By Denise Ortuno Neil

So let’s talk about the weather. No really, it’s not small talk, it is what everyone is talking about who lives in the Coachella Valley or who is visiting or considering visiting the desert. It is what draws disturbingly huge droves of people to our valley for a myriad of events from golf tournaments to gay pride, fashion week, music fests and tons more…the list is long and impressive. But at the end of the day…our fabulous weather is what rules, no doubt.

It was John McCallum back in the late 1800’s who started the trend when he brought his family to Palm Springs in a last ditch effort to cure his son Johnny from his bout with Tuberculosis. Ever since then, people have been coming to our precious desert not only to heal from their repertory ailments, but to also heal from stress and sometimes just to down right party and have fun. But our weather was and will always be at the forefront of it all.

Personally speaking, the weather is what brought me to the Coachella Valley over 36 years ago (yes I’m only 36). My parents wanted to buy a restaurant in a dry climate to accommodate my mother’s asthma. The area of Orange County was way too humid, so the desert was a top option…go east Ortuno family…so we did. Back then in the 1979, the desert was a great place for people with breathing problems. The air was clean…water too. I remember when our season was constant. It was hot as hell in the summer with ridiculous storms (thunder and lightning galore) and cold in the winter (December for sure, January and February were bonus) at least what we as desert dwellers consider to be cold…but it did snow several times, as I mentioned in my column a while back.


But things have changed throughout the years. The air and climate have been slightly compromised due to the influx of golf courses, traffic pollution and other environmental elements.

In honesty, the desert itself has changed from when Mr. McCallum brought his son Johnny out here for a cure all. With the yearly re-seeding of almost 200 golf courses and some serious drought issues, the deserts weather has surly been tweaked. But our exceptionally amazing desert continues to thrive and morph itself to survive, and continues to drive throngs of visitors to our sandy shores….because at the end of the day….our weather is pretty awesome!