RoadTrip America

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The Phoenix One Journals      Stories from the dawn of RoadTrip America

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Into Hot Water

If you punch a deep enough hole in the ground in Desert Hot Springs, you'll hit hot water. It's nice, clear hot water, too, with no rusty tinge or sulphur smell. So, as you can imagine, lots of wells have been drilled in this California desert town, and practically everyone has a private, naturally heated spa in his own backyard.

If you don't happen to be a resident of Desert Hot Springs, you can still enjoy its geothermic benefits by staying at any one of a dozen or so "spa resorts." Some are hotels, some are motels, and some are campgrounds. Sam's Family Spa is a combination, and it's the place we always head for when we're anywhere nearby.

I'm at Sam's right now, which means I have a view of snow-clad Mount San Jacinto out of one window, a view of white-sand desert out the other, and four enormous hot pools in a palm grove waiting for me whenever I please.

Yesterday, Mark, Marvin and I went exploring in Palm Springs, the only place I know of where you can shop at Saks Fifth Avenue in the morning, have a picnic lunch at the world's largest natural palm oasis, and then have dinner in an alpine setting at the top of an aerial tramway on the side of Mount San Jacinto.

Not that we did all that. We cruised downtown Palm Springs and merely observed the Saks shoppers without joining them. We only looked at the aerial tramway from afar. But we did journey to the world's largest natural palm oasis, Palm Canyon. It's a world wonder, and we'll have a story and pictures next week about its secret marvels.

We'll be heading shortly for Pasadena -- yes, Pasadena. The Phoenix still needs more time to rise, and we still need more time to plan for the coming year, one twelfth of which is already gone! Yikes! How can that be?

Desert Hot Springs, California
February 2, 1998

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