Landscaping at Two Springs is great. A mature park with plenty of palms. Wind energy copters (windmills) come right to edge of park. I kinda like'm. Not as disturbing as one may think. I stay for 2 days (complimentary) and consider lots ‘for sale’.
Lots go for 35K. Buy the lot but don’t really own it. You buy the rights to use it for 99 years. On top of that you pay monthly dues, $200+ They can increase dues at any time. Last day here is downright blustery. Wind shakes my trailer. Reminds me of how important it is to know what you’re buying. North Palm Springs is too windy for living in an RV.
Changed my mind about leaving PS today. Just not ready to go. I drive on Dillon Rd. towards Desert Hot Springs and come to an RV Park which honors Passport America club members. Cuts price in half. Just $22 a night. Desert Pools RV Resort.
Landscaping is underwhelming. More like parking lot style, grounds covered with gravel some hedges. Desert Pools has natural hot spring fed pools for guests to soak in. There are large signs which look to be done in the 1950’s claiming mineral springs have great health benefits. I must say, the pain in my neck was gone after one soak. I relaxed in the pools three or four more times over a few days. Had the pools mostly to my self.
The park is less than 50% full. I like it, but it can’t be good if you own this place.
Christmas is just another day. In fact the whole countdown to Christmas is a commercialized scam. Religious Christmas is something I don’t do either because I don’t believe in supporting organized religion. Gift giving is a nice practice until it turns into a competition; or worse a popularity contest.
Christmas dinner here at RV Resort is $15 a plate. Ham, potatoes, gravy, green beans, salad, pasta, and desert. The framed prints on the walls are of desert scenes, painted with a bit too much flair. There is an announcement from Desert Pools manager before dinner. There’s been a split with their national affiliation causing a riff in membership. I guess members lose part of investment from what I can understand.
Looking around, these retirees seem unconcerned. Business as usual. Maybe they've become numb to being screwed over.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Pulled out of Desert Springs and on toward California Coast. Heard about some wild fires near Ventura, shutting down lanes of 101. I hold off travel for a few hours, hoping to avoid a rush hour. Stunningly beautiful mountains along 210 to Redlands and on to Pasadena. If it weren't Monday I’d be stopping in to see Van Gogh sunflowers at Norton Simon Museum (closed Mondays). Great collection there and my first original VanGogh experience (huge).
Pass through the Tujunga/Sunland area. Towns set against Los Angeles National Forest. Must be great living here. Traffic is noticeably increasing. Drivers too close for comfort. I'm going 55 following rules, these folks going 65 and faster. Stretch from I-5 to 126 West is fast and furious. Off with radio to concentrate on pulling my house.
Deliberately riding along outer outskirts of Los Angeles.
Driving by Filmore am completely awed by tree farms and other crops clawing up the hillsides. Magnificent scenery makes me want to hang out here. Take dogs for a hike and enjoy.
At Santa Paula I decide to rest stop. Fill tank. Get haircut. Drink Guiness at an Irish Bar ($7!)
Son of a Bitch. I scraped underside of Valero gas station roof with top of air conditioner. Cracked the ac shroud along the front edge. Left a few small marks on edge trim of roof. Clearance 11’6” (RV’s 12’3”). Been driving beneath dozens of stations. Guess I’ve taken it for granite they’re a standard 13’. Kicking myself. I give attendant insurance information. Drat! Much wasted time to correct this blunder.
I take pics of damage caused as well as pre-existing damage. Heading on to Ventura and up to Ojai
Losing track of days flying by. Getting into a joyous rhythm here. Enjoying the peaceful pace. A glimpse into what retirement feels like. Pondering not having to make money! What a shift.
Everything changes. Just when you get a handle on living life, life changes and you need to change it up. I better get good at Bocce Ball if living in Palm Springs!
Been having fun exploring. Not buying anything much. Just looking is exciting enough. Watching what others are buying's new sport to me. I’ve become wary of buying anything. When I sold house in Seattle it took 3 months to clear out stuff. I still have 3 storage units full even though I sold half in garage sales and via Craigslist.
Palm trees are amazing. Everywhere lining the streets. Casting interesting shadows and
dashing sky with beautiful forms. Buildings low to the desert. A sleek village feel. Shops are tastefully packed with stylish stuff. Christmas decor is not over the top here. Tolerable (me not big on Xmas).
