Two Weeks in La Quinta, CA

dog with tongue out

Welcome to the Slobber Fest!

Here’s our new friend, a gregarious fellow with a gigantic tongue! Oh my, did he love licking humans! If you sat still for five seconds or put your face anywhere near him, you were getting wet, that’s all there was to it. 

dog just licked mans face

This fellow was a lover boy from minute one, so friendly and well behaved. We both fell in love with him immediately.

large dog sleeping on woman

As you can see, he was a huge guy who thought he was a lap dog. He wanted to sit or sleep on top of us all the time. He did have a favorite sleeping spot outside against the wall in the sun, but mostly he stayed with us.

Boxer Bulldog mix dog looking at camera

Look At That Face!

In addition to licking people, he did enjoy quite a few of his toys and would rummage through his collection searching for just the right toy. His favorite game was a tug-of-war, and I tried holding the objects and playing with him. However, as I’m not in favor of losing an arm, I had to leave that game for Jim.

 

On our first day with him, he started digging in the trash can in the office. He pulled out cardboard and then tore it to shreds as you can see in the little video above. While speaking with the owner about it, she said he was probably testing us and would stop soon. He never did it again, but we must admit it was comical to watch.

dog resting his snout on human leg

Though not the most physically attractive dog, we fell in love with him and had many a good laugh at his antics. He was always doing something or another: Heading out to the pool for some sun, slipping out into the front yard to dig a hole.

You could hear him hit the dog door in the rear – at full speed – or watch him looking for a chance at the front door, timing his charge for just the right moment. The yard was walled and gated, so no one escaped, at least not very far. To be honest, he never charged the door; he only wanted to go out. He was a gentle giant.

pink and blue sunrise

The Dog Walks

Our morning walks were sublime if we got out early enough. It was cool and quiet, and we often got to witness a gorgeous sunrise. We found two of the routes the owners mentioned: the “people path” and the “no people path” as we came to know them. The people route went through the downtown area, past shops, stores, the ball park and rec center, and the best pizza place around. 

bulldog sitting outside

We always saw lots of people. The more, the merrier was his motto, always ready to say hi and meet new folks. The other way was for serious walking, towards the golf course then over to the edge of the valley floor on a path at the foot of the hills. We would cover some ground that way, without distractions for the most part.

a rocky hill in La Quinta, California

Neighboring Fields?

Here we are peeking over the fence surrounding the golf course. You might say the golf course surrounded us. If anything dominates the area – it’s golf – courses everywhere. This whole area is a well-known mecca for golf to start with, so there’s that.

In the winter months, you can add in folks from snow-covered regions with an itch to play. That’s a lot of people playing a lot of golf. Maybe that’s one reason it’s so quiet and peaceful in town: everyone’s out on the golf course. Golf courses make excellent neighbors too, good fences and all that.

golf course in La Quinta, California

The hotels have to have golf courses, must be a local law. The one next to us had five different courses. The area also has serious championship level courses, rather amazing really, at least from September to May. Summer puts a stop to most of that, which is easy to believe.

golf course in La Quinta, California

Now, On to the Other Critters

This fellow also came with the house. The owners said he would stay in their bedroom for the first couple of days, and he did. He didn’t hide – we could go in there and pet him a bit, but that was it. Isn’t he gorgeous!

gray and white cat sitting

Soon enough, he regularly came out of the bedroom and straight into the kitchen for his snack. I would shake a little container, and he would jump up on the counter and show he was ready to eat. He would let me pet him more and more, but he never got super friendly like his pal.

close up of gray and white cat

The two cats did get along, but they also had a couple of wrestling matches, and the fur flew!

gray and white cat lying on floor

One More Cat!

The third creature in our care was friendly from minute one. This guy always wanted to sit with us on a table on a bed on a chair. Such a friendly fellow he was. Oh, I almost forgot to share that they were indoor/outdoor cats and shared the dog door. Thank goodness, it was never an issue. We’ve cared for cats who don’t like coming home at a decent hour which can add a level of worry to our life, but not with these two!

orange cat standing

Neither of the cats liked the dog – he would try and make friends, but they wanted nothing to do with him. I felt sorry for him. Here’s the scenario – all three animals are in the kitchen, the dog is always happy which means his tail is always wagging. That means you guessed it; the cats are always in the line of fire. Hence their desire to keep their distance.

orange cat sitting on table

The cats slept in the master bedroom when their owners were home. Since we slept in a lovely guest room, it wasn’t until the second week that both cats paid us visits during the evening.

orange cat lying on table

Since there was a dog in the house, the cat bowls were on a high counter in the kitchen. After you ponder this guy’s lovely countenance, you can take a peek at the video I made of his shenanigans. I know, it sounds silly, but you have to watch it. What a character.

 

About La Quinta

Now that we’ve shared so much about the animals it’s time to talk about the town of La Quinta a bit. Neither of us had ever paid any attention to the place before being here. It’s a small town at the eastern edge of the Palm Springs area in the Southern California desert. It’s tucked away in a cove surrounded by mountains on three sides.

La Quinta, California sign

For the two weeks we were there in late December, and into January, we had perfect weather. We would hear the weather reports everywhere else – freezing, raining. Even in Los Angeles, it was pouring rain and terrible weather. We had sunny skies with temperatures in the 70s the whole time; it was glorious! There was a bit of rain one day, but that was it.

hiils around La Quinta, California

Catching Rays

During our first few days, we went out early hoping to see the sun rise. We drove towards the hills to the south, into a huge park or open space at the foot of the hills. There were dogs all over the place chasing tennis balls. That seems to be another local law. A short climb up a hill had us seeing the whole valley and mountains all around. There’s a photo of the south end of the town below. More like a horseshoe canyon with mountains on three sides.

