Tuesday, November 11, 2014

California--Palm Springs and Joshua Tree

Days 15-17 (Tuesday, November 4 –Thursday, November 5)

Tuesday was a long drive day from Flagstaff to Palm Springs.  It’s a long, lonely highway west of Phoenix…We’ve had some interesting experience adjusting to the clock on this trip.  Moving two time zones is always a bit of a change.  Throw the end of daylight savings time on top of that and it’s a bit more disconcerting.  To add more complication, parts of Arizona do not observe daylight savings time:  if you’re on a reservation, you do…if you’re not on a reservation, you don’t.  So we had two time zones within Arizona, then a time change, then…well, as Chicago sang, “Does anyone really know what time it is?”

We crossed into California at Blythe near lunchtime—wait!  The time zone changed from Mountain to Pacific as we crossed the Colorado River!  Was it truly lunchtime?  It mattered not—there’s really nowhere to eat in Blythe!

We arrived in Palm Springs at mid-afternoon on Tuesday with sunny skies and warm temperatures…a 50 degree change from what we woke up to in Flagstaff!  After settling in, we had dinner and watched the election returns…a quiet night.

Wednesday was our day to enjoy this city we love so much.  A perfect morning for a jog (MB) or walk (me)…breakfast by the pool at our friend’s condominium…

...later, lunch at an outdoor bistro…and dinner at a favorite, restaurant, Trio.  Yes, you’re right…food is an important part of this trip!

Our friends, Mark and Carol, joined us on Thursday morning.  After they settled in and we had a delicious lunch at Sherman’s Kosher Deli, we drove to Joshua Tree National Park, about an hour away.  The setting is almost like that of another planet:  stark desert…then amazing outcroppings of huge round rocks (as Carol said, they looked like some huge child had been stacking stones in the desert)…

…crazy cactus in the Cholla Cactus Garden…

…then the Joshua Trees themselves, most hundreds of years old (they grow an inch a year) and looking like something from a Dr. Seuss book!  They are not trees, but rather a member of the yucca family.

In the late afternoon, we hiked to a small dam area, then made it back for sunset at Keys View, the highest point in the park accessible by car.  There, we enjoyed an amazing sunset to the west, looking down over the Coachella Valley and the cities of Indio, Cathedral City, and Palm Springs…while, to the east, a beautiful full moon rose, colored orange in the reflection of the sunset. 

If only the pictures would have done the entire scene justice!  I guess we’ll have to carry that image in our minds’ eyes.

Next...partying in Palm Springs...the "dust bowl" in the Central Valley...and the incredible colors of Napa in the Fall.


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