Tag - california

Surviving a Soaked Day at Knott’s Berry Farm: A Wet and Wild Adventure

On the Road

So, picture this: It’s my daughter’s 11th birthday, and we’re all geared up for a fabulous trip from Palm Springs to New Port Beach. But oh no, Mother Nature decided to throw a tantrum in the form of a Pineapple Express, drenching California in a deluge. We debated canceling the trip more times than I can count, but we’re a resilient bunch, so we soldiered on.

Knott’s Berry Farm Entrance

Despite the downpour, we made the best of it, strolling along a rainy Balboa Island, checking out museums, and having the beach all to ourselves. It was like a scene out of a romantic movie, minus the soggy socks.

The Accelerator

Next Day

Fast forward to the next day, and we’re making a splash—literally—as we drive through heavy rain to Buena Park for Knott’s Berry Farm. Miraculously, our hotel had a room ready at the ungodly hour of 9:30 am. We were over the moon, though there wasn’t much else to do in the downpour except twiddle our thumbs and hope the park would open soon.

Hangtime

At The Park

And open it did! The rain finally took a breather, the sun peeked out, and we practically had the park to ourselves. We kicked off our adventure with all the thrill-seeking roller coasters, like the Silver Bullet. We rode it multiple times, much to the confusion of the staff, who probably thought we’d lost our minds (and our wristbands). Who needs FastTrack when you’re the only ones on the ride, right?

At Snoopy

While my family braved rides like the Supreme Scream (which left my wife feeling like her lunch was about to make a reappearance), I opted to be the designated bag holder. Hey, someone’s gotta document the bravery, right? Plus, my back wasn’t too keen on the idea of being flung around like a ragdoll.

Supreme Scream

The day was a blur of adrenaline-fueled coasters, each one more stomach-churning than the last. My wife managed to lose her glasses on one ride, rendering her virtually blind for the rest of the day. But hey, at least she looked like a rockstar with those dark sunglasses in the gloomy weather.

Sol-Spin

And let’s not forget about the Hangtime coaster, where my wife bid farewell to one of her earrings mid-loop-de-loop. We laughed it off, though she did spend the rest of the day looking a tad lopsided.

Wipeout

As for the food prices—well, let’s just say we considered taking out a second mortgage for a slice of pizza. But hunger knows no budget, so we begrudgingly indulged in some overpriced snacks to keep the hangry monsters at bay.

Addressing dog issues

At the End of the Day

Despite the empty park and chilly weather, we made the most of our day, from snapping photos with the Peanuts gang to marveling at the Calico Mine Ride’s animatronic miners (seriously, those guys deserve an Oscar).

Wooden Ghostrider

After a day packed with thrills, spills, and overpriced snacks, we piled back into the car, soggy but satisfied. As we drove home, we couldn’t stop talking about the wild adventure we’d just survived—and already started planning our next rainy day escapade at Knott’s. Who says a little rain can’t make for an unforgettable birthday bash?

An Outrageously Wild ride on the Mount San Jacinto Aerial Tramway!

So, there we were, our intrepid bunch of adventurers, including our slightly eccentric grandparents who had traveled all the way from Denver to Palm Springs for a grand escapade. The only problem? The weather! It was a balmy 41 degrees Fahrenheit at the top of Mount San Jacinto, a staggering 8,570 feet above sea level, while down in the valley, it was a toasty 80 degrees. Talk about climate extremes! But equipped with nothing more than a cane and a jacket, our brave grandparents decided to embrace the chilly challenge.

At the Tramcar

As we stood in line to purchase our tickets, we couldn’t help but admire the gargantuan tramcar, ready and waiting to whisk us away on this wacky adventure. With excitement building like a pressure cooker about to blow its lid, we boarded the tram. And let me tell you, this was no ordinary tram ride. Oh no! The floor spun around as we ascended the San Jacinto Mountain, providing us with a dizzying 360-degree view of the landscape. And to add an extra dash of thrill, you couldn’t even hold onto anything as the floor spun beneath your feet! The tram sailed smoothly over five towering columns, each time swaying like a tipsy tightrope walker. We clung to the corners of the car like shipwreck survivors on a lifeboat.

As we ascended, a mere ten minutes that felt like a rollercoaster ride to the heavens, the view transformed before our eyes. First, we looked down upon a dusty, windmill-dotted desert that resembled a picket fence made of white windmills. Then, we marveled at the city of Palm Springs and the neighboring desert cities. A quirky fact: this is the only place in Southern California where the Sonoran Desert meets the Alpine Forest! The once barren, desolate land magically transformed into a green, lush pine forest, the home of the San Jacinto Wilderness Park.

Passing the second and third towers, the landscape continued to morph. Gigantic boulders lay below us, and the pine trees seemed like they were determined to win a vertical race. Excitement and anxiety mingled in the air as some passengers struggled to maintain their balance on the spinning floor. My grandpa clung to his cane, looking more like a wizard on a broomstick than a hiker.

Once our ten-minute ordeal was over and the tram’s operator finished their explanation, everyone was desperate to escape from the spinning contraption. We disembarked, and a brisk, teeth-chattering breeze greeted us. We hurriedly zipped up our jackets as the temperature had plummeted to 41 degrees, and the wind was howling like a wolf in search of dinner.

At the top of the Mountain

Our motley crew decided to embark on a hike along the desert trail, a 1.5-mile loop that began as a seemingly harmless sandy path but quickly transformed into a boulder-scrambling extravaganza. The hike was calm and cold, with towering pine trees that looked like they had serious aspirations. Dead trees were left to decompose, becoming one with the mountain, like a tree retirement home.

Along the way, we encountered numerous scenic viewpoints where you could soak in the beauty of the desert landscape. There was barren sand in all directions, and the windmills seemed to have multiplied like rabbits. In the distance, the city of Palm Springs lay, with its lush golf courses creating a vivid contrast to the sandy desert. As we reached the end of the trail, it miraculously mellowed out and connected with the scenic trail, which was just half the length of the desert trail. In the summer, there are over 54 miles of hiking trails on Mount San Jacinto, but you’ll need a $5 hiking permit to explore them.

And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, there’s the skyline trail that connects Palm Springs to the tramway’s summit. It takes a whopping 9 to 12 hours to complete, depending on your hiking prowess. The silver lining? You get to ride the tramway back down for free, so you can relax your aching feet.

Once we returned to the building that housed a museum, cafeteria, and restaurant, we gorged on a hearty meal to replenish our energy levels. Then, with our bellies full and our hearts content, we hopped back onto the tram, descending from our mountainous escapade back to reality. What a day it had been, full of excitement, laughs, and some seriously spinning floors. Our grandparents from Denver might not have known what they signed up for, but they sure got a tale to tell when they get back home!

Hiking The Frank Bogart Trail

Nestled in the rugged beauty of Palm Springs, the Frank Bogart Trail offers a lesser-known adventure for those seeking a unique hiking experience. Named after the legendary two-time cowboy mayor of Palm Springs, this trail remains a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. Our serendipitous encounter with this trail occurred as we were en route to the Indian Canyons. Tucked away on Bogart Trail, just off Palm Canyon, this unassuming pathway beckoned us to explore its mysteries.

To access the trailhead, we turned onto Bogart Trail from Palm Canyon and ascended the steep downhill road. The small dirt parking lot, though modest in size, provided ample space due to the nearby road’s generous parking availability. Awaiting us was the promise of the Frank Bogart Trail, which was said to intersect with eight other trails: Alexander, Araby, Berns, Earl Henderson, Garstin, Goat, Clare Burgess, Shannon, and the Wild Horse Trail. However, our journey did not cross paths with all these trails, despite several branching options that piqued our curiosity.

