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Back Home in Palm Springs

June 30th, 2017

Back Home in Palm Springs

          Tessa and I navigated The Rambo RV down the mountain and are now back home in Palm Springs. We returned in the late afternoon. The heat wave that hit when the RV door was opened felt like standing in front of a roaring fire or an open oven. Compared to the 90s temperatures we left in the Silent Valley Club RV resort, the heat in Palm Springs was not particularly pleasant.

          We’ve both since recovered from flirting with possible heatstroke and have become accustomed to the cooler 80 degrees temperature inside the residence. We’re both hardy types and are ready for almost anything (so long as it’s not outdoors).

          Tessa really enjoyed our time in the mountain community. We took many long walks and she was able to spend lots of time outdoors guarding our campsite from marauding bunny rabbits, noisy squirrels, chattering birds, occasional deer, a fleeting coyote and the unseen creatures of the night. She’s proving to be a great guard doggy who is possessed of excellent vocal chords that produce vast quantities of high-pitched sound.

          Tessa’s routine at home often consists of resting so that she can be ready should there be need of her services. The photos show her in one of the many resting modes she favors.

Bond Shands
June 30, 2017
My Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
Personal Facebook page – www.Facebook.com/Bond.Shands
Desert Political Opinion blog – www.Facebook.com/DesertObserver
Twitter – @BondShands

Silent Valley Weekend Camping Report

June 25th, 2017

Silent Valley Weekend Camping Report

Friday afternoon Tessa and I drove The Rambo up the mountain road to the Silent Valley Club private membership RV/motor home resort. Located ten miles south of Banning, it’s only a forty-five minute drive from Palm Springs. The trip in our RoadTrek Zion RV was uneventful with both streets and highways free of traffic impediments. The weekend goal was to escape the 117 degree heat in the Coachella Valley. Our quest was rewarded by the 90 degree weather we encountered on the mountainside.

Immediately following arrival we found a campsite suitable for The Rambo. Afterwards Tessa and I checked into the membership office to record our campsite space. The next step was to setup camp which consisted of hooking up the fresh water, power and sewer connections. Next came setting up the screened gazebo over the picnic table, adding ground covers and setting out chairs.

As the setup chores neared completion an ongoing disaster became noticeable. Large amounts of water under The Rambo began to appear. Looking underneath the vehicle it became clear the water was coming from inside. Opening the side door water could be seen pouring from the galley sink. The water faucet had been left turned on (was it Tessa’s doing?). The grey water holding tank had completely filled and with no place else to go the water made its way through the galley cabinets below the sink. It required two hours effort to rescue and dry utensils, cookware, drawer, shelves and RV floor. None of the paper goods survived and the soaked contents of my seven-day pill box became worthless. Fortunately I had another supply of the single important pill in the bunch.

Next morning following a 5 am walk with Tessa (60 degrees temperature) we returned to The Rambo for breakfast. That’s when the second and even more significant disaster became apparent. I opened the pantry and discovered no coffee! No COFFEE! I can’t remember when I started a day without coffee. The hour was a few minutes after 6 am and, while there’s a General Store in the Community Center, it wasn’t yet open. I was the store’s first patron at 8 am. The store only carried Folger regular and decaf ground coffee – at $8.99 for an 11.3 oz container. I’m a Starbucks or Gevalia coffee drinker but when the choice is Folgers or nothing I didn’t hesitate.

Yesterday (Saturday) the little pub in the Community Center offered a 2 to 5 pm wine tasting along with appetizers for $15. I was fortunate to find seating at a table with a husband and wife from Desert Hot Springs. The couple are French Canadian who have lived in the US over 30 years – and are still apologizing for their accent which I suspect is more of a conversation starter than a necessity. She doesn’t drink wine and was having water. He, on the other hand, appeared to be a wine connoisseur. I, on the other hand, can distinguish between red and white wines, but more subtle distinctions often escape me. My table mates proved to be excellent conversationalists. As a single glass of wine a day consumer (notice I didn’t say connoisseur) the number of wines we tasted soon exceeded my normal daily quotient. Fortunately I wasn’t driving and the walk up the hill back to The Rambo served to put me on the road towards manageable sobriety. Later in the evening there was a free Rock Group performance that lasted until 10 pm. The musical sounds were heard throughout the resort so it wasn’t necessary to be in the crowd in order to “enjoy” the performance. I was content to listen from the comfort of our campsite.

