01-21-2016 Desert Hot Springs Days

Current Location: Catalina Spa and RV Resort  54 F at 4AM and getting warmer

sunrise from Catalina spaThis is how our day began yesterday and the day before.  Well, not technically I guess, since each day actually began before sunrise with a swim in the pool.  As Mo and I swam slow laps in the dark, we laughed about how people lolling about the pool say they “went swimming”.  So we did go swimming, but we also “went to the pool”.  With the water a luscious 95 degrees, you can simply lie around, float a bit, do a slow backstrock while watching the stars and call it swimming.  I have no idea what the mineral content is for this water, but it doesn’t have sulfides, so no smell.  I think there must be something in there that helps with bouyancy too, because I really can lie on my back and simply float while I watch the sky.  Not a bad way to begin a morning.

sunrise from Catalina spa-5Sometimes we wait for the sunrise in the pool, but yesterday I wanted to try to get some photos. I am not willing to haul the camera to the pool, so we walked back home (the MoHo is maybe 150 feet from the pool entrance) and I grabbed the camera and was just in time to catch the best of the color.

dogpark and Mattie in the morningMornings are simple and lovely, with french press coffee, a walk with the dog, a little bit of news, checking email, simple routines that are reminiscent of just about anywhere we might be in the morning, but warmer, with muscles loosened by that lovely swim.  I love being here.

desert skies from Catalina Spa-9The days are beginning to run together already, and there haven’t been that many of them.  On Tuesday, I made my annual pilgramage to two Coachella Valley quilt shops that I love.  Funny how each store is so different, with different styles and different offerings.  I found all the lovely teal and turquoise colors that I searched for in vain back in Oregon last year.  Our Rocky Point quilt group searched for these colors in vain for this year’s opportunity quilt and finally had to settle for something a bit different.  I now have several yards of the gorgeous stuff, but who knows when I will ever need it.  Only fabric collectors will have a clue what I am talking about.

Catalina Spa and RV Resort-3We returned from the town trip to relax a bit, and I wandered around the park taking photos of the skies, and of the people.  There were quite a few folks in the “lower pool”, the one designated adults only, and many more in the “upper pool”.  The upper pool is bigger, and a bit cooler,allows kids, and is filled most afternoons with many people playing water volleyball.  I also noticed that most of the people around the pools must have been here awhile, their nut brown tans a dead giveaway.Catalina Spa and RV Resort-7

Yesterday, after our morning swim, gorgeous sunrise, and a dog walk, Mo and I piled into the Tracker with Mattie and headed for Temecula and Murietta.  We had traveled the Palms to Pines Highway before, but last time, instead of going toward the west, we drove north through Idylwild and down the crazy mountain road into Banning.  This time we turned south and west at Highway 371. We both love it when we manage to find a new highway that we haven’t traveled, and after a some reminiscing, we decided that this was a new road for us.

Highway 79 and Temecula-4We had a better reason than simply finding quilt stores to make the 2 hour trip.  Judy is wintering at the Escapees Jojoba Hills Resort, and we wanted to stop in and say hi and check out her new digs. We were also looking forward to the burgers that Judy offered to bbq for us.  The other back story is that we really needed a big dog to wear Mattie down a bit.  She and Emma are good friends, and we looked forward to Mattie having a playmate for a bit.

Funny, here at the park there are a lot of little dogs, but many of them aren’t the least bit interested in playing with Mattie, and some of them are downright grumpy.  Once there was a little terrier, just about her size, that managed to keep up with her and they had a good time.  But most of the time, Mattie just has to look longingly at the other dogs while they cross the street to avoid a confrontation. Highway 79 and Temecula-7

For years I have heard Rick’s Paulette talk about Primitive Gatherings, and wanted to check it out.  We found the shop, and while it was quite lovely and very amazing, it was also completely overwhelming to me.  Paulette’s thing is wonderful wool applique, and it is beautiful.  And incredibly expensive.  I actually managed to get out of the shop without buying a single thing.  No need to start up an entirely different aspect of my quilting hobby. All those low key muted colors are lovely, and the wool is soft, but I am drawn to the crazy bright world of wild color, and decided I didn’t need to get caught up in the new trend.  Highway 79 and Temecula-10

We drove through Old Town Temecula just to say we did.  The streets were tight, with the usual smattering of touristy shops and a large array of eating and drinking establishments.  Might have been a nice place for walking if we hadn’t other plans on the agenda.  I did manage to find a very long and well done mural at the far end of town.  Funny thing about that mural is that a big part of it is behind a building/restaurant/bar or something, with only a couple of feet between the building and the mural wall.  We couldn’t figure out if the mural was painted before or after the building went up.  After a bit of internet searching about the mural, I did figure out that the “old west” building that is right next to the mural was put up after the mural was painted.  Bummer. If you check out this link, there are photos of the balloon part of the mural before the tasting room was built right in front of it.Highway 79 and Temecula-9The other funny thing was the wonderful old courthouse.  When viewed from the front it looked great, but as we were returning along the freeway and saw the view from the back, it seems that much of it is a huge parking garage.  No clue, and don’t really care enough to go back to pursue it. Highway 79 and Temecula-8 Temecula is a place we can say we saw and don’t really care to see again.  Cute and all, but so very SoCal.  Sorry to my SoCal readers, but I did have a reason for leaving back in the 60’s.  Not my style.

Highway 79 and Temecula-15On our way back east on Highway 79 we rounded a corner to see a huge gathering of rusty metal sculptures…looking a lot like the ones that we photographed at Anza Borrego.  We pulled in to look at them, and a nice looking man and his big friendly dog came walking down the hill.  I was surprised to discover that, Highway 79 and Temecula-17Yes, it WAS the man, Ricardo Breceda, creator of the famous desert sculptures. I somehow envisioned the artist as a reclusive guy off in some artist world, not walking down the dusty hills along Highway 79.  I also didn’t envision being able to buy a little sculpture made by him for five bucks.  We opted for the cute little ant rather than the amazing horses that sold for $1500.  Or the giraffe for $2000.  With the prices of art and sculpture usually through the roof, these seemed like incredibly reasonable prices for amazing yard art, although I have no idea how I would get one home.

Continuing up the road to Jojoba, near the little town of Aguanga, we saw Judy waiting for us at the gate in her nifty little golf cart.  After driving around the resort, it is obvious why most people who live there have a little cart.  That place is hilly!  Judy took us to the lemon trees, where we were told to “pick all you want”.  We then took the dogs up to the distant dog park.  There are two, but the distant one was more likely to be less crowded, and it was, with only Emma and Mattie to enjoy it.Visiting Judy at Jojoba Hills-11

Laer, when we returned to Judy’s rig, the two of them kept us entertained on Judy’s extensive patio while we enjoyed our yummy burgers and conversation.Visiting Judy at Jojoba Hills-8

Can you see Judy waving bye to us?Visiting Judy at Jojoba Hills-14

It was important to get back on the road by three so that we could travel the narrow winding road back to the valley before dark.  There is a great overlook that we had seen on the way up, but it would have required a very scary left turn across traffic to enter.  Don’t try that!  Much better to check out the view at the overlook as you drive down the hill, not up.  Highway 74 down to Palm Desert-11

Love these high views across the wild landscapes of earthquake country, with the rumpled ragged hills in the distance marking the San Andreas Fault as it snakes along the upper edge of the Coachella Valley.  And NO, Judy, you don’t want to drive this route with your motorhome!

Highway 74 down to Palm Desert-13

Just another day in the desert.

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

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