Just after breakfast JP called. Got directions to our place and arrived here by 10:00. We sat around a bit, looked at a book of local hikes Jim borrowed from the Banmans, and then got our hiking boots on and headed out in Jim and Bonny’s car. We drove to ‘Old Palm Springs’ first. Went for a little walk around the area and stopped to take our photos under the giant statue of Marilyn Monroe. We decided to have lunch first, and then go for our hike. So we did that, at an outside patio at a California Pizza Kitchen right on the main drag. Sun was shining — it was a perfect day. In fact, it was a perfect day for hiking — sunny and warm, but not hot; 70 degrees. So we headed south for a few miles until we reached Indian Canyons. Jim and Bonny had hiked here a year ago so Jim knew what to expect. We parked the car and started off across the desert. Out in the distance we could see a grove of palm trees. We followed the trail in that direction. When we got there what had looked like a small clump of trees turned out to be a beautiful ‘forest’ of tall trees and cool shade and a cold stream that we crossed by stepping from rock to rock. And that’s how the afternoon continued — up and down over a rocky outcropping, over a small hill, and then another stream to ford.
We followed the Murray Canyon Trail right up to the Seven Sisters Waterfall at the end of the trail. Stopped to drink our water and take photos. Then back the same way. When we got back to the parking lot we remembered that Sue had brought some trail mix along for us to snack on, so we sat down at a picnic table and had our snack. No point in taking food in your backpack back home if you’re gonna carry it around in your backpack all afternoon. We drove back home and got home at around 5 and had happy hour. Sat around and visited until around 7 when Sue got supper going. Barbecued salmon and rice, etc. Jim and Bonny left at around 9 — we tentatively arranged to get together Sunday night to watch the Oscars. Watched “Shark Tank” and whatever followed that on TV — although we were both tired and headed off to bed because we couldn’t stay awake any longer.
Today the weather was PERFECT! Sunshine, temperature not too hot, not too cold. And to celebrate the start of a perfect day we had a perfect breakfast. I’d been looking forward to this all week.
Sue skyped Noreen and Mary. I read. Lots of golfers on our course — I guess it’s a perfect day for golf too. So I quickly booked us a tee time at Shadow Mountain. Had to hurry up our lunch so that we could get to the course for 12:50. And when we got there we were lucky to be able to tee off right away, and to golf as a twosome. We quickly caught up to the party ahead, and they let us play through. It continued that way until the last couple of holes when we actually had to wait for a bit. Ultimately, we completed our 18 hole round before 4pm — record time. And it wasn’t because we played so well — no, there were a few holes where we both shot double pars. But there were also some very great shots — a number of pars, some amazingly long putts. Sue’s drives were excellent, her short game still needing a bit of work.
Anyway, after our early finish we went for a little drive. Stopped at Albertson’s and picked up a few groceries and a DVD rental. Back at home we had a lovely happy hour and watched the last half of “The Story of the Eagles, Part 1” — which I missed a week ago. Well, actually I STILL missed the first 3 albums, so I’ve now marked my calendar for Wednesday’s repeat show. After supper Sue watched the movie rental, which was TERRIBLE! It turned out to be a low-budget Christian ‘movie’ — I can’t believe it was mixed in with real movies on the Redbox machine. I read my “Elephant Whisperer” book instead. We went to bed early — what else is new?
Woke up, showered, and sat down with a cup of coffee just in time to watch the 7am edition of Fareed on CNN. At around 9 we had french toast with fruit for breakfast. Sue went to the pool while I read. Sue finished her book, February, a Canada Reads book. I read too. After lunch Sue called her mom. I finished reading my “Elephant Whisperer” book. We watched golf on TV. At 3:30 we left for the Banman’s house. We stopped at Albertsons to return a movie and pick up some drinks and then drove down Washington to Bob Banman’s home in La Quinta. The Banmans were not home — they went to their own Oscar party — but Jim and Bonny had invited us to come over for Oscar night. They have a very lovely large house, with a patio and pool overlooking a private golf course.
We went for a bit of a walk around the community. Bonny and Sue continued walking while Jim and I went back to the house. The girls ended up walking for just over an hour. We had appetizers and drinks and then sat down in the living room and watched the Hollywood spectacle on the big TV. The show was a bit disappointing: the host was not funny, and the show seemed to drag a bit. When it finally concluded with Argo winning best picture, it was 9pm. We high-tailed it out to Stuft Pizza for ‘supper’. The restaurant was actually closing, but they let us in because there was another big group just sitting down to order. We shared a delicious pizza. Jim drove us back to our van at Banmans and we said goodnight and headed home. Watched a bit of TV (more Oscar ‘highlights’ on CNN) and went to bed by midnight.
