Day 9: Indio to Desert Hot Springs, detour to Indian Canyons - Joshua Tree, Anza-Borrego, Imperial Valley 2016 - CycleBlaze

November 8, 2016

Day 9: Indio to Desert Hot Springs, detour to Indian Canyons

I got up at 6 and on the road at 7:30. Finally an early departure. Rush hour traffic though pretty much all the towns of the Coachella Valley: Indio, La Quinta, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, and Palm Springs.

The Coachella valley is vastly more upscale than the Imperial Valley.
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Nearly everything is upscale. Perfect roads. Perfect landscaping. Perfect mid-century modern houses.

Every town is more upscale than the last. This is the town of La Quinta.
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I pedaled by the huge Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Biggest tennis complex I've ever seen. I mostly know about it because Venus and Serena Williams were booed there in 2001. The audience was obviously unhappy that black women won tournaments for the first time. Afterwards the Williams sisters boycotted the venue for 14 years!

Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Venus and Serena Williams refused to play here after the audience booed them.
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I have been tuning out the election but today it's hard not to notice. I mailed my ballot weeks ago.
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Frivolous waste of water is all around. Lots of green grass. Fountains. Palm trees. I noticed that the city of Palm Springs has quit watering many of the road medians. Now many medians are brown grass except for a little green circle of grass around each palm tree. Most places the irrigated landscaping is so lush that it's easy to forget you're in the desert. Thousands of laborers are employed to maintain the landscaping. The laborers are more noticeable to bicyclists than to speeding motorists.

Spectacularly frivolous use of water at a shopping center. Best I can tell the thing on the right is an ice skating rink. Great for those 80 degree winter days!
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I pedaled past the entrances to several exclusive golf clubs. I could seldom see the actual golf courses, but on Google Earth I can see that a large portion of the Coachella Valley is golf courses.

Palm Springs, getting close to the San Jacinto mountains.
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In Palm Springs I turned left onto Palm Canyon drive, heading uphill through the edge of town, then into the reservation of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. After paying the $9 entry fee I promptly turned right on the road to Andreas Canyon. The trailhead is 500 feet higher than Palm Springs.

Final climb to the Andreas Canyon trailhead. The palm lined creek is striking in the barren desert.
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Andreas Canyon is heavily visited because it's the only canyon that visitors are allowed to enter that has a creek flowing year-round. The other canyons have dry creeks most of the time.

Palm lined creek in Andreas Canyon.
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Shady picnic area near the trailhead.
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Creek near the trailhead.
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With a continuous creek the fan palms are bigger and denser. Excellent shade on a hot sunny day. I hiked the busy 1 mile loop trail, going uphill along the shady creek and returning via a sunny desert route that looks down on the palms.

The return trail looks down on the palm canyon.
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Then I hiked over to the Murray canyon trailhead. The Murray canyon trail starts with a hot shadeless half mile across the desert to the canyon mouth. Afterwards there is occasional shade from trees and canyon walls as the trail goes 1.25 mile up the canyon. Steep uphill in some places. The creek was dry everywhere. The waterfall at the end of the trail was dry.

Entering Murray canyon after a shadeless half mile hike across the desert.
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View of the dry 5-foot waterfall at the end of the Murray canyon trail.
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Palms in Murray canyon.
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Murray Canyon trail crossing the desert.
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Altogether I hiked 5 miles (8 km) in Andreas and Murray canyons. Both canyons were great. Both canyons are more impressive than the Palm Canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

I was out of water by the time I finished the hike. Good thing I had more water on the bike. From the Andreas canyon trailhead it was downhill all the way to Palm Springs.

Descent from Andreas Canyon to Palm Springs.
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Back in Palm Springs I went north through town on busy Palm Canyon drive. I stopped for a late lunch and gawked at the upscale resorts. Many references to the early Hollywood stars who first made Palm Springs famous in the 1920's and 1930's.

Palm Canyon drive in Palm Springs.
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On the north edge of Palm Springs I cut over a couple miles east to Gene Autry Trail which leads north to Desert Hot Springs. Rush hour traffic was heavy and it's steady uphill. I had heavy suburban traffic pretty much all day. Very different from most of this tour's route.

Rush hour traffic on the climb to Desert Hot Springs. Fortunately there is a paved shoulder.
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In Desert Hot Spring I got a $82 room at the big Desert Hot Springs resort motel. It's built in the 1960's and has 8 pools of various temperatures. I had a long soak in a 97F pool. Still t-shirt weather long after dark.

Desert Hot Springs has about 2 dozen hot spring resorts of varying sizes. The hot water comes from wells. The hot water is abundant and not far underground. That probably has something to do with the fact that I crossed the San Andreas fault on the way into town.

Elevation is 1100 feet. I'm finally well above sea level but still in what would be considered low desert.

Sunset view from my balcony at Desert Hot Springs spa/resort.
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Today had a high of 91F. Warm and sunny even early in the morning and after dark. Slightly warmer than normal.

The Coachella Valley is not the scenic highlight of this tour but it's a dramatic change of scenery compared to Imperial Valley. Gawking at ruins is more interesting to me than gawking at rich peoples' stuff. I suppose the palm canyon hike is sufficient reward for pedaling all day in heavy traffic.

I stayed awake until 1 AM because I was so disturbed by the election results. I'm dumbfounded that our electoral processes have repeatedly failed to give voters the government they actually voted for. The integrity of all 3 branches of government is compromised.

Executive branch: 2 out of 3 presidents won the deeply flawed Electoral College but lost the popular vote. Bush lost by 540,000 votes. Trump lost by almost 2.9 million votes.
Legislative branch: Democratic candidates for U.S. Congress consistently get 1 to 2 million more votes than Republican candidates. State-sponsored election fraud known as "gerrymandering" ensures that Republicans control a majority of seats in U.S. Congress even though they receive a minority of votes.
Judicial branch: A Supreme Court nomination was stolen from a president who won the popular vote twice. Soon that nomination will be given to a president who lost the popular vote.

The will of the people has not been faithfully executed. It's a disgrace. The U.S. Constitution is widely copied around the world but no other country adopted the Electoral College. It's too stupid.

More than half the guests at the hot spring resort were speaking Spanish. I noticed a dramatic change in tone after the election result was reported. I imagine many are terrified that the next president promises to violate their civil rights.

Distance: 47.9 mi. (76.6 km)
Climbing: 1965 ft. (595 m)
Average Speed: 9.9 mph (16 km/h)
Hiking: 5 mi. (8 km)

Today's ride: 48 miles (77 km)
Total: 495 miles (797 km)

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Scott AndersonWe weren’t that far away from you on this horrible day! We were in a bar in Silver City, stunned as the election results rolled in, at the end of a tour that began in Tucson - the same tour where we stayed at Dreamcatcher B&B that you’re of course familiar with.
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