It’s warm…what?


So here’s the deal. This post is mostly photos of adorable succulents and cacti.  No apologies. Of course there is some polo, Big Horned sheep, flowers, James and guacamole thrown in as well, so don’t say I didn’t warn you…

In February we headed down to the Palm Springs area for a glimpse of sunshine. Somehow we planned it just perfectly to miss another one of Oregon’s unusual “snowpocalypse” weeks. Whew!

Each time we’re there, we try to find something new, a place we haven’t gone to or a sight we haven’t seen yet.

This time around, our travel goals included the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cacterium, Ace Hotel, some local lakes, the Salton Sea, and some unexpected finds along the way…

Don’t miss this place! It’s a fantastic gem.

For some reason I keep wanting to type this as “Oregon Pipe Cactus”…

These little fuzzies…nestled in the lava.

Poor James, after the first cacti he sniffed, he learned to appreciate from a distance.

Teeny little pineapples, I’m telling you!

Just a burned and rotted old tree, but how cool are its xylem fibers?

Cells? Waves? Beautiful.

Entering the sanctum…

I’m going out on a limb here and guessing this is coral cacti? One of my favs.

Special breed? Or just confused?

It’s a mini alligator!!

The “Escapee”

How are these even real? It looks like an alien plant!

Sweet little barrel cacti (and a little twist).


This is in the Aloe family. Colors are so striking- even its bark!

A work of art.

Another unique tree bark. Probs wouldn’t climb that one.

So, the owner swore these fossils are the real deal. I have no reason to think he would be lying, but they just seem too perfect. But they are lovely regardless!

How I would have loved to bring back some of these sweeties with me. Alas, James leaves little room in my carry-on.

We stopped by the iconic ACE Hotel in Palm Springs. I’ve seen so many photos of it in editorials as well as documented by friends. It was too cold (in our opinion) to patronize the pool, so we settled for wandering around.  And a cocktail or two.

Why thanks, don’t mind if we do.

Loved the tandem bikes! James would have fit nicely in the basket. Hmmm… I’m liking this idea for the Bikeshare.

A bit of zen in Palm Springs.

James insisted on a hipster photo.

That was some tasty guacamole. Definitely would recommend it…

Cheers to sun!!

Near to where we stay in La Quinta is Lake Cahuilla, a man-made lake and RV park. We thought it would be fun to check out. The lake wasn’t all that much to speak of, typical desert/gravel/water. But the ranger told us that occasionally Big Horn sheep make their way out of the surrounding hills and walk amongst the campsites.  By happy chance, on our way out we spotted the elusive little Ovis aries nestled among the cliffs.

These photos were taken on my phone, so please forgive the pixilated quality for the zoomed-in photos. The sheep have some bomb camouflage, but once you know they are there it’s easy.


On to the Salton Sea!!

What a sad, sad place.

The story (in brief) of the Salton Sea is that of human error. In 1905 engineers repeatedly omitted implementing floodgates when they created intake gorges from the Colorado river as irrigation for the desert that needed water for crops.  Because of neglecting to add the floodgates, and because the Salton Sea is a closed drainage basin that only flows one way: in, the salt concentration has only increased over the years.

In the 50’s and 60’s the Salton Sea area was a massive tourist attraction. At the height of its popularity, the Sea brought in more tourists annually than Yosemite.  The increased salinity as well as run-off from agricultural waste, etc. has led to the death of thousands of fish and other biodiverse life that had called this lake home.

A few residents remain, but the place is a shadow- a shell of it’s former glory. It’s a reminder of human error and its consequences.

There is a hauntingly eerie quietness; silence where life should be.

We found one person, passing through like we were.

One of the thousands of fish skeletons.

There must have been an amateur arsonist making frequent visits. In one of the abandoned trailer parks, there were large areas of completely torched homes. Lots of graffiti. And then random places like this. Nice touch!


Back in Palm Springs we headed out for brunch a time or two. While I can’t say much for Cheeky’s as a restaurant (poor service, mediocre food and extraordinary wait times- seriously), their coffee was superb and their pastries were top-notch. The outdoor patio was nice too.

(Although, we may have simply been starving to death…)

Another thing that Palm Springs has: Polo!!

Not your average little league, that’s for sure. We visited the local Eldorado Polo Club and Evan discovered some numbers from a member. For a team of 6, monthly dues total about $15,000. Pocket change, right?

As we sat watching the practice match, the sidelines held my attention almost as much as the field. Each player had a horse trailer with several additional horses waiting. When one would tire, they would swap out for a fresh horse. Each player had a full staff: a couple of handlers, someone to cool the horses down, etc.  And can you imagine all the training and upkeep of those horses on a yearly basis?!

It’s definitely a royal sport. No pun intended.

Back at home… Evan and James, heading out for some golf.

The flowers are always so bright and cheery.

I know, pup. I don’t want to leave either.

We have a favorite spot we like to watch the sunset from. I sure do like these guys.

Happy birthday James! He turned 2 on our last day there. A hamburger cake with parmesan sprinkles- yum!

All snug for the ride home.

James, using the facilities.

Did you know? Portland airport now has a relief area for pooches! Thanks, PDX!