We headed east into Arizona and stopped in Phoenix for a night. We revisited Yahweh Yoga where Marie had gone in 2009 for her yoga instructor certification training. She reminisced about the great people she met there and still keeps in touch with.
The next day we headed north to Sedona for some of the most beautiful scenery possible. We managed to find a campsite in a small RV park in this very popular tourist destination.
We went hiking. The air was so clear and the red rock so spectacular we lost total sense of distance. It looked like you could reach out and literally touch the mountains which were actually miles away. Surreal, took our breath away, painted canvas, joyous earth, rich greenery and utter silence – the pictures speak.
Then we continued our Inner Journey north towards Flagstaff.
La Quinta (la keenta) has several meanings in Spanish. It means “the fifth”. It means a hacienda – a second vacation home. It also is a chain of upscale motels in the US. Finally, it is a resort city in Riverside County, CA in the Coachella Valley. It was to this latter destination that we now set our Trekker sights on.
We departed Anza-Borrego for the east and then north. It was pure dehydrated desert. Vast landscapes of dry dusty rock and hills. Inhabitable for sure but no doubt there was some life abounding there. We drove by the Salton Sea a landlocked body of water laden with salts that straddles the San Andreus Fault. Not very inviting and an environmental disaster in the making according to the LA Times. Such is California in all its variations.
We then drove to La Quinta to meet up with our friends Greg and Brenda who live there during the winter. Dave had met Greg many years previously at Ioco Refinery when they used to go camping together. Since then they stayed in touch exchanging Christmas cards and notes over the years. Retired too, Greg and Brenda also have a summer home in Idaho as it is too hot to stay in La Quinta (regularly reaching over 40 deg in summer!). It was good to meet up after so many years apart and reminisce.
They live in a gated community backing onto a spectacular golf course. When we pulled up to the gate the guard looked at us askance, not too keen to let in an RV to the exquisite grounds. Greg had sent down word so he opened the gate and in we went. A note on gated communities. These are very common in the US and rare in Canada. Considered enclaves by some, they are often home to high-valued properties, beautifully landscaped streets with common amenity facilities. We certainly enjoyed visiting one. Greg and Brenda offered us their private “cassita” suite separate from the house. We were bathed in luxury after our tiny Trekker living space – and much appreciative for it!
We spent a wonderful couple of days together, they taking us to Trader Joe’s, a huge wine store and a couple of great restaurants. Our days were spent walking, hiking and then recovering in the backyard pool. To say we were pampered is an understatement. Did I also mention this is a world famous golf resort? Wow.
Well you know what is next. It was time to move on again having had a wonderful time. Thank you so much Greg and Brenda for having welcomed us into your world. We hope you are staying healthy and probably getting ready to head north right now to stay cool.
We had been on the road now over 3 weeks heading mostly south west. It was now time to turn east and slowly meander in that direction. We made a bee line for Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, about and hour north east of San Diego.
We had had a sneak preview of what to expect with friends Cindy and Marvin. We were anxious to go “boondocking” which means camping off the grid far from the services and amenities provided in RV parks or established campgrounds. We were not sure if it was allowed so after driving down the main street of Borrego Springs we headed out of town for 30 minutes until we found a dirt road and turned on to it. Continuing for another 10 minutes or so we came to a rocky hill with a nice view back towards the valley. We decided to camp right there. Here is what we saw.
It was one of the most memorable camping experiences we had in the Trekker. Utter silence except for a light wind. Pure clean desert air, the light gradually fading. No one around us for miles – actually we could see one other boondocker about half a km away so we felt safe here. An extremely peaceful event in touch with mother earth and the natural cycles of nature.
The next day we arose early and after breakfast drove back to towards town. After checking things out, going for a hike to see the wildflowers in bloom, we bought some souvenirs and checked into the State Park campground for the night.
After two days in the desert sun our skin began to turn red.
We drove south from Oceanside along the coast of Socal – Southern California. We remember seeing so many little boutique retreat centres. We passed place after place where yoga, Zen Buddhist, Christian, Indian, healthy lifestyle and similar workshops were available daily. Places like Solana Beach, Delmar, Torrey Pines – state parks, beaches and campgrounds. What a great place to live we thought as we continued our way along the coast.
We came to San Diego and checked into an RV resort park. We went exploring the Old Town, the US Naval Air Station and Coronado beach areas. There was lots to see. We met up with Marie’s friend Cindy and husband Marvin who live in San Diego. They were avid outdoor hikers and promised to take us to a place that would truly take our breath away.
So the next day we left early together for a desert hike – this time towards Anza-Borrego Desert Park, about 90 km east of San Diego. We took some back roads noticing border patrol vehicles everywhere since we were only a few miles from Mexico. Cindy and Marvin directed us to a high ridge overlooking the desert. It truly took our breath away. The foggy mist of the coast literally evaporated above our heads as it could not penetrate into the dry air ahead. It was into the sunshine we gazed in awe at the stunning beauty of the California desert in springtime.
They took us on a fantastic hike up a mountain gorge as far as we could safely go. It was tricky in places – we really had to watch our footing. It was a secret place that only the locals know about. We reached a large clump of huge dried out palm trees of a kind that we had never quite seen before. Marie and Cindy did sun salutations as Marvin and I chatted in the shade. What a treasure of a day never soon to be forgotten.
Later we returned to San Diego for our last night on the west coast. We were getting anxious to push on again.