It was a beautiful September morning, where the gentle breeze and the emerging sun combined to create a perfect ambiance for our hike. The kids were brimming with excitement, eagerly anticipating our adventure on the trail. As we embarked on our journey, the gradual incline of the path welcomed us. The landscape was a quintessential desert scene, with golden-brown terrain and scattered shrubs. Though not teeming with greenery, the arid beauty of the surroundings had a unique charm all its own. The trail, clearly marked and broad, guided us along a peaceful route that seemed less frequented than some of the more popular trails in the area.

After approximately 30 minutes of hiking, a brief rest rewarded us with sweeping views of South Palm Springs and the distant Indian Canyons. An unexpected delight awaited us as we observed the Canyons adorned with yellowing trees—a striking contrast against the palms. The sight was especially magical in December, a rare glimpse of autumn in the desert landscape. The verdant patch at the base of the majestic mountains stood as a unique tableau of Palm Springs’ beauty.

Continuing our hike, we followed the trail as it veered to the right, leading us toward the Santa Rosa Mountains. The day’s clear skies and warm sun added a touch of bliss to the journey. Throughout the approximately 2-hour hike, we encountered only one other couple, emphasizing the trail’s tranquility. The gradual incline gradually transitioned into a winding path, adding a sense of adventure to our ascent.

Halfway through our hike, an unexpected sight beckoned our attention—an odd Christmas tree adorned with ornaments. This whimsical gesture captured our imagination; someone had trekked to this remote spot to decorate a small evergreen tree. Pausing to appreciate the holiday spirit in an unlikely location, we documented this desert anomaly with photographs, a testament to the unexpected beauty that can be found in the most unlikely of places.

As we pressed onward and ascended nearly to the trail’s summit, another fork appeared, offering two divergent paths. Opting for the rightward trail led us towards the mountain’s peak. From this vantage point, we observed distant hikers on the opposite trail, capturing snapshots of their journey. Regrettably, time constraints prompted us to retrace our steps and descend. The journey back was as smooth as the ascent, and the trail’s generous width provided stability, even on the occasional loose patches of dirt beneath rocks. Throughout the hike, a few notices reminded us of the trail’s restriction against dogs, intended to protect the local bighorn sheep population, which, although unseen by us, lent an air of wild mystique to the environment.

The Frank Bogart Trail, a hidden treasure that intertwines nature’s grandeur with unexpected delights, left us both invigorated and curious. In this quiet corner of Palm Springs, serenity met whimsy, and our brief exploration merely scratched the surface of this captivating trail’s secrets.

Hiking the North Lykken Trail

It was a splendid day for our second hiking adventure, spanning a challenging 1.65-mile trail from the base to the summit, located in the picturesque Palm Springs, California. With our family eager and ready to put our hiking skills to the test, we packed essentials like water and snacks, setting off on our journey at the early hour of 7 AM. As we started our hike, the sun gradually peeked through the dark clouds, casting gentle rays that provided a comforting warmth. A gentle breeze embraced us, motivating us to begin our ascent.

Beginning of the trail

The initial stretch of the Lykken trail is a steep uphill climb that spans half a mile. We summoned our inner strength and determination, successfully conquering this challenging portion without any hitches. Surprisingly, even the kids held their own. The mountains stood tranquil and serene; their peaks shrouded in a hazy veil of clouds. Gazing at the distant city below, we couldn’t help but marvel at the natural beauty surrounding us, feeling incredibly fortunate to call this place home.

hiking up the trail

Upon conquering the steep incline, we reached a massive rock adorned with a plaque commemorating a fellow nature enthusiast Carl Rose who cherished this spot. As we moved forward, the trail transitioned into a flatter, dustier path, granting us a brief respite from the arduous climb. We proceeded cautiously, mindful of rattlesnakes that often bask in the early morning sun. To pass the time, the kids engaged in lively conversations about various topics.

flatter area of the trail

Upon reaching the two-thirds mark of our hike, we decided to take a water break before continuing our journey. The trail was surprisingly deserted, with hardly anyone in sight, allowing us to relish the solitude and engage in uninterrupted conversations.

still climbing up the trail

Upon reaching the final leg of the trail, our excitement peaked as we discovered the renowned picnic tables where we could sit and savor the moment before our descent. The view from the top was nothing short of breathtaking. The sun had risen higher in the sky, but the heat had yet to become unbearable. It felt magical to stand at the pinnacle of the trail, having covered the 1.65-mile ascent in just an hour. After a brief 15-minute break, we prepared to descend.

Almost there

Descending meant navigating the undulating terrain, sometimes climbing up before descending further. The prospect of a sumptuous breakfast awaited us as a well-deserved treat for the kids after completing the trail. They sprinted down the hills, occasionally pausing to ensure we were keeping up. Remarkably, they had no complaints throughout the entire hike. As the sun grew stronger, beads of sweat began to trickle like raindrops. I could taste the salty sweat as it flowed from beneath my hat, dripped onto my glasses, and occasionally reached my lips. We pressed on without stopping until we reached the trail’s end, another 1.65 miles of downhill trekking. Astonishingly, we completed the entire trail, both the ascent and descent, in less than two hours. We encountered just a solitary hiker heading in the opposite direction during our entire descent, further adding to our sense of accomplishment on the North Lykken trail.

end of the Lykken Trail

With our hiking adventure behind us, we eagerly decided to head out for a well-deserved breakfast to cap off our memorable journey.

Camping in San Onofre, California

As novice campers, my family and I have had our fair share of struggles during camping trips. After some disastrous experiences, we were apprehensive about choosing another camping spot at the last minute. Our initial plan to camp at Big Bear campground was thwarted by heavy downpours in August. Moreover, a friend who was already at the campsite informed us that they were stuck in their tent for two days due to the inclement weather and didn’t enjoy their camping experience. Discouraged by their feedback, we decided to cancel our trip and sought a refund from the National Park Service. Thankfully, my wife managed to secure a reservation at a different campground, San Onofre, near Fallbrook, California, which was within walking distance to the beach. She had always wanted to camp by the ocean, eager to fall asleep to the soothing sound of crashing waves.


Upon arrival in the late afternoon, we set up our tent, although we were not entirely confident in our tent-pitching abilities. Earlier that day, we enjoyed swimming at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, about 30 miles from Fallbrook, despite getting drenched by high tides occasionally.


The San Onofre campground stretched for 3 miles along Interstate 5 on one side and the ocean on the other. We were thrilled about spending time there, but as we arrived at the site, we were disappointed to find that all 175 camp spots were already reserved. Notorious for not thoroughly checking our tent equipment, we hoped that this time our new tent came with all its necessary pieces. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and we had to rely on my old tent mounting beams to make it work.


With much effort, we managed to set up the tent, securing it with various makeshift supports such as benches, the fire ring, and nearby bushes. While neighboring campers seemed to pitch their tents effortlessly, we struggled and felt frustrated with our repeated tent-related challenges.


Despite the challenging tent setup, the night promised a delightful walk across the campground towards the San Onofre beach, a popular spot for surfers and swimmers. Walking through the bluffs, we reached the rocky beach, where surfers were already riding the waves. The rocks on the beach were stunning, but walking on them proved tricky. Our son took delight in skipping and smashing rocks, keeping himself entertained for hours. As we returned to the campground, we stopped at the store to buy dinner ingredients and then enjoyed a mesmerizing sunset along the bluffs. The vibrant colors of the sunset reflecting on the dark blue ocean left us with a magical memory.


