Remember this movie? I was 13 when it came out.
We were in Palm Springs for a week waiting for results of Marty’s biopsy. He had a “thing” on the side of his face. The results came in. Thank God only a basal cell and now they will burn it off and we’ll be done with it… until the next time. He’s a strawberry blonde who won’t wear sunscreen. When I try to force him to wear it he has a baby hissy fit.
Joshua Tree National Park – Where the Colorado desert meets the Mojave desert
We enter by the south gate. Apparently, this is the Colorado desert part and it isn’t what I expect. No Joshua trees. Just weird leafless ocotillo, vast expanses, angry cholla cactus, shiny creosote bush. I think, “How can anyone ride a horse through this?” The vegetation is absolutely hostile. You’d be picking thorns out of your poor horses legs all the time. The cholla cacti look like strange creatures. Maybe they are the allies from Carlos Castaneda’s book A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. Except he was poking around the Sonora desert with Don Juan the Yaqui brujo. The Sonora desert isn’t too far from here. Maybe 50 miles south. We see a lot of border patrol SUVs during our drive the next day to the…
The Salton Sea – A Huge and Weird Mistake
On Tuesday it’s nice – no rain – so we decide to drive to see the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea is weird. The air is unbearably quiet. No sounds. No birds. No people. No nothing. There’s a green ooze at the water’s edge that stinks. We decide that it’s dead algae or something. (yes, algae). My usual habit of getting in the water (I, at least, wade in everybody of water I find. It’s a thing I do.) is thwarted by the 20 foot deep edge of ooze. I think, “What if it’s so toxic that it eats my legs off and I’m standing there legless?” No, I’m not going there.
The Salton Sea was a giant mistake created by the California Development Company back in 1905. They built a canal to bring Colorado River water to Imperial Valley farms. When the canal head gates became blocked with silt they made cuts in the river bank but that failed and the entire thousand miles of Colorado River water went spilling into the Valley for two years before they fixed it. The ginormous lake doesn’t have any in or out and very little replenishment from any source so it’s slowly drying up. It’s more salty than the Pacific Ocean.
Coachella Valley Preserve
Here I was expecting a thousand acres of farmland and some waterways with animals. I don’t know why I thought that. I also thought they allowed dogs on leash in the preserve but they don’t. So, the dogs stay in the truck while we wander around in a grove of hundreds of palm trees. The beautiful oasis pond that we saw in pictures on the internet is not there. Maybe it’s underneath the huge amount of fallen branches and leaves on the ground underneath the canopy. The place is in need of a decent wildfire or legions of gardeners.
Inside the grove it’s freezing. I can see why people, native or otherwise, would want to hang out in here when it’s 110 degrees outside the grove in the summer.
I’m going to leave you with a recipe for treat that is rare outside of this area but that is easily made at home. This area is the world’s biggest supplier of dates.
Palm Springs Date Shake
¼ cup walnuts
½ cup Deglet Noor or Medjool dates, pitted
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until slightly darkened in color and fragrant, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.
Meanwhile, place dates in a small bowl and add ½ cup hot water to cover; soak 10 minutes to soften.
Blend walnuts, dates with their soaking liquid, cinnamon, and salt in a blender until a coarse paste forms. Add ice cream and ¾ cup cracked ice and blend until smooth. Divide shake between 2 glasses.
Eat ‘em up! Yum yum!