Friday, March 28, 2014

A Little Further Down The Trail--Sunny California Part I

       Hello readers!   This blog page is usually all about Exploring amazing Arizona through pictures and travels.  But a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit a good friend in California and of course have some pictures and thoughts on it all.   For more Exploring and amazing pictures of mine Please also check out MY second blog series  all about the amazing views Washington state has to offer at:
And of course MY first blog series   full of travels, coffee love, and random rambling  at:
   And feel free to share anything you find on any of these sights!  Especially this one. 

   So about two years ago a good friend of ours came to visit April and I while we were living in Bellingham, Washington.  We had just gotten married, and had hit a really bad spot in our relationship.  One that was mostly a lot of arguing and throwing things.  Our friend decided it was best to not stay with us, and got a motel room during the visit.  For almost two years, I had not heard anything from him.  Last I knew he was living in San Diego and working at Home Depot.  But that town has a lot of Home Depot stores!   I had never been to San Diego and was going to use some of our tax refund to pop down that way and attempt to find my friend.  Just before we booked a ticket, I found he was living near Palm Spring.  Amazingly close to us, but getting ready to move back to the rainy state of Washington.  I quickly planned a visit.  Originally we were going to take a mini road trip to San Diego but his plans changed and we drove eight long hours to Oroville for a friend emergency. 
I had never been on Amtrak before and found an amazing price for a round trip ticket.
Through it all it is MUCH better than the dreaded Greyhound bus and much more
relaxing than driving.  But the hours are strange.  We left Benson, Arizona at around 6 PM, not allowing for much sight seeing.  Unfortunately the train sits almost an hour in nearby Tucson.
The Benson, Arizona stop is very small.  Just a speck stop in the desert with some signs and a few covered benches.
The family full of Wendy's Frosties waiting for me to board the train.
It was kind of hard to navigate around the train.  But you were more than free to roam around.
The above entire section was full of huge windows for watching the passing desert.  I got in more than enough people watching the first night.  I was attempting to use my laptop while a whole group of drunk-gay riders had an ever increasingly soap opera like night.  Since I could not access any WI-FI, I have to say the drama filled night was kind of entertaining. 
At one point I thought I could stay up the whole night, we were supposed to get to Palm Springs around two AM.  But when we crossed the time change boarder-I realized I really should attempt to get some sleep.
I also must add that both directions I witnessed problems with seating. 
People do not have assigned seating --but the conductors tend to place others in your seats if you are roaming around during boarding.  It happened to me on the way to California and to someone else on the way home. 
Last I must quickly note how expensive the adult beverages were.  I have been on a few
touristy train rides, but no long journey.  And wanted to be able to say that I have had a beer on a train.  If you are planning on drinking or being tipsy by your location--bring cash or hope they do not check your luggage!   The mini bottles of wine were $12 I believe and each bottle of beer was defiantly not cheap.
But I had my one and can say that I have had a brew on a train!
My friends humble home.
The next day we Explored Palm Springs.
At one point we passed Bob Hopes huge, mushroom shaped home.
It is for sale for $40 million if you happen to have any spare cash lying around your home.
We  soon ended up climbing nearly 9000 feet on this very scenic adventure.  Well worth the money for sure!
My worse complaint was that the new camera we had bought, was not working, and all of these pictures are from my cell phone. 
Just out of the parking lot.
Ticket buying time.
Going up!
The lift rotates as it climbs giving an always amazing view.
We really were at the top of the World.
But with my crummy camera you could not even see the large city, far below.
Hundreds of miles of hikes await. 
Than we took some time to Explore and eat around Palm Springs.
Found a few casinos along the way. 
Several even offered free gambling cash to sign up with one of there cards.
I actually left one casino $50 ahead off of there free game play.
We had a late lunch downtown in a 50's style joint.
Good food but I must say for such a touristy trap area the service was lousy.  It didn't seem like the servers were even trying for customer service or a tip.  I don't believe either was accomplished.  Than as it was starting to cool down, at least in desert terms we roamed through the stores. 
Just before giving up on Exploring we found this huge complex.
Part church, part living area, part motel it seems this was very cool and empty.
It looked like a fire had touched many of the buildings.
This area took up a full city block and had six swimming pools.
Along with multiple buildings.
Next post I keep on my Exploring shirt and shoes
As we continue to roam California.
And the rains hit. 

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