Desert Wanderer

So with much anticipation and excitement, I boarded a plane about two weeks to have a little fun and downtime in Phoenix with my cousin. 

At the airport however, what I thought were allergy sniffles turned into a little something more, and by the time I arrived in Phoenix, I was well aware I was trying to fight off a cold.

The next morning I picked up some drugs and some groceries and tried to chill by the pool (love that pools are so common out there). It was too much and I went back inside to finish my book (The Island by Elin Hilderbrand). 

That evening my cousin, Rachel, and I went to Elephant Bar in Peoria. It was delicious, the decor was very fun - safari themed - and it was so nice to catch up.

The third day there I decided to go out to Scottsdale and visit Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West. I was glad I booked a tour on my iphone before going out there since many of the tours were sold out and it's cheaper to book in advance. I booked the insights tour, and was very impressed with it. Before Taliesin West, I went to Old Town Scottsdale, which is very kitschy and a bit touristy. I did find a pretty larimar ring to buy. Note: the sellers are open to negotiation, give it a try. I got $10 off my ring just by showing some hesitation. 

Taliesin West was like a dream. I have loved FLW's style for a long time and hearing so much more about his passion for this location, as well as his philosophy on designing for the land, was so inspiring and something I just connected with deeply. It made me want to drop everything else and go to the school there for architecture! 

By day 4 I was feeling a little better, visited Rachel's class for a couple hours, and rallied enough to go up to Thunderbird Conservation Area for some hiking and photography. I did the loop northwest of 59th Ave. which was a little over 3 miles, and I did maybe another mile of the southwest portion. It was really lovely. I saw two very large lizards, some small lizards, a snake, and plenty of Gambels quails, which I have fallen in love with. Their little gurgly peeps are too much. 

That evening, after some pretty normal Mexican food, we set off for Indio near Joshua Tree in CA. I booked a room at the Best Western Date Tree Hotel with plans to hike most of the day Saturday and take a day trip on Sunday to Palm Springs.

The Date Tree was fantastic. The bed was so comfortable and the reception desk had fresh dates and fruit infused water available to guests. Sublime. 

On Saturday we ventured into the south entrance of Joshua Tree National Park to hike the 3.2 mi (6.4 round trip) trail to the Lost Palms Oasis. Note: fill up on gas before you leave a town. We cut it a little close. The hike was really nice, beautiful and surreal. The palm trees seemed huge and out of place. We went fairly early in the day and the trail was quite busy. But, I really can't blame anyone because the weather was absolutely perfect - sunny, breezy, low 70s. I would so love to come back and hike some of the northern trails; we didn't see a single Joshua tree, ha! After our hike, we got ice cream at a super sketch mall, relaxed by the pool, showered, and then had dinner in La Quinta at Solano's Bistro. It was rather overpriced and overrun with rich retirees. I kind of liked La Quinta though - I am a huge fan of the Florida retirement/equestrian community vibe (I know, weird) and that's what La Quinta is.

Sunday we meant to sleep in, well one of us did. I woke up early and got a good breakfast, lots of coffee, and started reading outside in the sunshine while Rachel slept in. It was a luxury I won't get around here for another month at least, I had to take advantage. Eventually we set out for Palm Springs for some shopping and ogling.

We grabbed coffee at Koffi North on N Palm Canyon Dr. The shopping was good, it was a strange mix of hippy/authentic/kitschy/upscale. It was very peculiar. I found a sweet little metal Gambel's quail to bring home, which makes me very happy every time I spot it in our living room. 

There was no shortage of fine, delicious dining, and if given too much thought might have been overwhelming. But we had burgers in mind and ducked into the first place that had burgers on the menu. It was the right choice, because that was perhaps the best burger I've ever had. The Crazy Coconut is a very small place with a goofy staff, and super burgers. I had the Spicy Bob, no bun, and Rachel had the Maui Wauwi. 

As we left Palm Springs, we tried to get a good look at the houses. I was really very surprised to find how private the residences actually are. The fences are tall, the bushes and trees are positioned for privacy. I was also surprised at how small Palm Springs is and that it really is nestled right up against the mountains. It's an interesting dynamic for how popular and well known Palm Springs is.