This morning, after breakfast, Sue and I took a walk down to El Paseo. It’s about 2.5 miles from our house. We had an 11:00 appointment at the Windemere Realty office to sign our papers for our March house rental. We met Michele at the office. We filled in credit reports and signed our names in about a hundred places. So now it’s official. We have booked a home from March 1 to 31. It leaves us with a small problem — what to do for the night of Feb 28 — we need to check out here by noon and checkin at the new place is noon March 1. We’re thinking of taking a little (2-3 hour) drive through the mountains down to San Diego and spend an overnight there. We’ll see.
After all that walking and signing we had worked up a pretty good appetite. So instead of going home for lunch we wandered around a bit and decided to go to a little fish ‘n chip place near the real estate office. Good move. Great lunch: 2 pieces of battered fish and chips and an ice-cold Heinekin to wash it down. We should do this every day!
After lunch we walked back home. Sue downloaded another e-book to the Kindle and headed out to the pool for the afternoon. I read my book and then did a bit of computer work.
By 6pm Sue had made chicken fajitas and we were having a little happy hour — gin and tonics, a slice of leftover pizza, watching the old Nixon movie on HBO. A ‘quiet’ day today — not anything really exciting. After supper we watched some more TV, “The Adjustment Bureau” on HBO. Went to bed by 11.
We were just having breakfast and about to click on the “Book It” button on a GolfNow tee time when our cell phone rang. JP on the phone. What’s on your agenda? How about we take a little road trip up to Big Bear, the ski-resort snow-capped mountain we can see to the northeast of us here in Palm Desert. I’m in. Sue will have to amuse herself without the pleasure of my company today.
Around 10am Jim was here to pick me up. Google maps, open on his ipad, showed 3 routes as options for us. So we decided to take the western zigzag route up from San Bernardino, circle the Big Bear Lake at the top, and then return by another route down to Hwy 10. So that’s what we did.
After climbing for nearly an hour, stopping for an occasional photo as we left the hot desert for the snowy mountains, it was time to stop for lunch. All that climbing makes a guy mighty hungry. So we pulled in at a little cafe called Blanco and Pierre’s in Boulder Bay. Cheeseburger for JP, patty melt for Rudy. Yum. As we left the restaurant an older gentleman wearing a ‘Citizens Patrol” sheriff uniform said hello and started up a friendly conversation as he was getting into his patrol jeep. So I asked him if he knew where we might see a burned down cabin. What? Oh, I know what you mean. Yeah, that’s way down the hill. Just follow the #38 and turn down Glass Road — it’s right down at the end of Glass Road. So we’re driving out through Black Bear City, lots of cabins but most of them empty (off-season?), and then going way up again (8000 ft), and winding around and then down some. And as we’re talking JP spots a road sign at an intersection — Glass Road. So we turn off and start winding our way WAY down. No cottages or chalets here. Just keep going down into the valley. Get to a T intersection. Now what? I was thinking we should probably just turn around and head back, but JP makes a left turn and about 1/4 mile down the road there it is. The charred remains of the cabin in which Christopher Dormer, the angry L.A cop who went on a killing rampage here in mid-February, met his end. After a shoot-out in which another sheriff’s detective was killed, the stand-off ended when the cabin in which Dormer was holed up in caught fire after police shot tear gas canisters into it. There was a fence around the site, a sign thanking the police across the road, and a U.S flag at half-mast next to the brick chimney of the cabin remains.
That was about as exciting as it got for a couple of old ambulance chasers from Steinbach. We continued our return trip. Once we were back on Hwy 10, heading east, we again drove through the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm, just outside of Palm Springs. Apparently the San Gorgonio Pass is one of the windiest places in Southern California — making it a great place to plant between three and four thousand windmills.
We got back to our house at around 4:30. It was a fun day — and I’m already looking forward to another adventure with Jim tomorrow!
Sue had just returned from an afternoon at the pool. We had happy hour and talked about our day. Watched the evening news. Watched our comedy shows. Watched a special on PBS about the women’s movement. Went to bed at 11.
