Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jungle Bells

DSCN0455 Any red-blooded lover of television’s Animal Planet likes a good zoo. We like Animal Planet.  And we love the San Diego Zoo.  Not only are there hundreds of different animals from all over the world, but exotic botanical gardens woven throughout the animal displays.

IMG_0993 Our visit today to the San Diego Zoo could not have been better.  We arrived at 9 a.m. opening time and left at 3:30 p.m. completely exhausted.  We walked, traveled overhead in the skyway tram, and rode the narrated tour bus.  The zoo is laid out with winding paths through areas called The Outback, The Lost Forest, the Reptile House, the Elephant Odyssey, Polar Rim, Panda Canyon, African Rocks, and a number of additional trails.

DSCN0447 The park hits you on all senses from the smell of cut eucalyptus for the koala bears (yeah, yeah, there are animal “smells” too), rhythmic African music playing along with the animal growls and bird calls (the Kookaburra is Ka-Ka-Loud!), the warm sun on your back, and to the chill of the thick green rain forest and crashing waterfalls.  The minute you walk into the park you feel happy.

IMG_0964 This is a perfect time of year to visit the San Diego Zoo—no crowds.  Between the winter time chill (Southern Californians think 64 degrees is cold) and mid-week, the park was practically empty until noon.  There were a couple of school field trips with high energy kids.  Ever notice how kids shiver and wiggle when they are excited.  Wow.  There are some dedicated (and patient) teachers out there. 

It was a good day in Sunny San Diego.  And we should fall to sleep early and soundly after this busy day.
IMG_0983 IMG_0979

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It Is Always Sunny In San Diego

Restaurants-Chula Did someone climb into our heads and then build our perfect park?  The Chula Vista RV Park is located right on San Diego Bay with two beautiful parks, a natural salt marsh and walking/biking paths right out our door.   Also, within a short walking distance is a large marina and two (I say, two) great restaurants.  Both restaurants overlook the marina and the bay.  We already met our favorite waitress, Biz (nickname for Elizabeth), at the South Bay Fish and Grill Restaurant.  She sat down with us and told us all the fun things to do here.Chula-Sailboat

And it is quiet—very little traffic during the day and none at night.   You can look across the bay and see Coronado Island and downtown San Diego.  Our assigned site has a view of the bay, and we can watch the sail boats come and go.  It is picture perfect.

Chula-WalkingFollowing Biz’ advice, our plans include a visit to the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (the zoo is located within the park, but the park also has gardens and museums), Little Italy, Old Town, Coronado Island, Disneyland (you can take a bus to Anaheim), SeaWorld, Safari Park, USS Midway and the beaches. 

We are seriously considering extending our stay from one month to two.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Congested California

bg_canyon1 (2)We are not big city folks.  However, there were and are experiences and places we wanted to do and see in the more populated areas of California; so, we went out of our comfort zone to visit them this fall and winter.  But, the congestion of California is really getting to us.  The lack of blog posts over the last month has a lot to do with avoiding crowds by sticking around our RV Park in Palm Springs and not doing anything too exciting.  Which is not tough duty—it is a beautiful place.  But, I am sure you did not want to see pictures of us lounging around the pool.

Why are we staying here so long?  From San Francisco to San Diego, many of the RV Parks are very expensive.  To get the best deals you must stay at least a week, or better yet a month.  There are state parks and other parks for less, but we wanted full hook-ups and close proximity to some of the California “man-made” attractions.  So, we have been staying a month at each stopping point.  Unfortunately, those man-made attractions are not so attractive to us right now, and we are going a little buggy.

Lesson learned for us—take big city visits in very small doses.  And life is a learning experience, right?

We do have one more big city in Southern California.  San Diego.  The RV Park is on the beach and next to a large marina.  We like watching boats go by and we like walking the docks at marinas, so our expectations are high.  Plus, we hear there is easy to use public transportation in San Diego, and we can visit places like Balboa Park without hassling with the traffic.

After San Diego, it is all about wide open spaces, coyotes instead of people, and seeing some natural wonders throughout  Arizona and Utah.  We are ready.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

64 to 31 in 10 minutes

002 IMG_0951From balmy 64 degrees in Palm Springs to a chilly 31 degrees (20 degrees, if you include the wind chill factor) in the San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, the Palm Springs tram climbs a heart-stopping 8,516 feet.  For my hometown friends, remember White Pass over the Cascade Mountains is 4,000 feet.  Puts the trip into perspective. 

017 The tram is the largest rotating tram car in the world.  I am emphasizing rotating, I am also noting rocking, and add a little bobbing up and down as the car transitions over each tower.  All the while traversing sheer granite cliff columns.   The ride up was packed with people.  My cheeks were darn near smashed on the glass smearing the surface as the thing spun around.  Not quite accurate, but you get the picture.  The trip up was stressful, but the less crowded ride down allowed us to see the change from pine to cactus.

IMG_0952  Once at the top, it was all worthwhile.  The massive rocks and cliffs had a skiff of snow all sparkling under a bright, blue sky.  And you can see for miles down the desert valley.  Fun to pick out all the green golf courses.

We had a wonderful steak dinner at Peaks Restaurant—every seat has a view—hard to take your eyes off of it.  Amazing considering all the food and drink is hauled up on the tram cars.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Living Desert

A visit to The Living Desert was a breath of fresh air today.  A break from the upscale facade of Palm Springs and the surrounding cities.  The park features desert animals from the American Southwest, Mexico, and Africa.

  It also includes gardens representing different deserts in the American Southwest, Mexico and Africa.

A hummingbird and butterfly cage you walk into.  Like a fairytale.  You have to look yourself over in a mirror before you leave the cage to make sure no butterflies are clinging to you.

