New York to Palm Springs
A long day ahead. 5 1/2 hour flight to Phoenix, Arizona, and then a 4 hr drive into the desert to Palm Springs, California, arriving in the dark, gaining two hours time difference on the flight and a further hour on the drive, and much warmer temperatures. Staying at a Best Western Las Brisas right in the centre for three nights. Brilliant location, within a few minutes walk of Downtown. Dumped the bags and went to our favourite Mexican, Las Cazuelas.
A warm bright blue sky welcomed us the following morning. Up, breakfasted and in the car driving just up the road to Indian Canyon, by 8.30am. Thank you jet lag! Walked the Palm fringed trail through Murray Canyon, following a stream and waterfall and lush vegetation all the way up the canyon to the Seven Sisters and the end of the trail, and the very last Palm trees, green lushness giving way to dry, barren, harsh, sun-baked Rock. I love walking in the desert. It's so strange and dramatic. By 10am it was already getting hot and sticky and after five miles we'd had enough and set off back to the hotel and the pool.
Later that night we facetimed Andrew and family. Busy building bunk bed to do over head of double bed, ready for when we come and share with Lily. An excited Lily wanted to know whether I was bringing some "pieces puzzles" with me ie. Jigsaws! A little podgy Charlotte put in an appearance, looking bemused! Looking forward to seeing them all soon.
The following day we drove up to the Living Desert, which we've visited a few times before. It's always worth repeating because there's so much to see. This time we spent more time visiting the animals. They have a reasonable number of big cats: three leopards, a mother jaguar and two large Cubs and cheetah. Giraffe, bighorn sheep, warthogs, wild dogs,ostrich,Eagles, owls. The enclosures are imaginatively landscaped, with a Savannah area, tranquil pools and impressive planting showing the different climate zones and the plants they support. The desert plants are most interesting, chollas, ocotillos, cacti etc.
A coffee in town, people watching! There's a wide mix of visitors to Palm Springs. A lot escaping snow in their hometowns of eg Vancouver and beyond, the older pensioners, the very rich sitting at white-table clothed restaurants enjoying Californian fine-dining, whatever that is, a big gay community, homeless veterans,sleeping rough in a warmer climate. It's vibrant and colourful. In the bar later, we got talking to a couple over from San Fran for a few days, publicising and launching a comic-strip book she had drawn, in collaboration with a Frenchman, who was the writer, sending up the Palm Springs scene, in a light-hearted un-pc way. We took her card and promised to look it up.
Off to Tusayan, close to the Grand Canyon tomorrow, a long 7hr drive, back towards Kingman and the North, stopping at Kingman specifically to visit a Cracker Barrel to enjoy a great brunch in traditional ranch style setting, with rocking chairs on the porch, waitresses dressed in long apronned frocks with mop caps, the works!