Back at the campsite, we cooked and enjoyed dinner before going for a stroll to explore the different sections of the campground. Each area had its unique characteristics, ranging from exposed spots to those with ocean views, and some situated closer to the bathrooms. We realized that finding the right section for camping might be crucial for our future visits, as the bluffs obstructed the Oceanview we had hoped for.
However, a surprise awaited us as we settled into our tent for the night. The continuous noise of passing trains along the line and the traffic from Interstate 5 disrupted our anticipated ocean breeze and crashing waves, keeping us awake throughout the night.


Despite the sleepless night, we woke up early and enjoyed coffee and breakfast. Surprisingly, the campground’s bathrooms were unusually clean and well-equipped with running water and showers. The site was pet-friendly, which added to the positive experience. Despite the unexpected noise, we still cherished our time at San Onofre due to its proximity to the ocean, a feature we truly loved.
In the end, we left with fond memories, knowing that the allure of camping by the ocean would entice us to return to San Onofre campground in the future.

Embarking on the Araby Trail Hike

The Araby Trail stand out one of the most renowned hikes in Palm Springs, California known for its unique blend of natural beauty from the Santa Rosa Mountains and the captivating views. Our journey on the trail marked the beginning of the hiking season for us. We chose this trail for our inaugural adventure, as the weather promised to be relatively cooler than usual. As a family we made the bold decision to tackle this hike, setting out at around 10 in the morning with the temperature hovering at a toasty 88 degrees.

The Araby trail

Upon our arrival, we noticed a few other hiking enthusiasts, some couples, eagerly waiting to hit the trail. Some had already started ahead of us, while a few opted to linger behind. We decided to maintain a steady pace, mainly because this was our first hike of the season, and we wanted to conserve our energy and not succumb to the sweltering heat.

Bob Hope’s House

As we ventured deeper into the mountainous terrain, the temperature seemed to rise incrementally. However, we were well-prepared with an ample water supply and enough energy to see the hike through. After trekking about a mile, nearing the legendary Bob Hope’s house, we encountered other hikers who had been waiting for us. They appeared quite fatigued, some catching their breath while others guzzled water as if they had been stranded in a desert for days. One hiker complimented my daughter on her mountain-conquering pace. She’s just 10 years old, brimming with boundless energy, and pays no heed to the scorching sun or steep inclines. When she sets her mind to something, she goes full throttle. We inquired if they intended to continue to the top, which was an additional 3/4 mile. One couple nodded in agreement while the other simply smiled in response.

Overlooking the city

Undeterred, we stuck to our steady pace, steadily ascending the trail. Oddly, we didn’t encounter any other hikers heading up to complete the trail. We did spot a lone couple descending the path, likely on their way back to their car.

Our legs were beginning to feel the strain, a combination of the relentless heat and the fact that we hadn’t hiked in over four months. Nevertheless, we soldiered on, step by step, until we reached the pinnacle of the Araby Trail. Exhausted yet elated, we took in the breathtaking view. A gentle breeze provided much-needed relief, cooling our overheated bodies and evaporating our sweat. I was absolutely drenched. We snapped a few pictures, sipped water, and savored some grapes.

Just made it

The ascent had taken us a total of 70 minutes, and we lingered at the summit for another 20 minutes before starting our descent. Going back was notably quicker, mainly downhill. Despite recent rain and flooding caused by Hurricane Hilary, the trail remained well-maintained. There were traces of dried mud along the path, remnants of the rain that had briefly covered our route. Fortunately, it posed no issue for us as we made our way back down at a record pace.

at the top of the trail

In total, the hike took us about 2 hours to cover 3.5 miles, and we went through two bottles of water for our group of four. As we reached the end, a sense of relief washed over us. We had successfully conquered our first hike of the season, despite the searing heat. And, to our delight, the kids hadn’t uttered a single complaint throughout the entire journey. In celebration of our accomplishment, we decided to treat them to a special treat.

Summer Bliss in Palm Springs: Embracing the Desert Heat

As summer arrives, there is no better place to soak up the sun and indulge in a luxurious escape than Palm Springs. Nestled in the heart of the Coachella Valley, this desert oasis beckons travelers with its alluring charm and captivating landscapes. While the summer heat might seem intimidating, Palm Springs offers an array of activities and experiences that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

Embracing the Desert Heat

The scorching summer temperatures in Palm Springs may be intense, but there’s an undeniable allure to the desert heat. Embrace the warmth and venture out to explore the stunning natural beauty that surrounds the city. Early mornings and evenings are perfect for hiking in the nearby Indian Canyons or the rugged Joshua Tree National Park. As the sun rises or sets over the arid landscape, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views that make the heat well worth it.

Indian Canyons

Poolside Retreats

One of the quintessential Palm Springs experiences is lounging by a pool and soaking up the sun. The city boasts a plethora of luxurious resorts and boutique hotels such as Arrive,Rowen and Hilton, each offering its own slice of paradise. Spend your days poolside, sipping on refreshing cocktails, and taking refreshing dips in the crystal-clear waters. Many resorts have misters and shaded cabanas to provide some relief from the heat, ensuring you stay cool and comfortable.

Indulge in Spa Treatments

Palm Springs is renowned for its world-class spas that offer a range of rejuvenating treatments. Pamper yourself with a soothing massage, hydrating facials, and other wellness therapies. The dry desert air can leave your skin in need of extra care, and the spa experience is a perfect way to rejuvenate both your body and mind.

Midday Escapes

During the peak heat of the day, it’s the ideal time to explore the city’s vibrant art scene and chic boutiques. The Palm Springs Art Museum is a must-visit, showcasing a diverse collection of modern and contemporary art. Stroll along the palm tree-lined streets of Downtown Palm Springs, where you’ll find an array of art galleries, unique shops, and trendy cafes.

Village fest

Gourmet Delights

Palm Springs is a culinary paradise, with an abundance of restaurants offering delectable dishes from around the world. From fine dining establishments to casual eateries, there’s something to tantalize every palate. Be sure to try some of the region’s signature dishes, like date shakes and California-style tacos, to truly immerse yourself in the local flavor.

Aerial Adventures

For a unique perspective of the desert landscape, consider taking a hot air balloon ride or a scenic helicopter tour. Soaring above the rugged terrain and iconic windmills provides a thrilling experience and a chance to witness the beauty of Palm Springs from the sky.

Evening Magic

As the sun sets, Palm Springs takes on a magical ambiance. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along Palm Canyon Drive, where the city’s retro charm comes alive with the neon lights of vintage signs. The cooler evenings are perfect for outdoor dining under the stars, enjoying live music, and engaging in the vibrant nightlife.

Festivals and Events

Throughout the summer, Palm Springs hosts a variety of festivals and events that cater to different interests. From music and film festivals to food and wine events, there’s always something happening to keep visitors entertained.

Escape to Palm Springs

Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or a mix of both, Palm Springs has it all. Embrace the desert heat and let Palm Springs be your summer sanctuary. From picturesque landscapes to luxurious retreats, this captivating destination promises an unforgettable summer experience. So pack your shades and sunscreen, and embark on a summer adventure like no other in Palm Springs.

Camping Disaster at the Live Oak Campground

We decided to go camping in Live Oak campground in Orange County California, which was 12 miles from Capistrano Beach, way back when a friend of ours requested us to follow along. We said yes because it was close to the beachfront, and we loved it. We secured the campground for three nights and were excited to camp with our kids. A few days before our arrival, Disatser!!! we were informed that the campground operated dry measures due to the severe drought in California. Our friend briefed us that this was the first time the campground went dry during her 10-year camping on the site. Eventhough the scarcity of water would be tough for us, we wanted to camp.

We didn’t expect to have any running water at the campground nor running toilets or water to do the dishes and clean the camp equipment. We had to pack enough water to accommodate our needs and enough disposable paper cups and plates as well. That’s all we expected, but other unexpected events began to unravel. 

