Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A fantastic overnight getway

I was on the go again last weekend.  My friend Bob, who I worked with in my GE days, used to say I was a rolling stone and was he ever right.  I do love to travel, and I especially love road trips.

Saturday morning Mike and I got on the road a little after 8:00.  Our destination:  Joshua Tree National Park.  After stopping for a McDonald's Big Breakfast and gas, we pulled into the park a little before noon.  It's an easy ride; you just go down the 95 to I-40, and then you're on some back roads for maybe the last hour.  Mike and I are both talkers, as you can imagine, so the ride went by in no time.

I'd been to this park years ago with B.H. and remembered it as being very beautiful.  Yep, it still was.

Mike and I decided on a 3-mile round trip hike up Ryan Mountain.  The park info said it was strenuous, and it certainly was a steady climb, but I didn't think it was too hard.  I wouldn't suggest it to my 76-year-old mother, but if you're in reasonably good shape, you'll make it no problem.  As you can see, the scenery along the way was gorgeous!

Here we are about half-way up.

And at the top.  Yes, we hiked the entire trail arm in arm.

This was a fantastic hike--one of my all-time favorites.  Hard enough that you felt like you accomplished something, but not so hard you want to cry.  You know those hikes, right?

After a full day at the park we checked into our room at the Super 8 in Yucca Valley.  As Super 8s go, this one was  definitely above par--immaculate with larger than average rooms--and was only $51.   It didn't have a hot tub, though, and after the climb up Ryan Mountain that definitely would have been appreciated.

Saturday night we checked out a honky tonk up in Pioneertown (about 5 miles away) called Happy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace.  I'd been wanting to go there for quite some time.  It reminded me of the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in upstate New York.  We didn't eat there (big mistake), but the music was hopping and the scene was fun for all ages.

Sunday morning we headed for Palm Springs, about 30 minutes away.  I've been there a couple of times; the last was in 2004 when I attended a comedy conference.  Palms Springs has awesome shopping, and I was surprised to see so much vacant commercial real estate on the main drag, Palm Canyon Drive.  Vegas isn't the only place suffering.  Anyway, I got a cute little hippie dress for twenty bucks and Mike bought me a funky pocketbook I'd been eyeing.  Amazing boyfriend.

Doesn't it look nice there? 

You absolutely cannot go to Palm Springs without checking out the Palms Springs Aerial Tramway that runs up one of the mountains just outside of town.  Within 10 minutes, you'll climb almost 6,000 feet and I'm not kidding, the ride is spectacular.   The temperature at the top is 30 degrees cooler.  Here I am before we left downtown.

And here I am at the summit.  Yep, that's snow.  If I lived in Palm Springs, I'd definitely get a season's pass to escape the summer heat.

 We left town at about 3:30 or so and decided on the I-10/215/I-15 route.  If you're a big fan of Pee Wee's Big Adventure (and even if you're not), you have to stop to see the giant dinosaurs at Cabazon, just a couple of exits east of Palm Springs.  

These things are enormous!  See how small I am sitting at the base?

With another stop for gas and In-and-Out, we got back to Las Vegas around 8:15.   If you live in Vegas--or anywhere in Southern California--or are visiting and want a quick getaway, I highly recommend this trip.  You can pack a lot of living into two days!

What am I missing?  Can you suggest another overnight getaway from Las Vegas?  You know I'd love to do it!


Julie D said...

Sounds like so much fun!

Stop talking about In N Out, dammit. I'm craving it so bad!

Debbie said...

Linda - I LOVE PALM SPRINGS. We go at least twice a year. Beautiful weather, great restaurants, Margaritas and nothing to do but chill!


K A B L O O E Y said...

Beautiful pictures (love the ones in which Mike is giving you the squeezes -- he looks like a skilled, strong hugger.) Thanks for letting me tag along.

drewzepmeister said...

Haven't had an In N Out Burger in such a LONG time...Almost forgotten how good they tasted.

Anonymous said...

Oh how fun! Beautiful pictures!

I am missing In N Out like crazy!!! I'm not going to make it out west this year so I'm sad I won't be having any. BOO Eat one for me!

Donna B. said...

What a fun trip...great pics!

J said...

Great Pics!

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda Lou,
Just back from vacation so I know this comment is late, but I think you would love the challenge of the Grand Canyon. I took my 15 yr old niece on this hike a couple summers ago and it ranks as one of the coolest things I've ever done. We stayed at the rim the night before and hiked down the next day. At the bottom, next to the Colorado River, is the Phantom Ranch. We stayed in a 10 girl dorm but they do have private cabins if you are lucky enough to get a reservation. Food is great, ranger talks are informative. Watch out for pink rattlesnakes! lol. Eat breakfast and order at least one sack lunch to share on the way out. It took us 6-7 hours to get to the bottom. Longer than most because we kept having to take shelter next to boulders to hide from freak thunderstorms. Took us 7-8 hours to hike out. Kicked my ass!!! We stayed at the rim that night. Don't even think about driving in the day of and driving out after. I know this is long but I know how you love hiking and the southwest. You will see some phenomenal vistas. Unforgetable. :)