Agua Caliente (Band of Cahuilla Indians) Cultural Museum and Tahquitz Canyon/Falls, Then Moving on – to Winterhaven, CA

1/12/16 (Tuesday) in Winterhaven, CA (Pilot Knob-ROD)

We’ve had such a busy week (in Palm Desert) I haven’t had a chance to post to the blog so I’ll catch you up now.

Last Thursday, on a day pass, we attended the FMCA Rally in Indio, enjoying several seminars, checking out some vendors, buying a rug, microwave pasta cooker, silicone meatloaf pan, 30/20 amp adapter and a large microfiber cloth

On Friday the Rally didn’t offer classes we were interested in. We got an invitation to join Jackie and Jack to see the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum in downtown Palm Springs. It holds an amazing history of these Indians. They were the native peoples who populated the area of Palm Springs. In 1876, because the Southern California (Pacific) Railroad ran through here, it was granted the odd numbered square mile checkerboard squares of land along its route and the Indians received the even numbered squares (32,000 acres-6,700 lie within Palm Springs city limits), with the provision that the Indian land could not be sold. Meanwhile the gold rushes brought many Americans from the east. By the 1950’s many of those newcomers didn’t like to see the poverty of the areas where the Indians lived along with Hispanic and Blacks, especially those in Section 14 of township T4SR4E, right in the center of Palm Springs. The hot spring discovered by the Indians (“sec he”) is on the western edge of this section. In the early years (1900’s), the Indians were able to lease their land, but only for 5, then 20 years and no one felt comfortable committing a business to that short of time. Once they were allowed 99 year leases (in 1959), businesses were very interested, yet started moving towards getting rid of the “eyesore” of the poverty in Section 14. By the 1950’s the Palm Springs City Council created a conservatorship to take control of that area, then in 1959 had the area’s homes bulldozed.

In 1968 the Federal Government realized that the control of this area by outsiders was corrupt and ended it. Once this illegal activity was cleared up, the Indians’ fortunes began to increase. I can almost guess how much it costs to lease land in Palm Springs these days. Now this tribe is considered one of the richest in the nation. This was an excellent museum, well worth a visit (free). Here we got maps for the canyons owned by this tribe: Tahquitz, Indian, Anderson and Murray.


Tahquitz Canyon/Falls: with the drought this river and falls are often dry. Remember all the rain and mudslides that I mentioned in my last post? It brought water here, so we could enjoy this wonderful canyon and falls. We had our picnic lunch here, then visited until the 2pm ranger guided hike. Entrance is $10, ranger guides free, but at limited times.  Below, at the Visitor Center, then to the Falls and back.


Saturday: off to FMCA Rally again for more classes and to buy RV stuff (LED lights, bacteria to “eat” our black and gray tanks clean and brackets to attach our FMCA emblem on our ladder), more than we’d planned! Got home early, after free ice cream, to have lunch. Then we got a call that John won the Microfiber -prize! Thus we had to drive back again, to claim his prize. It was worth it, about $100 value in very good microfiber cloths. We enjoyed Cowboy Jack’s live music at the lodge with Jack/Jackie that evening. Wonderful old western songs.

Sunday: Mass in the morning, then in the afternoon fun with Tom/Zsuzsa at Sam’s Family Spa. Did that feel good. Z even made her special Hungarian recipe of Gerbeaud Szelet– a delicious desert of pastry layered with apricot jam and chopped walnuts, topped with chocolate, sharing extras with us to take home. SO yummy! We ended our lovely day visiting with Larry/Gail.

Monday: John went golfing with Jack, Bill and Don while Jackie and I had a great time conquering Richard Simmons’ Cardio, then Gold Zumba toning DVD’s. We walked over to Miss Journey, in deep conversation, then started our lunch of homemade bean soup with Dave’s Killer Bread (Powerseed). The guys arrived then and we shared the Gerbeaud Szelet that Z gave us. They loved it too! Later that afternoon we had more fun with food and friends: the Lewis and Clark chapter in FMCA invited us to a potluck at Mary/Keith’s site. It was great getting to know so many more of the Lewis and Clark group before we took off again.

Tuesday: John’s Birthday, but we had to travel to our next campground, near Yuma, AZ. Naturally there was a congregation of rigs (neighbor getting theirs cleaned by a service as well as maintenance men working on a project nearby) right near our site, where John needed to pull the RV out. I asked the maintenance guys to move and John got around the cleaning truck. We were blocking the road now, though, so getting the car hooked up was nerve wracking for John. Once we were on our way it was all good; nice roads (I-10 E, CA 86/78 S, CA 111S, the I-8 E), so we arrived with little troubles. A lot of the area is farmland then further east off I-8 it was scrub land desert, just like West Texas. All flat, so nice fuel economy: 9.7mpg. Then we went through Imperial Dunes Recreation Area, with the All American Canal running through. Looks interesting, maybe we’ll visit it while we’re in the area.

When we were settled in at Pilot Knob, we took a test run to the parking lot next to Mexico for our trip to the dentist tomorrow. It’s amazingly close, just 4.5 miles (10 minutes to get there), an easy route on I-8 to exit #166 (Border Crossing), then a mile, crossing the All American Canal, to the Quechan Parking Lot right where a sign says “Last U turn, USA 900 feet”.

About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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