John & Brenda's Excellent Tour travel blog

Heather, Kurt and Brenda On the 18th at Soboba Springs

Just for Katie and Lily

March 6

Tuesday is one of our off days from golf so it's either chores or...SHOPPING! Today we chose shopping (Ross's and Costco) and personal grooming. Brenda stuck with her fitness regimen so she ran and worked out while Kurt, Heather and I went to Ross's to upgrade our wardrobes on Senior discount Tuesday (let it also be said that Brenda is much too young for the Senior discount....a monetary penalty for having a trophy bride!).

One thing to remember is that you do not want to do Costco on the first couple of days of the month because that's when the freshly arrived crop of snowbirds pile in there to get their supplies. We were once the working middle-aged (young for this market) visitors trying to squeeze in a couple of weeks of vacation here, skipping through the malls and along the golf courses, chuckling at the old geezers shuffling along, and now we shuffle with the best/rest of them.

After restocking our larder, Kurt headed for the driving range while Heather, Brenda and I went to have pedicures and a haircut (just me). Kurt is way too macho for primping but, hey, I'm a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy) and can handle his smirks. Home to Margaritas, American Idol and a fresh new episode of House (oooh, those hot dessert nights!).

March 7

We have booked a new (to us) golf course for today and it's off to San Jacinto and the Country Club at Soboba Springs. Our route their takes us along Gilman Springs Road by the New Era Golf Course and New Era Productions compound(s). Kurt's research from the night before confirms that this is the thinly disguised headquarters of the Church of Scientology (yes - John Travolta and Tom Cruise!). It starts with a replica European Castle complete with moat, moves on to what looks like a meandering European village and is set off on the other side of the road (view properties) with large villas concealed by landscaping. It ends with a nice little nine-hole golf course that apparently offers public play at a very reasonable price.

Our experience at Soboba Springs is unbelievable for the price ($49 each). We are met at the club drop by the first of many friendly course employees. They quickly had our clubs loaded on carts and directed us to a convenient parking place while they delivered our carts and clubs to the Pro Shop. On checking in, Kurt determined that the driving range and balls are included and that there is complementary coffee and cookies, both excellent. One other golfer told Brenda he only came for the cookies. The power carts are all fitted with excellent new GPS screens.

The course is on Indian land and was taken back from the former private owners a couple of years ago as they had let it fall into major disrepair. The native tribe has poured $5 million dollars into the course and reopened it quietly. It is in wonderful condition and we really enjoyed the mature oaks that line the course, the myriad water features (lakes, streams and waterfalls) and the beautiful (to look at) white Augusta sand bunkers. We had a fun round on the excellent layout and were delighted to find that even with our relaxed pace of play, the GPS screen informed us that we had made it in 4 minutes ahead of the target pace of play, a comfortable 4 ½ hours.

We stopped in at the nearby Soboba Springs Casino to drop a quick $20 each. The casino is a series of prefab buildings and the non-smoking section requires a walk of several hundred yards of hazy, stinky rooms to reach. We were happy to leave and make our 45-minute journey home. On our way back, consensus was Thai food for dinner and we found a nice clean little restaurant called Pepper Thai on Palm Canyon right across from the Blue Coyote. The food was excellent, the service topnotch and the price very reasonable...the senior's trifecta!

We were home by 7:00pm and, as the evenings are now quite warm, Kurt and I were able to squeeze in a spa dip before TV and an early bedtime.

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