Palm Springs, California

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By mid afternoon Scottsdale was far behind us and we had arrived at our next destination. I worked out that it was about 23 years since I was last in Palm Springs (collecting Nicky from her gap year placement near LA) and two things stood out in my memory: the aerial tramway which takes you over 8,000 feet to the top of the mountain and the massive desert wind farm. They were definitely on the list of places to visit but we were keen to explore, and, for me, it was time for some memory refreshing as the town had left no memory whatsoever.

We wandered out into the wall of heat and decided to take the car whilst we got our bearings (and in order to enjoy the air conditioning). Essentially, Palm Springs (downtown) is one long strip, with side roads that might, or might not, contain restaurants or bars. Having got the measure of the geography of the place, it was time to abandon the car and seek some refreshment. One feature of the town I had most certainly not encountered on my last visit was the huge number of LGBT folks who were out enjoying the bars, restaurants and late afternoon browsing. Actually, advertising boards explained the LGBT Film Festival taking place that weekend.
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51b3d7f4-0c86-40f2-b536-5e9519f61201.jpegBars and restaurants were plentiful and we eventually selected a quite crowded restaurant, which is always a good sign, and we were shown to a table overlooking the pavement (sorry, sidewalk) to enjoy people watching. Great food and not expensive, so what a winner.
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The following morning we were geared up for exploration further afield. After some research, I was gutted to learn that the tramway was closed for maintenance so we couldn’t enjoy the experience of going from almost 100 F to 50 F at the top. I shared with Carolyn that you start off in the desert heat wearing summer gear but the final element at the top of the mountain can be bone-chillingly cold. Last time I was there it was Easter time and there was snow at the top and a biting wind! Fortunately, the wind farm still flourishes, along with swathes of solar panels too. Standing in the middle of the desert taking photos with a hot wind blowing was an amazing experience and really quite beautiful! It remains the largest wind farm in the USA and the main Interstate bisects it for some miles. It is one of those places you have to keep on exploring to discover more and more windmills, and now lots of solar panels too. An amazing sight.
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Lunch beckoned and as we were driving back into Palm Springs I spied a bakery. I thought it might be somewhere to pick up ingredients for a picnic around the swimming pool, or bits and pieces for a snack. But Shermans Bakery and Delicatessen offered a restaurant too. Its origins are Jewish but strictly Kosher it is not. However, it offers New York style sandwiches and my choice was corned beef on wheat with yellow mustard and pickles. My concern was that my mouth wasn’t big enough to accommodate this vast delicacy. Of course it was, and I ate the lot. Carolyn’s equally overfilled tuna sandwich was tame by comparison. Quite the culinary delight of the trip.

We enjoyed a quiet afternoon in the sun and in the pool and made use of some of the rest time I had written into this Road Trip. Tomorrow is a long drive up to Fresno in preparation for a visit to Yosemite.
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The signs featured the names of two of Kath’s grandchildren! Great coincidence.

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Carolyn’s Curios and Curiosities

Welcome to the Hotel (in) California 🎼🎶🎤

It was a light not dark desert highway but, with a window open, we did have cool wind in our hair although the car told us that the outside temperature hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit! The hottest we’ve seen. Despite one of our earlier staging posts, Houston area, having 30 inches of rain in the past three days, we’d left a couple of days before that and our dry, slightly dusty journey continued. The I10 West from Scottsdale opened with five lanes plus a HOV (High-occupancy vehicle) lane for each carriageway. Traffic moved smoothly! Even when it narrowed to two lanes, the max. speed being 75 mph meant that, with our cruise control set, driving was just about steering (and being overtaken!).

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Before we said our au revoir to Scottsdale, we had to check out of our hotel. Usually it’s no problem as we’d arranged it through Booking.com and had the agreed price to hand. Unfortunately, there was a gremlin in their computer system which increased our bill significantly from the very reasonable price Kath had agreed. A brief discussion with the desk clerk was followed by a slightly longer discussion with the Manager who agreed we were correct and amended the price. However,… (why is there usually “However,…” in these anecdotes?!) when the receipt arrived later in the day via email, it was still significantly more than we had agreed. So,… a toll free call to the hotel company (Vicky), a transfer (still free) to the hotel, a transfer from the operator to Bradley, the Manager from the morning… resulted in a very amicable result with the agreed price being met with an extra $60 discount which left us paying about half the original bill! As some may say, “Get in there!!!” Scottsdale was lovely but the visit was not uneventful!

So, we headed to Palm Springs. The name has a magic to it. But, I’d never been and Kath’s only visit was many years ago and the memory was faded. She’d remembered the wind farm, which research tells me is the oldest in the U.S. with the first turbine erected in 1980, but not much else.

The place was first called Palm Springs on a map of 1853 but there’s uncertainty about how it got its name. One theory is that it’s from the Spanish who called the area the ‘Palm of God’s Hand’.

The Coachella Festival takes place close by and signage when we arrived told us that there was an LGBTQ Film Festival taking place this weekend.

Having arrived and checked into our latest hotel, we set off exploring and found the designated best restaurant in Palm Springs – not expensive and very tasty food. Walking the sidewalks (pavements) past the odd Red Thunderbird, we spotted their Walk of Fame Stars. I’m a bit of a geek with old TV/Music/Film stars but we didn’t recognise most of them. I’ve included some we did.

Another excellent, eventful and successful day with another 300 miles on our Road Trip clock. Tomorrow an aerial tram… or, as it turned out… not!

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How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! It was really Hot Corned Beef on Rye and was delicious as was my Tuna!

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How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
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The principle of consumption was the same… one bite at a time! Highly recommended… Sherman’s Delicatessen and Bakery… great find and very busy!

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