Friday, November 6, 2015

Palm Springs

Friday morning Kerry had his last dental appointment.
They did a few minor adjustments to his crowns to make them more comfortable,
and he made it back across the border to the hotel just a few minutes before check out time :D

But what a different day...

It looks hazy, doesn't it?

But that's not haze.
It's dirt.
And sand.

As we drove west along I-8 the wind was blowing so hard we could hear sand scouring the car.

Kerry had looked up some points of interest along the way,
like a natural spring / oasis,
but there was no way either of us was going to get out of the car!

Yah, the photos just don't convey how hard it was blowing!

The wind abated a bit by the time we got up to the Salton Sea -
something Kerry really wanted to experience.

The Salton Sea was an accident.
Back in 1905 the Colorado River flooded into an irrigation channel,
overflowed, and spilled into a desert basin that's actually below sea level.
For two years, it poured into this basin with no outlet we could see,
and created the Salton Sea.
Whatever rain falls in the area also drains into it.
But with no outlet, the salinity continues to rise.

Kerry tried to walk to the edge of the water,
but it got really squishy and mucky.

This isn't exactly a haven for recreational water activities.

And it stinks.
Because, obviously.

Moving on...
yep, we're northerners.
Love sights like this!

Hurray!  We're finally to Palm Springs!
And see in the distance?
That's Mt. Jacinto.

We quickly dropped off our stuff at our hotel and headed out for the one real treat of this trip...
a "Ride and Dine" experience on the Palm Spring Aerial Tramway.

The city is about 1000 feet above sea-level,
and the tram takes you up to 8500'.
Quite a ride!

We were kind of rushing to get up the mountain while it was still daylight...

Doesn't this valley look like somewhere astronauts could practice for moon landings?

Behind the old tram car you can see the cable towers ascending the hill side - it's a lot steeper than it looks!

The valley and hillsides are so barren, it's a treat to look down and start seeing little pockets of green trees.

Kerry is intrigued by the "wind farm" in the distance.

Sometimes the tram cars are really close to the sides of the canyon!

We passed the other car at the half-way point.

The floors of the tram cars are rotating, so everyone gets to see out every direction.

Looking down from a little over half-way up... you really can't tell how steep it is.  Realize that what looks like yellow "sky" is actually the valley floor.

Almost there!

There are lots of trails at the top, so we headed right to the lookout point facing east toward the Salton Sea.

We could see all the way down to the bottom of the tram - again, much steeper than it looks.

Kerry enjoyed watching the shadow of Mt. Jacinto creep across the valley floor.  Palm Springs is already fully in the shade.

Happy campers :D

We were definitely enjoying the very different climate at the top - fresh, clear air!  And a good 30 degrees cooler than Palm Springs.

The sun was rapidly setting, though, and we watched the shadows lengthen below us.

Last glimpse of the sun!

Time to head back to the lodge for dinner.  Yes, I got a bit of sun - I decided I was storing up Vitamin D for winter ;D

The last time we were here I was seven months pregnant with Gunnar!

Love the balcony by the restaurant, but too chilly to eat outside!

The shadow covered the whole valley and extended right up into the hazy air.

Inside the lodge...

Getting darker...

... and darker...

... till we could barely see the Salton Sea.

But the lights of Palm Springs were gorgeous.  Because of the heat differential between the valley and the mountain, they shimmered and sparkled.

We felt like this was our "reward" :D


Choate Family said...

I was hoping you had pictures of you seven months pregnant from the last time you visited ;-)

Ann said...

I've loved reading about your Arizona/Mexico adventure! And the sand storm...ugh! I've lived through many of those, and they are NOT fun. Glad it waited until you were heading out!