And now the holidays begin! I had flown back from Pittsburgh to LA and spent the night there ready to begin more adventures…
Kate arrived on her overnight flight from Melbourne tired. But that was OK… I had fairly much adjusted to the time zone and was doing OK. So I met her at LAX, and we went and grabbed a car ready for a few days of driving into the California Desert. First destination was Palm Springs! We had always wanted to go and finally we were going to make it.
After some stops to freshen up and eat and outlet shop, we made it to Cabazon, just out of Palm Springs. It is home to a fairly dodgy looking Dinosaur tourist park. We didn’t go in, but stopped to see the dinosaurs out front like everyone else.
Mid arvo we arrived in Palm Springs and checked in to our hotel, the suitably 50’s Orbit-In. It was great. The owner was a fantastic guy who made us feel very much at home. The hotel was a time capsule to 50s vibe and was a blast. We even had “Orbitini Hour” at 5pm… drinks on the house by the pool. Ah, this is the life.
We didn’t know before we booked but it was actually Pride Weekend in Palm Springs! It meant the main street was going crazy with all kinds of pride events and festivities. It was great fun seeing everyone out for a good time.
We had good times of our own planned. As luck would have it, one of our absolute favourite artists, Shag, was having a print launch at his downtown gallery space! YES!!! So after some tasty Mexican food, we went to have cocktails and chat with the great man himself. We even treated ourselves to a couple of prints.
It was Pride parade day, but sadly we had already planned our day to check a bucket list item off… visiting Joshua Tree National Park. So we disappeared out of town before it got too crazy and made it to the National Park. It was a glorious day, not too hot, so we began our drive from South to North West.
First we weaved through the Colorado Desert, which is quite barren and mostly very furry cactii. Highlight is the Cactus garden where you can explore amongst hundreds/thousands of medium sized cactus plants.
From there you go over a ridge and into the Mojave Desert where the landscape instantly changes. We saw lots of rock and boulder formations, and the Joshua Trees start. Skull Rock is a stopping point and I couldn’t help but climb into the eyeball. Getting down was the hard part 🙂
We also went to the top of the main ridge and looked down on Palm Springs. It was quite hazy but still spectacular.
But it is the Joshua trees that take the cake. People say they are Seussian in their appearance and they definitely are. They are a sight to behold.
Sunset was very early so around 5pm the colours changed a little and the sun set on what is an absolutely gorgeous place.
We were given the tip for place to visit for dinner, a place called Pappy and Harriett’s. We had no idea what it was but went anyway! It turned out to be a cowboy bar of sorts in a place called Pioneertown, not far from Joshua Tree. Turns out it was a movie set in the 40s! The place was packed and a buzz. We had some great burgers and drinks and made our way back to Palm Springs.
Alas it was time to say goodbye to Palm Springs already. We definitely did not have enough time there and both vowed to go back.
On the way out of town we visited the Aerial Tramway, to go to the biggest ridge above Palm Springs (not back in Joshua Tree). It is close to 3000m altitude and often has snow on it! We caught the tramway up and looked out over the area.
We also had time for some sneaky “Welcome To Palm Springs” type pics 🙂
When we entered Palm Springs a few days earlier, a couple of billboards caught my eye which I revisited. They had the legacy of some early Shepard Fairey (i.e. Obey) pasters on them that I had to stop and get pics of.
We fought the traffic back toward LA and arrived at our home for the coming days in Anaheim. After dropping the car off, we rested for a little bit and then decided it was time for a drink to wind down. Where did we go? Trader Sams of course!
We couldn’t resist getting a few tiki mugs and drinks to cap off the day and get ready for some Disney action.