Roving Retrievers-Tails and Trails
A “tail” of two Golden Retrievers (and their humans)as they travel west:
Day 27, Goodyear AZ-La Quinta, CA 239 miles, 3 hours 20 min
Today is a big day. Even though we have stopped at many beautiful areas along our route, met great people, caught up with old friends, today we will finally make it to La Quinta, CA!
Our trip west has been planned centering around our stop in La Quinta. It took almost 4 weeks, and a total of 4,226 miles, (mileage includes all driving since leaving home”), to get here. We will stay in La Quinta for 4 weeks before we start our 4-week trek back home. Sue and I have been coming to La Quinta since 2005 and just love the area. La Quinta is one of those very few spots in the U.S. that allows you to fully escape winter.
Comparatively speaking to most of our travel days, today is a short one. We plan on driving straight through as we have no reason to stop, the boys have their routine down and we know three hours in the car is a slam dunk for them. Sue and I are quite excited and can’t wait to get to the desert.
Located in southern California, La Quinta is in the southern end of the Coachella Valley. The desert valley stretches for almost 50 miles bordered by the San Bernardino Mountains to the north and the Salton Sea to the south.
The desert valley is surrounded by mountains on three sides. 98% of the time the weather is “severe clear” offering spectacular views of beautiful mountain ranges no matter which direction you look. It’s a rare day the sky isn’t blue so don’t worry about your plans being hampered by poor weather. This is the place for us and we love it!
At an elevation of 479 feet, Palm Springs sits at the north end of the valley. With a summit elevation of 10,805 feet, San Jancito Peak, to the west of Palm Springs is the highest peak of the San Jacinto Mountains. San Jacinto Peak is one of the most topographically prominent peaks in the United States and is ranked sixth among peaks in the lower 48. A quick search on Wikipedia states “The peak rises 10,000 feet above San Gorgonio Pass. The steep escarpment of its north face, above Snow Creek, climbs over 10,000 feet in 7 miles. This is one of the largest gains in elevation over such a small horizontal distance in the contiguous United States.”
John Muir once wrote “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth.”
If you ever find yourself in the Palm Springs area, a trip to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a must. The 2 ½ mile tram ride takes you up Jacinto Peak to an elevation of 8,500 feet, the views are breathtaking. Upon arriving at the top there is a restaurant to sit and enjoy a meal, there are several vista outlooks and trails to hike. The temperatures in Palm Spring can be over 100 degrees in the summer, but be prepared and bring your cold weather gear if you take the tram to the top as the temperatures can be in the 30’s with snow on the ground!
The Coachella Valley and La Quinta are a golfer’s mecca. The courses are pristine and abundant. You could spend months in the area, golf every day and never play the same course twice.
While I like to golf, and I plan on doing so, we have to keep MJ and Bobby busy. There happens to be literally hundreds of dog friendly hiking trails in the area. It is very common to see Bighorn Sheep while hiking so if a trail is dog friendly, leashes are mandatory. Due to the Bighorn Sheep several trails do not allow dogs but that’s ok as the selection of trails to hike with Fido are abundant. We have our favorite trails to hike with the boys but we also have other trails we hike that do not allow dogs.
Biking is Sue’s and my first choice of fun things to do while in the area so the trick is to tire the boys out very early so we can leave them for a few hours while we get a ride in. Like golfing, the area also caters to cyclists. There are miles and miles of wide bike lanes which, once you get to know routes, will get you to sparsely populated areas where there is little to no traffic. We have been coming out to the area for years and have gotten to know the cycling routes quite well. Back in the day we would ride several rides of 100 miles plus, but times are different these days. Distances a third of that suits us just fine so we can get back and sit at the pool, hit the gym or, in my case, get a round of golf in.
Once we arrive, MJ and Bobby are like geese making their celebratory water landing after a several thousand-mile migrations. They both have been here several times in the past so once out of the car they get their bearings and see where they’re at. It’s as though they know the car rides are finally done for a while. We run around and have a great time. Once settled down Sue and I unload everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Even the car top carrier and rack come off the car. It’s been a long month of worrying about the box on top of the car, to be honest it’s a relief to get everything off the car.
A trip to Trader Joe’s to load up the refrigerator is in order. Our first real home cooked meal tonight sounds great! The boys will have a special treat tonight as they have earned their “travel merit badge”! They have done better than Sue and I had ever hoped they would and will be rewarded for doing so well.
We will be in La Quinta for the next 31 days and we need to remember that because right now, everyone wants to do everything tomorrow!