Travel

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.

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