I had expected a resort town with a reputation such as Palm Springs has to have a more developed system of walking or biking paths. However, neither visual reconnaissance or internet search revealed anything other than sidewalks designated as such pathways. Doing an internet search specifically for running routes showed unappealing road routes that others had run.
There quite a few trails on an Indian reservation just a couple of miles outside of Palm Springs proper. When we were there, there weren’t so many hikers as to make a trail run difficult. I also saw some bike paths in adjacent cities. But we were staying deep enough in Palm Springs that the drive to those for a morning run was too inconvenient.
A couple of Palm Springs activity websites said there were paths, which upon investigation turned out to be sidewalks. Some of these were on the wide side, while some were double, creatively intertwined side walks with painted labels. I decided to try a barefoot run on them.
8 AM on a November morning seems to be a good time to go for a run in Palm Springs. The weather was mild, but sunny. The traffic was minimal. It was too early for the downtown shops along Palm Canyon Drive to be open and I needed to pass through that section to make it to the so-called paths. There was no reason to stop at most side streets.
The main road I was looking for was E. Tahquitz Canyon Way (ETCW). It was about 1/2 mile from our lodging. It turned out to be a wide semi-residential road. While there were a few businesses scattered along it, most of the part I ran on was bordered by and gave access to quiet neighborhoods. For being as wide as it was, there were not many cars.
There were a couple of small patches of glass by vacant lots, but other than that, this stretch of sidewalks was clean and fairly smooth. It was very comfortable for my bare soles.
When I got about half way along ETCW (according to what I had seen on the map), it intersected with S. Sunrise Way (SSW). The description of the paths said SSW was one leg of the path system. I made a quick decision to turn right since ETCW had been so straight.
If I ever go back to this route, I will probably try staying on ETCW. SSW turned out to be where EVERYONE was. Driving, grocery shopping, banking, you name it. I was frustrated by needing to stop at multiple roads and driveways.
Then, I noticed that there were quite a few walkers on the other side of this busy street. After running through a sand lot due to lack of sidewalk, I found a signal and crossed the busy street. This turned out to be better, although still not as peaceful as the ETCW. Still, it was nice to be greeted by some smiling faces and use the randomly curvy sidewalks. In some places it split, one side labeled specifically for bikes. I came across a couple sections of broken bottles along this part, in spite of it being apparently in a high end area, but it was completely manageable and I passed through unscathed.
I had my Strava app monitoring me, so was able to check on my mileage. I was surprised to see I had run 3.5 miles at this point. It had felt relatively effortless. Maybe it was that my normal altitude is around 3000 feet above sea level. Possibly, I was just well rested. Regardless, I felt light footed this day. Because I had people waiting on me for the day’s activities, I turned back toward home base.
I think I saw three other runners that morning. All of them were my age or older, but it keeps getting harder for me to tell. I frequently don’t feel my age, whatever that is supposed to mean. None of the other runners looked like they were having anywhere near as much fun as I was. No one said anything about my bare feet.
As I re-entered the downtown touristy, small shop area, the cafes were busier serving breakfast and pedestrian traffic was on the rise. I had to stop for a red light at one of the last large intersections, and while waiting there a brightly outfitted, heavily make-uped woman in her mid 70’s approached me. She asked if I knew where such-and-such casino was. I must have looked as surprised as I felt at the question, because she got defensive and grumbled, “Well, you looked like you would know.” And walked off. All I can figure is that she thought someone running around like I was must know their way around town.
Part Two – Dancing
I was very interested in dancing while in Palm Springs. I love to dance, and all the advertisement of possible night clubs or pubs with dancing made it seem like we might find something good. We went out on a Friday night to choose a place.
Call it the story of The Three Dance Clubs. The first place was an open-air chic corner pub in the small shop area of Palm Canyon Drive. (Village Pub) We could see and hear the band from the sidewalk. They did not quite have the consistent rhythm for dancing, although they had potential. They just needed more practice and confidence. The overall ambience was friendly and inviting. We put them on the list for a possible return.
It was almost a mile walk to the second place, a night club with a more the mysterious entrance. (Zelda’s) The black curtained windows hid anything going on inside. It sounded like they were mostly playing rap music, and the patrons we could see entering looked like a cross between James Bond movie wannabes and 1930’s 20 something gangsters. The cover charge to even get in the door was more than we wanted to pay for further evaluation.
Fortunately, we had passed another basic pub, or bar, on the road while walking. There was some excellent danceable rock-n-roll bursting out of it. I really cannot comprehend why there were not people dancing in the street. The four piece band was playing with the relaxed gusto of skill combined with love of music.
We went in to Palm Canyon Roadhouse and had the floor to ourselves. I was initially barefoot, but after several minutes the bouncer came over and insisted I put on footwear. Something about “glass all over the floor.” The floor was immaculate. One would have thought getting customers in their basically empty establishment would have been more important. It was the ONLY place in Palm Springs that made me put on footwear. Ruth Chris’s Steakhouse had even accepted me barefoot.
Since my dear husband had gone to a lot of effort to take me out to dance, I acquiesced to him getting my Luna sandals from the car. He had to walk half a mile to where we were parked. After chewing on my frustration for a few minutes, I got back to dancing, which included a lot of sliding around on their very smooth floor. It would have been ironic to have slipped and hurt myself due to footwear, but I avoided it.
One of the band members gave me his card during a music break. The band does not have set members. Jos Burrell (link above), on the guitar, and the drummer, Chris Sigwald, are the core of the jam sessions at the roadhouse. That night there were two more guitar players, who also participated in the singing. I wanted to put them all in my suitcase and take them to Idaho with me! If I go back to Palm Springs, I won’t look for a place to dance, I will look for whatever form of this band is playing.