Susan suffers in the winter: her Italian blood craves the sunshine. So I promised her that this winter we would go south, somewhere. It was she who was talking with our friends Benito and Adele. They have a house in Palm Springs and they invited us to come down for a few weeks. The only time that we could get away was the day after Sabrina’s Graduation which would give us 12 days in California. So it was decided: we were going to California.

We arrived on the 13th of February and from the moment we arrived we have been charmed by this place! The weather, the air, the desert scenery, it was together delightful.

Here is Susan before we have even left the airport. This terminal is several buildings with an open courtyard. Really pretty!

Benito and I are standing in his back yard. His house is georgious, 4 bedrooms, modern, beautiful. The yard is fenced and that green is real!

Adele’s table set for lunch. We are looking from the dinning area through the living room out to the back yard.

Katie joined us for lunch while Jimmy was out playing golf with Lou Morocco who was also in town. They were coming back later for dinner.

Benito, Susan, Katie and Adele standing in the kitchen preparing our dinner.

The back row is Jimmy and Lou who are back from golf. On the right is Lou’s friend Cliff.

Day 1 we settled in to Benito’s and Adele’s. They live in a gated community called Terra Lago which is very large with an artificial lake running through it. It is a really beautiful community.

Jimmy and Katie were in Palm Springs as well when we arrived and Katie joined us for lunch the first day. Jimmy was out golfing with Lou Morocco who was also in town. Later they joined us for dinner with Lou’s friend Cliff.

Day 2 we went to a market, which is held on weekends, in the parking lot of the College of the Desert. What a pretty campus for a school: low buildings, lots of open space, and palm trees and orange trees laden with fruit. The market was really interesting. Lots of fascinating booths with all manner of products, arts and crafts.

This was a great market! The booths were varied with lots of interesting stuff for the girls and the guys.

All six of us went to this market. Here are the girls, Adele, Susan and Katie.

This was a great market. Lots of arts and crafts, furniture, tables and lamps, clothing, and all good quality. I really enjoyed it. There were two men showing their photography. My pictures are as good as any there. I should have a booth!

Day 3 we go to an outdoor art show hosted by the local West Coast Artists Association in downtown Palm Springs. I was interested because there were photographers showing their work there as well. I wanted to see what others were doing and what kind of prices they were asking. But to be honest, I was not really impressed with the photography. But there some painters and graphic artists that really stood out.

Afterwards Susan and I went for lunch at the Blue Coyote; a not so great Mexican restaurant but it was a lovely setting. We had a table outside under the palm trees and the service was friendly and attentive.

The restaurant was not so great but it was outdoors and the service was good, as were the pina coladas and the beer.

The Bougainvillea grows everywhere here. In this heat and with a little water it covers walls with blossoms.

Day 4 was my day: I went to the Palm Springs Aviation Museum. They have a small collection but most of their aircraft are airworthy. I had a great time, all by myself, looking at airplanes. It doesn’t get any better!

That’s me standing by an airworthy P-40. It looked like it had just rolled out of the factory!

I won’t bore you with a bunch of airplane pictures but here a few just to give you an idea of the quality of this collection. You can imagine that I took more than 6 pictures!!!

F4F Hellcat (Airworthy)

B-17 Nose Art

Flying Fortress (Airworthy)

P-39 Aircobra

Selfie in skin of Flying Fortress

Douglas SBD, F4U Corsair and C-47

Day 5 we just hung around the house and explored this amazing community. Terra Lago is a walled community with a guarded front gate. Inside is a large artificial lake with beautiful homes along the shore. The quality is amazing and the landscaping, desert themed, naturally, with tropical plants, cactus and flowers everywhere.

Adele and Benito’s home with Susan standing out front by our rental car.

Susan and Adele with a Rose that Adele picked in her back garden!

Benito and Adele’s street has a large boulevard with a desert theme landscaping.

The front of the Community Center is covered in Bougainvillia.

Susan and Adele in front of the Community Center. This is from further back so you can see the flowers covering the front of the building.

The Community Center in the complex is located on the Lake and is beautiful.

Susan and I standing in front of the Community Center.

The swimming pool is beside the Community Center and the setting is spectacular.

Day 6 we have a Mountain Adventure. I had read on the Internet about a cable car up Mount San Jacinto that was not too far from Palm Springs. Well, it is actually almost in town! Susan was apprehensive but she found the courage to go with me so off we went. The town is a desert down below, but, on top, there is a wonderful open pine forest amid a very rocky terrain.

They replaced the tram cars a few years ago and this is one of the old ones.

She looks calm but she is not! Susan does not like these things.

Susan does not like standing near the edge of any height. She does not look too relaxed here!

The trails are well marked and at the Ranger Station maps are available

Starting up the mountain is rugged and desolate.

The view from the top is fantastic. That is Palm Springs below.

The mountain top is a pine forest, very open below, and with hiking trails that go for miles.

The forest floor is strewn with huge bolders. It is a wonder that the trees can grow here.

Hey, I didn’t take this picture so the terrible color is not my fault. But it is still fun!

