Checking in from Palm Springs, CA …
For our last few days in the Mojave Desert, we planned to move to an RV park in the famed desert oasis of Palm Springs. We had to be careful in choosing a park since in this area there are some gay only parks, clothing optional parks and parks for those 55 years of age and older. We were really afraid we might inadvertently end up in a park that met all three of these criteria. Thankfully, however, we found a straight, clothed and all age park.
Being well ahead of schedule, a down day in Palm Springs was planned. It came a little earlier than scheduled, however, when our car battery died at 5:00AM as we preparing to head out to my walk. By the time AAA arrived with a new battery, it was too hot and too late to walk that day. So, we used the day to explore the area. Just wish we would have known and not gotten up at 4:00AM.
I’ve heard of Palm Springs all of my life as the desert playground for Hollywood’s superstars. From the 1920’s on, this green gem on the edge of the unforgiving desert has attracted celebrities based on the legendary “two hour rule” of the movie studios which required actors under contract to be available within two hours in case a last minute reshoot had to be made. I think they cheated a little on the time and distance since Palm Springs is about two and half hours from Hollywood even with the Interstate highways of today. Who knows how long it took in the 20’s?
The list of names who called Palm Springs home is pretty impressive especially for old folks like me—Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Cary Grant, Kirk Douglas, Jack Benny, Gene Autry and Albert Einstein just to name a few. Frequent visitors have included Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Dinah Shore, Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Lucy and Desi, Elvis and Priscilla (who honeymooned here), Mickey Rooney, Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower, Ronald and Nancy Reagan and many more. With the introduction several years ago of the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival by then-mayor Sonny Bono, Hollywood has rediscovered the town. Currently, the area attracts such stars as Clint Eastwood, John Travolta, Ron Howard, Halle Barry, Leonard DiCaprio and Anne Hathaway.
The town is beautiful, though hot at this time of year, with a distinctive art deco look. As an example, the centerpiece of the town is a 30 foot high statue of Marilyn Monroe in an iconic pose. There are lots of upscale shops, boutiques and restaurants. The town is clean and well laid out with lots of green space and countless palm trees. The area is definitely affluent, especially the neighboring community of Rancho Mirage where the main shopping street, El Paseo, looks like Rodeo Drive and homes can cost up to $8 million. Golf courses are numerous, and the area has been the home to PGA and LPGA events like the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and the Dinah Shore Desert Classic. Palm Springs recognizes its allure with streets named after Frank and Bob and Dinah and Kirk and Gene. A walk of fame, much like in Hollywood, with stars imbedded in the sidewalk graces the downtown district. Art is important with statutes throughout the town, many of which incorporate motion. My favorite, however, is a bronze of the Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry, but then my heroes have always been cowboys.
While the shops are much too expensive for the likes of Brenda and me, we do spurge in this heat on our favorite cooling treat, frozen yogurt. In Palm Springs, we found Eddie’s Frozen Yogurt which has been selected as “Best of the Best.” This is a single, non-franchise shop run by our new friend, Eddie Carrasco. His yogurt is really good, and Eddie’s friendly and welcoming demeanor makes you want to come back (which we did). Eddie’s Frozen Yogurt is a must stop if visiting Palm Springs and be sure to “like” his FB page, “Eddie’s Frozen Yogurt”.
Next stops on my trip are the towns of Banning and Beaumont. Less than three weeks to the Santa Monica Pier.