Saturday, April 5, 2014

Palm Springs

Odometer  38455
Trip meter  64 miles

Saturday April 5, 2014

Another mega-move today (Friday) from our RV resort on the east coast of the Salton Sea, to Cathedral City near Palm Springs 62 miles up state route 111.  We want to visit Joan's aunt Claudette, and her husband Larry Ballard, and the timing is right.  We have reservations at the Palm Springs Oasis RV Resort in Cathedral City not far from Claudette and Larry's home.

We are surprised to learn that Claudette is staying at their home-away-from-home, which is their 5th wheel RV which is on a lot at a RV resort in town while their home is being remodeled!  A fellow RVer- and she totally "gets" what we like about the RV lifestyle!.

Saturday morning Joan and I were up early (for us) and we headed for the Palm Springs Aerial Tram which whisks you 6000 feet up to the top of San Jacinto mountain.   .

Climbing the stairs to the visitor's center and the tram, we are in awe of the steep granite slopes towering above us.  We caught the 9:30 tram to the top

The tram cars have a rotating floor that does two complete rotations on the way up, eliminating the  desire to push and shove for a better view.  This is the second steepest tram in the world and the steepest in the US.

The tram is a totally counter balanced system- so a one car goes up- the other car comes down.

In some cases the cars pass impossibly close to the granite walls- it's almost like being in an action movie.

The upper landing is  perched on the edge of the mountain at the 8,500 foot level.  The temperature has dropped from a warm 72 degrees in the valley to a chilly 40 degrees and snow at the top.  The video in the theater at the upper station says the climate change is the equivalent to traveling from Sonora, Mexico to the Canadian Yukon!

The upper tram station, flows into a gracious lodge setting with two dining areas, a couple of gift shops, and a bar.

Jeff catches his breath on one of the several outdoor decks that allows vistas of the valley below.

The town of Palm Springs spreads out in the valley below (note the snow on the ground)

A fellow passenger was kind enough to snap a photo of us on the tram ride back down to the valley.  This is an awesome experience.

After lunch, we drove over to Claudette and Larry's home in the hills of Rancho Mirage to see the renovations under way.

The house is very large and gracious.  Larry has contributed a lot to the remodel with some beautiful paintings, some faux finishes  in key areas, like the fireplace, entry way wall, and an armoire, and painting the kitchen walls and cabinets.  A contractor is reworking the master bathroom with all new fixtures and cabinetry.  The house has views of the valley and the mountains, and a very private and shady back yard.  Jeff was really fascinated with Larry's faux finishing- we really could not tell what was stone and wood, and what was painted on- Wow!

The Ballards took us to see a part of the Annenberg Estate called Sunnylands.   American publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg built a grand estate in the heart of the Coachella Valley where he and his wife Leonore entertained presidents and royalty.  Sunnylands covers 400 acres and includes a private golf course.

Claudette and Larry Ballard in the gardens of Sunnylands

We went to dinner at a little Persian/ Italian restaurant nearby and we had a fantastic pizza and salads that would make your mouth water!

We later joined them at their RV in the Outdoor Resorts RV Park where we caught up on a long time apart.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

1 comment:

  1. Hello, Jeff ad Joan, I have a friend who is looking for an old friend by the name of Larry Ballard. She thinks he lives in the Palm Springs area. She asked me because I live in Palm Springs. Could you ask Larry if he has ever known a Phyllis Thomas from Santa Rosa, Ca? Thank you so much.