Tuesday, March 24, 2009
So the first day was...
not so bad, but very shocking for all of us. Maybe the name was an omen - "Agua Caliente", meaning hot water in Spanish. And as we came, I felt like we were getting in hotter water than I had ever imagined. Let's just go back to "it wasn't what we expected..."
First of all, we had originally expected 80 degree weather, but the everchanging forecast told us 60 degree weather with nights of 39. (Yuck!)
We set off anyway... Jr & Renee came, too... much to all of our surprise. They don't usually do much with us (although they are part of the family - my stepkids), let alone going away for a week.
The way was an hour more than I had thought, and much more south-east, too. This was definitely not Palm Springs, nor the surrounding area.
So we drove and drove, down past Fallbrook. Oops! We missed our exit. My fault... I was getting the baby (4 years old) another movie in the dvd player (aren't we spoiled?!?) and taking her toys, like she asked. So we drove to the next exit, got off and drove and drove... until my husband, Juan, found a decent spot to pull over. (We had a trailer and two more car loads were with us - following, of course.)
We discussed our new mapping and followed my mom - I asked not to be the lead anymore. And so we drove back, got our exit, and followed a gorgeous country road (thank God it was paved!!!) through a myriad of curves, winds, and various Indian reservations, all the while surrounded by lush oak trees, California poppies in full bloom, and daffodils growing wild (those lucky ducks! I have to plant my own bulbs...).
The baby had to go "potty." So as soon as we could, which wasn't that soon, we found a restroom,after pulling over another time to "discuss" (me thinks everyone keeps forgetting we have a trailer!). We found that open restroom next to a Sheriff's station. This was attached to Poncho Villa's Tacos (and Pizza & Lasagna), so we decided to grab lunch there. The food was wonderful! I don't think I thought it was going to be that good! Not one person was disappointed.
My machaca burrito was messy, dripping, and oozing with flavor, just the way it should be. The beef was tender and shredded to perfection. The blend of vegetables (corn, potatoes, onion, and yellow bell peppers) was spread throughout and carmelized to a sweet goodness. And the egg! Not too much and not too little... just enough to bind it all together.
Well... we left and headed more east, more south, through more winding, winding roads, around a mountain (elevations over 3000 ft)... that lead us to a desert.
I sure hoped this was going to be an oasis (a "haven in the desert" as the description called it...), but it was beginning to seriously look doubtful...
The first market we stopped at was closed, although it stated, "OPEN", on the sign. It had wonderful antique fire trucks (real ones!). I counted seven in all, ranging through the times. There were also horse-drawn carriages with statued horses (fake!) of times gone by. Everything was glorious and stating "DO NOT TOUCH." The baby still thought they were real, although they were crumbling. She was afraid they would bite her, so she didn't get too close for a quick pic. Picture taken... moving on...
So we left there and drove further... to the market just outside of our destination. It was small, but expected. It was a little after 3pm (on Monday) and they said they'd be closing "real soon." They also informed us (when we asked what time they opened tomorrow...) that they were closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays (GREAT!).
Then we got here... not what we expected. No lushness, small sites (camping spaces), LOTS of rocks (all large gravel in one site), prickly brush... but... we changed to one other spot and made it all work. We were determined to make the best of it. Only Jr & Renee wanted to stay in the car.
The pool closed at 5pm... the were all disappointed. Oh well...
My portion of dinner (rice, beans, and tortillas) was done promptly at 7pm. Juan wasn't done with his until 7:30, so mine was part cold, part lukewarm. (You try keeping it hot in the gusty winds and chilling evening!)
It was pretty warm when we got here (warmer than expected). But the night was COLD! I was so tired, but sleep was not my friend. The baby wanted to play, don't know until what time, and I was too cold. Eventually, I finally crashed, but woke to the pitch blackness, because I had to "GO"!
I waited it out as long as I could, then gave up and braved the cold and the dark. (The baby had been playing with the flashlight, so I didn't know where it was...) I felt the pavement and let that take me to where I needed to be. Small noises spooked me, a howling here (there were coyotes around), a "caw" there... but I made it! I stayed in the warm room (attached to the hot springs' jacuzzi [therapeutic pool] room) as long as I dared, then trudged back.
Had it not been so cold, I would've stayed out longer to star gaze, but I'm a wuss. Save that for another day/night. I got back into my warm cocoon and again (eventually) fell asleep. Waking up throughout the night, I finally got through to the morning... maybe tomorrow night I'll take a pill!