when we returned to the parking area.
The boardwalks made navigating around the oasis so much easier.
Out of the palms and into the desert brought some tough work for Courtney who was  pushing Owen in his stroller.  The sand was no match for the big wheels on the stroller though but, on occasion, a little assistance was needed to lift Owen up and over some tough terrain.

Deni and I taking a brief respite at the oasis.
Saturday was Deni's 35th birthday and here he is sharing some special time with his mom....
Two horsepower required to meander the stroller through this difficult spot on the trail.
One hour into our hike and we had returned to the parking area.  With Owen's wheels stored - and with him safely buckled into his seat - the little family followed us back to our RV site where lunch was prepared and served before we took them to view the great spa facilities here at Sam's.
One final look at the nice hiking trail
Sitting around in our RV while the barbecue was working on grilling some chicken skewers and jumbo shrimp.
We were interested in Deni and Courtney's views once they got to walk around the spa facilities.  They were thrilled to see how this place suited big kids and little kids too.  They will be back here tomorrow (Monday) for a day of swimming and more.....
Checking out the fish and birds that make this man made pond their home.
By mid-afternoon, Saturday, Deni, Courtney and Owen drove back to the Indio golf resort that Doug and Barb are renting and, by 5:30 pm, Jeanette and I drove out to enjoy a great barbecue and celebratory ice cream cake in honour of Deni's birthday.
Owen was finely dressed for the event.  Check out the nice bow tie....!  Very stylish and handsome little fella....and smiley too!
Jeanette and I took turns holding our little 2 1/2 month old Owen.  He paid us back with some nice smiles.
Owen is holding his No. 1 Driver from the golf set that Jeanette and I bought for him.
Our custom (well, certainly my intent) is to present each grand child with a true golf set. Easton got his set two years back and now Owen is the recipient of his.  His folks got to open the present for him.
By age 2, Owen should be hitting the links with his folks.....and certainly with his grand papa.
We did present Deni with a birthday gift too.  His was a most updated copy of the 140 Great Hikes in and near Palm Springs.  That was a welcome gift.
A nice family photo with Deni, Courtney and 2 1/2 month old Owen.
Barb, Courtney's mom, was busy adding candles to the ice cream cake she made for Deni's birthday.  It was fantastic!
Doug did such a fine job with the beef tenderloins on the barbecue and, when all was eaten up, we just enjoyed a few hours of chat and laughter. What a lovely evening!
A most wonderful evening dinner - and birthday celebration - at Barb and Doug's Golf resort in Indio.
With fresh strawberries added, this ice cream cake was 'oh so good'........
Jeanette and I left back for our RV site by 9:00 pm, following a really nice day with family.  A great day it was!

Thanks for stopping in.