A Travellerspoint blog

Living in the Coachella Valley

Hot Springs, a Date Shake and Complete Solitude

View Journey To Quartzsite & Living in The Coachella Valley & SB to Joshua Tree National Park on DillyLynn's travel map.

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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Posted by DillyLynn 09:29 Archived in USA Comments (1)

From Santa Barbara to Joshua Tree National Park

Settling Into RV Life

View Living in The Coachella Valley & SB to Joshua Tree National Park on DillyLynn's travel map.

We planned to head southeast from Santa Barbara on Thursday 11/10. When Mike heard that some of our PPG (powered paraglider) friends would be camping out in the desert that weekend, we suddenly had our first destination. The first stop on our US tour would be El Mirage Dry Lake Bed.

El Mirage Dry Lake is an Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area. This happened to be the same weekend as the Southern California Timing Association held their November time trials. So in addition to all types of flying and land-sailing machines, many of the fastest cars on earth were there trying to break their speed records. RVs were parked along the drag strip as far as the eye could see. It was quite an event.


Sunday afternoon, almost everyone on the dry lake bed packed up and headed home. We said goodbye to each of our friends as they left El Mirage, and soon found ourselves alone in the desert. Thanks for the great send-off, Chad, Jim, Greg, and Dave!

Sunday evening weather was perfect, and Mike had a beautiful sunset flight as the Super Moon rose in the east.

Mike ordered some high security locks for our outdoor bays from a place in Lancaster, CA, which gave us our next destination. We left El Mirage on Wednesday 11/16 and headed to the Elks Lodge #2027 in Palmdale, CA.

I cannot recommend this campground even though it looks nice and the sites were level. The lodge is not in a very good part of town and some of the campers appeared to be permanent residents who were down on their luck. We stayed there only as long as was necessary to get the parts we needed. Next time in this area, we'll check out the Lancaster Elks.

Our plan to see all the National Parks in the country gave us our next destination. On Friday 11/18, we headed toward Joshua Tree National Park. We stayed at Elks Lodge #2314 in Yucca Valley, CA; a much nicer place to camp than the Elks Lodge at Twentynine Palms, CA. (This day marks 1 Month of RV living already! I can't believe it!)

The Yucca Valley Elks are a friendly group. They made us feel very welcome and invited us to stay as long as we wanted to. We had the whole parking lot to ourselves most of the time. It gave us plenty of time to adjust our tow and braking systems. I created rock guard netting to protect our car while Mike worked on some of his many projects.

On Tuesday Mike & I packed a lunch and took a drive through Joshua Tree National Park. It was beautiful and stunning. It is hard to describe the scale of these boulders. I've tried to show it by zooming in on some of the climbers we saw everywhere.

Once the tow and braking systems were properly adjusted and we had visited Joshua Tree, it was time to move on. So, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving we headed south to our next campground: Desert Pools RV Resort in Desert Hot Springs, CA.

We plan to stay at Desert Pools for another week and a half. The weather here is beautiful right now, so it looks like we'll be living in this area for a while. There are many RV parks and lots of BLM land nearby in which to stay. RV life is agreeing with both Mike & I so far and there's a new adventure around every corner. Stay tuned for my next post about "Living in The Coachella Valley".

If you're interested in following along, please subscribe to Our Permanent Vacation by clicking this "Subscribe" link.

Posted by DillyLynn 09:05 Archived in USA Tagged ppg Comments (2)

Moving Into Serendipity

Beginning our Full-Time RV Life

View SB to Joshua Tree National Park & Moving Into Serendipity on DillyLynn's travel map.

It has finally happened. After 4 years of planning and downsizing, we've made the move into our motor home named Serendipity or Sara for short. I decided to create this blog because I wanted to document our exploration of this great country. I expect to have so many adventures, I'll never be able to remember them all without a digital recording.

I also wanted to share our journey with interested friends and family members. Magic & I hope you enjoy this little blog.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 is the day we made the move. We parked Sara in the street in front of our condo & moved most of what we planned to bring with us into the RV.

Over the past few months, I've re-packaged all our dry goods into Lock & Lock plastic containers. These containers are unbreakable, air tight, spill proof and pest resistant. Plus, the various sizes stack efficiently. Perfect for an RV pantry. It's amazing how much food is up there!

We made reservations for 3 nights at Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park. This is the only public RV campground in Santa Barbara. It's right next to the 101 freeway, so the traffic noise is constant. But the laundry, toilet and bath facilities are very clean and there is 24/7 security. We highly recommend this place. This is where we spent our first night as full-time RVers.


We moved to the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge for 5 nights from 10/21 - 10/25 (their maximum stay per 30 days). We joined the Elks to take advantage of the nationwide network of Members-only RV campgrounds. You can't beat the location of the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge for staying in Goleta. It was just a few miles from our condo, making it very convenient while we finished emptying and cleaning our condo for the last time.

I thought it would be fun to camp on the beach, so I made reservations to stay at Carpinteria State Beach for 1 night, 10/26. What a disappointment that was! I couldn't believe how full the park was in October! And the sites were really small. The view was beautiful after campers across the street left, but I doubt we will ever stay here again.

We still had a few things to wrap up in Santa Barbara before taking off, so we came back to SB Sunrise RV Park for 9 days. Site #7, the most level site here so far. We are backed up between the very clean laundry facilities and the toilet/shower building. I am shocked at how many RVers with HUGE Class A rigs use the toilet and shower facilities in camp. Why don't they use the bathrooms in their rigs?

We were finally out of our Santa Barbara condo on 10/31. We have a small storage space for our trailer & a few important papers and other things, so we'll definitely be back to SB. We have loved living here for 9 years, but it's time for a change.

Magic has loads of projects to keep himself busy for a while; installing a Bose sound bar, a backup camera and WifiRanger router, among other things.

We'll be in Santa Barbara through 11/9. On 11/10 we say "So long" to Santa Barbara for a while and head toward Joshua Tree National Park. Here is a map of our journey so far.

Please subscribe if you're interested in following us in our journey across the US. We'll keep you posted!

Posted by DillyLynn 07:38 Archived in USA Tagged rv full-time Comments (2)

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