Why Palm Springs? Well I actually really wanted to visit there when we lived in California and we never got the chance. When Josh and I were thinking of where we could jet off to, to get away from the cold for a bit, we didn’t want it to be expensive and we wanted it to be warm. Palm Springs fit the bill perfectly. I found a good deal online and we booked it.
On our flight out, we flew over part of the Grand Canyon. We didn’t see the large canyon, just these small tributaries. Then after we landed, we went straight to the nearest In-N-Out Burger for dinner. It was awesome.
Our accommodations at the Riviera Palm Springs were very nice. This is one of the pool areas that had gas fire pits going at night. At night the temperature would dip significantly, so I’m sure these get a lot of use.
The Resort has a lot of cool history. Irwin Schuman fashioned the resort after major Vegas hotels like The Sands, The Flamingo, and The Stardust. It opened in 1959, and became the go-to hot spot for celebrities and sophisticates like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, who would lounge by the pool and in the Presidential Suite. Elvis Presley was a frequent visitor at The Riviera and sought both refuge and rehearsal space in the Mediterranean Room for his band before leaving for tours and shows in Las Vegas.
On Tuesday, Josh golfed at PGA West’s Stadium course. I’ll let him do his own post about that.
Wednesday, we hopped into the car and headed for Joshua Tree National Park. Yes, Josh has his own tree! and park!
This is near the north gate in Joshua Tree. We got there around 10am. and it was still cool, but the sun heats up pretty quickly!
This is Skull Rock. We hiked a 1.5 mile trail to get here only to find out that the rock is right next to the main road and you can just park quick and get out and see it. Thanks National Park Service guide.
Arch Rock. This park was pretty fun because unlike other national parks, there are no roped-off areas or official trails, so you can just climb right on the main attractions.
Cholla Cactus Garden.
After a long day in the car on Wednesday, we stayed in Palm Springs Thursday and bought tickets for the Aerial Tramway. To ride the tram you first have to drive up to Valley Station (elevation 2,643 feet). There you park and take 1 of the 2, 80 passenger rotating trams on a 10-minute, 2.5-mile ride, to the Mountain Station (elevation 8,516 feet). The 2 trams always take turns, so when one is going up, another is coming down.
At the top you can see the entire Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area).
It’s also cool. While temperatures in the valley were 85˚ most of the week, it was 55˚ at the peak. We were just wearing long sleeves, but we saw many people wearing winter jackets!
Friday, we hit the road again. This time to San Diego! It’s about a 2 hour drive and Josh really wanted to golf at Torre Pines in La Jolla. I’ll let Josh include that in his golf post, but what I will include is this.
A classic roadside attraction, the Cabazon Dinosaurs. Just 2 random dinosaurs out in the desert that you can pay money to go into.
We spent our last day on Saturday doing a self-guided tour of mid-century modern architecture in the city. These are a couple favorites:
The Edris House
A designated Class 1 Historic Site by the city of Palm Springs. Everything in the home remains original except the carpeting and furniture. It embraces the hillside epitomizing architect E. Stewart Williams’ guiding principle that architecture should come from the earth rather than being placed on it.
Kaufmann Desert House (my favorite)
Another designated Class 1 Historic Site by the city of Palm Springs, and the crown jewel of their mid-centruy collection of homes. The Kaufmann Desert House was commissioned by Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., a Pittsburgh department store tycoon as a desert retreat from harsh winters and built in 1946. It was made famous by the 1947 photos by Julius Shulman. A decade earlier, Kaufmann commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build Fallingwater in Pennsylvania (wow!). It is one of modernism’s most celebrated sites and arguably the most well known work of legendary Austrian-American architect Richard Neutra.
The site, nearly 2 acres in size, contains many original specimens of cactus from the original 1949 landscape design by Patricia and “Cactus Slim” Moorten and is one of the last larger estates in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood. After Kaufmann died in 1955 and the home went through several owners including singer Barry Manilow and San Diego Chargers owner Eugene V. Klein, and had several renovations. The home was impeccably restored over 4 years and completed in 1997. The restoration project’s attention to detail is exemplified by the reopening of the exact 1945 vein of a Utah quarry to source identical sandstone that had supplied the dwellings’ original construction.
The home was sold on May 13, 2008, for $15 million at auction by Christie’s as a part of a high-profile sale of contemporary art, however the sale later fell through, as the bidder breached terms of the purchase agreement.
Josh and I had a great time in the California desert, but after being away for a few days in the sun, we were ready to get home to see Warner and the girls!
In 1923, our laundry room was outfitted with a four foot long cement and cast iron laundry sink. In 2015 it was removed in pieces in a five gallon bucket. I had wanted to consolidate the space we were using for the utility sink, washer and dryer for quite a while. After borrowing Ryan’s 16 pound sledgehammer I had the tools I needed.
Two hours after I had begun, I had the sink removed and cleaned up and the wall behind cleaned up using a wire brush. It was sad to see the old original sink go. While we really liked it, we also really like having more efficient use of space.
I was able to reuse the original faucet, which made the job pretty easy and the new sink installed very quickly.
Last Friday I painted the back wall. Saturday, Wayne and I ran electrical and a new gas line. Then, we moved the washer and dyer into their new positions.
All this effort in the basement is eventually leading to a more finished space for a family/playroom.
As part of the effort to clear out the basement, we cleaned up a train table that was gifted to us by our neighbors. The table top was in rough shape so Josh cut a piece of MDF to fit, and we painted it with chalkboard paint.
That table is a hit! We use it for painting, coloring, chalk, cars, trains—you name it.
The table is large but it fits perfectly in the office. Well…I guess it wasn’t large enough to fit portraits of Bert, Ted and Boden (sorry cousin dogs!) The office is a great spot because we can close the door when we aren’t using it.
We’ve decided to get serious in the basement.
Over our holiday break, Josh and I worked to organize and clean up the basement in hopes of creating a semi-finished space for us down there.
Josh also installed some weather stripping on the windows to make them more air-tight. He had a little help, too.
We still have a long way to go. Hopefully I’ll have an update soon!
It’s that time of year again where Josh and I put together our list of our favorite songs of the year.
Lizzo & Caroline Smith | Let ‘Em Say
Phantogram | Howlin’ at the Moon
Jungle | Busy Earnin’
Tove Lo | Habits (Stay High)
Jack White | Lazaretto
Bear Hands | Giants
Doomtree | .38 Airweight
Wolf Alice | Moaning Lisa Smile
Glass Animals | Gooey
Broken Bells | After the Disco
Warner | Itsy Bitsy Spider
Temples | Shelter Song
Dem Atlas | All We Got
BANKS | Beggin’ for Thread
Black Lips | Boys in the Wood
Big Data | Dangerous
Maroon 5 | Animals
Warner wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of sitting on Santa’s lap this year. We saw Santa first to avoid a longer line. He did, however, like the rest of the Day in the Life of an Elf display on the 8th floor of Macy’s downtown.
Well…except the singing Christmas trees. Those were scary too.
But we ended on a good note.