Our next stay after San Diego was four weeks in Palm Springs. We’ve been to Palm Springs twice before and have always loved it, but this would be our longest stay by far. Before we arrived we were thinking it could be a top contender for the “Can we live here someday?” sweepstakes. By the time we reluctantly left, it was running neck and neck with Beaufort, SC. We even briefly debated staying for an additional month, but logistically we couldn’t make it work.
With a great vibe and even greater weather, we made the most out of our stay. Since we had a late check-in, we took the long way around the barn to get there from San Diego. We went via Brawley so we could buy carne asada at Ramey’s and Jeff could see the Imperial Sand Dunes near Glamis for the first time. The dunes are massive – often reaching over 300 feet high – and several movies have been filmed there, including Return of the Jedi.
Since Palm Springs was only an hour away from Joshua Tree National park, we took a day trip there and were both very pleasantly surprised with how much we enjoyed it. The landscape was much more interesting than we anticipated, and we’d definitely go back again.
The Cholla Cactus garden was amazing. I loved the way the light shining through them made them look as if they were glowing (it was better than the picture). If we move to Palm Springs, I would absolutely plant some. The cactus is also called “teddy bear cactus” and there are large signs warning people not to touch them. I could definitely understand the temptation because they looked soft and fuzzy. Note: they’re not.
An oasis in Joshua Tree National Park:
We also just enjoyed daily life, taking full advantage of the walking paths, parks for metal detecting (for Jeff), and local events. I even spent one memorable Saturday learning how to flag at a Flagging in the Desert event. Of course it’s obvious that I was a newbie compared to the second video with the people who know what they’re doing!
So what puts Palm Springs in the very top tier for places we’d be happy to live some day when we aren’t cruising? It has great weather (obviously). The city has a laid-back vibe with an all-inclusive population and fantastic mid-century modern architecture (which we love).
It’s large enough to have many things to do but not so big that it’s impersonal, and there’s no need to take the freeway to get everywhere. There are tons of hiking and walking paths, plenty of parks, and it’s close enough to L.A. and San Diego for getaways without being too close. Basically it checked almost every box we have, so we’ll see. Who knows what the future will hold?
But meanwhile, it was time to pack up the car and point the bow east (assuming a car had a bow, of course). After one last visit with Lyn and Ken in San Diego and family in L.A., we were off to Phoenix where we had a great visit with my high-school friend, Wes and his wife.
The next day was the start of two 700 mile days so we could spend more time doing a “greatest hits” tour up the east coast. 60 hours after leaving Phoenix we were pulling into my uncle and aunt’s driveway in metro Atlanta for two nights. We hadn’t been to their new house yet, and it was great to see them!
After that it was off for a two night stay in Beaufort, SC (we can’t miss having our tomato pie):
We also visited Wilmington, NC for the first time. It’s a detour up the Cape Fear River that we weren’t sure would be worth taking. After visiting, we decided that it most definitely is. What a fantastic downtown. It reminded us of a northeast city with the weather of the southeast (photos courtesy of Google):
A stop in Belhaven was mandatory (of course) and, once again, we took advantage of having a car by driving to Washington, NC to see if we might want to go there on Pegu Club (it would be a 30 nautical mile detour off of the ICW, up the Pamlico River). We loved the downtown area and will absolutely stop there again.
Last but not least, we enjoyed a great stay in Delaware with our good friends Vanessa and Kurt. We also had the added bonus while we were there of getting together with more good friends – and fellow cruisers – Jay and Tanya from S/V Minx.
And now we have landed back in Groton, CT where we are busily preparing Pegu Club to go back in the water. Shore leave is days away from being over. What’s next? Stay tuned!