The L-Shaped Tent

We bought this beautiful spacious L-shaped tent that sleeps eight people. My son wanted it, but my wife had a bad feeling. She wanted a different one, but we gave our son a chance to choose. We were a family of four, so we thought it would be great to have enough room for everyone. After visiting multiple stores to look for a decent tent, and having only found it in Walmart, we had no choice but to buy it. We didn’t inspect the tent to make sure all pieces were included. I was told that everyone should try the tent out at home to make sure it worked. I thought if we buy something from the store, it should have all the parts to set it up. I asked my wife if it was ok to not open and check. I acknowledged that it was a lazy thing on my part, and she insisted that we check but I said, “It’s ok, I think all is there, not to worry.” I was wrong, very wrong again. As we arrived at the campsite late because we spent most of our time at the beach enjoying the day before heading to the dry campsite.

Setting up the Tent

Arriving at the site, first thing first, we wanted to set up the tent. My wife opened the sealed package and pulled out all our tent equipment. She and I tried to figure out this massive tent, and finally, she had a Eureka moment. She is an avid camper, and I am not hence the moment. We then tried to find the metal rods that support the tent, I found 2 rods in a bag and proudly set those up and smiled at my wife that I was right not to open it because so far, all was good; then she asked me that she needed three more to keep the tent up. I examined and looked and looked. Checked three times inside the empty cover bag, but there was nothing, absolutely nothing. My wife started to laugh at me. She thought I was joking, but I was not, frustrated again, and looked. I couldn’t find any support beams. She asked me if I had the metal poles that hold the canopy, we were missing five metal poles as well. We didn’t have them either. Now, we have a tent with only two support beams and the tent was on the ground, with no way to make it stand. Because it was huge, it was confusing to all. It was getting dark, and no place to go, no tent to have, and the kids were hungry. We haven’t started the dinner yet. All fell on me. I was the one who didn’t check, and I had to figure something out otherwise we all would end up sleeping in the car. 

Thank goodness, the campsite was surrounded by massive oak trees, and I used my boy scout spirit to concoct a plan to set up the tent. My wife left me alone and went to her friend’s campsite giving me the impression that she might be a distraction to me. She hoped in her mind that I could figure something out. Her friend told us that we could sleep in hers in case I failed my plan. I worked painfully hard for an hour and a half, totally tired and sweaty. I finally attached every corner of the tent to the surrounding oak trees. The tent was not standing straight but a deflated oval shape balloon.  The only way to fix the issue was to find something to support it other than trees. I was on the hunt for small tree trunks, tall enough to lift the tent from the ground and hard enough to hold any pressure excursed by our body weights so, it won’t fall to the ground at night while we were asleep. 

Finally, I found three strong branches that fit the job. I dug them up from a nearby woodpile, broke the extra branches, cleaned them up, dragged them to the site, and set it up. It stood up ok, and I was proud of myself. The tent looked more like a homeless camp. it was holding thin by so many different methods. Things were attached to everything. It didn’t look like a tent and was more like a deflated balloon. If any park rangers were to see it, he would ask us to take it down as it might be hazardous to oak trees or a fire hazard.

My wife was sort of happy because we had a working tent, and it would do the job for the night. I was praying it would not rain because it was not rainproof yet. There were so many openings that water could seep in and create an aquarium-like situation where we could become the fish in it. I remember the last time while camping, it rained so hard that we were washed off to several campsites down when we woke up in the morning.

Then came to pump up our air mattresses, and the pump broke we somehow managed to put it together to get the air in. It was not what we expected, but there was enough air to sleep. If one gets up to go pee at night, the other one may be awake as well, probably thrown off the bed and land on the ground or the nearby tree whether he wants or not. It was basically a bouncing castle. This was all we had (big sigh), and we were positive about the night.

Camp Life

We enjoyed the night with our friends, the kids played, and had a great time before going to bed late. The moonlight was mesmerizing, and the stars felt closer to us than ever. We woke up in the morning and the tent was still intact. Nothing fell or rained the night before. We were lucky and I was happy. We spent the morning having some breakfast before we head out to the beach for the day.  We wanted to take our chances and try the tent for one more night. Since the campsite was dry, we were not allowed to do much except the campfire which is controlled. There would not have been water to put off the fire if something happens. All the faucets were closed up and dried. Even the animals such as bunnies, birds, ants, squirrels, mice, and others roamed near our campsite looking for food and water. When we work up in the morning, the campsite was ransacked by all those animals, they even took our matches for a fire, the napkins, the paper towels, and some utensils and got into the water we used to drink. It was a fun time for them.

We enjoyed all day at the beach before we headed out to the campsite hoping that it still stands. Hope that the rangers didn’t give us a ticket for the nature of our tent.  Or it was taken down by the rangers. If there were no trees, the tent would have never left the ground. It was standing thanks to the trees around the campsite. The fun fact is that we took one of our friend’s campsites because she didn’t come. Our campsite was next to hers, but it didn’t have trees to set up the tent. It was fortunate that she didn’t show up so we could use her space for us to set up the broken tent. We tried to have fun and we enjoyed the time regardless of the issue. We forgot about the tent but called Walmart to exchange it for a new one which we did days after. I haven’t tried it yet. I told my wife that I won’t do the same mistake again. it will be tried before our next camping trip in August.

Each night, we cooked, and the kids enjoyed the time at the site, they loved the campfire, smores, and other games. Even though it was a tough time, we had fun, we saw so many empty campsites may be due to the dry camp conditions.  One night the park ranger got into our friend’s trash looking for alcohol maybe and he saw some hard Seltzer cans then he came to see us asking if it was a friendly reminder that we would not drink. It was funny that he got into the trash to check. We were not loud, who knows, maybe the kids triggered it.  

When we left early, we felt sad a bit. Camping was over, it was eerie to see a place scarce of water and panicking animals looking for food and water. We felt that it was important to protect and safeguard the precious water we have and not take it for granted as we all do.

Morning at the Annie’s Canyon Hike

Have you ever tried to squeeze into a crowded subway to find room to rest after an exhausting day of work? Well, this is exactly how I felt while walking through the amazing, yet rugged wilderness area permeated with colorful sandstone walls called Annie’s Canyon in Solana Beach California.

Annie’s Canyon Trail, also known as the Mushroom Cave Trail, was something we wanted to hike for a long time but just never found the time. One beautiful morning, the opportunity presented, and we hopped on the adventure. We Started at the Solana Hill Trail which winds down towards the Annie’s Canyon Trail through a beautiful dirt path mostly covered in trees. Nature was in full force, the presence of blue jays, snowy egrets, Ospreys, finches, butterflies, caterpillars, and hummingbirds was palpable. A variety of cactus such as Prickly Pear and barrel cactus also paint the landscape beautifully. This is definitively a bird watchers’ paradise.

That morning, the trail was almost empty of hikers, and we had the trail to ourselves for most of our walk. The feeling that we were entering into unfamiliar, rugged sandstone cliffs out of nowhere was strange considering we were in the middle of the city. The canyon walk starts as a smooth, wide, and easy sandy path that gets narrower until it becomes a thin space with sandstone crowding you in.  The twists and turns of the slot canyons stopped us to see the path in front of us. The hesitation to turn back crossed our minds several times. The unusually shaped rock surrounded us, making us feel claustrophobe.

I admit horrible thoughts came to mind like what if those sandstones fall on us, what if I was too big or too weak to go climb the ladders?  Our kids went first up the ladders, telling us how easy they were. Then they started making comments about us being too big and too old to make it. I could not let them win; I practically ran up the ladders just to show them who’s not too old. I think they were impressed. Once you get to the top you realize how short and easy the hike really is, plus there is a second trail that can take you to the top that is not through the canyon.

