Palm Springs Stars’ Homes of Yesteryear – A Fun Bike ‘n Brunch

by Richard Fox

Palm Springs is one of the most interesting and fun towns to ride around in Southern California, especially when the weather is picture-perfect from fall through early spring.  A stunning mountain backdrop, frequently capped with snow, contrasts to the modified desert landscape of palms, cacti and colorful flowering shrubs. Whereas much of the Coachella Valley is hidden behind walled communities, most of Palm Springs’ communities are available to explore by bike. Architecture ranges from Palm Springs modern to Spanish colonial, and a vibrant downtown is bursting with inviting restaurants, many of which are al fresco and perfect to combine with your ride.

In the mid 20th Century, Palm Springs was the playground of the Hollywood elite, with many of the biggest stars spending time here in a myriad of homes, whether rented or owned. Although they came here to escape the pressure and scrutiny of Hollywood, they created their own melodrama here in the valley.  Details on who lived where is more reliable for some stars’ homes than others’, but the scavenger hunt through history makes this cycle down memory lanes a rewarding exercise. Pictured above is the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway, which he and Priscilla rented in the 60’s.   

I recently led 10 enthusiastic friends on enCYCLEpedia Southern California Ride PS1, “Palm Springs Vintage Star Tour – Where YOU Are the Star,” except instead of having them recite movie lines or sing songs of the various stars as outlined in the book, I played audio clips from movies or their songbook to bring history alive, and had them guess the former occupants based on those, while also regaling tales of yesteryear.  The stops came in clusters, with welcome cycling mileage in between as we explored the Old Las Palmas, Deep Well and Movie Colony Districts in a ride of 14 miles.  I actually added to what is in the book, which may have been a mistake, since the 40-odd stops ended up taking 4 hours, and we didn’t make it to lunch until 2:15, a delicious repast on the El Mirasol (North) patio.  Next time I’ll reduce the stops or plan the lunch for mid-ride.

PS1Kaufman
The Kaufmann house, once occupied by Barry Manilow, has been sold as an art piece.
PS1LiberaceMailboxAlone
Casa Liberace is one of several of his homes on this tour. Check out the piano mailbox.
PS1GroupRobolights2018
The bizarre seasonal Robolights installation in the Movie Colony. Go inside to see rows of art pieces made out of toilet seats or microwaves.
PS1RiversideGroup2018
The 1-mile scenic Riverside bike trail near Deep Well is a rarity in Palm Springs, so we rode it back and forth on the ride between districts.
PS1DesertScene
Enjoy beautiful desert landscapes with dramatic mountain backdrops while cycling through Palm Springs.

 

PS1
Paused in front of Clark Gable/Carole Lomard’s Casa Del Carazon.  Theirs was a tragic tale. (This photo was from an earlier ride).
PS1GroupLunch2018
Our just reward, lunch at the El Mirasol (north) patio in the Movie Colony near the ride start/end.
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