On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog



tall trees require a ladder to pick fruit

ladder up against tree



beach of tiny sea shells


You would think that I never wanted to get back to my RV! On my way home I made three stops. The first, a large outdoor swap meet held on the campus of College of the Desert , was a bit disappointing. I am lucky enough to be near a great swap meet in Arizona ( Mesa Marketplace) where the selection is so much better and so are the prices.

Continuing east, passing through a lovely town called Indian Wells, I stopped in Indio at Shields Date Farm. They no longer grow the dates here but they have a wonderful cafe, beautiful garden devoted to the life of Christ, a very interesting movie describing the growing and picking of dates, and always last - the gift shop! The Coachella Valley produces 30 million pounds of dates annually which accounts for 95% of all the dates grown in the United States.

Nature has not provided a way for the male to pollinate the female buds so men cut down the male flowers, shake them to get about a 1/2 cup of powder and then, when the female buds are the size of olives, the powder is sprinkled on the buds sticky tentacles. That's a short synopsis about growing dates . It really is a long, costly, and painstaking operation requiring tons of water but ironically rain is it's worst enemy!

As I was driving through Thermal, on my way to the Salton Sea, I actually got to see a ladder up against a date palm tree that the men climb to hand pick the dates. The picking season has just ended so I didn't get to see any fruit on the trees. Some of the farms are using bucket trucks for picking considering the ladder too dangerous.

The Salton Sea is an interesting place. In 1905 , after a very wet winter, the Colorado River broke through a poorly constructed canal cut. The entire contents of the Colorado River poured into the Salton Sink. The Sea is an important stop for birds travelling the Pacific Flyway. Lots of birdwatchers come to the Salton Sea from October to March. The salinity in the sea is rising - nearly 40% saltier than the ocean - posing a threat to fish life and as a consequence bird migration.

By now it was getting late and I was going to lose an hour crossing into Arizona. So, reluctantly, I headed for home. Arrived late but safe. How lucky I am to have had another wonderful adventure.

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