Tips on the hike

The evidence of weathering over thousands of years of precipitation and severe wind created these canyons and carved the sandstone was palpable. Sand particles are omnipresent and can be tough to walk through, each step in the sand feels like you’re sinking. This demanding and narrow path in the canyon portion is one-way and if a hiker decides to go back it’s a game of hug and squeezes to let them pass, so do everyone a favor and only head into the canyon portion if you’re going to finish. Fortunately, the canyon part is short and is clearly marked, plus there are loads of pictures on the internet if you want to visualize it before going. The sandstone hills at the top offer amazing views of the canyon, worth the time and energy to get there.  I recommend going on a weekday, if possible, we were told by locals that the weekends are packed

Remember once you have conquered the ladders; you are at the scenic lookout point which gives you the most spectacular views of the San Elijio Lagoon area and the Pacific Ocean. You can also see the sandstone hills that you squeezed through.

Kids love the ladders, our kids wanted to do the ladders over and over like an amusement ride. I agreed to go one more time with them, which was surprising anticlimactic the second time. Be warned though we heard from other parents that kids love the ladders and will plead to do them a second and third time. I am glad I did it, twice and now that I am familiar with the canyon. I have no fear of the canyon now. It’s a wondrous area one can get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. If you want to avoid crowds and the parking situation. Get there early and try a weekday, you would enjoy it better without any pressure from people trying to go through it.

The Angel Numbers of Palm Springs

About 10 years ago my husband began seeing 11:11 everywhere. At first, we tossed it off to a mere coincidence, but after a few months went by we began to take notice and started to wonder if there was more to 11:11. To our surprise, there were a lot of people, like my husband who was seeing 11:11, and there were as many theories to the meaning of this strange influx of people seeing numbers.

Indian Canyons – Palm Springs, California

After reading what seems like hundreds of articles and watching even more YouTube channels on the meaning we settled on the idea that 11:11 was a way of the angels communicating with us. After that, it seemed 11:11 had more meaning to us, every time my husband saw it we took it as a message from the angels, although it was not really easy to understand what they were trying to say after all their language was extremely limited.

For years my husband and I were nomads, wandering around the country a young couple in love. Soon though we found ourselves new parents and quickly understood we needed to settle down, but where. Curious my husband began asking the angels where we should go live, he asked because he was the one seeing the numbers still. We took jobs in various cities trying to figure out where to settle down out, strangely we only saw 11:11 when we were leaving the cities not when we were arriving. Almost a year had passed and we had not yet decided where we should settle down. Suddenly a job offer came in for Palm Springs California, something about going to California just seemed right so we decided to head there next. That was when my husband began seeing other angel numbers like 10:10 or 23:23, each time taking it as positive energy from the angels that heading to Palms Springs was the right thing to do.

Shortly after arriving in Palm Springs my husband began seeing more numbers, such as 333, 444, 666, 777, 888, and 555, not just on the clock but all over the place, like on buildings, addresses, and phone numbers. Also repeating numbers such as 1212, 1717, 1313, 1515, 2121, 3030, and 2222. Curious we began taking long walks through Palm Springs only to discover that all over the city has angel numbers. Which we should have guessed when we drove in on their main road Highway 111. Now if anyone knows anything about Palm Springs they know that it has a certain mystic about it, a magic that draws people to it. That’s probably why old Hollywood was so eager to make this home.

On almost any street in Palm Springs, you are guaranteed to find angel numbers almost jumping out at you. We have counted 6 buildings that address is 333, including the high school and the same goes for other repeating numbers such as 444, 555, 777, 888, 1111. On our block, we have a 2929 and 2121. I have lived all over the country and visited hundreds of cities and have never seen a city that has repeating numbers aka angel numbers. We have tried many times to find out if there was any reason that Palm Springs decided to use so repeating numbers for addressed or use the same number for so many different properties, no one was able to give us an answer.

After many long walks just to see the numbers we began to spend time with the numbers, which is very easy to do in the pristine and superbly quiet neighborhoods here. As we began spending more time just absorbing each angel number, taking in the magic of the number and of this great city we began to see a huge change in our lives, we just seemed luckier. Now, whenever we feel like we need a boost to our moods we simply go for a walk and find numbers, seeing if we can find numbers we have not found before.

Each time we do it’s like we are blessed by the angels. I now believe that Palm Springs is a city blessed by the angels.

So if you ever need a little extra luck or happiness in your life, you could try to head down to Palm Springs and spend some time with the angel numbers.

Life in the Rocky Intertidal Zone at Cabrillo

Cabrillo National Monument is a-must-see when visiting San Diego, but for me the most striking aspect is the tide pools located 500 feet below it. A thrilling, steep, downhill scenic drive from the monument to the ocean is breathtaking, with the air filled with that familiar salty ocean breeze.

The mesmerizing beauty of the jagged cliffs is Instagram worthy and a perfect getaway for any visitor. The calm waters are unusual, but the crashing waves on the rocks feel like smooth musical notes to the ears, with the humming sound awakening childhood memories at the ocean. The rocky Mexican Coronado Islands in the distance enhance the beauty even more. The kelp forest not far off shore is considered one of the largest in the world and protected by federal laws, as it’s home to some of the rarest and most endangered species. Here’s a fun fact: Not only does the kelp forest provide a safe home for animals, but it also produces most of the oxygen in the atmosphere we breathe. Hence, it’s worth taking care of our oceans’ health.

Upon arriving at the tide pools, be careful of the steep, rocky, and slightly slippery path to the pools. So, a good tip is to wear sturdy shoes that can support you well, or make sure your partner has good shoes and doesn’t mind helping you maneuver down. Flip-flops aren’t a good choice of footwear unless they have thick soles.

The smell is pleasantly pungent due to the abundant seaweed and kelp that washed ashore and bake in the sun. The small tide pools are full of life with small crustaceans and fish. Some of the mollusks are rock-bound and appear desperate for the next high tide to roll in. And when you gently touch the crustaceans, they move in a wave as if the wind were blowing them from one direction to the other. 

There are three different tide zones, and the high-tide zone is the one visitors first encounter. Muscles and barnacles, starfish, hermit crabs, and sand dollars are just some of the many sea creatures you can see on a good day.

As you approach closer to the rocky cliffs and sandstone walls, you may catch sight of large and small crabs, mollusks, and sea anemones trying to survive until the next high tide. It isn’t wise to disturb the animals because federal law prohibits anyone from moving, replacing, or taking any animal from the tide pools, not even to move them from few inches from the pool. The ecosystem is extremely fragile and any interference could kill them, but “it’s possible to touch them gently,” a park ranger informed me, who was always available for questions and watched that the tide pools weren’t harmed.

If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to pay attention to them. The area is rocky and slippery, making it easy to fall, get hurt, and get wet. Remind them several times (and a couple more times) not to dig or play in the tide pools. Of course, they’ll look at you oddly and think “are you crazy? This is perfect for that.”

The middle-tide zone is where animals can live in and out of the water. It’s an interesting area and the diversity is intense. Solitary, brooding, and aggregate anemones, scaly tube snails, and sandcastle worms are just a few examples of sea creatures you can spot. Some, such as anemones, can open up when the tide is high and close up when it’s low to hold on to the moisture.

The low-tide zone is only exposed during the lowest tides. Most sea creatures here, such as the California sea hare, kelp crab, and octopus, are underwater and like to hide in surf grass from predators.

The sea life in these tide pools is extraordinarily abundant, becoming an open-air aquarium and a wonderful, muddy puddle for kids. We were told that the best time to visit is winter, which is when the tide goes out the farthest and offers the chance to see a large variety of animals. Of course, it’s also the coldest time and not for everyone.

To find out what the best time is to visit the pools, check the tide predictor by clicking here.

