Palm trees, hot tubs, warm weather and fresh snow on the not-so-distant mountains. A-h-h-h-h! What more could newly fledged snow birds ask for as we pass from late fall into winter? Kim and I are now back in southern California and enjoying a relaxing stay at Sam’s Family Spa Hot Water Resort in Desert Hot Springs, California. We’re glad to be together catching our breath at a relaxing place.
As of my last post, Kim had returned to Redlands to spend time with her family, while I stayed in Iowa to visit my family and take care of necessary repairs on our fifth-wheel. My own return trip from Iowa to California was very quick and quite exhausting, with no long stops along the way. Our original plan had allowed for a leisurely paced return to California with time along the way to explore an area and to take a few photos. With Kim already back in California, delays due to repairs on our trailer, and my catching a bad head cold, I just opted for a quick return. My preferred route would have been via Flagstaff, Arizona, with an opportunity to visit friends there. Reviewing the Flagstaff weather forecast (snow!), I opted for a southern route through Alamogordo and Tucson to avoid higher elevations and any possibility of snow or icy highways.
On the return trip I averaged about 325 miles per day, with overnight stops at the Emporia RV Park in Emporia, Kansas; Hargus RV Park in Clinton, Oklahoma; Tucumcari KOA in Tucumcari, New Mexico; and Boot Hill RV Resort at Alamogordo, New Mexico. I took a break for two nights at the SKP Saguaro Co-Op at Benson, Arizona, to rest and to catch up on laundry and cleaning chores in the RV. I spent a last night dry camping along Dome Rock Road in Quartzsite, Arizona, before arriving at Desert Hot Springs, California. I am so glad I’m off the road and able to relax a bit.
Here at Sam’s, we have been enjoying long soaks in the mineral water hot tubs, refreshing dips in the swimming pool, soft-serve ice cream and opportunities to make new friends. We enjoyed making the acquaintance of Nina and Paul (and their dog Polly) of the WheelingIt RV blog.
During our stay at Sam’s, we have also enjoyed the wide open vista views of the desert and mountains around Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs. One of the most impressive sights in the area are the extensive fields of massive wind turbines along the I-10 corridor, through the Mt. San Jacinto pass and along Highway CA-62 towards Morongo Valley. The wind farms are especially dramatic at sunrise and sunset or during stormy weather.
Another interesting place near Desert Hot Springs is the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve, part of the Coachella Valley Preserve System. The oasis features impressive stands of old-growth native California Fan Palms – Washingtonia filifera. The palm groves thrive due to springs of water forced to the surface along the San Andreas Fault. The springs emerge as seeps, small streams or even as oasis ponds. The Preserve includes miles of hiking trails to scattered palm groves. One trail near the visitor center features a boardwalk through a marshy area along Mission Creek. McCallum Pond is an impressive palm-lined oasis.
Walking through the heart of the palm groves is quite peaceful – palms arch high overhead lending the feel of walking through a vast cathedral of the desert. The area is rich in wildlife and photo opportunities abound.
Finally, we enjoyed a visit with Kim’s cousins, Joanne and Jerry in Palm Desert, spending more time with family in Redlands, as well as getting back in touch with friends from our former workplace.
That’s it for now. Until next time…