|Vesnina and Federer were champions in 2017|
It was a bit cloudy on Saturday which was actually wonderful - not too hot.
|outside stadium 1|
|inside stadium 1|
Serena is the figure in the foreground above. It was easier to see her on the big screen.
|court 2 before the matches started|
The grounds are well designed with many areas where you can find shade. Hopefully, they will increase the number of vendors that sell coffee next year. We had to wait quite a while for the afternoon caffeine fix.
|Berdych and Marterer, but which is which?|
Sadly, Cuevas won, but at least we got to see Shapovalov play. I'm expecting he will have a lot of success in the future.
|Rod Laver in hat with brim|
The great Rod Laver was also watching Shapovalov. How cool it must be to have someone of his caliber commend your game!
While we were watching on court 2, Karen and David had claimed excellent seats in the third row of court 3! Tom joined David there while I went with Karen to see Serena.
|David (in the red hat) and Tom|
|Chardy - the victor over Fognini|
|Donaldson and Bautista Agut prepare to do battle|
The power of their shots and both players' foot speed was amazing to see from so close. It's too bad someone had to lose - they both played extremely well. The match was won by excellent shot making, not errors.
We planned on leaving the grounds at the conclusion of the match. Luckily for these players, rain did not interrupt their match. Unluckily for us, rain became heavy quickly and the play on all other courts was suspended for the night. That meant everyone on the grounds was leaving at the same time. It took us 30 minutes to get out of the parking lot!
We wanted to experience more of the area than just tennis. Since there was cloud cover limiting views from the area's mountain tramway (which may have reminded us of Switzerland outings), we instead headed towards Joshua Tree National Park. The visitor center is actually outside the park, but there we were able to pick up a trail map. On the drive over, we rode past a huge wind farm. Impressive!
We had seen a Joshua Tree once last year, but this was our chance to learn more about them.
Shortly after entering the park, we pulled off the road for a picture. Unfortunately, there was sand on the side of the road and the car got stuck! We eventually found some things in the trunk that we could put beneath the wheels for traction. Reluctantly, I got in the driver's seat while Tom pushed. Phew, we got out. The car was now stopped in the road while we switched drivers again. Guess who would happen upon us right then? Yup, the Park Police. Where were they moments before when we could have used some help? Anyway, we were scolded for stopping in the roadway. Not the best way to start our day in the park, but we carried on.
|Joshua Trees, up close and personal|
Besides the unique trees, the most common sight in the park was rocks - huge piles of rocks.
|remains of ranch|
We saw remains of a ranch. Building a ranch in a desert seems like a very bad idea.
|why doesn't that rock fall over?|
We saw plenty of people climbing the rocks. I can't relate to them. (I'm not going to go climb a mountain either!)
We had planned to take a short hike or two, but that didn't work out very well. We learned that the trails are very poorly marked and there isn't enough parking where trails are supposed to begin.
The cholla cactus garden is something to experience from a distance. If you get too close to the cholla, they try to attach themselves to you which can be very painful.We kept our distance.
Cars can drive a diagonal road from the northwest corner of the park to the southern end. We did this choosing stops along the way. What the park information does NOT tell you is that if you enter the park from the southern visitor center, you will drive a long way before you see your first Joshua Tree! The park name implies that the trees are everywhere, but they are not.
Day two of tennis was sunny and hot. Our plan was to watch women's singles and men's or women's doubles since there had been little of either on day one. Using our knowledge of the grounds from our first day, we headed back to court 2 - directly to where we knew there would be shade in a couple of hours. We had to bear the heat at the outset, but were rewarded later.
|Roberto Bautista Agut|