"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Palm Springs

There's a flock of about 100 American widgeons in the pond behind our site. We watch them walk or fly in and out of the water all day, feeding on the grass and whatever in the shallow water.  Widgeons are a little smaller than mallards and have green heads with a distinct white stripe coming down from the crown of their heads to their foreheads. They make a sweet little sound, just like a rubber squeaky toy. They are dabbling ducks, like mallards, and so we see them in this position often. Cute.

We took a drive up to Lake Elsinore - it sounded like a place we might be able to take Kona swimming. It was; there was a large deserted beach. In fact the whole town looked a bit deserted and down at the heels. It's kind of a strange area; surrounded by wealth and beauty, and yet around this lake, the only fresh water lake in southern CA, it is run down and kind of junky. We did a little research and it turns out that the history, and I guess the present situation is very much determined by the erratic rise and fall of the lake level. Tourism just can't get a dependable foothold because it alternates flooding with a disappearing lake. This is our best take on the situation, but we could be off. It's not a place I'd go back to, exempt that Kona may insist.

A few days ago we ventured over the mountains down twisting and turning route 74 into the Palm Desert area. Had lunch at Tyler's, a small place in old Palm Springs, famous for their burgers, surrounded by the old style Spanish architecture of the plaza. Sat outside and got a little sun with my veggie burger.

The Coachella Valley, which is an agricultural, commercial and residential oasis in the desert, is very heavily developed with malls and golf courses. Palm Springs looks like it's seen better days. I think the recession has hit it hard. It's a wealthy area still, but the retail establishments have suffered. Palm Desert is doing a little better. 

At the northwest end of the valley there is a huge wind farm, with the turbines echoing the palm trees that are everywhere. 

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is also at that end of town. There's nothing harder than taking good pictures from a tram. The experience offers grand vistas of the valley and the canyon that just look blah in photographs. The contrast between the shadows of the canyon and the distant brightness of the desert is almost impossible to balance for an amateur like me. Here are two examples.

Once at the top, the light balanced out into a beautiful bright winter day. Our first taste of anything like winter since we've been here in the south.

It's a crystal clear, breezy day today, probably will be in the 70's. I'm going to the farmers market in Temecula today while Rick watches tennis in Australia. 

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