Quicksilver Ranch: Miniature Horses’ Paradise in California

Located in Solvang, California, in the Santa Ynez Valley, this famous ranch holds a treasure of adorable miniature horses. Aleck and Louise Stribling, the owners of Quicksilver Ranch, have been breeding miniatures horses since 1983 and have made the breed famous. Their goal is to sell fully grown miniature horses as pets.

Quicksilver ranch

Quicksilver Ranch

To our amazement, this lush ranch of 20 acres, with enough room for those miniature horses to live in grand style like royalty, is free to visit. As a matter of fact, the only greeting a visitor receives is the whinnying of the stallion calling his fillies.

Quicksilver ranch sign

Life on the ranch

Swathes of green grass spread across the ranch, and we found ourselves going from fenced area to the next petting miniature horse of all shapes, heights, and color patterns. As we spent time with these friendly creatures, we quickly learned how each one had its own unique personality. Our daughter squeaked with delight when the horses begged her for more attention. She was a little disappointed that none of them were unicorns.

Miniature horses

Miniature horses

The more time we spent with these animals, the more curious I became to know more about them. By chance, we walked into the ranch office and met Maria, a charming lady who answered all of our questions with a smile, not letting us feel as if she had answered the same questions a thousand times from other inquisitive people like us.

Horses roam freely

Horses roaming freely

Interview with Maria

Maria has been working at the ranch for 16 years, and she gave us the story about the large ranch that was the dream of the Striblings, who opened the ranch. When Louise Stribling passed away a couple of years ago, the family decided to downsize the farm, reducing the herd’s size from around 75 head to the current 30.

Maria

Maria

We asked a lot about the health of the miniature horses, curious to know if they have the same health issues as their larger cousins. As it turns out, they do. She went on to say that most people often treat them like household pets, driving them around in the car, dressing them up for the holidays, letting them roam in the house or backyard, and teaching them to come by whistling at them like a pet dog.

The Grass is greener on the other side of the fence

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence

These horses are in demand. Depending on cuteness and coloring, prices for them range between $2,000 and $5,000. They’re ideal pets, but more importantly most of the miniature horses are used as therapy animals, working miracles with patients suffering from stress, anxiety, and PTSD. Despite their weight, about 100 to 200 pounds, they’re gentle, easy to handle, well-mannered, and are great playmates for kids as well. Maria also mentioned that some people use them to pull wagons, even up to ten times their weight, and, of course, they’ve been used in shows and circuses around the world.

Kids in love with horses

Kids in love with horses

Some people buy their horses and leave them at the farm to be cared for. Plus, it’s not allowed under California law to have a miniature horse in the backyard. Although Quicksilver Ranch is one of the biggest and most reputable in California, Maria told us that the biggest ranches are located in Texas and dominate the miniature horse business.

Pens

The stables

Worried about the safety of these animals, we had to know how they were protected at night. Maria assured us that all the miniature horses are brought back to the stables, so that they’re safe. The ranch has never had a horse stolen off the property, and Maria had to laugh at the thought of someone attempting to snatch one of these fast little horses. Apparently, they love a good game of chase with strangers. In other words, good luck trying to take one.miniature-horses

José, the guy who does everything

We met José, the extremely pleasant maintenance guy who started on the farm 16 years ago. He took it upon himself to learn how to take care of everything on the farm, including the horse and how to assist with their births.

This is a man with great passion and love for these creatures and the ranch. He explained in great detail how he takes care of all the horses, from bathing them three times a year to brushing them 2-3 times weekly to trimming their hooves and manes. He also told us that the horses don’t use horseshoes like their cousins because they just don’t need them. Each horse costs about $8 per day to be at the farm and taken care of, and that most of the owners visit and play with their horses a couple times a month. He continued to say that the horses are fun and eccentric, and he further emphasized how they’re therapy for kids and adults alike.

José

José

José also mentioned that they’re not tame at all when they’re born. It’s a work of art to domesticate and maintain that gracious attitude made famous by miniature horses. A fun fact about the benefit of their size: They love to lay down, which has caused many panic phone calls to to alert the staff of a sick horse. Laughing out loud, José simply tells them that “they enjoy sunbathing.”

Sleeping horse

A sleeping horse

All the miniature horses at the ranch seem happy and energetic. The two baby horses were running and playing and almost jumped the fence while performing their own version of “Born Free.” It’s a fun place to visit if you’re in the Santa Ynez Valley and visiting Solvang. Moreover, kids will always have a blast playing with them.

Address: 1555 Alamo Pintado Rd, Solvang, CA

Opening hours: Every day from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm, except on Sundays.

On Cannery Row, Keeping It Reel

“…fishing… occupied my mind every moment. Cares I knew not, and cared naught about them.” – John James Audubon 

This was the very sentiment of the men and women who worked the canneries and who braved the Pacific for its silver harvest. The sardine industry was established in Monterey, California, in the early 1850s and flourished until the late ’40s when, due to unfavorable ocean conditions, competition from other species, and over-fishing, the plunder of a seemingly inexhaustible natural resource—sardines—disappeared from these waters, precipitating the demise of this once major industry.

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Eager to experience the area that John Steinbeck’s famous book Cannery Row features, I recently visited this section of Monterey and, though many of the old sardine canning factories are dead and gone, there’s been a renovation, indeed a rebirth of this entire area. Now many of the buildings are updated, shinier versions of those turn-of-the-century canneries. They house an eclectic blend of specialty shops, local artists’ galleries, and more than 25 restaurants and fun attractions, making this a top tourist destination.

Where Have All The Sardines Gone

Monterey caning Co

Monterey Canning Co.

Awarded the title of “America’s Happiest Seaside Town” by Coastal Living Magazine, Monterey is a city on California’s rugged central coast that extends 35 miles off-shore, covers 5,300 square miles, and possesses an astonishing array of marine life, including 26 species of marine mammals, 345 species of fish, four species of turtles, and 31 groups of invertebrates, not to mention hundreds of plant species. Though the sardines have disappeared, one wonders why. Where have they gone? Well, Ed Rickets, the renowned marine biologist, ecologist, philosopher and John Steinbeck’s collaborator, had a succinct and to-the-point response: “They’re in cans.”

Two Guys One Dream

Monterey biking trail

Monterey Recreational Trail

Although my visit was brief, I did have the chance to experience one of the true joys of living. What is that you ask? It’s fine dining, of course! (I know you’ll agree). And one of the best is the extraordinary Sardine Factory. Don’t be put off by this rather unassuming name because the restaurant is actually quite special. The Sardine Factory is included in a series of books titled “Great Restaurants of the World,” and it embodies the flawless standards that the title implies. This fine dining establishment is really the story of Ted Balestreri and Bert Cutino, a pair of former busboys whose dream of creating a great restaurant in a run-down section of Monterey resulted not only in their success as restaurateurs but also in the revitalization of historic Cannery Row. The evening I dined there, Mr. Piano Man tickling the ivories was Dave Conley; his great American Songbook, combined with my cozy table in front of a crackling fire, and swoon-worthy victuals all made this night one for the books—and I’m counting the time till I can open that book again.

The folks at Adventures by the Sea were patient with me as I checked out a variety of their bikes until I found one that was just right and off I went, zinging along the 18-mile Coastal Recreational Trail, photographing the beautiful seascapes, the sea crashing against boulders, and on the hilltops, wonderful breeze-sculpted Cypress trees providing an arresting architectural look to the land.

A reward after my long bike tour: A Taste of Monterey Wine Market & Bistro. At a table looking out to the sea, a glass of Pinot Noir, and some delightful appetizers, the afternoon spread out leisurely and golden before me.

