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Date Fate

Indio, California: Our day didn't go according to plan. It was a beautiful morning - warmer than usual - so we were up and exercised early. Then we drove out to Desert Hot Springs to golf with Marci & Jim at Desert Dunes Golf Club. We noticed the wind picking-up and by the time we arrived at the course, it was practically gale-force. The starter wanted to close the golf club due to the wind. Needless to say, we did not tee-off.

Plan B.

It was too late to drive up to Joshua Tree National Park and too windy to do much of anything really. As long as we were driving, we decided to drive to the other end of the Coachella Valley and visit Oasis Date Gardens.

(photo by DT)

The little date shop is right on Highway 111 in Thermal, California and is situated within hundreds of acres of date palms. The store hasn't been remodeled in years and years. Hardly anyone works here and it is nearly impossible to get anyone to help you or answer your questions. So, why do we come here when Shields Date Garden is around the corner from our RV resort and they are always fully-staffed? Because we think the dates from Oasis are better and we think they have the best date shakes.

But what do we know?

We heard German, Tagalog and British-accented English at Oasis Date Garden today. Everyone was munching the various date samples and trying to figure out how many pounds of the natural delights they could cram into their suitcases on their return flights.

Deglet Noor dates are only one of the many varieties grown in the area. The most popular date is the Mejdool. Dates are are loaded with fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and many B vitamins. One date averages only 25 calories!

Here is the dangerous portion of our visit - the date shake counter. Do you see the two styrofoam (why is everything in California served in styrofoam???) cups on the top of the soft-serve machine? They represent the two sizes of date shake available. Even the smaller size is too much of a good thing. I have learned, if you ask nicely, they will sell you an even-smaller size. Today I begged and the girl relented, but I still could not finish my shake. So rich. So creamy. So sweet.

I don't want to know the calorie or fat count on this shake.

It just know it was delicious.

Snapdragons (photo by DT)

Oasis Date Gardens really do have a lovely flower display this time of year. DT snapped (get it?) a few photos for you with my camera.

Poppy (photo by DT)

The Coachella Valley is filled with huge date orchards. Old trees and new, planted in rows all over the desert, usually about 50 trees per acre. A female date palm will begin producing fruit near age eight.

A mature date tree with produce around 100 pounds of fruit each year. Date palms are like humans... after about 50-70 years, they slow down and no longer produce fruit. It is just about the same time the trees get too tall to easily/safely climb to harvest the fruit. At this point the tall palms are often sold as landscape trees - for about $3000 each!

Most taller trees have permanent ladders attached. Useful during harvest, the ladders also hold workers who annually pollinate each trees by hand!

The groves are so pretty. Date palms for miles and miles!

And then we drove back to our RV to find this:

Think it is a bit windy here?

Just because our golf plans were "gone with the wind" didn't mean we couldn't still meet for dinner. Marci & Jim have found a good Mexican restaurant in Palm Desert, so they invited us to join them tonight at Casa Mendoza Mexican Grill & Bar, 36-901 Cook Street (corner of Cook & Gerald Ford), 760.341.7877. Casa Mendoza is a cozy, family-run establishment. Very pretty inside, too. We had good service and enjoyed delicious meals. We really liked Casa Mendoza.

Jim may have enjoyed Casa Mendoza more than the rest of us. Jim thought he was ordering a margarita, but in fact he ordered a Blue Curacao martini.

We called it a Smurf Margarita!

The rest of us ordered the "typical" margarita... but there is nothing typical about a margarita at Casa Mendoza. They make their own sweet & sour mix and use only the most premium liquors.

This plate held a chicken taco, a cheese enchilada and a chile rellano... plus rice and black beans - $9.95! Such a delicious deal. A great time and great food - thank you, Marci & Jim!

On the drive home, our Honda was sand-blasted by gusty winds blowing sand across the roads. Ouch. 

When we arrived back to the RV, the automatic sprinklers were watering the golf course in front of our bus. The wind blew the water all the way to the Magna Peregrinus! We were soaked racing from our car to the bus! This wind is crazy bad!

Until my next update, I remain, your "Auntie Em, Auntie Em" correspondent.

RV Park:
 Motorcoach Country Club. The nicest RV resort in America. Trust me. The MCCC is a motorcoach-exclusive RV resort. 400 sites - all privately-owned. Sites include 50 amp power on paved sites, water, sewer, cable, wifi and natural gas. Three pools and numerous spas, waterway for electric boats, restaurant, bar, fitness center, three tennis courts. Convenient location. Gorgeous facility.