Alex and Max skyped — and we adjusted the toilet flusher in Alex’s bathroom via Skype. I got a call from JP saying that they would be at our place to pick me up at 10:00. And at 10am there was a knock at the door — Bonny was going to sit at the pool with Sue while I joined Jim and Bob Banman for an airplane ride around the area! So the three of us headed off to the Palm Springs International Airport. Bob waived his pass at the gate and we drove right in and parked in front of Bob’s hangar. It was all very neat and tidy in there. JP attached the little motorized airplane pusher to the front wheel of the plane and Bob maneuvered it out onto the tarmac. We got in, me in the back and Bob and JP in front. Bob showed me how his new Bose noise-cancelling headphones worked. They were remarkably effective — when I removed my set I realized how loud the roar of the engine was. And we each had an attached microphone that was voice activated, so we could communicate with each other. We listened to Bob talking to the tower and heard the tower approve us for takeoff. And then we roared down the runway and up into the air. Headed northeast, then turned south. Over our country club. Over La Quinta. Over acres and acres of farmland — orange orchards, strawberry fields — and half-finished resort developments. And then the Salton Sea, a saltwater lake that is 200 feet BELOW sea level.
The warm air was making our flight a little bumpy. We headed back to the airport and after getting clearance landed. Parked the plane. Drove back to our house. It was a fun experience but I was glad we hadn’t had bacon and eggs for breakfast — I don’t know if my stomach would have handled it.
Sue and I had lunch. I looked online and found us a tee time at Rancho Mirage for 2:30. Booked it.
The course was backed up and busy but we were okay with that. We started off playing as a twosome, but about 4 holes in we invited the twosome behind us to join us. And we had fun finishing nine holes with them. We actually played 14 holes before the sunset forced us to call it a day. Played okay, not great, but had fun.
Supper at home. Watched our shows. Skyped with Ed and Val — it’s their last night in Gold Canyon. Watched the first 2 hours of that Eagles special on Showtime that we’d seen the last part of earlier. It was good. At around 10pm, after snacking on pistachios, it was time to call it a night — tomorrow is moving day. Plus, I still have to book us a hotel for tomorrow night.
Up before the 7am alarm. A quick breakfast and then we started packing. I got the bikes and golf clubs into the car. Sue cleaned out the kitchen and bedrooms. We were done and ready to go by 10. The van was packed to the ceiling. And, just for posterity, here are a few last-minute photos of our place in Chaparral:
We closed up our place at Chaparral, stopped at the clubhouse on the way out to pay our tab, and headed out to Victoria Falls where we will stay for the month of March. Met Teddy, the owner. He showed us around the house, access codes, alarms, pool controls, etc. Very nice. We unloaded most of our stuff in the garage — Teddy and family will be moving out tomorrow morning and we’ll move in sometime after lunch.
We stopped at McD’s for lunch and filled up the van at the ARCO station. Then we turned south onto the Pines to Palm Highway — California State Route 74. And we climbed the zigzaging road out of Palm Desert. A great highway and a great little road trip. We stopped at a lookout point and chatted with a cyclist whom we had passed on the way up. By the time we got to the top the temperature had dropped from 28 to 14, and there was snow alongside the road.
And then we dipped down into a big valley. We drove down to Escondido, headed for the San Diego Wildlife Park. When we got there we found out that they were closing in less than 2 hours — and perhaps we’d be better off visiting when we had more time to spend there. Probably not worth spending the admission etc for less than 2 hours. So we decided to skip it — and we headed back to Temecula, a town we’d never heard of but it looked kind of interesting when we drove through it earlier in the afternoon. We drove through a really cool part of the ‘historic old town’ with lots of little shops and bars and restaurants. At the end of the street was the hotel strip — we checked in at a Springhill Suites. We read a bit and then went down for their complimentary happy hour. After a couple of drinks we took a walk back to the main street. We decided on a restaurant and enjoyed a couple of curry dishes. Sue had baclava for dessert.
We walked back to our hotel and watched a bit of TV and I sorted through my photos from the day. My brother Walter skyped us — we visited a bit. And then I read and watched TV before calling it a night. Oh, and just in case I forgot to mention it, that little road trip today was a lot of fun for me.