The Endless Tide

Monterey-wild-blown-cypress

Monterey-wild-blown Cypress

Ah, Monterey. John Steinbeck said: “The tide goes out imperceptibly. The boulders show and seem to rise up and the ocean recedes leaving little pools, leaving wet weed and moss and sponge. Iridescence and brown and blue and China red. On the bottom lies the incredible refuse of the sea, shells broken and chipped and bits of skeleton, claws, the whole sea bottom a fantastic cemetery on which the living scamper and scramble.” He paints a vivid picture, doesn’t he? Another take on the sea, this by Vincent Van Gogh: “The heart of man is very much like the sea. It has storms, it has tides, and in its depths it has its pearls, too.”  Monterey and Cannery Row: pearls by the sea.


If You Go: Hotels: Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, InterContinental Monterey | Restaurants: Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar, A Taste of Monterey, The Fish Hopper, The Sardine Factory | Bike Rental: Adventures by the Sea


The House that Lost Track of Time in Palm Springs

Imagine you accidentally find one of the best kept secrets, but you know its too good not to share. The other day, my husband and I came across  an open house in the Twin Palms neighborhood of Palm Springs. Once we walked up to the front door, we knew this was no regular house. This was a house that has stood still for nearly five decades.house

This house is more like a museum than someone’s residence. It’s a classic example of mid-century modernism that Palm Springs is so famous for. According to the real estate agent, the 3,300-square foot home was built in 1969, with minute details of the décor continuing to reflect that era. Everything in the house is original, from the carpet, to the furniture, pool, beds, televisions, radio, textured fuzzy wallpaper, glass door knobs, chandeliers, bathroom fixtures, even the bed spreads. As you walk through the house, you feel as if you’ve actually traveled back in time. It’s a must-see for anyone who’s a fan of the sixties or the Palm Springs lifestyle. If you’ve been thinking of taking a trip to Palm Springs any time in the near future, you must make an appointment to tour this house before its gone.

The Living Room, or as I like to call it the Great Green Room

great room

A large, round room boasts a subtle yet bright green with two sofas to match the shape, size, and color of the whole room. Floor-to-ceiling drapes hang graciously from the 15-foot-high windows, allowing the room to feel intimate and private. You also have a view of the entire pool area, including breathtaking panorama of the mountain range that’s just a stone’s throw away. It’s not hard to stop and imagine entertaining guests like Frank Sinatra or Marilyn Monroe here while they secretly admired the tasteful furnishings as the sun set.

The Den/Bar/Smoking Room

denThe new man cave has nothing on this masterpiece. It may be small in size but it’s huge in personality. It has a bar worthy of any mixed cocktail or fine Champagne, and the perfect soft sofa begging you take a load off and enjoy life for a little bit.16-978787PS_7c42181d-3017-4247-85d2-dccdf19ae4ad

The Kitchen

kitchenThis is the most understated room in the house. It’s immaculate counters and large open space lets you know that cooking is optional, but the cute, little breakfast nook, with windows overlooking the front yard, is begging you to sit down and enjoy your morning coffee while reading the daily news.16-978787PS_fd979a83-f115-4871-a268-f9f46362ea17

The Dining Room

dining roomTo enter this room is like stepping on to the movie set of The Wizard of Oz for dinner. The bright-green room, complete with a table big enough for your family plus Dorthy and her gang, appears even more impressive with a wall-sized mirror in an exquisite gold frame. I wonder what you eat in Oz?

The Blue Room

blue roomFor the person who likes life just a little quieter, or to be a little more introverted, then this room is for you. It’s simple and blue and an understated gem with a charm all unto its own.16-978787PS_f9f97ea1-ab7b-4897-ab58-96843a80ab19

The Green Room

green room

Tucked way in the corner away from the action of the house, this is the perfect kids’ room with two beds and plenty of room to fill with toys. With its own private, en-suite bathroom, it means that the kids can go straight from the shower to bed.

The Master Bedroom

master

Yes, this grand pink room shocked me at first too, but it quickly grew on me and it’ll grow on you as well. The room also made me understand something about pink. If your’re going to use pink as a room color, you need to go all out and do absolutely everything in it, Of course, don’t forget the gold trim to accentuate. This room comes complete with a television that has a zoom screen (not sure what that is actually is, but the realtor was super excited about it), and it actually goes into the floor. If you don’t want to watch TV, you get the perfect view of the pool. The en-suite bath has a unique, sunken marble bathtub in the middle of the bathroom, affording you views of the master bedroom. I swear I could fit my whole family in this tube at the same time.master1

The Pool

16-978787PS_6f28a8ff-9992-4443-a86c-039f528d27f4Complete with an attached hot tub, the large pool looks as if it were modeled from one in a bath house in ancient Rome. Every detail for this area was careful planned, from the patio with the view of the mountains to the plants. Plus, the area is completely private with tall fences on one side and the house on the other.pool

Don’t miss the extras:

1.There are two, life-size, Greek nude statues that must be seen to be appreciated.

2. The marble tiles in the house is to die for.

3. Many of the mirrors, which are everywhere, have gold painting on them, giving an elegant cracked appearance.

4. There are gold frames everywhere in the house, each one is hand carved with the finest details. The frames in the living rooms have the sweetest, fat cherubs on them you just want to pinch.

5. Placing your hand on front door handle is a must.

6. The house has several large citrus trees overflowing with fruit.

7. Everything comes with the house.


Chip Romero, Cell: 760-678-8994, E-mail: chipromero@bhhscaproperties.com

The Complete Guide to Palm Springs, CA

Nestled in a cozy oasis in the desert of Southern California, Palm Springs has a unique, cosmopolitan sensibility combined with an adventurous spirit. There are tons of things to do when it comes attractions and sightseeing. The city became a popular holiday destinations for the rich and famous in the 1950s, although its popularity slightly declined during the 1980s. Today, it’s just as popular among retired people and also among a younger crowd. It’s very hot in summer, averaging 105° degrees, and it can even reach up to 120°. Surprisingly, it’s also a popular weekend getaway from the much cooler areas of Los Angeles (about 90 miles away) and San Diego (80 miles away).palm springs guide
We want to provide a different perspective of Palm Springs with a unique guide to the city. We’ve visited and done almost everything the city has to offer. here is my perspective of the city guide to Palm Springs.


WHAT TO DO


1.Visit San Andreas Fault. The world’s most famous fault line, where you can put one foot on both sides and enjoy the amazing views.wash

2. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. A place take in the stunning views of the Coachella Valley and the enjoy the only rotating cable car in the world that gives you a 360-degree view on the way up (1 Tramway Rd.)fig4_Tramway01

3. Palm Springs Art Museum. Enjoy the beautiful art work

Palm Springs' art museum

Palm Springs’ art museum

4. Agua Caliante Canyons. Get lost in nature with a hike through Desert Canyonland

Indian Canyons

Indian Canyons

5. Villagefest. The best festival in town takes place every Thursday of the year, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. during the season, and 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. off-season.

Village fest

Village fest

6. Air Museum of Palm Springs. Named one of the best in the country and the best in California, it’s a great place to enjoy airplanes and aviation history at a amazing location.Air Museum

7. Star-Studded Streets. Follow the signs along the streets in downtown to find your  favorite celebrity’s humble abode.door5

8. Moorten Botanical Gardens and Cacterium. This is a one-of-a-kind, privately own location not to miss.20150328_105441

9. Visit the wind turbines. Palm Springs is the second windiest place on earth. Sign up with a tour company to see them up close.

10. Visit a city park. Recommended parks include Sunrise Park and Demute Park.

11. Self-guided tours of Hollywood Homes in the Movie Colony Neighborhood.

Mid- Century homes

Mid- Century homes

12. Organic Farmers Market on Saturdays. Check the opening times, as they change for peak and off-season.

You can find more in 101 things to do in Palm Springs.


