Hot Springs, a Date Shake and Complete Solitude
11.23.2016 - 12.14.2016
We arrived at Desert Pools RV Resort in Desert Hot Springs, CA on 11/23, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I was delighted to see that there would be a Thanksgiving Dinner in the community dining room. Even though I had everything I needed for a home-cooked holiday meal, it was nice that I didn't have to cook.
We really hit the jackpot when we found this campground. It is very clean and well-maintained. Someone told us that Desert Pools had once been a motel resort for the wealthy. I'm not surprised. The mineral water that feeds the hot tubs and pool comes from natural underground hot springs. The water was sparkling and each hot tub was at a different temperature.
Desert Pools RV Resort also has a sauna, billiards room, reading room and mini-golf course. There were two laundry rooms, each very clean with new machines.
We lived in site #260 for 2 weeks. The hedges between sites add a sense of privacy. We weathered a couple of gnarly wind storms here (gusts to 45 mph!), and were thankful for the rows of trees providing a windbreak. Those are the San Jacinto Mountains in the background.
Desert Hot Springs was a perfect home base from which to explore the Palm Springs/Coachella Valley; far enough away from Palm Springs to feel rural and close enough to every store or restaurant we could wish for.
One day we were able to have lunch with Dave & Diana, friends from Florida who were in the area to visit family. We hadn't seen them in years and it was great spending time with them again! We ate at Billy Reed's Restaurant Bakery & Bar, a famous and popular Palm Springs restaurant since 1975. Mike & I ate there twice and highly recommend it.
The Coachella Valley is famous for producing dates, a sweet, sticky fruit. One of the local treats is a date milkshake, which of course I had to try. I discovered that the Windmill Market just down the street is well known for making one of the best date shakes in the area, so we visited them one afternoon. It is the cutest little store with a deli-type lunch menu and a shady seating area out back. The date shake was flavorful, but contained too many pieces of date skin for my taste. I'm glad I had one, but will probably never get another.
As nice as it was, we were ready to leave Desert Pools when Moving Day came. With clean laundry, a full refrigerator, fresh water and propane tanks, we set out for our next front yard on Wednesday, 12/7. Because our next location was just 17 miles away and in the boondocks, we decided to have some work done on our rear tires before leaving "civilization".
Changing the valve stems on our tires took much longer than expected. By the time we were back on the road, it was an hour before sunset and too late to travel to our planned destination. It's never a good idea to arrive at a campsite after dark, so we opted for plan B (it's always a good idea to have a backup plan). The Elks Lodge in Indio, CA was our ace in the hole.
What a nice place this is!! Just look at this campsite.
The Indio Elks Lodge was easy to find in a nice part of town. Next door to the lodge is an interesting adobe residence that must've been here for decades. We spent just one night and would definitely stay here again.
On Thursday 12/8, we finally arrived at the BLM disbursed camping area near the southern entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. Camping on BLM land is free for 14 days at a time. Mike & I can only boondock comfortably for about 7 days without moving. The limiting factor for us is our 60-gallon fresh water supply.
We got to the boondocking spot with plenty of daylight to choose our campsite and level the coach. Leveling Sara is always a challenge; especially when the ground undulates. But within an hour we had found a site and leveled the RV perfectly. Mike tilted our solar panels then kicked back to enjoy our new front yard.
Once it began to cool off, Magic demonstrated how to make fire with a spark and some fluff.
Even though it felt like we were in the middle of no where, we were only 4 miles from Chiriaco Summit, a truck stop/restaurant/souvenir shop/post office serving both locals and travelers alike. Everything was overpriced, but it was nice to be able to get some milk there when we ran out.
Because the days are short this time of year and it was partly cloudy much of the time, our solar panels didn't quite keep up with our needs. But with the help of our generator for an hour every couple of days, we were able to live very comfortably off grid in the desert. Our nearest neighbors were camped about 1/4 mile from us on either side and we felt like we had the desert all to ourselves.
Sunsets in the desert can be extraordinary. Here's a 360 degree view of one we experienced at Joshua Tree South.
While camping here, we were able to explore the southern end of Joshua Tree National Park. This part of the park is a vast desert plain, unlike the fields of large rock formations further north. The best feature of this part of the park is the oasis at Cottonwood Spring, about 7 miles from the southern entrance. It's remarkable to see such lush vegetation in the middle of the desert!
We packed up and said goodbye to the Coachella Valley on Wednesday 12/14. We headed toward Ehrenberg, AZ just across the border from Blythe, CA on the Colorado River. Since we need to stay at a campground every so often to establish an address for receiving mail and we almost always prefer campground laundry facilities to public laundromats, we were on the hunt for a nice RV campsite. Stay tuned for my next post, "Journey To Quartzsite" to find out where we landed.
Mike and I are having a wonderful, relaxing holiday season so far. We'd like to wish all our friends and family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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