We woke up in our hotel room in Temecula. Woke up at around 6. Read for an hour or two. Finished my book, Prisoner of Tehran, by Marina Nemat. A terrible story and a great read. We went down for breakfast and Sue had oatmeal and I had (too much) scrambled eggs and sausages. Plus yoghurt. And coffee. We checked out and headed back for home via the same great route — the Palms to Pines Highway. Sue thought the scenery was even better going east than it had been going west yesterday. More light and shadows. And of course the moment you crest the big hill and see the valley below, with the desert cities stretching out along the valley and the winding road leading you down the mountain into that valley — stunning.
We got to our new house in the Victoria Falls development at around 11:00. We parked in the garage and went in. Disarmed the alarm — that is going to take a bit of getting used to. Walked around again. The back yard was all lit up in sunshine. It was just over 80 degrees. The pool and fountain next to it warm running. We walked around a bit. And then the doorbell rang. What? It was Teddy, the owner. Oh boy, what now? He had lost our cheques. He couldn’t find them anywhere. He looked around a bit more but nothing. We told him we didn’t have any more blanks but could possibly get some mailed out. Sue started to unpack as soon as Teddy was gone. I got my big computer unpacked and set up in the bedroom. Then I logged on with all our devices so we were on the network. Sue started cleaning the kitchen.
We had lunch outside in our gazebo at around 1. Sandwiches and cold beers. Sue checked her email — phone calls from Michele — not to worry about the cheques, Teddy found them. Whew!
After lunch Sue got that cleaning machine going some more. The fridge! The cupboards! They sure have LOTS of cleaning supplies here. Most of it is still unopened and in the package. Sue opined that cupboards full of cleaning products don’t really work without a bit of elbow grease.
By 3:30 it was time to take a break. Happy hour outside in the backyard.
We ordered pizza from Domino’s at around 6 and I went to pick it up. We had supper and then sat down to watch our shows. Went to bed a little after 11pm.
Spent most of the morning cleaning. We wiped down most of the kitchen and vacuumed a bit. Then at around 11 we went shopping. Two stops: Costco and Ralph’s. So now our fridge is stocked for the month. When we got back to our house Sue went outside and sat in her lounger, trying to get a bit of afternoon sun and read on the Kindle. And it looks like all our efforts to find a place with a ‘sunny’ backyard have paid off — we have lots of sun in our backyard, in the morning and all afternoon too. I was downloading some music. Then the phone rang — it’s Naomi and Mary and Boston’s sister Simpson. They’are at the entry gate on Ginger Rodgers drive. Coming by for supper and an overnight! I hopped on my bike and cycled to the gate to let them in. When we got back to the house Sue had cheese and crackers and freshly-squeezed lemonade ready for us outside in the backyard. The girls had gone to San Diego for a couple of days (from Simpson’s house in Chandler, AZ) and were on their way back home.
They’ll spend the night here and head for home tomorrow. Sue made a great supper for us. Mary got on the phone for an hour, Naomi on her iPad. After supper we visited and watched a hockey game on TV. By 11 it was time to retire for the night. Mary especially was tired — got a bit too much sun today at the beach in San Diego.
Sue, who woke up at 5, had to make coffee twice this morning — the first cup tasted awful. I guess you need to dump out the filter basket every once in a while so that the next time you try to drip coffee through it some of the water will have some coffee flavour. Soon the house was awake. We didn’t watch our regular Sunday morning TV shows. Breakfast was eggs and toast. Sue and Mary went for a walk around the neighbourhood. Naomi read her book. Simpson and I visited outside in the shade of the gazebo. It was going to be a hot day today! By the time everyone was packed up and ready to go (the Lee Wings are heading back to Phoenix today) it was time for lunch! We had sandwiches outside. After lunch Sue and Mary yelled into the phones at their mother while Simpson tried to watch a rerun of LA Law on TV.
Once the Lee Wings said goodbye it was time for Sue to do laundry. And make beds. I was sitting at watching a bit of golf on TV when JP called. They are leaving for Phoenix tomorrow morning! And they were busy for supper. But they had time to go for a little drive and come see our new place. I met them at the gate to let them in as they drove up in their hot little red Porsche. Jim took me for a ride around town in it. We had a drink outside — more of Sue’s freshly squeezed lemonade from our own lemon tree — and then the Peters too were off.
Alex and Max skyped for a bit before supper. They had just come home from a shopping trip to Winnipeg and Max wanted to show off his new high chair. Sue made supper and we watched “60 Minutes” on TV. We tried to watch more TV after that but we took turns drifting off — until 9:00 when we decided to ‘finish watching that show’ in the bedroom. Z-z-z-z-z.