Winter in the Desert - 2013 travel blog

campground panorama

distant windmills

snow and palm trees

windmills close up

windmill panorama

There are literally over one hundred golf courses in the Palm Springs area. And nearly all of them cost over $100 to play on them. Since my golf game is worth about 1/10th that, we haven't been playing any golf. Our campground has a short course, very short. The fairways are bordered by mobile homes so an errant shot could easily do some damage. We were ready to give it a try today, but the Santa Anna winds sprang up yesterday and are blowing hard. We don't know what the name comes from, but even for folks from the Windy City the wind was impressive. An errant ball could travel for hundreds of yards so we went to plan B.

We hope to stay here a second week since there's much to see and do, but the deal at our current spot was only good for seven days. Since there are many other choices nearby, we thought we'd visit them before booking a second week. If we have to pay big bucks, we might as well be in the best spot. Many campgrounds for 55+ are a mixture of campsites and mobile homes. If the balance between the two gets lopsided and most of the folks are there for months on end, it's more challenging for short timers like us to fit in. Looking around gave us a definite impression of where to park next.

The scenery is picturesque everywhere we look. The pink desert sands lead to snow capped mountains and the sunny sky is bright blue. Because of all the irrigation there's more green vegetation than we expect to see in the desert. As we drove around we couldn't help but see the windmills in the Coachella Valley and up the mountain sides. In the Santa Anna winds the blades were going great guns. Since there are 300+ sunny days a year here, I would expect to see lots of solar panels, but wind power is the name of the game here. There are over 5,000 windmills, varying in size and the number of blades. Depending on our vantage point they looked like a forest of technology or neatly planted rows.

Palm Springs is the best known town in the valley and our first drive through it was a surprise. It was not nearly as lay-di-dah as Palm Desert. The towns merge together here and we're often a bit confused about where we are exactly. Their similar names don't help. Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Thousand Palms - a little more originality would help a lot!

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