2020 California Events

Updated: Jan 4

2020 started our second winter in Palm Desert. We couldn't wait to return, but since we sold our MA house in January we got a late start. Dave arrived January 19th to open up the place and I arrived on Feb 2nd after we closed on the house and moved our stuff into the new condo in NH. Luckily before Dave left we completed about 75% of the move so the remaining 25% was left to me and the moving company.


Feb 2020:

Modernism Week is Palm Springs signature festival that took place each February and October. The festival highlights midcentury modern architecture, art, interior and landscape design, and vintage culture in the Palm Springs area of Southern California. Now in its 16th year, the annual 11-day festival will feature more than 350 events.


We attended a night of lectures/presentations titled 'Living the Dream' which discussed what life was like growing up in Palm Springs during the 50's and 60's. and midcentury advertising campaigns.

On the weekend there was a vintage trailer show set-up in a large parking lot. What an amazing collection of trailer, RVs, bus, and motor homes.

After the trailer show we drove to Palm Springs and had drinks at the Tongo Hut. It was probably the closest we could come to mid-century decor and alcohol.


Feb 2020:

Dave and I help organize the Friends of the Desert Mountains (FODM) 5K Trail Run and Walk. Click on the hyperlinked text to navigate directly to the blog which is listed with the other FODM related blogs


Fresh fruit picked from the trees right off out back patio is just one of the benefits of living here. The pink grapefruit will last everyday from January through early May.

Breakfast on the patio every morning in the winter. What a perfect way to start the day.

Breakfast on patio in Palm Desert

It's so relaxing watching the hummingbirds at the feeder in the morning.

Hummingbirds in Palm Desert

Another wind storm is brewing on the mountain tops.

Clouds over San Jacinto Mountains from Palm Desert

The pool in February is the place to be after a hike or run.

Palm tree and swimming pool in Palm Desert

The winter months were all about 'Coronvirus/COVID-19'. Like everyone, we were following the news and getting more concerned with each passing day.


Mar 2020:

As soon as Dave arrived in January, he bought plants to spruce up the front entrance to the condo. Here are some before (2019) and after pictures (Mar 2020).

In April 2019, Tex and Ken gave us cutting from their firestick and we planted them in two bunches a few weeks before we left in the spring. Here they are less than 10 months later having doubled in size and looking very healthy.

Firestick plant and Kangaroo Paws plant in garden

We've develop a tradition of stopping for a date shake at Shields Date Garden whenever we are driving back from a hike in the Mecca Hills. These shakes are so good, we bring almost everyone here to get one when they visit.

Shields Date Shake

Mar 7, 2020:

Friends of the Desert Mountains sponsors a Wildflower Festival each year. This is one of their major fundraisers and also helps to promote the organization's mission to preserve land, to support education, conservation and research in the Coachella Valley, and to act as the support organization for the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Click on the hyperlinked text to navigate to the blog 2020 Wildflower Festival.

Wildflower Festival in Palm Desert 2020

Mar 14, 2020

We started self-isolation in the sense that we no longer participated in group events like pickleball, happy hours, close-contact socializing with friends, etc. With our limited health insurance coverage in CA, we were taking these steps for health as well as financial reasons.


Mar 18-22, 2020

Around March 18th, Canadians were strongly advised to return home or risk national health insurance problems. By that weekend, all Canadians had left the condo. It was strange to see such a quick exodus. It was strange wishing all our friends 'safe travels' while social distancing.


Mar 19, 2020


Along with the state announcement, the condo association closed all community space and pools. Pickleball and tennis courts remained open with users accepting personal risk.


Shortages of toilet paper and flour occurred nationally. Traffic was incredibly light. This picture was taken on a Sunday, April 12th at 6pm on Hovley Ln East, a main road in this section of Palm Desert.

Empty street in Palm Desert during COVID pandemic

By April 5th, Riverside County required people to wear face coverings when in public. This was the 'new normal' running attire for us.

Jogging during COVID pandemic in Palm Desert

Zoom meetings with family and friends became a thing.

Zoom family meeting during COVID pandemic 2020.

Giving each other haircuts was inevitable.

Self haircuts during COVID pandemic 2020

People began to appreciate healthcare and other workers who were manning the front lines. Nurse appreciation became a personal issue for me.

Nurses wearing PPE in hospital during COVID pandemic

Mar 2020:

Since John and Nancy moved we didn't have many options for pickleball. However in early March, we discovered that the Palm Desert gym has open pickleball court times 3 days each week. We tried it out on March 11th and had a great time. While we were there, we met-up with Judy who lives at our development. She's over 80 and can still play a good game.

There was a wide range of skill level but we played some really competitive matches. Best of all it wasn't crowded. Not bragging, but we didn't lose any of the 5 matches we played.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 issues we decided not to play again. Too was much potential exposure to the virus with this many people in a small space. Hopefully when we return to CA we'll be able to try out the gym again.


In late April and early May as the temperature began to soar to >100°F, our desire to play pickleball in the early afternoon plummeted. But we did enjoy playing pickleball under the lights at the development. It was a quick and easy adjustment.


Apr 2020:

Not surprising, we no longer have access to national and state parks. Fortunately, in CA we are allowed to continue outdoor activities i.e. hiking as long as we respect social distancing and do not use closed facilities.

Apr 3, 2020 Earthquake

On April 3rd we spent the day hiking the Cathedral Canyon route. It was a good day despite the warm temperatures. We planned on a quick and easy dinner then watching TV. Our plans were interrupted at 6:53 pm when an earthquake struck about 10 miles east of Anza less than 25 miles away. Its epicenter was near the Santa Rosa Mountain and Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation. 


This wasn't one of those quakes that you think you felt. The sound while it was happening was incredibly loud like a train or airplane was parked out front. There wasn't a lot of shaking, it was more like an intense and powerful vibration under your feet. To say we were shocked was an understatement.

Earthquake in Anza, CA in April 2020

Lucy Jones, a California-based seismologist, said on Twitter the Anza tremor was near and perhaps on the San Jacinto fault, which spans more than 120 miles and is near communities such as San Bernardino, Hemet, Anza and Borrego Springs.


What made the situation that much more uncomfortable was the number of aftershocks over the next week or so. But according to local seismologists, Anza aftershocks are very normal - but tend to be on the high side of average.


Here is a map of the initial quake and aftershocks we experienced 3-4 days afterwards. They were mapped using the 'Shake LA' app. We slept lightly that first night but each night it got better as we accepted the fact earthquake are part of living in Southern CA. The event did cause us to take a closer look at our earthquake supplies. See the blog Southern CA Living: Understanding the Beauty and Risks.

Earthquake aftershocks in Anza, CA 2020

Apr 2020:

Mid-April to May was defined by one word.....HOT. We had an unseasonable end to our stay in Palm Desert. Due to COVID-19, the pools were closed until May 1st so there was no cooling off after hikes or runs.

Sunset from Willis Palm Trail by the Coachella Valley Preserve in late April.

Sunset from Willis Palm Trail by the Coachella Valley Preserve April 2020

May 2020

On May 1st, The condo association reopened the pools but with the restriction that only one person at a time was allowed in the pool area.


On May 12th we flew home from Palm Springs not knowing when we'd be able to return. It will depend on how the next 6-12 months plays out with COVID-19. Here's a picture when we landed at Logan Airport in Boston.

Logan Airport Boston, MA passengers wearing COVD face masks


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