About cost of living in Palm Springs. Food costs noticeably more here than anywhere on my 6 month journey. There is Ralphs, Vons, and Costco where I do most grocery shopping. All in all it may be better to eat out at night. Restaurants I’ve checked out are very reasonable. Generous portions. Several times I took extra home. Gas costs more here. Around 2.50/gallon right now. In New Mexico gas was 1.89!!! Don’t know what gas is in Northwest. Buying land here is abstract. You buy the lot but not the land. The land's a patchwork with some offered for lease from Indian tribe. Horizon sells mobile homes for 10-25K. Seems cheap! however, there is an additional monthly rent around $600/month. So, that doesn’t seem like a good deal to me.
There is a city ordinance against parking an RV on an empty lot. Thats what I’d like to do: buy a lot and park a three months every year. If everyone did that it would look ghetto here. Gotta work with the rules. Still sniffing out best deal to park here.
Houses are cheap compared to Seattle. A nice average home can be had for 300k.
Very tempting. Temps get up to 110 in summer. Yikes.
Met with an artist friend from Seattle, John Hansen and wife Jane, in La Quinta. They’ve made a wonderful home there, very comfortable with large backyard and pool.
Was a foreclosed fixer upper. They did the desert landscaping with top notch result.
We hiked in the cove with dogs, drinking in the desert wonder. Great mountains jut up like knives. They invite me for dinner with a couple friends from Idylwild (west over mountain). They are New Yorkers, delightful and intelligent conversation.
The mayor of Idylwild is a Golden Retriever ! Max has a website: www.mayormax.com
What a night life! If I take a nap I can go past 9. Many fun bars to crawl in Palm Springs. Many older faces make me feel welcome. PS could be a great place to retire. Good thing about wheels is you can mix it up, stay or go, enjoying contrasts life has to offer. Total peace and quiet of the wilderness or the busi-ness/culture of city. I have a mobile phone and a mobile home. My mind is becoming mobile centric. Sounds positive. On the other hand there is great comfort having roots. Oxymoron to have both?
Met with Dave Calver again at Koffi, the modern sleek coffee shop near 'The Curve' in south Palm Springs. Dave is like cheese, he has improved with age. Google Dave Calver to see his brilliant artwork. Can’t wait for graphic novel to be published as it will be intriguing masterpiece. I showed him my secret project. He was encouraging.
Been checking tarot cards lately and am amazed by readings. Cards keep telling me to dream. Be myself. Let go of inhibitions. Dispose of hopes and fears. I keep drawing The Star card. Tarot's fun but I don’t put much stock in it. It's good to stop and consider your past present and future time to time.
These dogs've been great companions. Sometimes I think JP and GG are better people than most people. Watching this socio-political crap unfold on TV. People hating each other. Friction and terror are being played in media. People are entertained by this hysteria. Religious war. If you ask me, there’s much more history going on in the present than there should be. People believe a lot of crazy stuff. How’s this for advice? People: Believe what you can observe. Stop believing in tired invisible entities (religion) presented as gods. Destruction is the consequence of your delusions. Irresponsible ‘bearing fruit and multiplying’ is harming Earth. We need to pay attention to nature. Be responsible and respect laws of cause and effect. These old beliefs and superstitions are crippling everyone. Also, stop talking so loud! Stop laughing after everything and anything you say! That alone would improve the world (you know who you are).
Another good thing about RV wheels. Crowd control. I can get away from people as long as I can fill the tank.
I care about beauty, creating art, dogs, football, beer (and wine), travel, money.
You know, I keep trying to engage in conversation and have new experiences. People regurgitate recordings (myself included). All perfectly predictable and boring. I’d like to find a partner to share remainder of life with but I’ve not been able to promise anyone anything. How can anyone own rights to anyone else? Freedom. I have trouble with these basic ideas and thus am destined to be a loner.
Today I’m headed into Desert Hot Springs to nose about. Found a bar called Playoffs to watch Seahawks play the Browns. I’ve learned the hard way that even if one gets Dish it doesn’t mean all games are accessible. Direct TV has all the games available but because of a misleading promotional I nixed Direct TV.
