Palm Springs to Tucson

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August 20th 2012
Published: August 23rd 2012
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Mount San Jacinto NPMount San Jacinto NPMount San Jacinto NP

cable car ride
20th Aug ’12 Hollywood to Palm Springs

Today we had to collect the hire car and all we knew was it was to be picked up at LAX airport. So we got the metro to Union Station and the Flyaway bus to the airport, luckily the driver knew that we should get off at terminal one for the car rental places.

After leaping onto a hertz bus and being told we needed to get off and go downstairs, we finally found the right place and the right Hertz bus. Soon we had our car and began negotiating our way out of LA. Luckily Howard had sussed the route out last night and using his written instructions we managed it really well, which was a big relief.

So we had the air con blasting and were on the road to Palm Springs, I fell asleep and woke up just as we were arriving into the town. What a nice place, everything looks clean, there are no high rises and there are palm trees with odd fringes everywhere.

After finding our motel and cooling off for a bit we went out to see the Mount San Jacinto National Park. There is a cable car ride up to the top and the car is unique in that revolves so everyone gets a view of everything, It was a long way up and passed 5 towers which caused a slight bump and a bit of rocking and elicited lots of squeals and shrieks from the passengers, ha ha. Howard and this german bloke seemed to be in competition for who could take the most pictures out of the few open windows as they came round and in the process practically decapitate me (the floor moved, the windows didn’t and they wouldn’t bring their arms in until the last second).

At the top there were views down and across the desert valley and all the sand coloured mountians. As it was so hot though everything was covered in a heat haze. Still we did the Desert Loop Trail (fortunately it was cooler up at the top) and looked out at each of the 5 viewpoints at the valley, mountains and heat haze. Then we walked back through the pine forest and clmbed back up the spiral walkway only having to stop twice for oxygen.

We had bought ride and dine tickets so we got our tea in the canteen at the top, it was ok but I can think of other things I would have rather have eaten for 12 dollars.

After gazing at the view a while longer we got the car down, with even more squeals and noises as it appeared we were going back faster. Then we drove back to Palm Springs looking with disbelief at the number of people who were out jogging up the road towards the mountain – ok the sun was going down but it was still unbelievably hot. We stopped in the town to see the giant statue of Marilyn Monroe that is part of a touring exhibition entitled Forever Marilyn, it was impressive! I hadn’t realised that she was ‘discovered’ here in Palm Springs at the Raquet Club and that by the 1960s she had a home here with her second husband, so it seemed very appropriate that the statue was here for a while.

A trip to Walmart for pop supplies rounded off the evening.

21st Aug ’12 Palm Springs to Tucson

8am at already it’s too hot! A long 400 odd mile drive toady and its’ all desert, passing through Phoenix and several Indian Reservations all baking and shimmering in the heat. The ground, hills and mountains all look really parched and dry and the road just goes on forever. We made a couple of brief stops but it is just too hot to hang around outside.

So we eventually arrived in Tucson where it is still boiling hot but there are also a few spots of rain. The TV announced flash flood warnings also. We are staying in the Ramada and they have much friendlier and helpful staff than the one at Calgary but it’s not as posh – well it is a motel.

We ate at The Hog Roast which is right next door to us and the food was heavenly! On the menu they have the Hog Challenge, which is only for the competition and only for one person. You have to eat 1lb of hamburger, 1lb of brisket, 1lb of pulled pork all served on Texas Toast with a pickle on top in addition to 1lb of fries, the whole lot to be eaten within 30 minutes! 86 people have tried it and only 1 has succeeded – this tiny little slip of a girl, who did it in 12 minutes 45 seconds and then apparently finished off her dad’s macaroni salad!! If you win you get the meal free, a certificate and entered on the wall of fame. Now if it wasn’t for the 1lb of hamburger I reckon I could do it and Howard is convinced he could but doesn’t want to end up feeling sick, I still think he should try!

22nd Aug ’12 Tucson

It’s raining!!! It’s still bloody hot though! Today is a rest day (hoorah!) so we are doing very little, just catching up with stuff and lazing. However it stops raining at lunchtime so we are going out to……..yet another National Park, however this one is only 9 miles away and has a circular drive through, so that’s not so bad.

So we visited Saguaro NP which until we arrived I had no idea was referring to cactus! So we did the drive, stopped and took pictures of the various cactus and some of them are enormous! We even saw the rare and famous double crested Saguaro. It all looked very Wild West and made a nice change from mountains and trees – even though there were very tall, very jaggedy mountains in the distance still and tall cliffs that should have had a tribe of Indians on horseback looking down on the cactus and valley.

Then that was it, no more driving about just back to the motel!

Additional photos below
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Saguaro NPSaguaro NP
Saguaro NP

Rare double crested one

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