We left Death Valley and headed south to Desert Hot Springs, having called about a spot in a place called Sams Family Spa. We had decided that we wanted to be in one place for awhile, to spend the holidays with the amenities of an RV park...and the monthly rate at Sams was pretty hard to pass up, $575 plus electricity (which ended up right at $30)...for full hookups and access to the hot mineral spas, pool, steam room and sauna.
We drove in (they don't take reservations but will give you a pretty good idea of whether or not they have room over the phone) and found a spot along the back row of RV's, some of which looked like residents and others that were traveling through. The friendliness of the staff and the laid back, easy going style of the place was just what we were looking for so we settled in.
First on our to-do list, before we could explore the area, was to get ready for the holidays! We had not had steady cell signal in Death Valley so we took to the internet for a day or two, paid some bills, caught up on everyone's lists and did our shopping and mailing...we even managed to do Christmas cards this year!
And then, as we finished up the only significant thing we had to do for the month, the cold I had been denying for a week or so, turned into a mean sinus infection that just wouldn't let go! So we lost about a week of opportunity while I was sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching...!
|The first sunset, as seen from the UPS store in Desert Hot Springs!|
And enjoying sunsets like this one...
Near Sams is a preserve called Coachella Valley, with a nice hiking trail that loops through desert landscapes to an oasis in the middle of cacti...it was a cool spot for an easy walk...and it's a free park (no dogs allowed because of the wildlife in the area...we heard a pack of coyote pups!).
One of the days we did the most touristy thing in the area...we took the Palm Springs Tram up to the top of Mt. San Jacinto for a hike around the mountain top and a cold beer in the lodge...and then an evening ride down the hilllside in the revolving tram...
Did I mention the sunsets...?
And the pools...
Several people told us about a little whole in the wall place in an out of the way little town called Pioneertown...so we made our way over one evening (made dinner reservations) for a great steak dinner and a live concert (Rose's Pawn Shop)...which was really awesome!
And back to Joshua Tree...this time, to do some night photography...
Oh, we also went to Palm Springs a couple of times, one of those times to the zoo...which was surprisingly very cool...a beautifully laid out, generously sized zoo with unique animals and a wonderful garden-like exhibit throughout the park of the native plantlife.
We also did lots of things without any photo evidence...we met some wonderful people at Sams and enjoyed sharing our time/stories/beer with all of them; Vince, Barbara, Susan and Michael, Bob and Kat! We also ran up to Idyllwild to meet up with our new friends Don and Chris and Tess (from 13 Roads) for a hike and loved hanging out in that cool little mountain town with them!
One afternoon we wandered over to Sam Cobb's Date Farm, another recommendation from a fellow traveler...and met Sam Cobb himself...who might actually be the nicest person I've ever met! And, his dates are sooooo good!
In short, we had a pretty great month at Sams. There is certainly a lot to see and do in the area...and the pools and tubs are wonderful when you don't really want to do anything at all! The RV park is nice...it's certainly dated, but it's clean and well kept...and they offer activities like yoga and water aerobics for those that like to partake...and movies on Fridays...and we did join in on the Christmas potluck dinner! The park was about 3/4 full when we got there, but by New Years it was nearing capacity, so honestly, when we left we were anxious to find some open spaces! The only real complaint we had was our neighbor...next time we would try to choose a spot that was not next to a resident.
And yes, there will likely be a next time...maybe not for a whole month, but the price is good enough that we could come and go in a month's time...mix in some boondocking or even do some tent camping in JT Park...there's always next time!