Thursday, February 12, 2009

Last Stop: The Desert

Here she is again. I don't get to see her often enough so she merits another public display of love and affection, still in the dress her great grandmother made. Hannah is one of my favorite people on the planet, and I think her smile explains why. We said goodbye in Seattle, where she lives, probably to meet up next in New England, where I live.
JB and I headed for LA, where we stayed for one night in this luxurious room. The Marriott Hotels have the best beds ever: hard mattresses with soft covers. Many years ago JB and I bought a Marriott vacation timeshare, which essentially means, since it's paid off, that for a yearly membership fee, we can check in for free. And we do.
ValGal lives in the most beautiful area. I won't risk her privacy except to show these towering cypress trees which spike up everywhere along the streets and hills, looking so stately and proud. These happened to be to the left of some one's driveway.
We drove for several hours toward Palm Springs and Palm Desert, where we would stay for the remainder of our vacation, complete with sun, pool, Mexican food, and lazy days and leisurely books. We are indeed in the desert, as you will see. Driving for miles along a flat desert highway, we were shocked to be surrounded by these structures, by the hundreds, lined up in rows over miles of dry desert land:

I don't know if these shots show you how actually erie the whole scene looked: like some futuristic sci fi movie. I've never seen anything like it, and I later learned these modern "windmills" will power the entire city of Palm Springs and the surrounding valley. If you're interested, here's a lesson in energy conservation:
Increasingly popular as alternative sources of energy, wind turbine generators are a type of windmill that produces electricity by harnessing the wind. Wind turbine generators are much less harmful to the environment than burning fossil fuels, but they do require average wind speeds of at least 21 km/h (13 mph). The largest of these windmills stands 150 feet tall with blades half the legend of a football field. The compartments at the top containing the generator, hub and gearbox weigh 30,000 to 45,000 pounds. A wind turbine's cost can range upwards to $300,000 and can produce 300 kilowatts an hour - the amount of electricity used by a typical household in a month. Almost all of the currently installed wind electric generation capacity is in California. The high-tech megatowers are engineered in cooperation with NASA and nursed by federal and state subsidies. This wind farm on the San Gorgonio Mountain Pass in the San Bernadino Mountains contains more than 4000 separate windmills and provides enough electricity to power Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley.
And now I'll let the desert and the mountains speak for themselves:

Tomorrow we head home. We're leaving a day early because of an unexpected and very sad death in our family (my nephew). It's been a strange vacation for that reason alone. Plus I've found that I'm not a big fan of the desert. I like lush and lively a lot more. Still, a week away is a good thing. And if you're lucky, heading home is even better.


  1. so sorry to hear about your nephew - is that Hannah's brother? Condolences to the family.

    The desert pictures are wonderful, I too love a lush landscape but have found that the desert has it's own beauty and serenity, and the heat is so healing at times.

    Welcome back home.

  2. Wow you covered some ground in a short week. So, so sorry to hear of your nephew, please accept my condolences. I agree re lush vs the desert but it's nice to see how the other half lives.

  3. Sorry to read your sad news (hugs)

    I LOVED the photographs :D

    We have a windfarm here but our looks a bit different don't you think?

  4. It's like I was on the road with you! I drove from Pacific Grove to Palm Desert (9 hours)and I remember those windmills. It's quite a sight to see when you turn the bend! They unfortunately kill alot of wonderful hawks and eagles and smaller birds though, so the animal right's folks fight with environmentalists.

    You've captured the desert beautifully. I enjoy it for short stays, but I'm with you on lushness. Besides, I need the ocean!

    How tragic for your family. I'll keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.


  5. Very sorry to hear of your loss, I hope you have a safe journey home, its been wonderful to be along on your Road Trip! Be good to yourselves, (((Hugs)))

  6. Heading Home sounds like a painting or a story :) Have a saf journey and my thoughts are with you.

  7. I am so sorry to hear about your nephew. I send my condolences to you and your family.

    What a great trip you've had, though! I am envious that you got to Val! I enjoyed looking at all your pictures... al;most like a little vacation in themselves:)

  8. So mixed - I'm so sorry about your nephew and also glad you had a good visit with your niece. Safe journey home!

  9. Thanks for the photos - lovely - like being there ... almost. Sorry about the sad news. Hope the trip back goes well.

  10. KJ -- I'm so sorry to hear about your nephew! I'm sending lots of love and warmth to you and JB. I'm really glad you two were able to get away on this trip -- the photos have been a lot of fun to see! Take good care and have a safe trip home. xo

  11. Hannah is a very good looking woman. I love her smile indeed.
    I'm sorry to hear about your nephew.

  12. mim, thanks, thanks, and thanks again.

    baino, i am taking you along on all my travels. and i like that alot!

    miladysa, i'm off to check out your windfarms!

    lo, lush oceans. me too!

    lavender, care to join me for a cup of tea? :)

    val, love, love love

  13. carla, meeting val was tremendous! she is a total doll. i remember i felt the same way when i first met you...

    cs, i'm home. exhausted, and finally home.

    chief, how are you?! i saw your review on amazon. thanks a zillion.

    melissa, i miss you...

    peter, how nice to hear from you! yes, hannah's smile matches her vibrant energy and personality.

  14. Love to, Ive got the kettle on :)