Blog 9, Coachella Valley, California

Blog 9, The Coachella Valley

We are on our 3rd day in the Coachella Valley of California.  This area incorporates Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta and Indio.  As the name suggests this is a big valley between the San Jacinta and Santa Rosa mountains.  We noticed hundreds of wind turbines as we approached the valley so that should have been an indication that it’s windy here!

In fact, the wind is funnelled between these mountains through the Gorgonio Pass which is the windiest place in the States.  Yesterday we sat out a huge blow that covered everything in silica including the swimming pool where we are staying.

Today is beautiful with only a refreshing gentle breeze to cool the 107 deg sun.  We are in a very nice campsite called Shadow Hills.

The mountains all around here are beautiful, they look like our Remarkables.  While they look dry and unliveable there is a great eco system that exists within them.  Just within the valley alone they estimate 10,000 coyotes.  Rattlesnakes, tarantulas, roadrunners, mountain lions etc are all part of nature here, we’re getting used to that.

Yesterday we took a trip over to Palm Springs.  It’s looks very nice, again as with much of California it’s very Spanish looking with vivid magenta/ruby red bougainvillea draped everywhere.

This valley is an area where the snowbirds come from Canada and northern US to escape their winter, so we are off season here in May/June.  There are not many people around and our campsite is quite empty, basically it’s too hot.  Palm Springs is well positioned to be out of the wind tunnel, so it’s sheltered and was 10 deg cooler than here in Indio.

After today we have one more full day before we head back into Arizona where it will be a little hotter.  We are generally heading over to Phoenix where we will then head north into cooler weather.  We’ve taken this route to stay in warmer climes until places north heat up.  As we sit here sweating it’s hard to consider that it snowed in Oregon yesterday, and the rains and snow melt in Montana have been so heavy that Yellowstone is closed.  Glad we didn’t take that route!

 Cellular tower disguised as a palm treeDriving through the Sonoran Desert

So now that we are back in Arizona I thought I would summarise California.  It’s very Spanish and they do that very well.  The tropical plants are colourful and well-kept everywhere we’ve been, the trees are beautiful.  We wanted to explore LA and that was our purpose for staying a week at Orange Land but the traffic beat us.  It ended up be a deterrent to go anywhere.  We were aware of a ‘head of the America’s’ conference that was on in LA and it did warn of traffic congestion but I suspect there is always something that make the city busy, maybe it’s the 5 million + people.  However, we really enjoyed staying in Orange County, it in itself was a lovely place.

Generally speaking, we’ve noticed so many Tesla’s here.  Apparently, Tesla has 10% of the EV market share in California. 121,080 registered in 2021 alone.  There are so many colours and models and they all look great.

We’ve been pretty surprised by the weather-it really is hot.  It’s been over 100 deg for days but the last few, in Blythe and Indio it was about 110, that’s over 42 deg c.  It takes your breath away and stings your eyes.  You absolutely cannot sit in the breeze as you end up being sun dried like a tomato or coconut, a shadow of your former self!

The areas of California that we saw we loved and we are so glad we took the time to explore.  We’ve also met the most wonderful people that we will remember well.

Covid seems non-existent here.  No-body wears a mask except very occasionally in a supermarket.  Everyone socialises and dines out as if Covid never happened.  We feel quite liberated to not be locked down or made to feel very afraid of the virus as we often felt in NZ.  We have been out to dinner and socialised without a mask.  When I go supermarket shopping I wear a mask but feel like a bit of a Pratt in one here.

Diesel is very expensive in California.  We saw it for over $7 per gallon but were typically paying about $6.80.  We get 9 miles to the gallon in our Tiffin so being on the road in a diesel coach is expensive in California.

Filling up our car with petrol is about the same as filling my car up in NZ-both 3 litre engines, but you typically drive much faster here to keep up with the flow of traffic so we go through it quicker.