We recently spent 2 weeks in Indio, CA, just outside of Palm Springs. We had a great time visiting with friends and enjoying some outdoor activities.
During one chilly, but partly sunny day, we made our way up to the Joshua Tree National Park. This is an interesting park in that it encompasses two ecosystems. A portion of the park resides at or above 3,000 feet. This part of the park, in the Mojave Desert, is where the Joshua Trees are found. The Joshua Tree is a type of Yucca that grows predominantly in this area.
The part of the park below 3,000 feet, in the Colorado Desert, features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus, as well as wildflowers. These wildflowers bloomed following some recent rain.
I spotted a few hummingbirds around the flowers.
Keys View, the highest peak in the park at an elevation of 5,185 ft, is a great place to capture a panoramic view of the Coachella Valley. The temperature, while we were at Keys View, was in the low-30s. The view was a bit hazy, but nice.
Back in Indio, we hiked a 5-mile trail called East Indio Badlands. Charlie used his drone to capture the environment. You can see why they call the area ‘Badlands’.
Although, we did find some wildflowers here too.
We took an interesting day trip through Borrego Springs and to a small mountain town called Justin. We headed south on Hwy 86, along the Salton Sea, to S22 (the Borrego Salton Seaway) and turned westward. Hwy S22 rides along the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument range. We came across some RVers dry-camping with some great views. We may have to try this at some point.
While driving around Borrego Springs we came upon these life sized metal sculptures. There are 130 sculptures inspired by creatures that roamed the desert millions of years ago. The artworks include prehistoric mammals, dinosaurs, horses, and even a 350-foot-long serpent. It was not a great day to take pictures when we were there. To see better photos or to read more about the sculptures check out this article: https://www.desertusa.com/borrego/bs-art.html
We found wildflowers, and some butterflies to go with them, in the desert area around the town.
From Borrego Springs we drove south on S3 (Yaqui Pass Rd) to Hwy 78. These roads are surrounded by the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, making it a very scenic drive. We continued on Hwy 78 to Julian, where we found snow on the ground. Julian is best known for great pies. We couldn’t leave the town without one. While we were in the Julian Pie Company shop I spotted a news article on the wall. It was about how Liz Smothers, the owner of the shop, taught her pie-making techniques to Mike Bulsey so that he and his family could return to his home state of Michigan and open up the Grand Traverse Pie Company. Being from Michigan I am well aware of the great pies served up at GTPC and was happy to learn a little bit about its beginning.
After an early dinner, with pie, we headed back to Indio. We got to the Coachella Valley Lookout just as the sun was setting. You can see Palm Desert in the distance.
Each Thursday night Palm Springs has a street fair. We really enjoyed our evening, walking along the streets, checking out what the local vendors had to offer. The food options were amazing.
We had a mini reunion with some fellow Mountain Falls Resort owners (our home base resort in North Carolina) while in Indio. We enjoyed many dinners and cocktail hours with Kurt & Michelle Ling, Bob & Sue Grote, and Steve & Carol Aasheim. It was great to spend some quality time with our Mountain Falls neighbors.
We also had the opportunity to catch up with friends Deb and Terri, who own a brick and mortar house in Palm Springs. They also own a house in Albuquerque. This means we will see them again at the end of our road trip, when we attend the Balloon Fiesta. We enjoyed some great conversations and dinners with them. Out favorite dinner was at the famous Copley’s restaurant in downtown Palm Springs. The restaurant is located on part of the former Cary Grant estate.
While in Indio, we stayed at Outdoor Resorts. This Class A Motor Coach Resort is very nice, as seen from these photos.
Our next stop is in the Los Angeles area for a few days. We’ll be visiting the Nixon and Reagan Presidential Libraries. More on that later…..