Wow Have I ever neglected this …..high time I talked about a lovely vacation in Palm Desert …names will be withheld to protect the not so innocent …
About three years ago my lovely husband introduced me to this magical warm and lovely world that is southern California’s best kept secret…. it was so magical and warm , our trip was a much belated honeymoon …and it was so short , we vowed to go back . Fast forward three years and me losing weight becoming way more active and voila we are again planning a trip with extra people …two tennis buddies are along for the experience as well.
Hats off to my hubby who booked and re-booked and rebooked and rebooked to get us a deal…I remember joking to him that we had better not have six cars waiting for us at the airport!!! Every night he bird dogged the websites looking and hoping for good airfares ….he was successful, and along with private accommodation from someone we know , made the trip doable .
We had planning meetings, and being my husband, he was über organized , giving everyone agendas and reminders . One thing you can’t plan is how well people are going to get along …I was not worried ,but was not sure about it .
The day comes….tennis buddy #1 (we will call him) shows up ON TIME with coffee for us …damn I had money riding on him being late!!!…we drive to the airport ….new shiny terminal niiiiiccce….check in then, lovely breakie at the restaurant ..(Wolfgang Puck’s does a nice breakie ).. we board …so far so good ….we notice the weather appears to be going to pot outside (snow) so we had a delay ….but before long we were in the air and on our way…
In a few short hours we arrive at PSP …and it appeared so did EVERYONE else …was it the delay or a tennis tournament , in any event queues were insane to get at the car rental but only after one and a half hours ( sarcasm intended) we were on our way …..(side note to certain car rental companies a SIGN indicating where fast track people could queue would have been a good idea !!!)
We arrive at our accommodation and the owner lets us in …we look around and wisely wait till after he leaves to squeal with delight !!!! IT WAS GORGEOUS!!!
We had two patios ,and three bedrooms, full kitchen and two full baths..all very well furnished including two dining areas …wow !!!
We make a trek to a big box store to procure supplies for the first week ….four people going in different directions ..just when we found tennis buddy #1 , tennis buddy #2 would take off for a forgotten item …if you have ever tried to herd cats , you will get this ..finally home to the condo and drinks on the patio at last !!!!! AHHHHH
We settle into a routine ;in the morning we all have coffee ,rustle up our own versions of a breakfast, and the gentlemen head to the courts for three hours of tennis while I don sneakers and head for the walkways ..we regroup with a light lunch and plan the rest of the day …
Every day we would be visited by delightful friend #1 who is fond of the drink and likes to smoke ( he pretends his wife doesn’t know, his wife pretends not to know). This would be preceded by us asking the question ” wonder when —– will show up ??” …and on cue , he there he was !!! it was hilarious !!! He provided us with many good things , an excuse to drink, no matter what time of day it was…and really fun expletive laced conversation…we love him!!! Even after we got home , a part of me was wishing he would show up on our deck…
Now delightful friend #1 has a lovely cultured petite lady for a wife she is well-educated and very lovely..which makes us wonder what the hell she is doing with delightful friend #1… Now said delightful friends wife also was a major player in a significant event . I mentioned that I wanted to do the “cross hike ” a really popular spot with the locals and visitors alike . This was no beginners hike unless you are über fit ( I am not) our delightful friends wife and daughter were doing this hike and agreed to take me along .
I have found out since then that this hike was one some of the people we know failed to summit on …indeed there is a cautionary sign at the trailhead letting you know you will be liable for costs of an evacuation . I also found out after this hike that delightful friend #1 had bet his daughter $10 I would not make it to the cross . This trail can get very hot in the desert sun and there are places with scree and footholds are not always obvious.
So on a sunday morning I set out . Full of apprehension…..would I succeed , or would I fail or worse injure myself and ruin everyone’s holiday . All of these thoughts swirled in my head as I approached the base of the trail . Perhaps this was why all my ID was In the car …brought along in case of an ‘incident’ .
Very quickly things got vertical and before long we were at the shade structure and the only water source for the whole hike . So far so good …I thought and my hiking companions assured me that I only had two more steep sections (yeah right ) try at least four more ….it was unnerving because as you gained altitude on the narrow width trail you had people passing you and don’t even get me started about the fools on their mountain bikes !!!! Yes I said mountain bikes….. really!!! I would stop frequently and swig water or take some photos ….but on and on I trudged another switch back , and another… and when I thought they were over yet another …but then the top was in view and I got small dose of summit fever ….. one more steep section and then I was There .Holy Crap I did it !!!!!!! I did it !!!! 643 ft!! It was not till I arrived back at the condo ..I felt something so unusual pride ,no, satisfaction , yes, but with a side of elation and joy. I know it was only 643 ft but hey I am not young and had not hiked since the mid 80s . It was at this point , while I was basking in gratitude for being in one piece , a hummingbird flew around hovering around me …I was awestruck in that moment . I wonder to this day what it could mean and I know this sounds too hippy for most , but the thought did cross my mind it could have been the spirit of my late father , letting me know he was proud of me .. I like to think this so please just let me …
Well this was just the beginning of so many wonderful experiences ….we got to experience wonderful meals (Jamaican jerk chicken , succulent barbecqued steaks and my special ribs …) all on the patio …on one occasion tennis buddy #1 opened some bubbly … and , a short time later ‘drunk’ Laurie showed up …( bubbles do hit you its true) .lots of laughter and fun ..( and the job of grilling the steaks that night was wisely taken from me )..that night could not have been better .
One morning at breakfast tennis buddy #2 said “we are only two hours away from the ocean ” and after a 3 to 1 vote we were on our way to Newport Beach. God bless you tennis buddy #2. I was so excited I could squeal…. a few days later and my toes found their way into the pacific… While journeying there we saw a corvette or similar car with plates that said Lucas 1. Hmmm… we tried so hard to see who was driving but alas he took the LA exit before we could see …we like to think it may have been George …no matter.
While at Newport Beach we saw surfers of all sorts, fully garbed in wet suits. It was made patently obvious that we were Canadian by the fact the tennis buddy #1 and #2 were in the waves bare-chested , they had so much fun !!!! I for my part snapped photos and walked in the water along the beach …just loving the moment of crossing this off my bucket list. I must say having tennis buddy #1 and #2 along was so sweet it was like I had two older brothers along , they were delightful !!!
Mostly I loved being on vacation every morning swimming ..every day walking , the flowers, the smell, how the sky got so pink at night . It was really sad to leave on that last day , but we made the most of it . Tennis buddy #2 managed to give Delightful friends wife and I a private tai chi lesson , palm trees and mountains in the background gorgeous Even now thinking about it makes me smile …and sigh .I miss Cali but home is home . In the middle of this cold winter I remember it and smile and look forward to the next time.