December 24, 2013 – Christmas Eve

Just after waking this morning, we looked out our window to a hot air balloon drifting slowly toward us …

ADSC_0017 ADSC_0020 aDSC_0031with the moon providing a dramatic backdrop.

ADSC_0023After a complementary waffle breakfast at our Indio campground, we continued our westward trek paralleling the mountains of Joshua Tree National Park just to our north.

DSC_0002Again, we were still being not-so-subtly watched!

DSC_0004Nearing Palm Springs, we were surprised by the tremendous number of wind turbines which had been erected since the last time we were here … albeit some 30 years ago!

DSC_0021 DSC_0035 DSC_0033 DSC_0040 DSC_0047 DSC_0042 DSC_0051After some further research we discovered:

·         Number of wind turbines in Palm Springs:   2,700 in San Gorgonio Wind Park — the oldest wind farm in the United States.

·         First wind turbine erected:   1980.

·         Heights (several models in operations):   Between 65’ and 299’.

·         Blade lengths:   Between 15’ and 140’.

·         Rotations per minute (when operating):   The older models make 600-700 rotations per minute while the newer models make 45 rotations per minute.

·         Number birds killed by wind turbines:   3 out of 100,000.

·         Power harvested:   The area harvests enough wind energy to power about 300,000 homes.

·         Why the Palm Springs location:   A wind turbine is a device that converts wind energy into mechanical energy, which is then used to produce electricity.  As heat rises from the desert floor, it creates a low-pressure area filled by the cool air blowing in from the Pacific Ocean, 90 miles west.  As the wind rushes toward the desert, it is forced between the mountains (Mount San Gorgonio at 11,503 feet and Mount San Jacinto at 10,833 feet), creating a Venturi effect — similar to placing your finger on a garden hose.

Leaving the Palm Springs area, there was a short stretch of I-10 where the fauna was still in control

DSC_0062 DSC_0061before entering the sprawling Los Angeles suburbs and network of highways.

DSC_0065Once at our campground,

DSC_0068we retrieved our first mail (which Doug had forwarded) since leaving home.

Just prior to leaving for dinner, the setting sun painted the mountains of the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests in pink, purple and orange hues.

DSC_0071This evening we ate at the Pomona Valley Mining Camp restaurant

DSC_0094With our table looking out over the lights of Ontario, Montclair, Pomona and beyond

DSC_0099Back at our campground, we took a walk (in part to walk off some of the dinner we’d just packed away) to see some of the Christmas lights on and decorations around many of the RVs here for the holiday.

 Christmas Lights a Christmas Lights b Christmas Lights eOn the way back to our coach, Debbie had a pass made at her!

Christmas Lights d

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