Wednesday, January 3, 2007

3rd-4th January 2007 - San Diego, Anza Borrego and Palm Springs

We woke up early to a beautiful San Diego day and headed right away to Peet's for our first espresso in over a week, plus some of the delicious baked goods from the bakery next door (Bread and Cie). It was so nice we were able to sit outside around 7:30. We went back to the hotel and changed clothes and headed towards the beach (Mission) for a run. Peter took off down the path so Kelly and I braved the beach-I say "braved" not because it was anything less than a PERFECT day, but because there were several trucks going back and forth sifting the sand. Maybe there are nicer beaches around San Diego because there was next to nobody there but this was a really nice beach. The sand was completely clean and nice-Kelly had a great time. When Peter returned I asked how it went-it was our first run in over a week-and he reported that it was "like running in paradise". I reported that for us it was "like waiting for him in paradise". I ran down the pathway along the beach and many condos. It really was like running in paradise and when I returned all I could say to Peter was "so what is the downside to living in San Diego?".

Our checkout time was noon so we raced back to the hotel to shower and get out of our room around 12:03. We decided to fuel up ourselves and the car before the projected 90 minute drive to Anza Borrego. I had spotted a Chinese restaurant just down from Peet's so we went there and go broccoli beef and vegetables with tofu. I was having serious vegetable cravings and this did the trick. We fueled the car and hit the highway. The drive out of San Diego was strange-you hit a National Forrest right away and yet there are no trees. Eventually we did some climbing and driving through rolling foothills with large oaks, and then finally hit some dessert.


We drove into Borrego Springs and found the visitor center. Behind the counter were a bunch of senior volunteers who didn't look like they were going to be very useful in helping us figure out where to camp. At some point though I hear this man telling Peter advice about off road driving, here is a great canyon to camp, etc. Apparently this man had been traveling around AB his whole life and had too many recommendations for us even to remember. He came up with once canyon that was just a few miles from the visitor center and since it was nearly 4 and therefore about to get dark, we headed for that.

The drive up to Glorietta canyon was really easy-sandy roads. As we got to the top there were already 2 cars there but on closer inspection, they didn't look like they were camping so we just looked around and waited. We found a very nice spot off of the road and Kelly started scampering around on the rocks. As it got dark I made some dehydrated stragonoff and we settled in to enjoy the spectacular rising of the full moon over the mountains.

It was a relatively warm night but Kelly was excited to get into the tent (we had been promising her camping for nearly 2 weeks) so she and I retired somewhat early. I woke up early and went out to see the sunrise and watch the moon go down. Again it was warm and pleasant. We had coffee as we sat in our chairs and watched the sun light up the mountains and valley.


We drove to the VC to wash up a bit and then drove to the Borrego Palm Canyon. There's a short hike (3 mile round trip) to an oasis up a canyon. It started out well with Kelly scrambling over the rocks as she went. A few hundred yards into it we realized we had forgotten sunscreen and it turned out to be really lucky that I went back to the car for it-the hike lasted a lot longer than we had thought. About halfway through we were having some trouble getting Kelly to keep moving. We had to bribe her with promises of treats, but by about a mile we hit some shade and could see the palm trees so she perked up. The last half mile is along water with some palm trees and she liked that. We had a short break and snack at the end and headed down. Kelly braved the hike down with nearly no complaining at all-in fact she and I ran the last part of it together when I mentioned that there was a Coke waiting for us in the car.

We certainly could have spent more time there-the park is beautiful and we only explored a small amount, but we decided to head to Palm Springs and come back another day. We had lunch in Borrego Springs at a kind of depressing cafe, and hit the road. Kelly napped as we headed to Palm Springs which we entered just as it was getting dark.


We were a little disoriented but spotted a nice looking Motel 6 and decided to see if they had a room. For $60 including tax we decided to take the bargain-most places in PS didn't look too cheap.

There was a pool and hot tub at our hotel so we decided to give Kelly a treat and go for a swim. Even the pool was heated to a comfortable warmth which I enjoyed, and a little time in the hot tub was very welcome for both of us. After a quick shower, we went to the Pizza Hut down the road and had pizza. While driving through town earlier, we had seen that there was some big event being set up so we drove up and went for a walk. One of the main roads was closed and full of hundreds of booths of art, food, etc. It was definitely a scene. Later we found out that every Thursday they have this Farmer's Market type of thing (without the farmers).

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