Monthly Archives: February 2016

Palm Springs 2016 (3/3)

[Click here to read Day 1 or Day 2.]

Day 3

On Thursday, we enjoyed a slow, peaceful morning on the patio before venturing out to explore the thrift shops and antique stores in Rancho Mirage. We didn’t buy much, but had a nice time anyway. We ended up in downtown Palm Springs at the end of our shopping excursion, where we visited Great Shakes to cool off with a Date Shake and a Blueberry Hill shake (blueberry, lemon, and lavender).

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We sipped our shakes and wandered the streets. Near the Chamber of Commerce, we came across a tiny, historical general store. It was once a private collection of original goods and products dating from the 1800s through the 1940s. Now, the collection can be viewed for just 95 cents per entry.

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We drove back to the condo to enjoy leftovers for lunch. We soaked up some more sun on the patio and then ventured out to a nearby hiking trail known as the “Bump and Grind”.

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It was very steep walking, but the view was beautiful.

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When we returned, I went for a run before our dinner at Sammy’s Woodfire Pizza. There, we enjoyed some of the best pizza I’ve ever had, followed by mini donuts for dessert.

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On our route home, we drove through the El Paseo Shopping District to admire the fancy storefronts and the unique artwork along the streets.

Before bed, I packed my luggage. Our fourth and final day was mostly travel: driving our rental car back to the Ontario airport and flying through Vegas to Detroit. Everything went smoothly in spite of high wind advisories in the Midwest, and we arrived back home in Perrysburg around 1am.

It was a wonderful getaway!

Palm Springs 2016 (2/3)

[Click here to read Day 1.]

Day 2

Paul seemed to have no problem adjusting to the three hour difference between the time zones, but my body decided I needed to wake up every day by at least 4:30am — which was 7:30am back home. I dozed in bed or spent time on the internet each morning until Paul woke up.

The good news is that I won’t have any trouble adjusting back to the Eastern time zone when we get back!

On Day 2 (Wednesday), we spent the majority of the day at the Joshua Tree National Park. We left around 8am to drive 45 minutes to the park’s south entrance.

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The park features the meeting of two different deserts: the Colorado Desert and the Mohave Desert. Each desert features a unique type of vegetation. It was neat to see the progression of change in the sights as we drove through the park. First, here are the photos of the Colorado Desert.

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Close up of a cactus.

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At various points during the drive, there are pull-offs, some with hiking trails of 15 minutes to 3 hours.

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We saw a lizard. 🙂

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This trail featured “Skull Rock.”

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At this point, we entered the Mohave Desert, which means we started seeing Joshua Trees!

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A desert flower.

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This pull-off area, Keys View, featured an elevation of 5185 feet. We could see Palm Springs and the San Andreas Fault in the distance.

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My favorite area was Barker Dam. Here, early settlers had built a dam for their cattle.

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During the hike to the dam, we also got a view of hieroglyphs on the cliff.

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The Joshua Trees are all so unique!

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We left the park through the west entrance. Below is a map of our drive through the park (click to enlarge).

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We drove an hour to get back into Palm Springs and then made a quick stop at a little sandwich shop called The Sandwich Spot to split a sandwich. We ordered the Djokovich: turkey, bacon, avocado, cheddar, and a garlic vinaigrette on Dutch Crunch bread. It was a fantastic sandwich!

Back at Grandma’s condo, we chatted on the patio for awhile. I decided to go for a short run while Paul decided to squeeze some fresh lemonade. The many fruit trees within Grandma’s country club feature oranges, grapefruit, lemons, kumquat, and clementines — and it’s all free for the taking to anyone in the community.

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After a shower and lemonade, we went to Talay Thai-Dim Sum Restaurant to enjoy some Thai food. The Yellow Curry was to die for, but we also enjoyed sharing Pineapple Fried Rice and Drunken Noodles.

Back at the condo, we enjoyed each other’s company in the living room and chatted.

Click here for Day 3.

Palm Springs 2016 (1/3)

Paul and I just got back from a lovely — albeit too short — trip to Palm Springs, California. Having $400 worth in travel vouchers about to expire prompted us to schedule the trip! Paul’s grandma lives out here during the winter, so we were thrilled to be able to visit and stay with her.

What follows is our travel journal of this trip.

Pseudo-Day 1

Our flight was supposed to fly out on Monday morning on February 15; however, we were very disappointed to encounter a horrendously long line at the Southwest Airlines counter. We quickly learned that the reason for the huge backup was due to dozens of travelers in need of rebooked flights because of a snow storm that passed through Chicago overnight. Unfortunately, those necessary rebookings caused many other travelers to get stuck in line unable to check their bags, and therefore miss their flights.

This is exactly what happened to us. Despite arriving at the airport at 6:15am for a 7:30am flight, we stood waiting in line with our bag until 10am before reaching the counter. The clerk rebooked us for the next earliest flight, which was the following day at 6:30am.

We took the shuttle back to our car with disappointment, but we resolved to make a fun day out of our Monday off nonetheless. We decided to spend the night with Paul’s mom in Ypsilanti so we wouldn’t have to travel far to get to the Detroit airport in the morning.

Using my iPhone, I searched for thrift stores and antique stores in the area. We visited a few interesting stores and came home with a assortment of old buttons and an old sewing machine drawer to use for decoration.

For lunch, we found a Cuban restaurant in Ann Arbor called Frita Batidos. Paul ordered a frita (a frita is a Cuban version of the American hamburger: with chorizo sausage mixed in the hamburger and fries on the burger) and I ordered a pulled pork and coleslaw sandwich.  On the side, we enjoyed crispy plantains and churros. And, of course, a coconut cream Batidos to drink (a milky frozen treat).

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After lunch, we went to Paul’s mom’s house to relax. We spent the evening with our nephew, Tyler, and went to bed early in anticipation of an early wake-up the next morning. Before bed, having learned our lesson, we repackaged our clothing into a carry-on sized bag.  🙂

Day 1

We left for the Detroit airport at 3:30am, armed with only carry-on bags. We got through security in record time and were pleased to have plenty of time to kill at the gate before boarding.

We had a short layover in Denver and then landed in Ontario, California at noon. An airport shuttle took us to the rental car area, where we picked up our reserved rental car: a 2016 Ford Fiesta hatchback in red.

The drive from Ontario to Palm Springs was just over an hour. During the drive, we admired the sun, warm temperature, palm trees, and windmills.

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Palm Springs (and specifically, Rancho Mirage) is located in the Coachella Valley. Being neatly surrounded by mountains means that the weather is very consistent — it is rare to get a rain shower and the skies seem always to be blue. Palm Springs does experience seasons — although it is during the scorching summers when locals avoid being outside and driving in the heat.

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Paul’s grandma owns a lovely condo within the Rancho Las Palmas Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

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We were hungry for lunch, so we went out to the restaurant at the Desert Willow Country Club — Grandma’s favorite place.

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Paul ordered a gourmet hamburger while grandma and I enjoyed their outstanding Monte Cristo. It was the best Monte Cristo I’ve ever had!

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We enjoyed the lovely view overlooking the golf course as we ate.

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Back at grandma’s condo, we enjoyed the sunshine from the back patio and watched the golfers tee off.

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After a quick nap, Grandma made a dinner of chili and salad, with brownie and gelato for dessert.

For the rest of the evening, we relaxed on the patio, walked around at the outdoor shopping area across the street, sat in the hot tub, and chatted in the living room. This is what vacation is made of — relaxation!

Click here for Day 2.