12/02/2008

DESERT DASH

Finally, I'm sharing a little bit about my trip to Palm Springs. I know, I've been home for a while, but with all the holiday hubbub, it was forgotten.

First, I must mention that I got us a screaming deal on our rental car. When I initially booked the trip, I reserved a Chrysler 300 from Dollar. It was going for $32 per day, and with all the taxes and such it would be over $200. At the time, *that* was a great deal - it was the cheapest car to rent. I'm thinking the high gas prices drove up demand for the economy cars. Well, the weekend before leaving, I checked into the cars again. And it seems that my original car had gone back to its usual rental price, but the cars below it were at bargain prices. So, I cancelled my reservation and made a new one, but this time for a Dodge Charger at $15 per day. In the end, the price of the rental with taxes AND gas, it was $131.00. (I also got a 5% discount and FatWallet cash back!) Oh, and my mom paid for the car, but I drove us everywhere. Kinda fun zipping around in that car.

We arrived at my company-owned condo which is located at the Embassy Suites in La Quinta. They were once owned and managed by Embassy Suites, but they had sold them off as condos. They're basically hotel suites, but you could potentially live in them and some people do. What was really great was that there were hardly any people there and it was really quiet. We had the pool to ourselves, but it turned out that there were multiple pools for the condo owners.

We were staying by Old Town La Quinta and spent a day wandering the shops (bought nothing). We also stopped by the grocery store for food and bottled water. I persuaded Mom to get a pedicure with me. It was recommended that we drive down Highway 111 and check out the shops at El Paseo. Apparently, it's like the Rodeo Drive of the Desert. And as advertised, there were stores that were very expensive - Gucci, Burberry, Saks Fifth Avenue. However, there were other shops that were more accessible to we of more humble means.

We stumbled into Coldwater Creek, not really a store that I shop at, but they did have a coat that caught my eye. As we were going in, we noticed a whole bunch of shoppers. And then the salesladies came. They were having a "Sparkle Sale" with hourly giveaways and munchies. Of course we'd enter the drawing. After the first drawing was held and we didn't win, we left. The next morning, we learned that Mom had won one of the drawings. So we went back to collect, but decided not to purchase anything. We have stores at home, so spending it was not a problem. They hardly had anything on sale and the time, and we barely had room in our carry-ons. Lucky Mom!

A day was spent in the San Jacinto mountains as we took the Palm Springs Tramway. It's amazing how much cooler it is at the top of the mountains compared with the valley. We were warned, however, and dressed accordingly. It's really beautiful up there, and oh so quiet. Lots of hiking trails and in the winter, they get snow! What a treat for the residents to have some winter fun so close to home.

A visit to Shields Date Gardens was not planned, but after seeing their ad, we decided that it could be fun. Besides, there was a coupon for a buy one, get one free Date Shake! They also have an ongoing "movie" called The Romance and Sex Life of the Date. It was interesting, but I wouldn't call it "hot". It was worth a visit to the gardens as it was a good opportunity to try dates, as I've had limited experience with them. The medjools were like no other dates I tasted.

We spent a lot of time at Joshua Tree National Park. This park is so vast, you could spend a lot of time here. There are so many trails and things to do, it's amazing. But you'll have to love nature, because the accommodations are lacking. While the roads are very much developed, other than the visitor centers, the park doesn't have a whole lot of exhibits. But you do have the chance to hike on all the trails, climb up and over rock formations, and pretty much be one with nature. There's an amazing viewpoint where you can look into the valley. Surprisingly, we didn't see very many animals, except for a couple of tarantulas crossing the road. Because there were no restaurants or snack bars to speak of, we left the park very hungry. Good thing Mom packed a bit of trail mix.

All in all, we had a wonderful girls trip to the Desert. I might have to go back, which is fine with me. The sunshine was wonderful and the whole area was very easy to get around. We didn't see any celebrities, but I think it's not celebrity season in the desert quite yet. Maybe I can convince Hubby to go and we can get a round of golf in.

(Sorry no pics, I didn't pack a camera. Mom did but hasn't given me the photos yet.)

1 comment:

Auburn Kat said...

Gosh, I am SO in the need for a vacation!