On To Palm Springs

Our week in Los Angeles was great. The three of us agreed we had a wonderful time. We saw friends, ate great food, visited fun places and (some of us) power shopped.

Now it was time to move our quarter ton of luggage to the next stop: Palm Springs. None of us had ever been here before, but we all like the desert.

Helaine had taken the time to print directions before we left Connecticut. Take a right from the hotel, down to Pico, then right toward Overland and I-10. But when we got to Pico there was a sign for I-10… but pointing left!

Who to believe? We chose the State of California. Bad choice.

The I-10 East signs lasted a few blocks and then… nothing. We continued to drive down Pico. Signs on stores changed from English to Spanish and then Korean. The buildings of Downtown LA grew larger. We were very lost.

When I came to a street I recognized, we turned. There was an overpass ahead, but not I-10. I decided to find a place to turn around and head back to Pico. And then I saw the sign: I-10 East.

The drive to Palm Springs is fairly easy. As you head east, Los Angeles County becomes less pretty. Then it’s bedroom town after bedroom town after bedroom town.

We stopped in West Covina to have lunch at “In-n-Out Burger.” “In-n-Out” is a West Coast chain of fast food burger joints. Steffie had seen one on some show, and she thought it would be fun.

“In-n-Out” has a very short menu. Burgers, fries, drinks – that’s about it.

I was immediately struck by how many people were behind the counter and in the kitchen. They seemed more labor intensive than McDonalds or Burger King.

My cheeseburger was excellent, the fries were light and good… and so, In-n-Out Burger now has a new fan.

We got back on I-10 and headed east. The land is fairly flat and filled with scrub type vegetation. We moved farther into the desert and the population began to thin out.

And then, I spotted the wind turbines.

I knew this place existed, but had never really thought about it. On I-10, just before the exit for Palm Springs, up sprang a huge ‘farm’ of wind turbines. Each was on a tall tower with a three bladed propeller. They seemed to be spinning slower than would be expected with the wind.

At San Gorgonio Pass, hot air rises over the Coachella Valley and forces cooler air through a pass between the San Bernadino and San Jacinto Mountains. Wind speeds there average 15-20 miles per hour (24.1-32.2 kmh), with the prime wind season occurring from March to September. There are over 4,000 wind turbines in this 70 square mile (182 square kilometer) area. Most of the land is privately owned, although the U.S. Bureau of Land Management administers a portion of it.

This is an unbelievable sight, and I will check to see if it’s possible to visit up close.

We’re in Palm Springs now, settled in our hotel. More on what we did last night and what we’ve got planned for today a little later.

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