The Silent Valley Club resort has 850 campsites spread under trees covering more than 400 acres. It’s a great favorite of families with youngsters for the kids can safely swim, bike, run and play in a welcoming environment. The resort campsites are grouped into seven lettered areas (A through F). Sections A and C are adjacent to the Family Center building and pool. Those sections appear to be about 80% occupied by families with tents, trailers and large mobile homes. Section B includes both the highest and lowest site elevations in the resort. It has few sewage hookups and for that reason has the fewest numbers of campers occupying spaces. Sections D, E and F are closest to the Adult Community Center building and pool. These sections also contain some of the more open areas lacking tree shade coverage. It appears these sections are 60 or 70 % occupied. Today The Rambo campsite is in Section E.

There are seven Comfort Stations spread throughout the resort. All are clean and I happen to really like showering in them. The water is much softer than in Palm Springs and the high water pressure shower spray is fantastic. The resort has its own water supplies from wells on the property so aren’t under the water restriction requirements found in the Coachella Valley desert communities. I could stand under the Comfort Station shower forever.

Tessa and I walk the three-mile perimeter road twice daily. It’s not a level ground walk and the up and down makes for a more challenging excursion. One road climb in Section B is referred to by staff members as Cardiac Hill. Have to confess I’m always a bit short of breath every time the top is reached. I also bike the perimeter road – but in a direction opposite the walks. That’s so I can manage the “easy” side of Cardiac Hill.

Verizon is the only public cell phone service available though Southern California Telephone offers a $5 daily subscription service. The resort offers free Wi-Fi available at each of the three service centers. My cell phone provider uses AT&T so I walk to one of the centers and use Wi-Fi for my Internet connection needs. Have tried the Southern California Telephone option but the Valley trees interfere with the signal and service is spotty.

I’m writing this report while sitting in the shade outside The Rambo. Since I’m not linked to the Internet my iPad’s Siri dictation option is not available to me. That’s required me to write with one finger, one letter at a time. Have now added to my list to check the iPad keyboards when we return home (purchased for an earlier iPad model) and see if one will work on the iPad I’m now using.

It seems like everyone camping in the Resort is friendly and helpful. We met the two ladies in the campsite opposite us across the road. They’re here from Arizona but are closing on a condominium second home in Palm Springs. Have enjoyed meeting them and benefited from their kindness.

Tessa, who has been barking at every passing dog, person, people or vehicle, sends her love. She still hopes to catch one of the bunny rabbits, squirrels, deer (we spotted two early this morning), birds or the cunning kitty cat we encountered. She’s taken my “suggestions” that barking may not get her many favorite camper votes, under advisement. As for “under advisement”, I suspect that’s akin to File 13 disposition.

Yesterday we had a little cloud cover but today the skies are clear and a beautiful blue in color. Don’t wish to waste any more of it on this report. Will now take a break, go shower, have a bite of lunch and then walk down to the Community Center and post this to my Facebook page.

Bond and Tessa (and The Rambo)
June 25, 2017
My Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
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Desert Political Opinion blog – www.Facebook.com/DesertObserver
Twitter – @BondShands

Another Weekend in the Silent Valley RV Resort

June 15th, 2017

.          Tomorrow, bright and early, well…..certainly bright but perhaps not so early, The  Rambo, Tessa and I will be heading up the mountain for a 4 day weekend escape from the heat. Although unplanned, we’ll be returning in time for Tuesday’s predicted 120 degree temperatures.

.          We’ll be staying (again) at the Silent Valley Club RV Resort a few miles north of the little Idyllwild-Pine Grove community. The tree-shaded valley Club altitude is just below 4,000 ft which, hopefully, will escape the high Coachella valley temperatures predicted from now through next Wednesday.

.          When we arrive The Rambo will be attached to water, power and sewage. Our home on wheels will then be ready for occupancy. Tessa enjoyed our last visit and one of the reasons may be the number of walks we take together. The perimeter walk around the resort is about three miles and there are also a number of other roads and paths to explore.

