Lounging in Paradise – Desert Hot Springs, CA
“Paradise is exactly where you are right now…”
We had just met Rio & Kitty in the local hot tub. They looked like a couple right out of a corny Vegas mob movie -> old-timers with big hair, big bling and a leopard-skin bathing suit with all the busty “fill” to make it work. They’d travelled here on a whim 25 years ago in a 27-foot Winnebago with 5 kids and decided they couldn’t leave. In fact, the kids were the ones that begged them to stay.
“You guys enjoying your stay in paradise?” they asked
It was an interesting question.
You see Desert Hot Springs is a quirky little place. Your very first thoughts as you drive into town might be more along the lines of “What a dump…”. The first thing you see as you enter the valley is the massive eye-sore of San Gorgonio Pass wind-farm. Then you take lonely Dillon Road into what can only be described as mobile home heaven in the desert. It’s a panacea of trailer parks, one after the other with a few run-down shops and long tracts of flat desert land inbetween. And the local grocery store doesn’t exactly inspire confidence with its’ fully barred windows. It’s not the best first impression.
But then something astonishing happens. Like a big, comforting blanket the place just grows on you. First you sink yourself into a soothing mineral pool with view of a fiery red desert sunset. Then you meet a couple of the locals and get invited like old family to chat and join the pack. Then you take a 3-hour hike in the hills and soak in all the deep, barren, fabulous beauty that is the desert. Add-on some pure puurrrfect desert winter weather and the majestic San Jacinto mountains in the background. Before long you’re liking the place and in a few days you’re just outright loving it.
It’s exactly the same thing that happened last year when we came here. Desert Hot Springs may be the outcast neighbour of ritzy home-of-the-stars Palm Springs, but it is most definitely the place to be. We loved it so much last time that we decided we just had to come back. Same place (Sam’s Family Spa), same fantastic mineral pools and same exact wonderful impression.
And we did the whole tour all over again -> the Aerial Tram (they had 5 inches of fresh snow on the peak this time), Palm Springs Village Fest, Farmers Markets, unlimited spa-soaking, and long hikes in the surrounding hills. I even got the chance to meet up with fulltime RVers Terry and Martha from Gypsy Life Journal who were lounging at Lake Cahuilla County Park (nice spot, by the way and they accept Passport America mid-week).
Our original plan was actually to stay here a month, but more nutty travel plans got in the way (more on that story to come.).
In the meantime if you wonder what I’m doing just imagine me lounging in paradise. ‘Coz that’s exactly where I am…