Having Fun around Palm Desert

Chatting with Sonny Bono in downtown Palm Springs
I've Got You Babe -- Sonny Bono

At the pool lounging, Ruth mentioned she thought she had seen Michael Douglas shopping the El Paseo. He was honored at the film festival so he was in the neighborhood. So hey Mike – congratulations 😉

We know Sonny Bono accomplished much for the valley but was Einstein really here? We found him sitting at The Gardens – isn’t that an awesome name for a shopping mall…although they did have a nice outdoor garden.

contemplating with Einstein
Now about that Theory of Relativity...

Colorful Bighorn at The Gardens

What does it take to make a bighorn pose like this!

Hey Bob, mind if I play through?

After hiking near La Quinta looking for the ancient shore line and fish traps, we stopped to wander through Art Under the Umbrellas in La Quinta. Bob didn’t mind posing as it was the opening weekend for the Bob Hope Classic golf tournament.

Dusk at the Empire Polo Grounds

A gorgeous view after we watched our third Sunday afternoon polo match.

Palm Springs International Film Festival

With 7 PM tickets to see the documentary “How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr Foster”, we headed into Palm Springs for lunch at Spencer’s, a sponsor of the the event. We enjoyed the piano music while savoring our meal – Yum! We walked off a few calories to the convention center to cheer on the celebrities as they came to the awards gala.

Waiting by the Red Carpet Jan 8, 2011

The sun was warm as was the crowd of fans – full of excitement and anticipation. We claimed a spot and waited for the limos to arrive.

The red carpet area Jan 8, 2011

The new crews and coordinators getting everything set up. We stuck around and saw Wendie Malick, Mary Hart, and JesseEisenburg. Here is a link from the local Channel 2 with all the coverage and the official Film Fest web site And yes we both enjoyed the documentary about Norman Foster.

Palm Desert City Park

The snow line has dropped in elevation and was so captivating against this clear blue sky, yet warm at sea level on the desert floor.  Lots of birds loitering around the pond.

Palm Desert City Park Jan 4, 2011

Fun combination to see the palm trees with the snow in the background.

Palm Desert City Park Jan 4, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

Our friends decided to come visit and celebrate being together as well as the new year. This made it a festive occasion and truly an Auld Lang Syne tribute.

The celebration accessories

So we celebrated the New York new year at 9 and then sat down to a lasagna dinner. Afterwards we celebrated with Mexico City at 10 because we couldn’t find a Chicago coverage. We shared photos and the next hour passed quickly before the 11 celebration in the Baja. We cut the cake and Linda popped the Prosecco to start the count down for the new year here in California. We sang along with Sonny in “I Got You Babe” to honor his contribution Palm Springs.  We, Wild Things, continued to find more songs with Henry being our DJ.

Ready to eat the lasagna, last meal of 2010

Earlier in the day we lunched at Spencer’s – very elegant with the piano music. We then toured around the pool for a photo op. The architects enjoyed walking around Palm Springs and analyzing the mid century modern styles. Mike was figuring out how everyone could market their “products” and no one would really know what they were selling.

The pool after lunch at Spencer's in Palm Springs

It was our former neighbor, Carl who recommended Spencer’s as a great lunch spot. We met up with them earlier in the week for a lunch at Rick’s…Bart had the coolest car in the parking lot. With the Mini having to be only the second most fun 😉

Denverites looking to become Palm Springites

Great month of December 2010…we are looking forward to more adventures in 2011.

Salton Sea

Hey lets go to the beach! We loaded the Mini with a picnic and headed for the coast, 226 feet below sea level. There was a lot of rain the last few days so the sky was exceptionally clear and there was fresh snow on the San Jacinto Mountains in the distance. Our first view of the Salton Sea included a large flock of majestic white pelicans – much bigger than the sea gulls. We learned there is a type of sea gull with a web foot that only lives at the Salton Sea.

10-12-24 Salton Sea

The North Shore Beach and Yacht Club was designed by Albert Frey and was recently renovated. It was really a brilliant nautical design and a pleasure to experience. You could image Lucy and Desi hanging around with their pals Sinatra and Dean, with the harbor full of yachts, bustling with activity. There are plans afloat to bring back some boat races. My Dad said he swam here (with my Mom as his  young bride) in the 50’s when he was on a day leave from the Marines (before the yacht club was built)! I am not sure I am brave enough to swim in it today – it is quite a bit saltier (25% saltier than the Pacific Ocean).