La Quinta, California

There’s no rhyme or reason to magnificent sunrises that we’ve ever noticed. Hit or miss is more like it. Most times you twiddle your thumbs waiting for nothing. But every once in a while, oh my goodness, just the right type of clouds in the right places and the colors explode, filling up the sky. Just breathtaking.

We always wonder how people can stay indoors, or sleeping when there’s such a brilliant show going on just out the window. Well, more of a short feature.

sunrise in La Quinta, California

They’re not all like this one. But when it hits – it hits. Sometimes it is so beautiful you can’t stand it, just makes you want to holler.

sunrise in La Quinta, California

But wait, there’s more, as they say. Sometimes a rainbow gets thrown in for good measure. We enjoyed getting out and trying to catch these spectacles.

rainbow at sunrise in La Quinta, California

Our Abode

That’s our bedroom window! Look at how the plants are growing it’s almost covered up! It was an old Spanish style house and kept on the funky side which was fine for both of us. 

plant almost covering window

The house was in a regular suburban neighborhood, with large fenced yards and a big gate that we had to open every time we went in and out of the property. It was ideal for the dog, though as it allowed him free access to his yard with no worries on our part.

interior of a house

Inside, the house was airy and bright. The tile flooring kept things cool, and the windows let in the lovely desert winter sunlight.

interior of a house

As you can see, there was a beautiful pool in the back. Also, a great yard with a vegetable garden. We don’t often think of swimming in December, but we had the chance right there.

a pool in a yard

We did see folks swimming at the nearby hotel, a very fancy place decked out for the Holidays. After driving past it 23 times, we stopped in, ducked the golf balls flying by from the 10th hole and enjoyed walking through the grounds. 

The Hyatt in La Quinta, California

We debated checking in for a relaxing stay, but, doing the math, we figured we could either eat the rest of the month or enjoy a night there. Not both. Decisions are so easy when there’s no choice.

The Hyatt in La Quinta, California

Still Searching for the Sun

If you want a chance at a colorful sunrise, then go to Palm Desert and turn south into the mountains. There’s a terrific viewpoint halfway up that overlooks the entire valley. Here’s a shot of the road, above, and the scenery, below. 

On the morning we drove up, we found a group of young men playing soccer in the small parking lot, just tempting gravity to grab their ball and take it down 2000 feet.

hill in La Quinta, California

Jim found out two of that group just got casts off major limbs: both from motorcycle mishaps, in the desert. That didn’t keep them down for long. They were headed off for more trail rides that day as soon as more friends joined the crowd, coming from further up in the mountains. Ah, youth!

road through a hilly mountain

Just then we all stopped talking, hearing a loud swishing sound. “Dude, that’s a Clarendon.” Sure enough, a couple of those exotic sports cars came roaring around the curve, headed up the hill at about double the speed limit. We must admit it was quite a sight, and sound.

above La Quinta, California

Yes, that’s our car out in the wild mountains. Okay, I just added this photo to give you some perspective on the size of the hills. Here’s the sunrise we drove 40 minutes to see.

sunrise above La Quinta, California

Photos and Magnification

Since I’ve been taking so many photographs for our blog, I am frequently frustrated that I can’t get closer to my subjects or get good photos of things far off in the distance. We cannot afford a good camera and even if we could, that would mean I’d have to lug around a lot of weight wherever I go.

I started reading about a telephoto lens that can be attached to an iPhone. It didn’t take long to choose the Moment 2x telephoto and order it online! After delays in shipping, it looked like it wouldn’t arrive before our departure. I was having none of that, so we drove an hour to the Federal Express office in Palm Springs and picked it up ourselves. Let the fun begin!

A Gigantic Problem

One morning, while trying to jump up on Jim’s lap, our exuberant canine pal knocked his computer on the floor. Then it died, the computer that is. Jim tried some electronic CPR, to no avail. We went off to urgent care – Geek Squad – that is, but it was too late. Oh, well.

Given our tight schedule, we had to draw up a Gant Chart to figure out how to proceed. We needed to get appointments, diagnose the issues, order the replacement systems discs from Sony back east, various program discs from Los Angeles, and chose a new hard drive.

On top of that, we had to get all those parts, Jim and his charge card all in the same place at the same time, preferably a Geek Squad that has techs available and can turn the repairs around inside our travel schedule.

Oh, and fulfill our house and pet sitting commitments. Yikes. Oh, and all that before we leave the state for the rest of the winter. How many trips can you make to Best Buy in 24 hours? 

This time it was four, to two different stores. We are glad they were there to help, but couldn’t. We had to wait another week and come back for the computer before our next house sit in Palm Springs. It was more than frustrating! Wasn’t this supposed to be a simple life?

We Could Add More

So much happened during our time in La Quinta, but we’ve more than surpassed 2,000 words already, so we’ll stop here. Just one last thing – in case it isn’t clear yet, we loved, loved, loved spending time at this house. We’d have to say that the highlight was this fellow! What a great guy! And he still thinks he’s a lap dog.

large dog on a man's lap

What’s Next – a field trip of sorts

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