Post Thanksgiving Palm Springs Get Away

We spent the first part of this week in Palm Springs. We went a little out of our way so we could stop in  Idyllwood to do some hiking and see the small town. We hiked the Ernie Maxwell trail (easy to moderate, out and back, total of 5 miles with 700 foot elevation gain), ate pizza and wandered through a few shops.

On the way down, out of the mountains, from the pines to the palms, we came across Lake Fulmor. This sweet lake is beautiful! The late afternoon light was perfect. These are my favorite pics of the trip.

After spending an hour or so at this hidden gem we headed to Palm Springs. We checked into The Old Ranch. This is, I think, our 4th visit here. We walked to the Fisherman’s Market and Grill for dinner, wandered around town for a bit and called it an early night. After a stop at the fanciest Starbucks ever, we spent the next morning biking the City Loop Bike Route. A long, mostly flat trail with a lot of variety made for one of my favorite rides ever. 

After Chris recovered with some pool time, we spent a good chunk of the afternoon checking out patio and furniture consignment stores on our ongoing (and as of yet, unsuccessful) search for patio furniture. We ended up in La Quinta where we visited an IFC friend at her cool, mid-century modern home. We explored La Quinta and then picked Mimmo’s Italian Restaurant for dinner. Good choice! Our server. Claude, pronounced “Clode” was entertaining and provided us with complimentary lemoncello which he felt would be perfect with our creme brulee dessert. We ended the day window shopping on El Paseo in Palm Desert.

We headed home the following morning but not before a another Starbucks stop and a short ride around downtown and the Historic Tennis Club area. We love our quick get-aways to Palm Springs; will be back soon!


Thanksgiving Biking

Thanksgiving morning we rode, and Thanksgiving afternoon we feasted.

We rode about 20 miles on the Santa Ana River Trail. The wind came up on the way back. We got a good workout. We had a couple of hours to recuperate at home and then after picking up both our Moms headed to the Smith’s for dinner.


Day 6 in Canada

This day began with a trip to the Calgary Farmer’s Market. This is an indoor market (open year ’round, so that makes sense) that was impressive! Every “booth” was beautiful! We need one of these here in So Cal.

On our way out of the Farmer’s Market Chris spotted the Black Forest Wood Company. It was also impressive. I picked out wood for new fireplace mantels (wishful thinking).

The remainder of our morning this day was spent in downtown Calgary. We found these parking meters interesting (and a little complex initially). Usually when traveling we try to rely on public transportation. This is part of our adventure, but on this trip a car was necessary for exploring Banff. 

Driving in Canada is the same, but different. The signage takes some interpretation and is in English and French. These both slowed the decision making down and made for a few interesting drives.

We had so much fun exploring the Calgary +15 Skyway network. This is an extensive pedestrian skywalk system, with a total length of 18 kilometres (11 miles) and 62 bridges. The system is named +15 because the skywalks are approximately 15 feet above street level. Some of the skywalks are multi-level, with higher levels being referred to as +30s and +45s. These skywalks link most of the buildings downtown and allow pedestrians to avoid the bad winter weather. They are all different and some are very unique. We loved this one.

Stephen Avenue is a pedestrian mall in downtown Calgary. We found good eateries and shops here. It is definitely where the action is. A skywalk can be seen in the lower left corner.

The pedestrian mall ends close to Olympic Plaza. This is a public park that was created as the venue for the medal ceremonies at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. It is used now for outdoor events and as a public ice skating area in the winter. 

This is (I think) the tallest building in the city. It is called The Bow and this art piece is called Wonderland. It is a 12-meter tall wire sculpture of a giant female head. The head has two entrances, allowing people to walk around inside it.

After lunch we had one of our favorite parts of the trip. We rented bikes and rode for about two hours. The bikes were top-notch and we were able to ride about 20km, all on a pathway, all up and down the Bow River. The path was mostly flat, but we rode into a fairly good wind for the first hour. 

We ended the day with dinner at this cafe, Al Forno, located on the same block as our apartment. Our pizzas were excellent and we ordered a slice of salted, caramel cheesecake with snickerdoodle crust to go.


New Bike Rack

Chris gave me a top-of-the-line bike rack for my car for my birthday. We tried it out Sunday. We took the bikes to Newport Back Bay and rode about 10 miles. The bikes made it there and back with no incident! I recently got a new helmet and now am shopping for a rear rack and box so I can better tote things around. 


Biking the Ballona Creek Bike Path

Last Sunday morning we rode a path new to us, the Ballona Creek Path from Culver City to Marina Del Rey. The path follows Ballona Creek for 7 miles, from Syd Kronenthal Park in east Culver City to the ocean. Along the way the trail passes through residential neighborhoods (some not so great and some very nice) and then opens up into the Ballona Wetlands before dead-ending into the Pacific. It is quick and easy with ups and downs only under the street and freeway overpasses. Once at the beach we rode south into El Segundo a bit and then around the Marina. We stopped for coffee and then headed back. We were home by 11:00 where Chris made us delicious egg sandwiches and we mostly relaxed for the rest of the day.