10-12-24 Salton Sea North Shore Yacht Club

We headed as far south as the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge to enjoy our picnic lunch on top of Rock Hill. We watched a large flock of snow geese covering an entire field. We observed quite a few grebes, black bellied plovers, black-necked stilts, great blue herons, and American Bitterns as well as more sea gulls. We drove back to the condo the same direction, enjoying the early winter twilight – it was a 180 mile day trip so one we will probably not make again.

Santa Rosa National Monument

Coachella Valley From Art Smith Trail

Henry stitched together this photo of the Coachella Valley from our favorite “lunch rock”. It is a steep one and a half mile hike on the Art Smith Trail but great views as well as nice rocks and cactus. We have seen lots of hummingbirds.

11-01-02 Art Smith Trail

The trail also allows views of some of the great homes in the BigHorn development and golf course. Notice how green the valley is from all the irrigation. Normally this part of the Sonoran Desert only gets about 8″ of rain – much less than Denver’s average of 14″. So I am getting new ideas for xeric landscaping from our hikes.  There are 5 groves of palms on this hike – not on the San Andreas fault but another fault: Technically we are on the Pacific Plate not the North American Plate.

10-12-25 Carrizo Canyon

On Christmas morning we took this scenic hike looking for the Big Horn Sheep but didn’t have the pleasure to see them. This trail is only open October through December: the rest of the year the sheep are breeding and raising their young. We explored both the Carrizo Canyon and the Indian Canyon – beautiful hikes.

10-12-31 Steel Cactus

The ultimate water free cactus: Totally Xeric 😉

Hiking to an Oasis in the Desert

Tuesday, 7 December 2010 we headed to Coachella Valley Preserve, just north of Palm Desert. We went to the nice Visitor Center which is in an oasis of California Palms – there is such a thing as a real live oasis. We decided to take a six mile hike to the Pushwalla Palms – they really do surprise you as you come around a switchback and there they are.

The palms grow out of the water that seeps through the San Andreas Fault, giving enough moisture to create this riparian oasis. So we walked down into the valley. We surprised a bunch of quails that sounded like a motor boat taking off with the beating of their wings. Here Henry posed to give a sense of scale to these native palm trees.

Wednesday 15 December we drove to the south entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. We chose a 9 mile hike to Lost Palms Oasis with a detour to Mastodon Peak to see a view of the Salton Sea. We had the pleasure of hearing a history presentation the night before at the library of the Salton Sea so it gave us some ideas to ponder while we walked.

Quite an interesting variety of plants – yuccas, agaves, California firs, a desert holly, some sage – I am still working on my identification as many of these plants will not survive in Denver. But it is fun to see them in their native setting with some unique cloud formations.

We found the Lost Palms 😉 It was worth taking a break and enjoying the view.

The rocks/boulders are not as large here as they are further north in the park – but beautiful and sculptural. The southern part of the park is in the Sonoran Desert and this particular area is a sub section called the Colorado Desert. The northern part of the park is the Mojave Desert which is higher in elevation and also where the Joshua Trees grow. That is for another day of exploration.

Palm Springs Architecture and Events

Thursday evening 9 December 2010 we went on a walking Tour of the Inns in downtown Palm Springs. What a great event! Fifteen hotels opened their doors and rooms with treats to consume around the pools – several had live music. It really was a feast for all the senses..it was a balmy 65 degrees – cool enough to enjoy some warm mulled cider but warm enough to linger. The architecture we enjoyed the most was DelMarcosHotel.com designed by William Cody in the 1940’s, DesertHillsPalmSprings.com where we had stayed 7 years ago when we were touristing, and the most photographed pool at PalmSpringTennisClub.net.

Seeing these hotels made us inspired to find some of the homes we had seen in Jules Schulman’s Visual Acoustics documentary…we found a map with some of the stars homes indicated and from driving around were able to locate the Kaufman House in all its refurbished glory. (photo taken Sunday 12 December) Excitement!

And if we were brave enough (or invited) to walk up to the front door this would be our experience.

We also went to the Palm Springs Art Museum and surprise! they had SEVEN Henry Moore sculptures on display. Very exciting for me after giving twenty seven tours this year of the eighteen sculptures at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

We are enjoying the one bedroom condo in Palm Desert with its view of palm trees and the Santa Rosa mountains in the distance. This view, the pool, hot tub, along with some red wine make it our own little paradise.