Tonight I’m staying at Two Springs RV Resort. They offer a 2 night stay, free to prospective property buyers. I checked the dozen or so lots for sale. They are about 2500 sq feet. Ample for an RV, storage shed, patio, and place to park a vehicle. The lots are surrounded with tall hedges, surprisingly private. The amenities: big deluxe pool, spa, tennis courts, bocce ball, putting greens, community center. The cost is 35K. A desert oasis. I like the idea of owning the property so I can sell it when done with it. I ask if I'd own the land. No, he said. I'd be buying the lot. Whaaaat?
Ultimately its a lease. Where I come from, when you buy property it belongs to you.
That's not how they sell real estate here in Palm Springs. I guess you're buying access. Sounds too much like a shell game. I'm wary but still considering it. After all, there are 194 lots here and 180 or so are taken. What would happen if this company went bankrupt? These people do not have deeds.
Maybe renting the space when I'm visiting is the obvious answer! That would save me a lot by not buying the lot.
Palm Springs has me in its’ palm. I feel lighter here. Each morning sunshine starts my motor. Can’t help but wondering how gray it must be in Seattle. I miss Seattle a bit when I’m lounging by the pool. Booked a spot at Horizon Village Mobile Home Park in southeast Palm Springs for a month. Loving it. Checking into real estate and possibly living here part of year. Snow bird lifestyle. Met up with an artist friend I knew from Rochester New York. Dave Calver, well known illustrator, very successful, talented, stylish, everything I wanted to be in my earlier manifestation. I was earning a meager living as a newspaper illustrator in Rochester New York, won some journalism awards but never quite “made it” as an illustration career before the profession changed (dried up). I’d been admiring Dave’s wild, totally unique style in the early 80's. First time I called Dave was out of the blue while living in Rochester. Nice guy, down to earth and hip at the same time. Illustrators hardly ever become mainstream famous like “fine artists".
Norman Rockwell. That’s about it. There’s a whole world of illustration which Art Directors and other illustrators know. Most people, like say 85% of folks have not a clue this art world exists. Many people think these pictures are made by machines. Illustration world is a secret society that doesn't want to be secret. Crying to be loved. Begging for attention. Illustration is a trade that keeps cannibalizing itself. An individual talent like DC is refreshing and rare. He's a regular guy, not full of himself. No act or persona. Humble and insightful, good sense of humor (laughs at my jokes). We made an art exchange back in 1984. He has one of my “Joe Nose” suites (Finger Lakes printmaking award in 1984). I selected 3 or 4 of his spot illustrations (from hundreds) and gave the best one away to an artist friend who is a big Dave Calver fan. I think Bart introduced me to Calvers' work. So we meet again after 30 years or so, at Koffi, the stereotypical, hippest, modern coffee shop you will ever sip. We talked for a few hours about everything: art, love, money, future, aging, plans. He’s very happy here in Palm Springs with his love of 30 something years. Dave says the editorial illustration business as we knew it has dried up. No wonder I bowed out and took a different path! (Could have beat that dead horse and been living on welfare).
Teaching in Seattle bought me some time to re-invent myself.
Still many new opportunities for illustrators out there! One must be adaptable to changing tastes and trends. I suggest new opportunities to him including licensing and manufacturing products with his art. DC, you’re an inspiration!.
Check out this interview: www.pencilkings.com/dave-calver
I hunker down in PS. Begin relaxing. Staying close to new “home”. Feeling good about being lazy. Checking best times to sit in spa and swim in pool to avoid crowds. Turns out maintenance and managing team at Horizon Village Mobile Home Park are folks I knew in Seattle, on Capitol Hill ! John was a regular bartender at Encore! He seems to remember me when I mention I use to carry a sketchbook, drawing crowds (pun). His partner, Kurt seems familiar to me also. John is friendly, talkative, and large personality. Good to see him again.
The Araby Trail traverses the rocky mountain face right outside my front door.
Perfect for walking dogs. Don’t need to haul them across town to go hiking. Bob Hopes’ famous home shines with Hollywood glow. Elegant Palms line the private gated drive to top.
