2014 US Southwest — Palm Springs, CA


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Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, CA. The weather and the mountains — perfection!

WHEN:  January 29 to January 31, 2014

Palm Springs, CA was on the way to our next major city of our trip so we decided to stay there a couple of days and look around.   This is not our first visit to the city known as the “Hollywood Stars’ Getaway”.   We were here a couple of times before — once in 2005 and again in 2008 (if my memory serves me right, that is).   Anyway, we were both here once before, we liked it, and we thought it deserved another visit.

Palm Springs is a desert resort city in Riverside County, California, within the Coachella Valley. It is located 100 east of Los Angeles, CA — the maximum number of miles any contract movie star could be from Hollywood in the 30s, 40s, and 50s (so to be available to the studio in the event they were needed for a part in a movie).  Palm Springs also has some famous neighbors — Palm Desert (a popular retreat for “snowbirds” from colder climates), Cathedral City (because its rock formations in the area were reminiscent of a cathedral), and Indio (the “City of Festivals” because of all the special events held in town and home to the likes of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates).

Yep — Palm Springs is a niiiiice place!

Travel time from Los Angeles, CA to Palm Springs, CA:    Drive via I-10 W for 107 miles.   Without our rest stops or standing traffic, it would take us 1 hour and 40 minutes to get there.   Of course, we took rest stops but the traffic was rather light so we arrived in Palm Springs just in time for lunch.

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We saw windmills along the way from Los Angeles to Palm Springs — but few were spinning.

Did I tell you that so far on our trip the weather has been warm and sunny?   Well, it was!   Apologies to all my family in Wisconsin where it was 25 degrees below zero — with snow!

Hotel:  International Lodge (74-380 El Camino, Palm Desert, CA 92260).   This hotel used to be a set of studio apartments that have been converted into roomy hotel rooms — each with balconies, full kitchenettes, and huge bathrooms.   They even have screen doors that make that nostalgic metallic “BANG” when it slams shut (not that that is a bad thing).    It was nice to have a full size refrigerator to cool our bottles of juice and water.   The hotel was quiet and just off of HWY 111 (Palm Desert Drive) in Palm Desert.  It was a bit of a drive into Palm Springs but the view of the mountains made up for any inconvenience, I think.

Activities:  Besides enjoying the lovely weather, we did the following activities while we were in Palm Springs:

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We drove up and down Palm Canyon Drive numerous times. Each time was lovely!

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For our first evening in Palm Springs, we went to see “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” at the new IMAX Theater in Cathedral City — in 3D no less! It was an experience in a good way! Afterwards, we went to In and Out for burgers (it was the only place open that late at night).

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We took a walk through Indian Canyons State Park. The desert is striking…

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…the desert was hot.

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We also went to the Living Desert Zoo and Garden. The desert can be an eerie, yet beautiful, place…

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…with spooky trees…

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…and green trees…

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…and lazy camels…

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…and birds by the waterholes…

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…and shy little dogs the reminded me of Zoey…

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…and curious Meerkats that reminded me of Zoey…

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…and palm trees that stood like soldiers with afros…

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…and cacti that stood thin and tall…

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…and cacti that sat short and plumb…

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…and a toy train on steroids!

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On our last day in Palm Springs, we took the Captain Kirk’s Palm Springs Adventure Tour where we walked the streets of old Las Palmas to see the  distinctive architecture, celebrity estates, and to hear about the history (and scandals) of the rich and famous. This was Liberace‘s home.

Food Memories:  Palm Springs has no lack of great eateries!   Here is where we ate:

Ruben and Ozzy’s Oyster Bar and Grill (241 E Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262) — Seafood.   Our first meal in Palm Springs was a good one!  I had a salad with grilled salmon and my DH had the Luis Special Seafood Pasta.  Both dishes were huge!  Both dishes were good (although my salmon was a bit dry)!

Nina’s Traditional Greek Cuisine and Pizzeria (555 S Sunrise Way, Palm Springs, CA 92264) — Greek.   Click on the link and you will see that the portions are huge!   We shared the Gyro Platter and a bowl of the lemony Avgolemono soup.  Excellent food — we had to be rolled out to our car!

Great Shakes (160 S Palm Canyon Dr, Suite A, Palm Springs, CA 92262) — Ice cream.   Normally we do not indulge in milkshakes because there are just too many other desserts we prefer.   But my DH was intrigued by the reviews and the little donut that is impaled on the straw of each shake made — it was so cute!   Unfortunately, the little donut on the straw was the best part of the Toasted Marshmallow Chocolate Shake we shared.  It lacked the chocolatey substance we were expecting.   But that donut sure was cute!

Pacifica Seafood Restaurant (73505 El Paseo #2500, Gardens On El Paseo, Palm Desert, California 92260) — Seafood.  It was a bit surprising that there were so many seafood restaurants to be had in the middle of the desert!   My DH had the salmon (perfectly cooked) and I had the Braised Short Ribs (I couldn’t help myself — this is one of my favorite dishes and it was worth it).  We had the leftovers for breakfast the next day — both dishes were still good!

Departing Thoughts:   We love Palm Springs!  It is historic, it is swank, yet it still looks new and current!  I suspect that we will come back here again —  it is just so close to Las Vegas!

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