Almost the Whole Pacific Coast - Winter/Spring 2016 travel blog

Air Force One

Sultan of Brunei

The Philippines

campground pool

shuffleboard court

The drive from Lake Havasu City took us down the valley carved by the Colorado River. We had no idea there were so many resorts, winter homes, and water enjoyment opportunities nestled here on the western edge of the Arizona desert. The weather was great, the water was bright blue, but when we thought about spending time here some winter, there didn’t seem to be much else there to do. That’s why we headed to the Coachella Valley, home of Palm Springs, Palm Desert and a handful of other lah-di-dah communities. We were here two winters ago and enjoyed our stay tremendously, but thought we had done a pretty good job touring the area. It’s expensive to stay here, but the Modernism Festival has lured us back. More on that later.

Much of the drive was through arid, featureless desert, but when we made that final descent into the valley on I-10, our eyes were blinded by all the green vegetation. Last time we stayed in Palm Desert and everything we wanted to do was twenty miles east. So we thought we’d try a different campground in Indio and it looks like everything we will want to do is twenty miles west. But wherever we drive, we are stunned by the beauty of the place. The mix of desert vegetation and irrigated tropical plants is spectacular. Our campground has tasteful clumps of brightly blooming this and that surrounded by artfully arranged rocks and gravel. There are some sites that have grass for an extra fee, of course. It has pools, pickle ball courts and social opportunities in case we run out of things to do twenty miles west.

Once we got here we were surprised to learn that President Obama had decided to join us. He’s here for the ASEAN conference, meeting leaders from the Pacific Rim, looking to forge alliances to lessen the domination of China. They could have met with the president in Washington DC, but he was glad for an excuse to get away from the freezing weather and play a bit of golf here in paradise. The leaders from Viet Nam and Indonesia probably were glad not to have to deal with sleet and ice. The local media complained about the impact his visit had on the traffic, but we were thrilled to see how close we could get to the airport and Air Force One. The planes of some of the Asian leaders were parked nearby.

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