Happy New Year From The Odyssey Couple

From sunny Desert Hot Springs, CA. Not so hot though. High has been in the fifties, but the wind, which is calm today, has, for a couple of days, been wild. Steady 20-30mph, gusts to 40. I had to throw a rope over the awning on the big slide to keep it from flapping.

Here we are at Caliente Springs Resort, a 55+ community with a fairly even mix of park models (permanent, small homes) and RV’s. Technically, we’re outside the incorporated town of Desert Hot Springs and in Desert’s Edge. It’s all desert. We stayed in this place last year for a week and liked the pools – water from natural hot springs. We had a lousy, transient site near the front of the park near the main road then. That location sucked.

This year we’re staying through the month of January and opted for a step up to a ‘deluxe’ site. #456 is near the back of the park, away from the noisy road, across from the ‘elite’ sites that back up to the golf course, and it backs up to open desert facing west. Nice views of the mountains, several photos attached. The ‘North Back Caliente’ photo shows the dirt road that runs north just outside the gate behind us.

The “golf course” – here’s the word-for-word description from the literature we were given: “The golf course at Caliente Springs is a 9-hole par-3 course with yardage from 62 to 117 yards.” Breaking par (“3”?) apparently requires divine intervention. Since that’s not going to happen in your case, my golfing friend, though I’m sure a 62 yard hole had you drooling, forget about coming down to conquer this monstrous course. I’m hearing that only two people have made par, the infallibly divine Kim Jong Un, of course, and the literally unbelievable president elect who, my people tell me, did it with just one stroke. Lots of people are saying it’s true.

Anyway, we had heavy rain for New Years Eve which ended at around 11 Pacific time, about when some of your hangovers were beginning. We opted out of the New Years party here. Suspicions of Lawrence Welk champagne bubble music, polkas, and line dancing with Kool and the Gang celebrating with visions of The Electric Hairpiece Slide were confirmed by the dynamite Canadian couple in the RV next to us. Larry and Donna, ten years older than us and yearly January visitors to this park, invited us into their beautiful forty-five footer earlier in the day. They said the party was not the ideal situation to meet like minded people. When am I going to be able to wear my sheriff’s badge? Larry’s a corker. If type A personalities could be upgraded he’d be A+++. Classic cocaine caricature or maybe a Black Mollie man. Says he only sleeps three or four days a week. Very nice though.

So did everyone have enough of 2016? I’m sure some of you had some good things happen. Congratulations to those whose Cubbies tipped the scales for their year on the good side. They made most of the country smile, at least for a few days in November. Then, 100 years after the first woman, Jeannette Rankin, Republican Representative from Montana, was elected to Congress, something like divine intervention, I think it’s called the Electoral College, made 62 million voters happy and 65 million wonder what just happened. I just saw a commercial for FarmersOnly.com where their tag line is the story of the election, “City folk just don’t get it.” I guess. More like, city folk only get nine tenths of a vote.

The good news, I haven’t felt so energized to participate in the colonization of earth since the 70’s, when we had causes worth fighting for. While putting away Christmas (yes, Christmas, not Holiday) lights and rearranging our lower storage area, I came across one of my college notebooks – see photo. We got rid of Nixon but it took forty years to legalize pot, almost. You might ask what I’m doing with an old college notebook. Well, the poet laureate of the state of Metahedonism left countless, babbling scribbles in the margins which may or may not contain his extraction coordinates and date. Cryptologists are working on it. Please send the spaceship back now.

Where was I? Somewhere out in the desert with Don Juan and Carlos Castaneda. The two hundred mile drive from Fort Mohave was almost entirely through the Mojave Desert. It seemed that every fifty miles or so, a new mountain range would appear, not very tall but very rough and jagged. I had spotted a place to stop for lunch at about the halfway point, an intersection of California Highways 62 and 177. Really – I looked at the Google Maps route ahead of time, then zoomed in with the satellite view at the approximate mid point and looked for some open space on the side of the road. The mostly narrow shoulder was not an option. The crossroad had about two acres of flattened parking area. With no truck or rest stops out there in the boonies, you can’t just expect a truck sized parking space to appear out of nowhere and if it does, there’s no stopping on a dime or backing up. Gotta plan ahead. See picture for some understanding of the sheer desolation out there. Some might find it boring. I think it’s beautiful.

Arriving here, we were very pleased with our picturesque site. Mt San Jacinto is the largest mountain looming over the entire Palm Springs area. It’s on the south side of I-10 and the other white peak in the distance on the right, to the north, is San Gorgonio Mountain. I don’t know why one is mount something and the other is something mountain. The valley through which I-10 runs, San Gorgonio Pass, is also a funnel for the winds coming from the coast. The fairly constant flow creates one of the more suitable locations for the oldest large wind farm in the US. We discussed this last year.

One picture, to give you an idea of the “neighborhood”, looks down the street right in front of us. Nice place. Quite a mixture of age groups. Someone in the RV or home has to be 55 or older but I’ve seen a lot of people younger than us. Maybe some of those second marriages where you hook up with the young casino dealer? Saw at least one Auntie Mame type with a retired Blue Man Group stud. No, I don’t know that for sure but that blue skin tone is a clue. I don’t think he’s a big NY Giants fan. Maybe that was the guy who died today.

Couple of fun census facts about Palm Springs:

Only 1% list themselves as Asian but 12% are Pacific Islander (no, I don’t know if that includes Hawaiians).

11% of married couples are same-sex, largest of any city in US as of 2010.

OK, did I digress again? Passing on senior sirachi spaghetti, Medicare meatloaf, sparkling grape juice, and the music of Jerome Robinson, the last of the Platters (how about that, Mel?), Andrea made a spectacularly delicious lasagna using sausage meatballs and some leftover eggplant parmesan. You senile old bastards, eat your diseased hearts out. We watched the ball drop in NYC and New Orleans while in between, the New Years party here let out. Really, 9:30? The best moment of the night was Mariah Carey pretending she was at one of our family lip synch contests and cousin Gary mistakenly queuing up a Tina Turner tune. Jack? An idea for this year?

At midnight here, it sounded like the revolution started already. Why isn’t Wolf Blitzer reporting this? I went outside and found that most of Palm Springs was still awake and shooting off fireworks. Was that Freeport’s own Guy Lombardo doing Auld Lang Syne? How did a Scottish song whose first line asks whether we should dump our old friends become such a standard for welcoming the New year and wishing good riddance to the past one? Well, in this year of change, how about a new song, like George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’, or if you want to lament, ‘Isn’t It a Pity’? Maybe George envisioned 2017 with the lyrics in ‘Beware of Darkness’ – “beware of soft shoe shufflers” (con-men, hmm, who could that be?) and “greedy leaders” (uh, the whole cabinet?). But I digress.

Happy New Year


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