So beautiful.  So peaceful.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Market in Old Mexico

Using the trusty GPS, we punched in the coordinates for the nearest Albertsons here in Cathedral City, California.  Arriving at the address we found Albertsons was no longer there, instead was another grocery, Cardenas Market.  Okay, we decided we would give it a try.

Cardenas#1  Where are we?  The grocery was like a market in downtown Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.  The produce section was enormous and colorful like a Mexican farmers’ market!  All the signs were Spanish, the background Banda music was playing and with the exception of one other couple, everyone spoke Spanish.  Okay, we are here and we need groceries.  Honestly, the store was neat and clean; kind of a Mexican Whole Foods store with much better prices.  But, they had items I have never seen before, especially in the meat section.  Chicken feet (see picture below), cow lips, tripe?  We found out the chicken feet are a crunchy snack when fried.  Hmmmm…

Cardenas#3We looked like a couple of goofballs in that store—stopping to stare at the food and then at each other with raised eyebrows.  We stumbled out of there laughing our heads off.  Or LMAO for you seasoned text message senders.  Another learning experience.

After we arrived home, I remembered reading a post on one of my favorite blogs, http://www.rvgoddess.com/, about this store.  I have to say, I was too shy to take pictures; so I am using the photographs from the RV Goddess blog.  We also learned this is a Mexican-based grocery located in California.  Interesting.

Out of our comfort zone, but having fun with it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pupus, Anyone?

IMG_0929The Outdoor Resort-Palm Springs owners (each site is owned) seem to be in competition with each other to design the most creative patio.  The one in the picture has quite the Tiki room theme going on.  Do you see the little bar?  This is one of many we see on our morning walk. Other sites get more elaborate with fountains and gardens.

We walk for a hour and still do not walk all the little streets in this park. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Odd Stuff

Since the end of May 2010, our travels have been a whirlwind of sightseeing, hiking, bicycling and touring different attractions.  It was time to cool our jets and sit a spell.  While we have been hanging out at our Palm Springs RV resort and running a few errands around town, we have made a few observations…

The Good
  • Starting mid-November the outside temperature is perfection hovering around 70 degrees.  So nice to lounge outside and read.  (Sorry, cold climate friends)
  • Palm Springs has pretty decent air quality.  A number of owners in the park escape from their primary residence in Los Angeles to avoid the smog.
  • Golf courses galore. 
  • Extremely easy to find your way around town (Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage).  The streets have names I am sure you all recognize—Bob Hope Drive, Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra Avenue, O.J. Simpson Road—no, they do not have O.J. Simpson Road—that is just Mike Main humor.
  • Restaurants—lots of them and reasonable prices.
The Bad
  • The golf courses are not cheap.  You better be ready to pull out a 100 dollar bill + when you show up for your tee time.  Still debating whether to hand over the cash to play a game.
  • This is really barren desert unless you stumble on a source of water.  Hardly a bit of green here.
  • Many of snowbirds have arrived in Palm Springs, and they are really, really bad drivers.
  • It is more difficult to meet people in an RV Resort with sites owned by individuals.  The people come back each year to mingle with long-term friends and tend to shy away from the “renters”.
The Ugly
  • Palm trees provide a home to rats.  Who knew there were rats up high in the fronds.  Ugh!
  • Palm trees provide a home to cockroaches.  The disgusting little insects hide in between the bark.  Mike has declared war on them, but somehow I think he will lose the battle.  Ugh, again.
  • The valley gets some serious wind. 
Do not get the wrong idea.  We are having a blast here, but it is not some place we would want to make permanent.  Great experience, though.

Friday, November 5, 2010

56 Years and Counting

Today is my birthday and we celebrated by eating at the Cheesecake Factory in “The River” shopping area in Rancho Mirage.  They have a rushing river flowing through the shops with big rocks landscaped along the river shore.  Amazing in the middle of the desert. 

IMG_0921After finishing dinner, we walked through the shops and ended up in the Peter Lik Gallery.  We have never seen photography like this.  His pictures absolutely glow and each one has a story.  We met an adorable salesman, Marc Sorensen, and he gave us a tour of the gallery and some background about Peter Lik.  Thanks, Marc, you opened our eyes to a wonderful artist.

Obviously, this photo of Marc will not make it to the gallery.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Little Bit of This

roadrunnerRoadrunner cartoons were always on Saturdays mornings when we were kids--cartoons were pretty graphic back then--now why did we think it was funny when the other cartoon character fell off a cliff or they were smashed by a semi-truck?  They are pretty cool looking for real, too.  Went for a walk through the park this morning (man, this place is huge) and caught sight of a roadrunner.  They are fast.

Not much major sightseeing or entertainment happening for a while (frankly, we are a little burned out and it is so dang hot), so you will have to settle for some of our small new experiences like bird sightings.  And why do the record breaking temperatures have to continue?  Our morning walk at 10 was too hot.  Saturday, it is supposed to cool down by Saturday.

Note to our golfing friends…do not come to Palm Springs before mid-November.  Not just because it is hot, but because they completely re-seed the golf courses in October with “winter grass”.  The new grass is not ready until mid-November.  No golf for Mike for another couple of weeks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Outdoor Resort Palm Springs

ORPS#1Not much sightseeing going on.  Just hanging out at Outdoor Resort Palm Springs RV Park and enjoying all the amenities.  Shoot, these photos are not even mine; they are from the park website.  That is how lazy I am.  Too easy to lie back and enjoy all this stuff.  Maybe we will do something tomorrow. 

I smell fresh cut grass.  Are you sure it is late fall?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...