Day 7 was a bit of a lazy day. I wanted to get out into the desert so while Susan was in the Community Center gym working out I drove out of town to take a few pictures. In these two images I am still very close to town and yet it looks desolate!

Later that day Jimmy and Katie came over for dinner and Susan made lasagna. But before we ate they took us out to see the Thousand Palms Oasis. This is a really neat area. In the desert, barren and dry, the San Andreas Fault runs through the land. In this one place the fractured rock has allowed water to come up through the fault and create an oasis. In this one place the palm trees have grown to great height and created a delightful garden in the desert.

The lake created by water coming up to the surface through the cracks in the San Andreas Fault.

The palms grow very tall with the abundant water and they live 150 to 200 years.

Jimmy standing on the walkway constructed through the palms over marshy wet ground.

Katie, Benito, Adele, Susan, and Jimmy by the oasis lake in the palm trees

Day 8 was a lazy day around the house. (We seem to having lots of lazy days!) I walked to the community center with Susan and sat in the sunshine while she worked out and later we had dinner at home. I did not take even one picture.

Day 9, however, was a different matter. We went to El Paseo to shop. Well, the girls did. Benny and I did our own thing!

Benny does shopping! Now this is style!

I, on the other hand, took off with my camera. El Paseo is a great shopping area: good up scale shops and lots of places to eat. The main street in the shopping area is lined with palm trees and flowers.

I make friends easily when I travel. But this fellow did not say very much. Probably deeply preoccupied by his book. However, I found my half of the conversation very interesting.

Benito appreciates good art, however, I am not sure this art likes Benito leaning on his horse!

After shopping we went for lunch. We chose Mamma Gina’s which turned out to be a very decent Italian restaurant.

On day 10 we went back to El Paseo because we had heard that the Greek Orthodox Church was having a festival to celebrate Greek culture. We has to ask around to find the church and, indeed, they were having an outdoor party. This was an interesting celebration. The venue was not big but the booths were of exceptional quality and there was lots of really high quality things to look at. And there was absolutely no Chinese trinkets and junk merchandise.

They had a really interesting market. Lots of Greek products and a lot of souvenirs.

There were arts and crafts, some of which were very nice! This was an excellent festival.

Susan and Adele enjoyed the booths and spent a lot of time browsing and asking questions.

This band provided the music. The fellow on the bouzouki was excellent.

And of course, we had lamb.

After the Greek Festival I wanted to go back to an art gallery I had seen the day before. I had spoken to the manager, Eric Branthoover, and he agreed to let me take some photos inside. But I did not have my wide lens with me so I said I would return the next day. I agreed to meet everyone and hour later in the shopping district and the girls were happy with that. And I went off to my Art Gallery.

They had some really lovely things. I enjoyed the paintings and the way they were framed and presented. Got all kinds of ideas for myself. The garden was full of outdoor art as well. Really well done. Not all to my taste but wonderfully enjoyable.

The yard of the gallery was full of outdoor and garden Art

Susan and Adele trying out some cremes and lotions.

Day 11 and Day 12 and things are beginning to wind down. The girls are going shopping, I am going out to take pictures, and we are starting to discuss going home. Susan has already dragged the suitcases out. However, a couple of observations before we go.

Joe and I went to a wine tasting the night before we left at the Italian Centre: Vapolicella Amarones were the wines we investigated. And they were excellent. So, on the 11th day Benito wanted to show us a liquor store. Wow, the size of a Costco and with every imaginable product. But, back to Amarones.

The Italian section was divided into regions. I had never seen this before in a liquor store. Anyway, under the Friuli section they had several amarones. I recognized this one from the wine tasting: Ca’Rugate 2011. I decided to treat Benito and I at lunch and I wanted to see if it was as good as I remember. So I bought it.

After we finished looking around we went back to the house where Susan had stashed some of her lasagna so Benny and I had the pasta and the Amarone. Wow, better than I remembered. This is an amazing wine! At $60.00 or more a bottle I will still buy it for special occasions. It is an amazing wine. So, OK Jimmy, I admit I have a lot to learn! But I’m working on it. Hey, I even bought a copy of the Wine Spectator.

Finally, we wanted to do something a little special on our last night so we decided to try the Purple Room at the Club Trinidad. They say that Frank and Dean used to entertain their friends here when they were in Palm Springs. Who knows?

We made reservations on line and last night we went “night clubbing”. Well, Joe, I wish you could have been with us. We walked into this room, pretty small really, with a bar the length of one wall and a stage opposite. There were maybe 15 tables at most. The place was full, the bar stools were full, and the place looked like we had stepped back into the 1960’s!

On stage was a black jazz singer, a piano player and a base played. And they were really good. The singer was Rose Mallett and she had a really nice voice. I am not the biggest fan of jazz and scat singing but she was very enjoyable. We talked about you at the table Joe and we were agreed that you should have been there!

As well as the nice setting, the service and the food was excellent. So all in all, this was a nice way to finish our stay in Palm Springs.

As I write this it is the day we are departing for home. I was afraid I would be bored in Palm Springs but the opposite has been true. This is a great place for a holiday! We are looking forward to being home but this has been fun. A great little vacation. I hope we can do it again!