Our last three days in the California desert were spent at the Coachella Eagles. This is quite a deal for members (Todd was a member so he signed me in as a guest). It’s a little rundown, but for $17 a night, you get full hookups. Also, there is a washer/dryer, and shower you can use , not to mention a swimming pool. There are cement pads to park on, nice and level. Other than Hwy 10 that is not too far away it is peaceful quiet. I did hear some coyotes at night and early evening. Roadrunners appear to include this place as part of their territory.
Didn’t do a lot during the time we were there. We did however go to lunch at the Empire Polo Club, at their Tack Room Tavern. The food was good and reasonably priced. The décor was perfect. Saddles to sit on if you were in the mood (though they were western saddles) and polo artwork, mallets and saddles adorn the walls.
We then went and visited the Eldorado Polo Club. Dogs are welcome at the polo clubs on leash.
Back when I was a kid the only polo club was Eldorado and it was tucked up against the mountain in Palm Desert. I used to watch from above, sitting there on the mountainside with my Shetland Sheepdog buddy, Patches. My Mom used to love watching the polo games and did so until she left the desert around 2007. I looked for, but was unable to find some historic photos of the old location.
A little history on the club. The Eldorado Polo club began in 1957. Then, 11 polo players got together and bought the original parcel of land. “They were Willie Tevis, Peter Hitchcock, Erwin Anisz, Willis Allen, Larry Tailor, L.C. Smith, Gayle Medicott, Bob Haney, Bill Gilmore, Ted Pierce and Frank Yturria. They had a meeting in San Francisco, at the Olympic Club, to purchase 38 acres from Bob McCulloch for $500 an acre. McCulloch was the developer of the Eldorado Country Club. He had some extra land that didn’t fit into his master plan. “Fortunately for thousands of polo players,” says the Eldorado magazine article written by Russell, “the land was perfect for polo.”Each of the men contributed $5,000 to build the Eldorado Polo Club. Homes starting in the low millions now occupy the land the club originally sat on.
It was McCulloch’s idea to name the club Eldorado. He offered the founders a membership in his country club if they did so. “A funny anecdote regarding the free social memberships came after a polo game,” Russell wrote. “Five players rode their horses down the wash over to the Eldorado Country Club. They tied the horses to the trees at the main entrance; at that time there were orange trees at the club entrance where there are palm trees today. The five players in dirty shirts, britches and boots went straight to the bar. As they relived the game, they had a little too much to drink and the group became a little rowdy. As the players partied in the clubhouse, the horses left their calling cards at the entrance, and with that came the flies. The ladies and club members began to arrive after church and were absolutely disgusted. Several days later Tony Veen informed them that Mr. McCulloch, upset over their behavior, had revoked their social memberships.” – poloplayersedition.com
The location of the original club became too valuable and they ended up moving to Indio in 1979. “ the facility now is one of the most prestigious country clubs in the desert, called the Vintage Club. I mean, Bill Gates lives there. That’s how good it is.” -poloplayersedition.com
For a bit of even older history of polo in the CA. desert:
“Colorful History of Sport in Village
By FRANK ROBERT Desert Sun Feb. 27, 1958 Few people will remember Tom Mangan at Smoke Tree Ranch in 1927 and 1928 pulling out the Cresote, and Smoke Tree bushes with a team of horses, and a log chain. By the end of 1928 he had a smooth skin field watered down by hand, and patiently dragged with a team hitched to a large twelve by twelve timber. Tom who at this time was over seventy years old played Polo most of his life in many east, and west games, as well as many high goal international games. He had coached the great Eric Pedley and mounted him in most of his greatest matches With the building of the Field Club in Palm Springs real Polo on a beautiful turf field became a reality. By 1938 fourteen goal Polo with the best players in the west were a regular weekend event. Bill Gilmore, Red Guy, Walt Disney, Harry Patee, Carl Beal, Charity Farrell, Hal Roach. Will Rogers and many other famous names of that time were seen in the various tournaments. WORLD WAR TWO brought all Polo activity to a stand-still in Palm Springs as well as the rest of the world. The only thing left from the old Polo days was the Palm Springs Polo Club, a social group organized to entertain the Polo Players at a cocktail party after each game A special little club house was built for this purpose. and still stands in the same location at the present Polo Grounds in Palm Springs” – California Digital Newspaper Collection
I understand the “new location” is also in the process of being bought for development. They say that there will always be an Eldorado Polo Club, and that they will just move further out. I guess that is to be seen.
From Coachella we headed to Lake Havasu, Arizona. Along the way we stopped at what once was a gas station to let the dogs have a break. It ended up being a place that accumulated shoes with laces. Not sure how something like this gets started, I wouldn’t want to toss a perfectly good pair of shoes up there.
Looking forward to getting to where Kylie and Korda can go for a swim!