After taking some time to rest and reconnoitre from our sabbatical we decided to hit the road again. Where? Where else, Palm Springs, California. Visiting family and drinking in some warm sunshine will be a welcome respite from the Ontario winter.
To end our year of travel we decided to finish up in the same place we began, sitting by the pool in sunny Palm Springs, California. Our year was full great experiences and visits to places that we had always wanted to see.
Now to plan our next big adventure…
If you’re in the Coachella Valley and your looking for an interesting, educational and sometimes white-knuckle drive, I would recommend the Palms to Pines highway. It starts in Palm Desert on Highway 74 and snakes through mountain passes toward Idyllwild. The road is winding and offers several scenic lookout points and spectacular views of the valley below. Once you arrive in Idyllwild you find a picturesque community that is the kicking off point for hiking and camping in the mountains west of the Coachella Valley.
Getting there is in this case only half the fun. We decided to take Highway 243 from Idyllwild back down to the Coachella Valley. It was even more winding and white-knuckling than the drive up.
We met some great people and had an adventurous drive to boot.
Marty, Heidy, Dorothy and I went driving and hiking in Joshua Tree National Park. The Joshua tree can only grow at certain altitudes in the high desert. It is one of the most unusual trees I have ever seen; it’s a bit like cactus, a bit like a tree, altogether unusual. When we entered the National Park office to get our pass, one of the park wardens told us about the different environments present in the park. The park extends from the high desert to the Coachella Valley, about 600m or 2000 ft of altitude. During the drive we did see these different environments. First was the Joshua tree and then as we drove down to the valley the Joshua stopped and gave way to cholla cactus. There are so many cholla that the area is called the Cholla Garden. Then finally as we made it back to the valley floor the desert scrub came into view.
An interesting drive where in several hours you can experience several different ecosystems.
If you’ve ever driven California Highway 1 – the Pacific Coast Highway – you’ll know it’s about a 100 miles of twists, turns and hairpin corners, which holds some the most breathtaking views and scenery to be found anywhere.
In the last few days, I have driven PCH from San Luis Obispo to Monterey and back again to San Luis Obispo. It’s an exhilarating drive, a little more challenging driving south than north, because when you head south you are on the ocean side of the road, but I found it fun even if Dorothy was hanging on for dear life with white knuckles.
Beautiful scenery and wildlife, and a challenging drive that everyone should take.