I have to admit. My friend Kris Rafferty probably saved my life by keeping me from trying to bike across the desert. As it is, she also showed me a great time in Big Bear and dropped me off at my Uncles just as her own uncle has fallen into some pretty bad illness. My prayers go out to he and the Rafferty family.
My Uncle Murray is a great guy. He and his long term companion Leigh Anne welcomed me with open arms and offered to let me stay as long as I wished, but I’ve always been a fan of Ben Franklin’s famous words about house guests and fish, that both start smelling after three days, so I like to keep my visits to as close to that as possible. As it was I ended up staying from the 5th of July to the 8th of July and enjoyed every minute of the visit.
As we drove up to their house, Kris said to me “You know, I love living in Palm Desert, but there is something so old worldish and beautiful about these Palm Springs houses.” It’s true. Especially in my uncle’s neighborhood. Looking across the road you can see the house that used to belong to Cary Grant, next door is author Herman Wouk’s house, down the street are the houses of Barry Manilow and Henry Mancini, and across the ravine are the Sonny Bono Estate and the home of Suzanne Sommers who I am told throws some parties that rock the neighborhood. She seemed pretty mellow while I was around though just working in her garden and driving her golf cart around. Here is the view from my uncle’s driveway.
One of the things I love about Murray and Leigh Anne is that they have this very comfortable class that expresses itself in everything from the placemats, to the tile floors, to the furniture and towels they choose. In short, it’s called taste and it’s something that many people strive for but that ultimately money can’t buy. Walking into their home I was immediately comfortable and at ease and each decision they’ve made has made their home feel that much better. I’m not talking about creating a museum where a guy can’t wash his hands in the kitchen sink or use the bathroom, everything they have is meant to be used and none of it is simply to impress someone who might drop by to visit. Their plates make the food better, the wineglasses are comfortable in the hand and make the wine experience more enjoyable through directing the bouquet. Ah yes, taste. If you have it, you know what I mean, if you don’t, you probably will buy something with a duck on it to make your kitchen look more country.
Anyway, the visit was exceptional. I was able to assist a little bit in some remodeling they are doing on a ‘trailer’ they recently bought that is more like a new york loft than a mobile home and to help my uncle set up a blog that I think will yield amazing things in the future. We ate lamb with mint jelly for dinner, in and out burgers for lunch, and had wonderful breakfasts. Waking up in the morning and having good coffee and reading the paper in the backyard next to the pool while a hundred varieties of birds fed and the sun started to heat up the mountains to the midday 115 degrees and then having a swim later to take the edge off the heat.
Kris says that if there is ever an earthquake in California, Palm Springs will start all the propellars and fly away.
I was tempted to stay forever, but as it was, I left rested, relaxed, and ready to start seeing the world again. Murray drove me to the Greyhound Station this morning and I caught a bus to Los Angeles for $26. On the way I met an Englishman named Ian who has been living in Mexico and is heading back to Britain to earn some money and take care of some paperwork so he can marry his Mexican fiance. We shared a cab from the Greyhound Station to Union Station and were surprised at our common purposes of making some money and taking care of paperwork to marry our sweethearts.
From Union Station I caught an Amtrak to San Diego for $34. The ride down was beautiful. California beaches are certainly nice. In San Diego I took the blue line to the end where I then caught the green line and then I walked a few blocks to my friends Erina and Kevin’s house. Erina aka Kitty, walked part way with me when I walked around Oahu last year. Kevin made some stellar hamburgers and we shared our favorite youtube videos with each other. Here are one from Kevin
and one from Kitty.