The Palm Springs Annual Festival of Lights Parade was held on Palm Canyon Drive on December 1. We left here about 4:00 thinking we would get a good seat for the Parade which didn't start until 5:45. We almost couldn’t find anywhere to put our chairs! The best part was that when we arrived someone was leaving a handicapped spot right outside the restaurant at which we were planning to eat. We went inside and asked if it was ok if we watched the parade and then had dinner after (because there were 2 hr parking signs around). The guy said the HC spots don’t belong to anyone so we could stay there forever and no one would care. Good to know! It was a good parade. American marching bands are wonderful. We then went to the Fisherman’s Market & Grill for dinner. I had teriyaki salmon, mahi mahi and shrimp with coleslaw and pilaf. Larry had a Fisherman’s Boat – cod, shrimp, scallops, clam strips and calamari – with Caesar salad and pilaf. And because everyone eats before 5 there was not a big line-up or panic to eat.
We took the coach into a RV Repair shop in Redlands CA on December 3 (about an hour away) for leaking wheel gaskets again. Also a possible leak in the radiator. Our appointment was for 8 am the next day. They told us we could stay the night in their lot. It meant that Maureen had to move the tree off the steering wheel - onto the bed – and the wreath off the door. We arrived just after 3:00 at the Redlands Truck & RV Centre. They were so welcoming. We set up on the street beside it and they had 50 amp power and water. They made sure we had food for dinner and told us about a place for breakfast in the morning. Super nice people! There was another motor coach at the repair facility that day and it had logos all over the coach called "Crystal Head Vodka". This just happened to be Dan Aykroyd's coach for the promotion of his Vodka company.
They replaced the seals in the two wheels. We also asked them to put Nitrogen in all tires instead of air. Apparently it’s better and doesn’t respond to fluctuations in temperature like regular air. While they were doing that one of the stems came off and they couldn’t get it back in so new stems were required which they had to do the next day. They also found a loose hose from the radiator which they tightened and while they were pressure testing another was loose. All fixed. We had to stay two nights on the road. It was very quiet. We couldn’t put the road-side slides out so it was narrower inside.
We went to the recommended café - Carolyn's - for lunch the first day. We had their burger special and ordered two pieces of their famous coffee cake to go. Because it was so good we went back the next day for lunch too.
Our Michigan friends that we met earlier this year in Yuma stopped by for a couple of nights for a visit. We had heard about Lobster Fest at Jensen's Finest Foods. We decided to go on the 8th for dinner with Joan and Eric. For $20 you got a 1 1/4 pound lobster (split), melted butter, rice pilaf, coleslaw and a bun - under a huge tent in their parking lot. You could also get beer and wine. They order in thousands of live Maine lobster for this event, a fundraiser for Guide Dogs of the Desert.
On the 12th we went for a drive to the Salton Sea and stopped at Glamis North RV Park, a former KOA, to visit Henry and Bonnie-Lynn, who we knew from Pacific Border. We ate our picnic lunch at the side of the Salton Sea. We saw a number of rare white pelicans and black-necked stilts. The Salton Sea was formed when runoff from the Colorado River gathered in the below-sea-level area known as the Salton Sink. Tourism--boating, swimming, fishing--peaked in the 1950s and 60s. Significantly decreased tourism combined with devastation caused by massive rainfall and thus flooding from tropical storms in the 1970s and led to the economic demise of the area. Now, the Salton Sea, which reportedly has a salt concentration higher than that of ocean water and lower than the Great Salt Lake, is basically composed of still water and a fantastically huge population of botulism-carrying tilapia. The Salton Sea is widely considered an ecological disaster.
We also drove through Bombay Beach and talked to a lady that lives there. It is the lowest town in America at 68m below sea level. It is at the south end of the San Andreas Fault. It was mainly destroyed by floods in the 70s but seems to be safer now due to a Berm constructed on the West side. There are lots of ruins. On the way back we drove around Lake Cahuilla, where there is an RV park. It's pretty rustic although some sites have hookups. This is just south of La Quinta.
On December 14 we drove over the mountains to Hemet, where Larry's brother and wife are staying. There was snow at the top and it was down around freezing. We looped around to I-10 on the way back. On the 15th we had Diane and Larry (from Swan Lake) for dinner. Diane brought an amazing bouquet of roses from her garden. We had a BBQ'd marinated Tri-Tip Steak from Costco, roast potatoes, vegetables, yorkshires and lots of wine.
You start to see photos of Kelly's preparations for our Christmas dinner - thanks to recipes from Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey! Swan Lake Larry drove us to the airport on Christmas Eve for our 10:55 flight. We flew to Bellingham with sunny skies and full view of the desert all the way to Washington State. The car rental went without a hitch and we were on our way north. There was supposedly a 50 minute wait at the border but we circumvented part of it by stopping at Duty Free for our Christmas Bailey's. We caught the 5:20 ferry and arrived at the cottage by 7 pm. Since no plans had been made for dinner we ended up at the local Pho (Vietnamese) Restaurant which was the only thing open. It was good although Larry was a little doubtful.
Christmas Day we all pitched in for dinner preparation. Kelly slathered seasoned butter under the skin of the turkey and covered it with bacon. The whole dinner was amazing, with comments like "best ever"! Boxing Day is usually our appy day but it seems we were still full from the night before. Aaron made hot turkey sandwiches for lunch. We went to Gilligans Pub for dinner with our Scratch N'Win winnings and our Dealmate coupons - steak and crab/prawns. Aaron went back to Ocean Park on the 27th. Maureen spent some of the time going through her boxes of china in the container and picking out all the teacups to give to a White Rock tea shop. We left Sechelt the morning of the 30th - went for sushi lunch with Mike and Beverly in South Surrey, then stopped at Aaron and Alison's to see the house and the new studio. He did a great job. There was again apparently an hour wait at the border but it didn't seem that long. We dropped the car off at the airport and then got a shuttle to the Quality Inn. We were in the Presidential Suite! That just means it was bigger, has a kitchen and a jetted tub. To people who live without a bath tub, the jetted tub was wonderful! We were up early the next morning for our 7:30 flight. We grabbed some breakfast from the free breakfast bar at the hotel and then the shuttle. The flight was uneventful and it was nice to return to the sunshine - although quite a bit colder than we expected. Some of the nights have been below 5 deg C!
We wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy New Year!