Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Palm Desert

Last spring, when we were still having the winter which we had for most of the summer, the Marriot Rewards people called. You know those solicitations. They promise you a cheap weekend because they are promoting their new properties and really they want you to buy into their timeshare/vacation club. At the time, we knew our house would be torn up and that we'd be cold so my husband said yes. We'd go to Palm Desert for three days and we managed a good deal on air fare to California. It is always cheaper to fly there than to try to fly to Montana. Our weekend was cheap but not as inexpensive as it could have been because we refused to go through the sales spiel. My feeling is I am willing to pay $100 to not go through those sales pitches because it is one of the things in this world I hate.

Anyway, we had a wonderful time. I forgot my tennis shoes and we knew we'd be doing a little walking so we stopped by the nearest mall to buy me some walker/jogger/hiker/runner/work out shoes. Actually, my old shoes were worn out so it worked out. It was odd to be in shorts and a t-shirt in 90 degrees and see Christmas decor. It was plain old odd to even be in Palm Desert. Even though there were coffee places and Starbucks, we did not see any drive-thru latte stands. The other unusual observation was we saw no Teriyaki spots.

Everything is dry and dusty and nothing is green except for the cactus and the golf courses of which there are many. Geographically, Southern California is the complete opposite of the Puget Sound area. Developments are springing up all over the desert and I could not understand where the water comes from. There is no water.....anywhere.....but if you turn on the faucet, water comes out. This was a mystery to me.

The weather was warm and sunny and lovely. The desert is beautiful in its own way. We did a little hiking in the Indian Canyons area. A small three mile hike about did us both in. Even with water bottles, we are not used to hiking in dryness and heat. Also, we visited Joshua Tree National Park. I enjoyed it tremendously. Unfortunately, I did not see a coyote though coyote scat was everywhere. And I learned that you should never ever touch a cactus even if it looks exactly like Montana's prickly pear but without barbs. Probably, it still has stickers that shoot microscopically into your fingers.

Some pictures:

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View of golf course from our room

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Hiking around a Palm Oasis

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Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree NP

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Big boulders, Joshua Tree NP

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Stopping for picnic lunch in Jumbo Rocks area, Joshua Tree NP