Windmills of Palm Springs

When you think of windmills visions of the old wooden style windmills in the Netherlands are the first things that come to your mind but this is not the only place that you can see so many windmills in the one area.

In Palm Springs,  a city approximately two hours south of Los Angeles you are able to see many windmills along Interstate 10 as you near the city. It comes as a surprise when you first see these large steel turbines propelling in a circular motion. These windmills farms generate enough electricity to power the entire city of Palm Springs and the surrounding area.

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The farm produces 600-900 megawatts of power. Utility companies buy the electricity produced by the 3,100 windmills at the wind farm. The farm runs many different types and styles of windmills. The largest windmills on the property produce enough power for 2,000 homes. The newest windmills are much more efficient than older models.

The Palm Springs area is unique, as the wind blows hard enough to power the windmills 300 days a year. The San Jacinto mountains are the 3rd highest mountain range in California and provide a wind tunnel through the San Gorgonio Pass along Interstate 10. The wind runs east to west along the pacific plate. The winds usually blow west to east in the mornings and east to west in the afternoon so half of the windmills face east and half west to take advantage of this. Windmills are placed 700 feet apart for optimal use of the wind. As the wind goes through one windmill it becomes dirty and takes about 700 feet before it clears up enough to be used by the next windmill.

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If you see a windmill turbines not turning, it does not mean that its broken as i found out that the windmill has reached its maximum capacity.

It’s great to see a city like Palm Springs leading other cities to become greener and improve our environment.

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To learn more about the windmills tours to a windmill farm can be easily found from Palm Springs.

Have you seen the windmills in Palm Springs? Are there other places that have many windmills other than the Netherlands.

Hiking the Indian Canyons,near Palm Springs.

The desert, an arid, dry, rocky land that expands across the horizon as far as the eye can see stretches across the Southern part of California surrounding the city of Palm Springs where the rather unknown Indians Canyons  are formed which we only discovered due to the jeep tours for our family out to the more famous Joshua Tree National Park costing over $500.

The Indian Canyons would only cost us the taxi ride out and another $20 in entrance fees,this time there would be no jeep and the exploring would have to be done on foot. The Cahuilla, native Americans roamed the canyons for hundreds of years on the southwest edge of the Coachella Valley. It was perfect for them, hunting was made easy when the prey would come down for a drink by the streams flowing from the San Jacinto mountains. Oasis were formed with pockets of green fan palm trees, where native Americans made their homes. Food and water was in abundance.

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In 1876 the Federal government divided the valley into a checkerboard. The Southern Pacific railway received odd numbered sections, while the even numbered sections were given to the Agua Caliente as their reservation. But boundaries were not established until 1940`s and by then much of the native american land had been built on.

What is amazing about the canyons are the contrasts in landscape from the rocky arid dry land with rocky cliffs and various cactai growing, to the canyon floor where there is a lush green oasis with fan palm trees and stream flowing along with thorny plants, here by the water you see a variety of birds flying around, a nice spot for the avid bird watcher.

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The rocky cliffs are home to the big horn sheep and if you arrive early you can see the tracks that the animals have left when they have come down for a drink overnight. Hawks and other birds of prey soared overhead as we made the climb up the highest section of the hike.

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There are various hiking trails for the public to enjoy, the more well known trails are the Murray Canyon,Andreas Canyon and the 15 mile Palm Canyons trail. We hlked along the Palm Canyon trail for about 2 miles, then switched to another trail that led up through the rocky cliffs offering you a chance to be exposed to both environments. The hike also led to the highest point of the cliff with splendid views of the Oasis floor down below and overlooking the city of Palm Springs. The track up through the cliffs loops back to the start of the trail where we witnessed three beautiful hummingbirds having a feed.

If its too costly for you to take a day tour to Joshua Tree National Park then the Indian Canyons make a fine alternative but don’t forget to bring your hiking shoes as jeeps don’t take  you around this park.

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Have you been to the Indian canyons near Palm Springs? We would love to hear what you thought of them.

 

 

 

Photos: Zooming up Mount Jacinto National Park in Palm Springs cable car

Palm Springs, the home to the Rat Pack in the 50’s and 60’s when they left Hollywood to party hard in the desert. Once the rat pack left, the retirees swarmed in to take over the golf courses, until the mid 90’s when a new generation fell in love with the laid back little city. Palm springs is definitely an oasis of the desert with its boutique hotels, steel and glass bungalows and piano bars serving the perfect martini.

Palm Springs lies in the middle of the Coachella Valley, surrounded by desert and land owned by the Cahullia native americans which allows people to gamble the day/night away in the casinos, but there is so much more to this city of 46,000 people than to just bathe in the sun by the pool and gamble.

We were here to explore the outdoor attractions that Palm springs has to offer. One of the must things to do is to zoom up the mountain to the Mount San Jacinto National Park, where you travel in the revolving aerial tramway. The largest of its kind transporting up to 80 people at a time, transporting them from the valley station at an elevation of 2,643 feet passing through 5 unique life zones to the mountain station at 8,516 feet. The 2 and a half mile trip takes only 10 minutes, rotating twice to give everyone the opportunity of seeing the entire valley.

They say its like taking a trip from Mexico to Alaska in just minutes,with it being 30-40 degrees Farenheit cooler you can see why. It had been a warm day down below, but now with it being rather cold, snow lay on the ground for people to play amongst the pine forest. Making snowmen, sliding on their toboggans and people doing some cross country skiing or snow shoeing.

It was a fun day up top to be had by everyone. My son had never experienced so much snow on the ground, as it melts straight away in Osaka, had one of the best days of his life.

Hours of operation.

Tram cars depart at least every half hour. The first tram-car up Monday through Friday is 10 am. First tram-car up Saturday, Sunday and holidays is 8am. Last tram-car up is 8pm and last tram down is 9.45 pm. Be prepared to wait, we were there in high season and we waited for three hours to ride our tram

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The base of Mount San Jacinto, no snow

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Hitomi at the base

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Moving up the mountain

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The snow, one of the few places you can surf, swim and ski all within 2 hours, it’s California.

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Nearly at the top

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Arrived, look at the snow

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imageRei with new friends

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