March 22, 2019
Note: You can click on any of the pictures to see a larger view.
We left Borrego Springs on February 20th and headed to Sam’s Family Spa in Desert Hot Springs. We stay here each winter for a month, sometimes a bit longer. The actual dates we are here varies from year to year and I think this is the latest time we’ve been at Sam’s. The longer term section of the park was completely full so we were out in the unmetered area that is usually for shorter term stays. We paid a flat 50$ for electricity during our stay. Considering it was cooler for the most part of our stay the electricity was a good deal as we ran the fireplace and electric heater. We also use an induction cooktop when on hookups.
Bill and Sue arrived a few days after we did. They were unsure if they wanted to stay somewhere for a month but in the end they were at Sam’s as long as us. It’s a reasonably priced park with great hot mineral tubs and a heated pool. Not much else there but it’s also close to Palm Springs. I also use it as my Amazon shopping spree location for the winter.
We again stopped into the free Friday of the Palm Springs car auction which was the first weekend we were there. It’s billed as a collector car auction but in fact is a mish mash of cars of various years. Some later year cars looked like they were consigned by a dealer to unload them. There was a couple of reasonable deals on later model cars. As in past years the vehicles ranged from very nice (with high reserves) to ones that obviously had been treated to a quicky resto to make them look good from 20 feet back.
Jane and I drove up to Mission Creek Preserve one day to hike the trail there. It’s west of Desert Hot Springs off of the highway. After driving up the dirt road we arrived at the small parking lot and there was one spot left. The road crossed a large wash and you could see where the Valentines Day storm had taken out a section of it. It had been graded back in but water still flowed across it. There is a year round stream that runs down out of the preserve but the big storm looked like it had widened the stream bed and rerouted it in parts. The gate is locked with a multi-padlock system where any one of the locks can be removed to unlock the gate.
The area was supposedly used as a spa by movie people at one time. Then again I also found reports that it was a nudist camp. Not sure what the real story is.There are four stone structures just inside the gate. Also a large pool, a fountain and a tall stone chimney.
After hiking for two miles along a dirt roadway we arrived at the Stonehouse. There is a picnic area there and washrooms.
Continuing past the Stonehouse the trail crosses over the stream and winds up through the valley. There was the remnants of a past brush fire and the vegetation has grown back surrounding the charred stumps and branches. After two miles the trail meets up with the Pacific Crest Trail. The PCT runs from the Mexican border up to Canada. My nephew Nick hiked the trail last year so he would have walked this part of the trail which is north of Whitewater Preserve.
We celebrated St Patricks Day while at Sam’s. Each year Jane brings a collection of dressup items for each of the holidays that occur over the course of the winter. When she was working for the Upper Grand District School Board she was the goto person anytime someone was in need of a costume for anything, whether it be disco, the 80’s, St Patricks Day, Christmas or anything. Jane also brought the green dye from home as we had been unable to find it the first winter we were away. Bill and Sue joined in and donned hats for the picture. Not sure how it ended up being me with the green wig!
The four of us usually get together for happy hour each day and other friends from the park drop by. One day we decided that it should be all about margaritas. It then turned into a tequila tasting session. After many shots I think we determined that the Kirkland silver was the worst of the three. After that it was a personal choice between the Don Juilo silver and the Jose Cuervo Reposado. Personally I preferred the Jose and after four or five shots Jane concurred.
One of our nights out during the month was to Casa Blanca up in Desert Hot Springs for Mexican food. A busy place that’s popular with the locals. The food was very good and the drinks were too. Bill and I had us a couple of fancy margaritas!
Sheldon, our oldest son, flew into Los Angeles at the end of our time at Sam’s. He had intended to rent a car one way for the drive and return it in Palm Springs. Due to an issue with the mag stripe on his credit card he couldn’t complete the rental. After trying a few other places to no avail I ended up driving to LAX to pick him up. I hate LA and the associated traffic. While the drive in during the middle of the day wasn’t bad, the return trip was terrible. I don’t know how anyone could do that on a daily basis. The speed on the return trip ranged from a dead stop to 10mph to 95mph (once we were past Beaumont). He’s with us for 10 days and will fly back out of Phoenix. No way I’m going back to LAX any time soon.
He and I climbed up to the top of what’s referred to locally as Flag Mountain. It’s across from Sam’s and there are a few peaks that have flags on them. Not a very good pano stitch but it’s the only pic I took of us up there. It was very windy at the top. The Canadian flag was shredded but we didn’t have any tools with us to replace it with the new one in the ammo box that is up there.
We went into Palm Springs a number of times. We always do the Thursday night street festival downtown at least once.
Sheldon and I dropped into the Caddyshack golf cart store while Jane shopped for swimsuits next door. Some real fancy golf carts available for those who have a use for them. I thought they were pricy too. The ones with the body kits ranged from $15,000 and up…. way up!
I’ll wrap up Desert Hot Springs with a view of the windmills in San Gorgonio Pass and a couple of pictures of local flora. The truck front end decor is due to the swarms of Painted Lady butterflies loaded up with pollen from all the flowers. From here we’re headed back to Borrego Springs. Sheldon will get to experience some boondocking as we plan to make a few different stops on our way towards Phoenix.