.          Our Silent Valley Club resort stay will be a freebie the Club provides in exchange for listening to a 90 minute presentation on purchase of a Club membership. It’s still too early in RV ownership to consider which, if any, resort memberships to purchase. Last week I attended a “high pressure” two-hour sales presentation at the Cherry Valley RV resort in Beaumont. I was surprised at the membership asking price which amounted to many thousands of dollars for a 6 year, or longer, membership. Probably should add I didn’t find the Cherry Valley grounds particularly attractive and have no plans to take advantage of the free nights offered in exchange for listening to the presentation. Am hoping the Silent Valley Club presentation will provide a better understanding of the benefits, etc., of membership in an RV resort.

.          Looking forward to tomorrow’s planned brief escape from high temperatures. Am taking some German Chocolate Cake with me to assist my survival at the higher altitude.

.          In the photo of Tessa, taken on Flag Day, she’s practicing for our upcoming weekend excursion.

 
Bond Shands
June 15, 2017
My Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
Personal Facebook page – www.Facebook.com/Bond.Shands
Desert Political Opinion blog – www.Facebook.com/DesertObserver
Twitter – @BondShands 

 Silent Valley Club RV Outing Report

June 4th, 2017

 
          Earlier today little Tessa doggy and I returned from a three-day/two-night outing in the new RoadTrek 2016 Zion RV. It was our first road trip in the RV and almost everything about the excursion was a new experience. Just the actual vehicle driving proved something of a challenge, for it’s a 20 ft long RAM ProMaster 3500 cargo van weighing over 9,000 lbs. I’m accustomed to the ease of handling provided by my little sports car. Navigating the freeway, city streets, winding highway up the mountain and then down another winding highway in the RoadTrek certainly qualified, for me, at least, as a bit of a challenge. Nevertheless, no serious road problems occurred (other than stopping to close cabinets, etc., that I had failed to securely lock). 

          We visited the Silent Valley Club private recreational resort up the San Jacinto mountain above Banning, CA. The resort is in a wooded valley just below the 4,000 ft level. It has 850 campsites on 460 acres and offers a huge assortment of amenities including Heated Pool & Spa, Restaurant, Lounge, Snack Bar, Adult & family Centers, General Store, Laundromat, Arcade Room, Pool tables, Tennis & Basketball Courts, Miniature Golf, Saunas, Shuffleboard, Horseshoes, and Volleyball. There are many Comfort Stations together with Shower & Bath facilities spread throughout the resort grounds (excellent shower water pressure). There’s a playground for children, a doggy park, Tram Service, Fishing Lake (or Pond), and support services including Ranger Station, Fire House, and First Aid Station. The Silent Valley Club is a membership organization owned and operated by leasehold dues-paying members (starting at $999.00 for one year) who enjoy various incentives that accompany leasehold ownership.

          The weekend event was sponsored by the Great Outdoors Palm Springs chapter and there were 36 member campers in our group. Some came in motor homes, of all sizes, and others were staying in tents they brought. Our organized activities included hikes, a visit to a distant Fire Lookout Tower, a Friday meet-and-greet with an overflowing appetizer table, a Saturday potluck dinner, again filled with an overflowing table of food, and evening social time around a gas log round centerpiece fireplace. Tessa and I also managed our daily walks which consisted of three-mile treks around the Resort’s outer rim.

          We had a very nice time and reluctantly left the 80 degree weather and returned to 100+ temperatures in Palm Springs. Tessa made many new friends and received lots of attention. She seemed to be having an even better time than me. She also proved to be a good traveling companion both in the vehicle, in camp and during our many walks throughout the resort grounds. Nevertheless, I sensed our return home was one she really appreciated. As for me, well, spending a weekend without a dishwasher, automatic garbage disposal, cable TV, cell phone service, Internet and other necessities reminded me what it was like to substitute the comforts of home for the challenges of outdoor camping. I’m a happy survivor and proud to claim entitlement as one with an adventurous spirit and not above doing without life’s necessities (for a short space of time). 😆

          Didn’t take a lot of photos. The ones I remembered to take included members gathered around the food table, our RoadTrek RV in its assigned space and Tessa inside the RV looking out through the door screen.

     

Bond Shands
June 4, 2017
My Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
Personal Facebook page – www.Facebook.com/Bond.Shands
Desert Political Opinion blog – www.Facebook.com/DesertObserver
Twitter – @BondShands