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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
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 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
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Tessa – Back from Doggy Beauty Parlour

May 31st, 2017

.          Yesterday her doggy ladyship, Contessa Le Rouge, spent much of the day visiting the local Doggy Beauty Parlour. While there Tessa received a shampoo, brushing, designer hair styling and then finished off with an appropriate Eau de Cologne misting.

.          We’ve since engaged in a few walks in the neighborhood where Tessa managed to greet friends, old and new, who we encountered along the way. All reported how gorgeous, beautiful and wonderful she looked – and, true to form, her “customary” humility had been left home. She acted as if the encounter was one of royalty graciously greeting her public.

.          She allowed me to photograph her during a moment’s rest. The moment didn’t last long for wet grass and other doggy pursuits were calls she felt the need to answer.

  

    

.          Tessa and I will be spending our weekend at the Silent Valley Club recreational vehicle park up the mountain above Banning, CA. It will be the first outing in our new RoadTrek Zion Recreational Vehicle motorhome and we’re looking forward to the excursion. The RV is one of the smaller Class B designs (20 ft long) but includes many of civilization’s basic requirements to sustain life (cooking area, bathroom with shower, refrigerator, beds, TV and DVD, air conditioning, outside awning, closets and other storage, sound system, etc.). I’ve always enjoyed adventures, roughing it along with other mental and physical trials. This particular challenge, while new, is one I’m prepared to embrace along with the beer, wine and other necessities of life we’ll be carrying in the refrigerator, during the time we’ll be away from Cable TV and hi-speed Internet. Fortunately the park offers Wi-Fi and the RV has an antenna for capturing broadcast digital TV signals – but, like I said, no Cable TV. Yep – it’s definitely a case of roughing it, but Tessa and I are ready for the challenge.
 

Bond Shands
May 31, 2017
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Painted Rock Canyon Hike

February 26th, 2017

          Yesterday I joined my neighbors, Anna and Tom, for a Docent-led hike in Whitewater Preserve’s beautiful Painted Rock Canyon. I’d previously hiked the same route in January with Great Outdoors Palm Springs members. That hike occurred following earlier heavy rains and high water in the canyon’s stream prevented us from hiking the canyon’s full length.

          We met others near the Whitewater Preserve Ranger Station at 9:00 am. There were 17 members in our group including Bob, the Docent hike leader, and Kyle, a Ranger who acted as hiker “sweep” in the rear. All were warmly dressed and carried appropriate hiking gear. Skies were clear, a slight breeze felt with temperatures moderately cool and comfortably “just right” for hiking.

            Painted Rock Canyon Views

          Painted Rock Canyon is a rather narrow one that’s less than two miles in length. The hike to the canyon’s alluvial fan entrance is a mile, or so, from the Ranger Station. The path becomes rocky and gradually steeper as the canyon walls begin to narrow along the route. Two of the canyon’s noteworthy features are some “painted” rocks along the way and a waterfall at the canyon’s higher end. Along the way, Mother Nature’s rainbow-stripe rocks that we saw proved worthy of their “painted rock” designation.

                         Rainbow Rocks

                         Rainbow Rocks

          Water flowed in the stream running down the canyon and the path crossed it more than a dozen times. However, the water level was not high enough to impede our progress and we reached trail’s end and the waterfall area by midday. After spending time taking photos we moved a short distance away and stopped for a snack break.

          Retracing our steps down canyon we often paused for photos of the canyon walls, rocks and views towards the canyon exit. A brief pause was made to view a large rock sculpture next to the path. Others had built it and a close inspection revealed several interesting features. We left it untouched and continued our route until we arrived back at the Whitewater Preserve headquarters and parking lot around 2:30 pm.

     Rock Sculpture & Canyon Stream

          It was a very nice hike. All in our group proved to be good hikers and none failed to navigate the sometimes rocky path, stream crossings or other obstacles encountered along the way. We appear to have been the last canyon group starting that morning for, though we encountered a half-dozen groups during our hike up the canyon, we saw none during our return. The Painted Rock Canyon route proved to be an enjoyable hike. It’s a nice midday outing, provides a welcome relief from asphalt and concrete, and certainly qualifies as credit-worthy cardiovascular exercise.

Bond Shands
February 26, 2017
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Valentine’s Day City Loop Bicycle Ride

February 15th, 2017

          The Valentine’s Day GOPS bicycle ride in Palm Springs began with a tour of Smoke Tree Village and Smoke Tree Commons shopping centers. Following an exit into the Araby Commons neighborhood the route crossed East Palm Canyon Drive before reaching El Cielo Rd. Riding north the group of eight riders passed Palm Springs Baptist Church and crossed over a Tahquitz Creek filled with fast-moving snow melt from Mt. San Jacinto.

          Continuing past Mesquite Golf Course the route passed Civic Center’s Palm Springs International Airport terminal, Riverside County Courthouse, City Hall and the Dog Park. Next followed Alejo and Cerritos Roads which allowed passage through several Palm Springs recognized neighborhoods including Sunmor, Sunrise Park, Oasis del Sol, Sunrise Vista Chino, and Vista Norte. A crossing of Vista Chino near the Stater Brothers shopping center to Via Esquela marked the northern point in the ride.

          Heading south on the Avenida Caballeros’ gradual downhill bike lane, a detour in the Movie Colony neighborhood made it possible to view the famous Robolights home on Granvia Valmonte. Afterwards the route crossed through downtown on Amado Rd past the Palm Springs Convention Center, Spa Resort Casino, new Spa Resort parking structure, U.S. Main Post Office, O’Donnell Golf Club, Palm Springs Art Museum, and the Desert Fashion Plaza construction site. Continuing south via Cahuilla and Belardo Roads, through the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood, riders passed Casa Cody Bed & Breakfast, Palm Springs Women’s Club, Chairman Richard M. Milanovich Bridge, and Plaza Del Sol Shopping Center.

          The route then led into the South Palm Springs Indian Canyons neighborhood after passing Mooten Botanical Garden Historic Landmark nursery. Riding past Indian Canyons Golf Resort and Smoke Tree Stables riders experienced another refreshing long downhill route ending at the morning’s starting point in Smoke Tree Village.

          The two-hour ride started at 10 am from Smoke Tree Village in front of the U.S. Post Office and PHO 533 restaurant. Thanks to Scott Connelly for photos of riders and route map.

 

Bond Shands
February 14, 2017
My Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
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