Since 2022 has been the year of short trips for us, we had to fit in a couple more before the end of the year. Our trip to the Palm Springs area for Thanksgiving was our shortest RV trip ever, since I couldn’t leave home until I’d completed a teacher training session on the Monday of Thanksgiving week.
We arrived at the Emerald Desert RV Resort in Palm Desert on a lovely, sunny afternoon, joining our friends Rich and Lori and some of their family at their Airbnb condo nearby for dinner. We love the names of the streets in Palm Desert. Our campground was on Frank Sinatra Drive near Gerald Ford Drive.
The next day we drove east about 40 miles, entering Joshua Tree National Park near the Cottonwood Visitor Center. After getting our national park map, hiking information from a knowledgeable ranger, and the obligatory stamp in my “National Park Passport” book, we headed up the road to the Mastodon Peak trailhead.
What a perfect morning for this 2.6-mile hike that took us up to, around, and to the top of, Mastodon Peak. Along the way, we encountered luscious palm trees (they don’t look like the palms in Los Angeles!), lots of jumbled boulders (reminiscent of the Alabama Hills area we explored in September in the Eastern Sierra Nevada of California), a scramble to the top of the peak with great views of the Salton Sea in the background, an old gold mine, and beautiful ocotillo.
Next up was a drive northwest through the rest of Joshua Tree National Park, stopping to enjoy the Cholla Cactus Garden, where the Teddy Bear Cholla may look cuddly, but don’t touch!
Joshua Trees, which are actually in the Yucca family of desert plants, started to show up along the road as we meandered into higher elevations through the park. A lovely forest of these “trees” gave us many photo opportunities as we ended our day in Joshua Tree National Park.
And then it was Thanksgiving! After several rousing Pickleball games, with expert instruction by Lori’s sisters Marilyn and Jacky, we enjoyed a full Thanksgiving dinner mostly provided by the supermarket and local bakery. More than once we’ve eaten a supermarket Thanksgiving dinner and it’s really well done—plus, it’s a lot less work for whomever is hosting (thank you, Lori!).
Friday provided another hiking opportunity (had to work off those pie and mashed potato calories), this time on the Araby Trail, where we walked past Bob Hope’s house (no, he’s not there anymore) and quite a ways up the hill.
We also had great views of the Palm Springs area, including San Gorgonio in the distance.
And we got to see a roadrunner run near our trail.
Later that day, Hank and I stopped by the Palm Springs Art Museum to visit Marilyn Monroe’s “Forever Marilyn” statue, which is quite stunning and lifelike (though she’s 26 feet tall and weighs 34,000 pounds). I didn’t know that Marilyn Monroe was “discovered” in Palm Springs, and she also visited a lot when she was married to Joe DiMaggio. Her statue has only been back in Palm Springs for a little over a year, but now she’s supposedly there to stay!
More Pickleball, some pool time, and leftovers with Lori’s family wrapped up our visit on Friday.
On Saturday we were on our own, which gave us a chance to visit Shield’s Date Garden in Indio, a new adventure for both of us. We got to watch a surprisingly-informative (though old) movie on the Romance and Sex Life of the Date (who knew?), and then walked around a number of date palm trees interspersed with markers and tableaus from the life of Jesus (sort of a Stations-of-the-Cross in the backyard of the date garden). It was a peaceful walk, and we got to see how they used to harvest dates with these crazy-tall, rickety ladders (now they use bucket trucks, like they do for tree trimming).
Our visit ended with Shields’ famous date shakes, which were actually quite yummy!
Thus ended our relaxing stay in the Coachella Valley. November is a perfect time of year to visit the desert! Thanks for journeying along with us!