Tuesday, March 3, 2009

After 110 inches of snow on February 1 -- which was just HALFWAY through our winter -- Gary and I packed up the SUV and headed to Palm Springs to escape winter in Michigan.

We were the Joads: Two dogs, two crates, and more food and luggage and shoes than Imelda Marcos would pack. The trip took three days, with us driving roughly 1100 miles and 12 hours a day. We took much of the Old Route 66 on our drive, and witnessed the Ozarks of Missouri, the dusty terrain of Oklahoma, the other-worldly beauty of Santa Fe, blizzards in Gallup and Albuquerque, and the desert of California.

We are now firmly ensconced in a mid-century modern condo in a complex with pool and spa that butts the mountains of Palm Springs. To say we have escaped winter would be a vast understatement: It is 80 and sunny nearly every day.

Gary and I have become immediately entranced with Palm Springs: The mountains are magical and spiritual, hugging the desert valley on every side. They seem to be alive, breathing, watching, and each range has its own personality: Some rugged and brown, some verdant and low-slung, while others are snow-capped, rimmed with pines, stretching for the heavens.

If you must know one thing about Gary and I it's that we are immersion travelers. We love to immerse ourselves completely in every city and area where we travel or live. We explore every neighborhood, we eat every native food, we live and breathe a place. Thus, in Hawaii, we surf, though we might die. Or we swim with the sharks, though we might die. Or we eat octopus, though we might die.

Here, in Palm Springs, we hike the mountains, though I might die.

I am in fine shape, that's not the problem ... I run eight miles here, and it's a breeze in the cool mornings with zero humidity and no city smog. We swim in the pool for hours.

It's not the strain of hiking that is a problem; I can run up a mountain, I can hike all day, it's the whole down-hill thing. The fact you have to, eventually, head back down to the desert floor.

I am a faller. I fall in the kitchen making a bowl of cereal. I fall walking the dogs. I fall getting out of the shower.

In fact, I fell down a hill just outside our condo last week, tumbling into the road, while walking the dogs at night in Kenneth Cole slides. Who knew the sprinkers had been on earlier?

We hiked the San Jacinto mountains this weekend -- three hours straight UP. It took me the rest of the day to get down. I slipped, I tripped, I held onto mountains, boulders, the rocky ground. I initiated avalanches. I nearly knocked an octogenarian hiker using a walking stick off the side of the mountain, Gary grabbing the man's shirt when one of his feet was dangling into nothingness.

Check out my dazzling footwork on YouTube (link is on my homepage). My goal is to get famous enough to go on Dancing with the Stars, so I can dance with Derek Hough, have his children, and, of course, fall on national TV.

The change of scenery is good for me: I am finishing a memoir and my first novel. More news to follow!


Blogger Keith Pyeatt, author of paranormal thrillers said...

Fun post. Enjoy the rest of your stay in PS. My partner and I are driving up a week from today and staying a week. It's a yearly thing for us.

March 3, 2009 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger Jules said...

My feelings EXACTLY on the mountains which is the reason why we live in MT.
Come here to hike and I'll show you a good time, baby.
PS sounds wonderful and can't wait for your book.

March 4, 2009 at 8:07 AM  

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