Tourist First

Travel notes and advice from around the world. Above, the daily flight from Managua at the San Carlos, Nicaragua, airstrip.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

California: Palm Springs in the Fall

One doesn't expect water in the desert (though the springs for which Palm Springs is named do exist),
and one doesn't expect deciduous trees. We saw this one in Andreas Canyon, one of the Indian Canyons,

  Looking for an easy getaway to celebrate a wedding anniversary, Jane and I headed northeast from our home in San Diego to the oasis town of Palm Springs for two nights in early December 2019.  This was our third time in PS, the first being in 2007 to look at Mid-Century Modern architecture prior to designing and building a home in Maryland. After enjoying that house for almost 10 years, we were back in Palm Springs for a second visit, a one-night stopover during our 2017 move from Maryland to San Diego.
    All three times we have stayed at the same place, the Orbit In, a shrine to Mid-Century Modernism that also happens to be affordable and in a great location for walking. This time we got the room, the Frey Lounge, that we stayed in on our first visit.
    Palm Springs seems forever associated with the Rat Pack era. Our Orbit In room was stocked with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. LPs and turntable for playing them.  In the adjacent town of Cathedral City, you can cruise on Bob Hope Drive, which intersects with Frank Sinatra Drive, Gerald Ford Drive (he spent his retirement years here), and Dinah Shore Drive. In celebrity-smitten Palm Springs, stars dedicated to people both extremely well known and extremely not-so-well known, are embedded in sidewalks.
    On this trip we returned to a restaurant we had liked during our 2017 stopover, Rooster and the Pig, a small Vietnamese-American place where we had fried mushroom clusters and shared a fish. A no-reservations policy means there's often a very long wait for a table. Fortunately, a table for two opened up quickly for us, allowing us to bypass larger parties who had much longer waits. This time we met the owner, the son of a New York father and a Vietnamese mother.  Our second dinner was at Shanghai Red's, a casual dining joint attached to the Fisherman's Market, where we had lunch just after getting to town. Simple grilled fish was good here, as were steamed clams, but I would not again order anything fried.
    Although we drove through heavy rain getting to Palm Springs, it was dry enough we when got there that we could walk out for meals and to browse the shops on Palm Canyon Drive. It was sunny the next morning and we could enjoy the hotel's pool, which was heated to 85 degrees. Then we drove south of downtown to explore Indian Canyons. The previous day's rain meant the canyon's creeks and waterfalls were flowing briskly.
     Here are some snapshots:

Mid-Century Modernism is often associated
with the early years of the Space Race.

Palm Springs is infamous for its intolerably hot summers, but the other seasons can be
quite chilly. We were happy that the Frey Lounge has a gas fireplace. It's other unique
feature is that the only place to shower is outdoors. (I was tempted to tell them that
a mild bleach solution would probably remove the soot from the fireplace.)

Our room came with all the essentials for the good life.
Our room's outdoor shower was just a few
steps outside and was completely private. 

The pool at the Orbit In, a nine-room hotel. Palm Springs discourages multi-story buildings,
meaning that with a hedge or a fence, you're guaranteed a degree of privacy. 

Palm Canyon Drive is the main shopping street. 

A lot of the stores seemed to target recreational shoppers
and impulse buyers.

Sidewalk stars honor celebrities
 whom I assume had some
association with the town. Many of the
names were people I had not heard of.

Several blocks of Palm Canyon Drive become a large outdoor market on Thursday evenings.

This is Lulu's on Palm Canyon Drive. We had a quick lunch
here before driving home to San Diego. My excellent burger
and fries cost less than the same items at the fast-food Burger
Lounge in San Diego.
The San Andreas Fault runs near here, but I think that's just a coincidence.

I slowed down quite a bit on this portion of the
road in Indian Canyons,

Trees and rocks keep parts of the Andreas Canyon Trail shady.

The day after a heavy rain, this waterfall had a strong flow.

Trails wend around and seemingly through large boulders.

The dead fronds reminded me of the skirt on Degas's "Little Ballerina" bronze.

What happened to the car that was parked
to the left of this one? 

Towering rocks are complemented by towering palm trees.

One of several mountainside houses visible from Indian Canyons. I'm not
sure whether they're on tribal land. 
Palm trees line a stream at the bottom of a canyon.