We walk the steep trail a mile closer and feel the vibe radiate from round building, known by locals as the parachute building. Landscaping is awesome. Everywhere in Palm Springs, landscaping awesome. I sketch the mountain and notice a correlation: geological strata coincides with economic strata. Higher you go on the hill the richer the homes are. Starting on the street level with homeless people pushing grocery carts, moving up to mobile home ghetto and to RV’s and trailers, then higher to a layer of modest homes, higher up to next level of classic well kept mid century-modern, higher still to noticeably fewer and more expensive/expansive mansions and on to a few gems on mountain tip-top. The diamond is Bob Hopes former spread. Who knew being a funny man can put you on top of the pile? Biggest joke is the trickle-down economy Reagan sold us on. This mountain could be a portrait of Palm Springs and caste system in America.
Horizon Village Mobile Park reminds me of a once adored actress, plastic surgery failing and hot flashes flashing. Grounds are well landscaped and maintained but gravity is winning. The trailers themselves are not elegant from outside. Some look like third world shacks. Some are charmingly decorated. Tiny desert garden plots, carefully tended, teem with various succulents, trellised bougainvillea, patio areas of stones, trashy yard ornaments, light strings, sculptures, fountains, and you name it, a real mix here. Exciting and tacky. At night the trailer park's transformed! Dramatic lighting effects are magical. All the ticky-tacky is cloaked by the night. Kurt said it reminds him of gay ghetto on Capitol Hill, which no longer exists. Theres a nice pool area, spa, and relaxing fountain. Streets in this park are named after planets: Neptune, Saturn, Sun, Rigel, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus. Other parks have themes too; Sahara Park with streets like Oasis, Caravan, Safari,Tangiers, Nile, and Cairo.
Days here in PS fly by, filled with sunshine. Contrasted by nights bone chillingly cold!
I draw a little each day on my secret project and doodle in sketchbook.
Seattle Seahawks prevail! Just barely over Steelers. Still have a shot at playoffs. I’m jazzed about that. Minnesota should be a tough test this Sunday. If Hawks lose, I cannot afford investing anymore emotional energy...I’ll have to wean myself! I still have faith.
I take a drive north to Morongo Valley, curious about PS outlying areas, curious if buying a half acre and fixing it up to accommodate an RV would be an option.
Buying land in Palm Springs is a thought worthy of investigation. Love this place.
Take highway 62 through field dotted with hundreds of monumental windmills and up to mountains. Morongo is a rough and rugged small town in a valley. Most roads are unpaved hard dirt.
There is a sign saying Art Colony Gallery Show. So I stop in for a look. There are 2 women, an elderly man, and a sweet Yorkshire terrier.
This art says “look how groovy and free we are". Looks like fun. I’m glad they give me space and pretend to ignore me. I leave after a polite amount of time.
I continue on through Yucca Valley (very nice place) and on to Joshua Tree. I could live in either place as there is mix of ample amenities and open space. Hills are beautiful and barren at the same time. Need to check real estate listings for an idea of property prices. Heading back through Yucca Valley I turn toward Pioneer town about 5 miles up through the canyon. Entire town’s a western movie set still available for filming. Another tourist attraction. Why do I love this stuff? Dunno. Its just old dilapidated building fronts. Weather worn gray planking, false front buildings, lace curtains, carts, the signage, the corral, the barns; it all adds up to a way of life passed by. Somewhat famous restaurant, Pappy & Harriets is closed today.
Travel back to Palm Springs with new information about surrounding land to north of PS.
With Kurt as guide we visit Thursday night street fair in Palm Springs. We take free bus called The Buzz. Main street is closed off and tents line both sides of street. The place is half bustling. Kurt says it's usually packed with people this time of year. We stop into Legends of Palm Springs, the bar where John is tending. John wants to introduce me to a gallery owner, trying to do me a favor. I thank him but not looking for gallery representation.
I excuse myself to use the bathroom. Sometimes its difficult to explain these things and it really doesn’t matter to explain these things so I’ve learned to not explain. Most people think an artist needs a gallery. I've forged my own way, not caring to have notoriety. More concerned with earning a living.
Kurt and I walk the street show. I’m looking for products similar to ones I produce and find one booth which sells products along the same line as what I sell. I can offer a better product at half the price should I be motivated to do this. We wind up night with a glass of wine at Legends and ride back to Horizon Park.
Palm Springs Art Museum
Some of my favorites on view.
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