2/21 Update

11, 12, 13 Feb - Tu, We, Th: These are the only days the sun has been obscured since we've been in AZ and CA. It rained on Wed., but if you heard about lots of rain for southern CA this week, they were referring to the other side of the San Jacinto's from us where 5-6 inches fell. On this side of the mountains, Palm Springs received one inch; here in Indio (17 miles east of Palm Springs) rainfall totaled one tenth of an inch.

One day we drove to Cathedral City, as that's where Cal knows of a good barber for a reasonable price. We thought that the rainy Wed. would be a good time to browse through Ruddy's 1930's Country Store. Not so-they're open Thu-Sun. We checked out an estate resale store in Palm Springs just for fun. Our suspicions were correct-the home furnishings were definitely upscale but reasonably priced, we thought.

Trader Joe's in Palm Springs had been recommended to us so browsed there also. It's a food store with an appropriate 'Palm Springs' look and feel to it and a great selection of organic and specialty items amazingly low-priced. We'll return before leaving the area.

14 Feb - Fri: We celebrated Valentine's Day and return of sunshine with a short drive to the Palm Oasis NW of Indio in the Cocoachella Preserve. This oasis is one of the largest groves of Desert Fan Palms in CA. This native palm is found only in areas where water is at or near the surface.

This oasis (and our RV park in Indio) are above the San Andreas Fault, the most famous and visible earthquake fault of its kind in the world. 'The Fault is not a single crack but a linear zone of crushed rock and clay that causes underground dams that bring the water to the surface.' On our hike we detoured a few steps from the McCallum Trail to listen to the water rushing from one of these dams to a fast-flowing stream.

15 Feb - Sat: We returned to the Horizon Village RVP in Palm Springs for their Valentine's Dinner and Dance. The 'resident chef' prepared a delicious meal, and it was fun to spend the evening with old friends we've been meeting there since our first stay four years ago.

16 Feb - Sun: A lazy day at home.

17 Feb- Mon: We signed up for the USA PotLuck Supper tonight, here at Indian Wells RV Park in Indio, indicating what we'd bring and the state we were from. As we approached the clubhouse, on the eve of the event, there was fun and heckling going on as Canadians were picketing. (Learned later that the US picketed their potluck a week ago).

As we entered the dining area it was apparent that there was assigned seating: all tables had white table clothes, red placemats, blue napkins, and large placards with a state specified for all attendees - there were two places at the end of one table for "NH".

Folks were appropriately attired in their Stars and Stripes shirts, ties, and hats or just plain red, white, blue garments. Oregonians required three tables; Washington and California each filled two tables, and the remaining states were represented by two to six folks. The only states east of the Miss. River were NH, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. As we enjoyed happy hour, there was a lot of good-natured heckling going on, especially between Oregon and Washington.

Also, this was a good time for the residents of each state to complete the 5 questions included at their place settings. We'll include the questions and our answers to give you the idea. 1) What is the most historical event in your state? "First state to vote in primaries". 2) What is the biggest tourist attraction in your state? "Great Stone Face" 3) Who is the most famous person from your state? "Daniel Webster" 4) What do you think is the first things that comes to mind when your state is mentioned? "One of 13 original colonies:" 5) What is one myth about your state that you would like to dispel? We couldn't think of a good one for that, so Cal told a joke instead which brought the house down.

At 6:15 we pledged allegiance to our flag, sang our National Anthem, were led in prayer, and promptly at 6:30, the 160 hungry folks started through the line to make selections from the potluck meal. We were among the last to go through the line, and we wondered if there would be enough food - not to worry - there was plenty, and then a big piece of pie w/ice cream to top off with.

Then it was time for a representative from each state to read the aforementioned questions and answers about their state. Needless to say, that was fun and very interesting.

There were 19 door prizes (one for each state represented) lined up on the stage, each bag labeled with a state's name. As a number was drawn, the holder of that number went up front while the hostess selected one of the bags and then read what she had prepared about that state, e.g., when it was admitted to the Union, what products it produced etc. She had purchased an appropriate item for the state. The NH bag contained maple syrup; Iowa, corn chips; Wisconsin, cheese; Idaho, potatoes, etc. One gal had done all the planning and execution of this fabulous evening - had been working on it for 3 weeks - and deserves the highest accolades for a job well done. It was one of the most fun evenings ever. The party started at 5:30 and we were home at 8:30.

18 Feb - Tue: Today we went to the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival here in Indio. Saw camels, llamas, an alpaca, yak and water buffalo racing, but they didn't have the ostrich or chicken races. It seems there is a disease in California that is effecting fowl so movement of any kind of birds either in or out or within the state is prohibited. It's hoped this will get resolved in the near future.

Kay Rosaries has a great tiger show featuring six Bengal Tigers; her total tiger family numbers twenty-one and Florida is their home base. Then we saw a great juggling act.

We stayed for the Wally "Doc" Wheeler Orchestra which was excellent, one and a half hours of familiar big band tunes made popular by greats such as Guy Lombardo, Sammy Kay, Glen Miller, etc.

Cal has been looking for a new hat ever since we left home, and we found one at the Fair!

19 Feb - Wed: We decided yesterday to make the Date Festival activities a two-day affair. We invited our new Japanese friends/neighbors, Ken and Tiko, to attend the nightly musical pageant with us. It's a good thing we arrived early-It's an outside event and folks were starting to fill the hundreds of folding chairs when we arrived at 5:30, an hour early. Fortunately, the temperature didn't drop too much, especially since there was a light wind. The best way to describe the fantastic, colorful, musical tale is that it resembled the Wizard of Oz with an Arabian twist. Great fun.

20 Feb - Thu: When Cal and Ken (new friend) were chatting this morning, Ken suggested we check out the grand opening of a Chinese buffet in town. The great selection of food was delicious, and we really enjoy Ken and Tiko. They have a very heavy accent so we really have to pay attention but get most of what they say which is always interesting and often funny Their English is better than our Japanese!

Cheerio till next time - Cal and Connie