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  • Writer's pictureDes & Sandie Nichols


Updated: Aug 16, 2023

We cannot with honesty waste your time on flattery of Oceanside. We were not impressed. At best, it is a plain seaside town with a nice beach and interesting pier but little else. Far too predictable for the intrepid traveler. Nuff said. However, its neighbor is worth a mention..


Carlsbad has much more style and much more of interest. In the 1880s a former sailor John Frazier dug down into the ground and, eureka, up sprung water out of the arid sand. This was almost worth its weight in gold in this barren area and so he started selling it at the local train stop which became known as Frazier's Station. A test then proved the water had all the properties of that found in other spa towns around the world. For a few years, homes and businesses sprouted up on a ride of optimism, as agriculture flourished and people flocked to the seaside resort. Unfortunately the good times didn't last long. Today it retains a brushstroke of historic charm and some of the buildings resonate those heady days of the late 19th century. There is a splendid path overlooking the long beach, which, being California, you have to share with self-righteous joggers and daftly-dressed cyclists; the most dangerous threat however comes from those mums running while pushing their tricycle push-chairs each carrying a small child who stares back in bemusement at the ridiculous and bouncing antics of its panting mother. Worth a look-in of you are passing.


We had explored along the coast further south towards San Diego, visiting the golf courses at La Jolla, the racecourse at Del Mar and the wealthy houses of the rich and famous that line up on the edge of the Pacific. It is an interesting drive and with lunch in La Jolla provides a good day out.

Next we headed inland to Palm Springs. We have not started our probing of all the stubborn little corners of the surrounding desert yet and we shall report on our findings in the next blog. There's Joshua Tree National Park, the Coachella Valley (home to the famous music festival), the infamous Salton Sea sitting ominously on the San Andreas Fault and the hillside tour of the homes of the movie stars; Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Hope, Elvis Presley, Sonny & Cher and even the flamboyant Liberace have lived here and many of their names are etched Hollywood-style in stars on the sidewalk downtown.

Apparently there used to be a 'two-hour rule' laid down by the film studios whereby the actors could not stray more than two hours away in case they were called back. Palm Springs falls within that restriction and hence its popularity with the movie glitterati.

Read the next chapter for more about the favorite showbiz desert hideaway.

Palm Springs


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