GETTING THERE


By Plane: Palm Springs International airport (PSP) is fiv miles from downtown, connecting over one hundred cities worldwide. Location: 3400, E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springgs, California. Phone: 760- 318- 3800

Here’s a list of airlines that serve Palm Springs:psp

By car: From Los Angeles, take Interstate 10 east towards San Bernadino, then take the exits for Highway 111 or Indian Canyon Drive. Palm Springs is about a two-hour drive from most Southern California destinations when there isn’t much traffic.

By train: The Amtrak station is at 300 North Indian Canyon Drive.


GETTING AROUND


Palm springs isn’t a big city. It’s easy to get around, and you won’t get lost. The downtown area is very pedestrian friendly with paths and walkaways.

Beautiful Palm Springs

Beautiful Palm Springs

Rent a car: at the airport or you want to visit the city as a vip, rent a Limo, there are several Limo companies available such as West Coast Transportation, Cardiff Limousine and A-1 Sahara Limo.

By bus: Use the city’s Sun Bus. You can also take the Buzz, a free shuttle service that runs every 10 minutes from Thursday to Sunday on a designated route.

Rent a bike: There are several bike rental companies, and most of them are open during the season from September to June. Summer months aren’t really a time to rent one in the city.


WHERE TO STAY


The Riviera Palm Springs is famous for its mineral spa baths and luxury rooms.

Rivera resort

Rivera resort

The Hyatt, Renaissance, The Willow Historic Palm Springs Inn, The Saguaro, The Colony Palm Springs,  Parker Hotel, Avalon Hotel, and the Hard Rock Hotel are the most touted hotels in town.

Budget hotels are: Best Western Inn, Motel 6, El- Rancho Lodge, Hotel California.

There are also hotels only for GLBT such as Barefoot Inn, Canyon Club Hotel, All World’s Resort, Helios, El Mirasol Villas, and La Joya Inn.


WHERE TO EAT


There are so many bars and restaurants available for anyone’s taste. Here are some locales that are great to take a seat and dig in.

The best seafood: Fisherman’s Market & Grill is considered to have the best and freshest seafood in town (235 S. Indian Canyon Dr.).

Fisherman's Market & Grill

Fisherman’s Market & Grill

The best pastries: Sherman’s Deli & Bakery (401 E. Tahquitz Canyon Rd.).

The best food: LULU’S California Bistro. It’s always busy, so make a reservation (303 N. Indian Canyon Dr.).

The best hamburgers: Tyler’s Burgers (149 S. Indian Canyon Dr.).

The best steak: Riccio’s Steakhouse & Seafood (495 N. Palm Canyon Dr.).

The best pizza: Bill’s Pizza (119 S. Indian Canyon Dr.).


SPORTS


Golf: The courses in Palm Springs are classified as some of the best in the nation. Although they’re busy in season there are great deals to be found  off season(summer). Here are the most famous and easily accessible courses in the city.

Cimarron Golf Course

Cimarron Golf Course

Cimerron Golf Resort, Tahquitz Creek Golf resort, Indian Canyon Golf Resort, Escena Golf Resort, PGA West

Tennis: Most city parks, such as Ruth Hardy Park and Dimuth Park, have tennis courts. If you want something prestigious, then play at the Racket Club Tennis Courts.


EVENTS


There are events all year round. Check out the event calendar on the Palm Springs city website for the latest.


SURROUNDINGS


1. Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain, Part II

Salvation Mountain

2. El Paseo shopping district

3. East Jesus

Entrance to east Jesus

Entrance to east Jesus

4. Salton Sea

Salton Sea

Salton Sea

5. Slab City

Slab city limits

Slab City limits

6. Joshua Tree National Parkjoshua tree

7. Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon

8. Dinosaures in Cabazon

Dinosaures at Cabazon

Dinosaures at Cabazon

9. Idyllwild

10. Living Desert Zoo

Living desert

Living desert

11. Noah Purify Outdoor art  Museum

Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum

Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum

12. Desert Christ Park, Yucca Valley

Desert Christ Park

Desert Christ Park


MEDICAL


Desert Regional Medical Center is the best. It’s located on Indian Canyon Way in the historic El Mirador Hotel.


OTHER DESERT CITIES NEARBY


Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, Indio, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Desert Hot Springs

The Inn Above Tide – Sausalito, California

I recently visited the Napa and Sonoma, California wine regions and sampled Chardonnays and Pinots, both Noir and Grigio, as well as a bevy of other varietals; it brought to mind what a wise sage once said: “The best wines are the ones we drink with friends.” Agreed! However, my wine country experience, albeit heady and delicious, left me needing a break. I longed to clear my head and instead feed mind and soul.

I wanted to be sittin’ on the dock of the bay – and there’s no better place to do that than in Sausalito where Otis Redding penned his famed song of the same name. Listening to the lyrics, his song is kind of sad. Redding sings that he’s traveled 2,000 miles from home just to sit on the dock of the bay wastin’ time. Sorry, I can’t relate to that.  The town offers many delightful diversions, not the least of which is a tour of its iconic house boat scene. Victoria Colella was my guide for her ‘Docks of the Bay” historic houseboat tour. This vibrant community of floating homes recently turned 67, but it remains as rebellious and funky as ever.  I saw original houseboats, art studios, wooden boat building shops and working boat yards.  Victoria told tales of the Beat Era, the houseboat wars, and showed us the boat where Sterling Hayden lived in his heyday.

InnabovetideinteriorSausalito is a charming village built on a Marin County hillside on San Francisco Bay. It is a mere hour’s drive from Napa, is home to historic sailing vessels and classic yachts, and is ranked as one of the top 20 destinations in the country with its small-town charm, Mediterranean character and awe-inspiring views of San Francisco, its sister city across the bay. One of the very best views to be had – anywhere – is from a small, chic and understated hotel with just 31 rooms: The Inn Above Tide. Built over the waters of the bay next to the ferry landing and at the center of Sausalito Village, the Inn is within easy walking distance to all that the town has to offer – wonderful restaurants, trendy boutiques and some very special art galleries.

InnfireplaceAs I waltzed through the Inn’s front door, I just knew that I’d found it: my relaxing, cosseted retreat. To be sure, Napa and Sonoma are set in wooded and charming towns, but it’s all that wine that can lead one astray.  Here at the Inn, none of that save for the sunset wine and cheese reception and a chance to mingle with other guests.  Then a stroll back to my pretty room with its soft brown leather chair pulled up close to the fireplace.

InnbathThis three-story, contemporary seaside structure ensures a flawless experience for its guests.  Each of the 31 rooms and suites has been custom-designed.  Mine was decorated in warm earth tones, my custom furnishings accented with vibrant reds and oranges. Earlier, General Manager Mark Flaherty gave me a brief history of the Inn, a labor of love for the McDevitt family.  It seems the building was originally constructed by William “Bill” McDevitt in 1961 as an apartment building that he redesigned in 1995 as a sumptuous boutique hotel.  Through the years, the family has continued to maintain the luxury property with great care and attention to detail.
InnabovetidesunsetAs evening crept in, I moved onto my private patio listening to waves lapping the shore and allowing myself to be wowed by views of the city skyline. I realized that from my vantage point, I was seeing San Francisco in an utterly unique way. Darkness fell softly over the bay as the lights of the city came alive before a backdrop of flaming orange. Granted, there are hundreds of hotels around San Francisco Bay- but there’s only one hotel on it – and that made all the difference.  Leaving all that wine behind, I had been looking for a genuine sanctuary for the soul.  Inn Above Tide: paradise found.


If You Go:

Inn Above TideSausalitoSausalito Wooden Boat Tour