Winter in Palm Springs CA: part 1

After three months of travel, moving the RV every few days, we needed to rest for a month or so. I had identified Catalina Spa and RV Resort near Palm Springs, CA to give it a try. We quickly discovered that the Coachella Valley had a great deal to offer visitors, hiking, great and numerous restaurants, casinos, stage shows, and much more. The RV park has two beautiful swimming pool and hot tubs filled with natural spring water, two clubhouses, numerous activities to fill the days. Best of all each morning I woke to the sight of snow-topped Mount Jacinto towering over the valley. In the dog park, we met Lory and Wayne, a pair of former Marylanders now full-timers, that we teamed up with. Anyway, one month became two, and two became three until we found ourselves staying until April 3.

What did we do for those months? The first month we did very touristy things. I got a map of the stars homes at the visitors’ center, and we spent parts of two days looking at them. Unfortunately, most have walls or hedges hiding them from view. It was still fun to see who lived here back in the day. Dinah Shore’s house was a mid-century modern that looked like an elementary school, Jack Benny’s bright pink ranch sits on a corner, Fibber Magee and Molly’s built into the side of a hill and both ZaaZaa and Eva Gabor had a mansion that were hidden from view. The house Elvis and bay honeymooned in was really ugly (he did not own it), Dean Martin’s and Peter Lawford’s are simple ranches, and Frank’s is hiding behind a wall. This part of the city is also filled with beautiful mid-century modern homes. Enjoyable cheap entertainment.

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Downtown Palm Springs has a huge variety of restaurants. Visiting a new one (that was dog-friendly) then walking with Gracie up and down Palm Canyon Drive was a great way to spend an evening. Gracie, of course, attracted attention from both people and other dogs, so we had frequent chats with both locals and other visitors.

A major attraction in Palm Springs is the Arial Tram up Mount San Jacinto, Lory, Wayne, Tom and I took a late afternoon ride. Built-in 1963
the tram travels the 2 1/2 miles up the Chino Canyon to an elevation of 8,516 feet in about 10 minutes. From 70 degrees to the snowy top. The cars rotate as they rise to give all the riders a view of the Coachella Valley below. At the top, the mountain station offers observation decks, restaurants, videos, and a museum, plus miles of hiking trails through the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. We enjoyed a nice dinner and the spectacular views of the valley after dark.