by Bob Sparrow
It was windy, very windy, but that was to be expected, we were in the middle of a ‘wind farm’. Yes, after years of driving by all those windmills on our way to Palm Desert, we finally stopped to take the tour and learn exactly what was going on with all these giant propellers. Perhaps you wondered as well, well wonder no more. Also, in case you’re hungry after your tour of the wind farm, I’ll give you three good recommendations for restaurants that we tried for the first time and found to be quite good.
First, why are these windmills where they are? The Gorgonio Pass, which not only has a lot of wind going through it, but also a waterway, a railroad, an Interstate freeway and the San Andreas Fault, sits between the two largest mountains in Southern California, Mt. San Gorgonio and Mt. San Jacinto, both stretching over 11,000 feet. Those mountains create weather patterns that help make California one of the top three windiest states in the US, trailing only Texas and Iowa.
The first windmill was put in place there in 1982 and there are now over 1,200 windmills of various sizes, some are taller than the Empire State building and some have propeller blades over 200 feet in length! To put their size in perspective, if you’re driving on the freeway, at the top the windmills you’ll see a ‘little box’ behind the propeller blades, that ‘little box’ is the size of a bus! This wind farm supplies a year of electricity for 250,000 homes. These things are huge, and the ones that are out in the ocean, are MUCH bigger!
As we were wending our way around and through several of the windmills in a six-passenger golf cart, our guide pointed to a large building in the distance and told us that that building held the largest pot farm in North America. So, I guess when the wind is blowing just right, Palm Springs gets a little high!
The three restaurants I’d recommend, two for food and one for entertainment are, for food, Waldo’s Ristorante & Bar; where’s Waldo’s? The corner of Country Club and Cook; it has great Italian food in a comfortable setting, indoor-outdoor seating and a cute bar – call many days in advance, it’s packed! The second restaurant is La Brasserie Bistro & Bar, a French restaurant in La Quinta, with a diverse menu and excellent French Onion Soup. For great entertainment, we were turned on to this next place by Patty & Walt Schwartz, who live in the area and know how to have a good time as well as where to find one. We met them at the Paseo Hotel, off El Paseo across from Tommy Bahama’s, the restaurant in the hotel is called the Larkspur Grill, and the food is good, but the music on Thursday nights is awesome, provided by ‘Fun With Dick & Jane’ – a great band that plays all the great hits from the 70s & 80s. You could go just for the ‘people watching’, – it is truly a show!!
Linda’s sister, Starlet and her husband Donnie, drove out from Arizona to join us for three nights, and our son, Jeff came out and played a round of golf with us. So it was another great week an hour and a half away from home, but in a whole different world.