Those of us fortunate enough to live in the wonderful, vibrant Bay Area tend to dismiss, indeed look down on other towns and cities in our Golden State. This is a totally incorrect perception, as I hope to prove in the account of my trip to Palm Springs last week. On January 9th, along with 27 members of the Emeryville Senior Center, we met in the parking lot of the old City Hall, and boarded a bus, with driver Greg and a very efficient tour director, Mary Soo-Hoo. Our destination was Palm Springs -- a ten hour trip given rest stops along the way and lunch in Fresno. Driving through the Mojave Desert we arrived at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on North Canyon Drive, too weary for dinner. Ah, but the next morning we woke to brilliant sunshine and had our first glimpse of this beautiful city with its Spanish Colonial architecture and massive Mount San Jacinto mountains in the background, to say nothing of row after row of soaring palm trees.
On our first full day we boarded the bus and headed to Indian Canyon Trading Post for an hour-long hike. We then had lunch at the Mizell Senior Center -- a bit fancier than our North Berkeley Senior Center. Lunch was a mere $4.00 and quite tasty. We next boarded the bus where a step on guide took us on a Celebrity Tour of Palm Springs. We were surprised to learn that Sonny Bono was once mayor; there's a life-sized statute of him in the center of town. Another very large house is that of Ann Miller, and Liberace had quite a mansion also. We had to peer through gates to see these residences. Frank Sinatra practically put this city on the map with his generous donations to charitable causes. His house contains seven bathrooms since he didn't want guests to wait!
One of our more exciting trips was that to the Living Desert, a wildlife adventure through the deserts of the world, which we viewed at close range on an open tram. Here we saw African and North American Gardens, a Village Watutu, giraffes, camels and a Petting Kraai, the latter a great thrill for children.
Perhaps the most entertaining event of our trip was the famous "Fabulous Palm Spring Follies", a show of gorgeous costumes, great legs, and, believe it or not, ravishing dancers in their 70's and 80's. Following that show we had a hosted dinner at Lulu California Bistro.
Our final day was a rather exhausting one, driving what seemed like hours through the Coachella Valley where we were rewarded with a superb steak dinner at the famous Harris Ranch Restaurant, where most of us got pleasantly stoned.
As all good things come to an end, the Sierra Pacific Bus headed back to Emeryville with everyone agreeing that the Palm Springs Adventure had been a huge success.