Friday, March 21, 2008

Delayed in Paradise

Our flight out of Palm Springs today was cancelled due to snow in Chicago. We have been rescheduled to leave tomorrow evening. This has got to be one of the most perfect cities in which to be stranded! We are able to stay in the hotel the extra night and can have use of the pool after check out.....we'll work on our tans in the afternoon before heading to the airport.
We won't get into Green Bay until 7:45 on Easter Sunday but I'll take being tired to being stranded in an airport.

I'll write more and include pictures in the days to come.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Palm Canyon Drive

We stayed in Palm Springs today. Breakfast was at 11:00 at Baker's Square and then onto the shops on Palm Canyon Drive. We mostly browsed and Patrick found two great T-shirts. At the first shop he did buy one and although he really liked another, the $80 price tag turned him off. At Crazy Shirt a hemp died, pro-hemp use shirt also caught his eye. Ann picked up a top at a store and I ended up with some T-shirts from "Life is Good." Ann and I fell in love with a metal, moving roadrunner and it is being shipped. The woman in that store was originally from Michigan and identified us as Wisconsinites immediately. Something about how I say the word "no." We enjoyed talking to her and learning a few things about living in Palm Springs vs. the Midwest.
An art gallery was the best stop. This was the most tasteful gallery I've seen and most of the work focused on Native American pieces. Ann was quite taken with an oil painting by B.C. Nowlin. The gallery owner was quite helpful, pleasant, and spent a decent amount of time with us. The painting she liked most was $12000 and a smaller version was $6000. They were spectacular.

The rest of the day was spent at the hotel pool. Although all of us are red from yesterday, we slathered on the sun screen and relished the sun. So relaxing. Bright blue sky, palm trees, chirping birds, flowers, pool.....everything to like.

Dinner was at the Blue Coyote Grill for Mexican food. Since it was early we took at drive into Rancho Mirage, stopped at an upscale mall for a short time and left after finding the Tiffany's store closed for the evening. Ann and I had wanted to introduce Patrick to that store even though he wasn't as excited about it as we were.

Tomorrow is back to Joshua Tree. We're hoping to see the cactus garden and wildflowers plus dig up our own cactus at a place we saw on Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is starkly beautiful and amazing. The park is aptly named because Joshua Trees cover the landscape and are a unique looking tree. They are flowering now and look kind of like a huge cone shaped hyacinth. There were many other cacti and some wildflowers. (The wildflowers bloom more in the Colorado Desert and we were only in the Mojave Desert today. We will drive into the Colorado Desert Thursday) There are huge rock formations all around and the mountains are in the background. Some of the higher peaks still have snow. There is a peacefulness about the park and the rough, spottily green terrain is appealing in contrast to Wisconsin snow. At 70+ degrees, bright blue skies, and slight breeze it is a welcome respite from winter.

The cacti are sharp, by the way. I had flip flops on when we made our first stop to look around in the park and somehow got a dried piece of cactus stuck in my heel. Yow! Fortunalty I have some callouses on my heel but it still hurt. (I changed into tennis shoes then) Patrick then stepped on a live cactus but was wearing tennis shoes. Needles did lodge in the bottom of his shoes.

We didn't see much wildlife: crows, lizards, duck (Barker Dam area), and some kind of little bird that happily chirped. We're hoping to see a jackrabbit and roadrunner at the very least.

Ann was quite the sport and walked a 1.5 mile loop at Joshua Tree. It wasn't a straight flat path but involved climbing some rocks. She did well and is feeling fine. She took 400 pictures today for a photo essay she is doing for a class assignment. Her eye for unusual shots is amazing and I can't wait to see what she comes up with for her assignment.

There is a huge wind farm on the outskirts of Palm Springs. It is very science fiction-esque. There are probably a thousand of the devices, most huge but some smaller ones. I suppose from one point of view they mar the landscape but on the other hand they do provide a great deal of energy. Whereas there is only a small area on Highway 41 South to Milwaukee that has these windmills, what we saw today may be a glimpse into the energy future.

Dinner was in downtown Palm Springs tonight....a very nice, long road of shops and restaurants. Most of the restaurants have outdoor dining, and we ate outside at a place called Kaiser's. Patrick was blown away by the prices but they were pretty much on par with California decent dining costs; and the food was very good. Again, the weather was still perfect and at 8:00p.m. we were comfortable sitting outside PLUS there were no bugs.

I forgot my camera at home so borrowed one of Ann's today. I'll post pictures when back home.

Tomorrow is going back downtown to browse the shops and then come back to sit by the pool.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Break

Ann, Patrick, and I arrived in Palm Springs at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time today. Since we've been up since 4:30 a.m. everyone is tired tonight but we'll head for Joshua Tree National Park tomorrow.
The flights were more turbulent then we would have liked but we all survived. Children sat behind us and at first we thought we would have to through them into a storage compartment. They kicked the back of our chairs, drummed out cadences on the lap trays and were just generally annoying prior to the plane getting off ground. I typically don't find children bothersome in restaurants and on planes so these kids had kicked it up to "bugging the hell out of me." Since my kids have always traveled well and were not allowed to annoy others I have little patience for children whose parents believe they can inflict their children on the rest of us.

Upon deplaning we immediately liked Palm Springs because.... well, the weather was 72 degrees and there was no snow. The only snow to be seen was at the top of the mountains where it was picturesque and not a reminder of an endless winter. We didn't see much of the city but it looks clean, has lots of flowers and palm trees and the gorgeous mountains are in plain view.

The hotel is nice and will work just fine. Our room has a refrigerator and microwave plus a balcony. Ann and I sat by the pool after supper until the sun went behind the mountain.

The general population seems quite.......mature. Spry but certainly a geriatric crowd. I think I should do a photo essay on the "mature" men as they all have a similar look about them. Golf clothing is a sure fashion statement with these men.

Oh, our rental car is a bright blue PT Cruiser. We found the car, looked at each other, grimaced and then laughed.