Saturday, January 7, 2017

Palm Springs, CA - Cars and Cowboys

Oh, yeah, we’ve got to to get our daily walk in. How about a hike? That’s why we like to stay in Palm Springs - lots of places to hike. A few days ago we did the Bump and Grind, today we started at the Bump and Grind trailhead but turned left instead of right and we were on a whole different trail: The Hopalong Cassidy, circling into the Herb Jeffries Trail.

Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy Herb Jeffries - we’ve all heard of them right? Saturday morning, in front of the TV? Oh, you haven’t heard of Herb Jeffries, the Bronze Buckaroo? He might be the most interesting of the bunch. Now the hike was good, there’s nothing like being out in the great outdoors. But, we got a cool history lesson along with the hike.

Movie cowboy hero, Duke Ellington singer, #1 hit, married to stripper Tempest Storm, African American in public, Caucasian on his marriage certificates. All of these phrases describe Jeffries. See, I told you he was interesting. Born to a white mother, his father was more of a mystery. He told some people his father was African, others that he was Ethiopian or Sicilian. But he chose to be Black, for, as he said: ‘I just knew that my life would be more interesting as a black guy. If I’d chosen to live my life passing as white, I’d have never been able to sing with Duke Ellington.’

‘I’m a chameleon,’ he used to say. Over the course of his century, he changed his name, altered his age, married five women and stretched his vocal range from near falsetto to something closer to a Bing Crosby baritone. He shifted from jazz to country and back again, and from concert stages to movie theaters to television sets and back again.

He died in 2014 at the ripe old age of 100 or 101, no one knew his exact birth date. On line I saw a picture of him and his wife with President George and Laura Bush.
Anyway, one of the trails we hiked today was the Herb Jeffries trail, which came after the Hopalong Cassidy Trail, close to the Gabby Hayes trail and not to far from Gene Autry Drive. Palm Springs does remember and honor its cowboy heroes. At one of the trailheads for the Hopalong Trail was Hoppy’s Creed:
Seems like #1, #3 and #5 can apply today.
The trail starts in the flat desert - then - it climbs - up that ridge in the background. Here they’ve marked the trail - always nice to know where the trail is.
We love the expansive views. Several days later we had rain in the valley but the mountains in the picture below were covered with snow.
Here is a picture of the trail we’re going to take. You can see little bits of color on the trail - those are people.
And, then back to the trailhead.

Next to the trailhead is a race track for remote controlled miniature cars.
We heard two racing and stopped to see them. Nice long track with curves and moguls galore. Look at these cars fly over them. 3 moguls at a time.

Of course, they don’t always fly.
Here’s where you need to have a go-fer who will turn your car over when it lands on its top. We walked up to the control booth to watch them from above.
In the background I was hearing Layla by Eric Clapton, and a B-side song from Iron Butterfly where the A-side was ‘In a Gadda Da Vida.’ This guy is old - he’s my age. I’ve got these songs in my computer. Yep, here is the owner and another driver - the owner is the grizzled grey guy on the left.
We like Palm Springs for the weather, the hiking and the things to do. What we don’t like are the walls. Every development has a wall around it and often you are driving down the road at 50 mph between these walls. Feels like a tunnel. You never get the feeling that people live here. They just race their cars on the roads. For example: here is a house on the right on the edge of the hiking trails with views of the mountains galore. But, look what they put up - a wall to block their view. Hmm..

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