Friday, April 17, 2009

Venturing Out

On a whim we made an overnight trip to Palm Springs. We’d never been, and we wanted to explore someplace new.

Discovery number one was that we’d been cyber-duped. Our hotel was the homely cousin of its online description. First item of business was to negotiate a room with something more appealing than a panoramic view of parked cars. Outside the lobby we met a woman with two boys who was facing the same problem. “This isn’t at all what we were expecting,” the woman lamented. Unfortunately for them, we snagged the last room overlooking the pool.

As we settled into our new room, the kids amused themselves by making sarcastic remarks:

“Is there such a thing as a six star hotel? Because if there is, this would be one of them!”

“Hey, Mom, this town looks just like home. You could’ve driven one hour up and one hour back and just told us we were in Palm Springs.”

My husband said, “Relax, guys. We’ll start having fun in a minute.” That made us all laugh, because he’s usually the first one trying to convince us we are having fun, even if we’re not.

Picking a restaurant for dinner in unfamiliar territory is also tricky. We wanted affordable, but decent. We spotted a crowded parking lot - possibly a good sign. Fingers crossed, we hoped for something trendy. Instead we found artificial flowers and early bird specials. This eatery was as far away from trendy as a mushroom is to the moon.

Still, it was affordable. The food was decent. Two out of three isn’t bad. We got our fill of trendy by strolling downtown and browsing in upscale shops.

The highlight of the trip was hiking in the Indian Canyons. As you can see from the pictures, the scenery is awe-inspiring. But the most exciting part was when a wasp flew into the car window and disappeared somewhere inside the roof of the car. We plugged up all the obvious entryways and hoped it would be dead by the time we returned from our hike.

As we drove back to the main road, I heard shrieks from the back seat followed by a *thwack!* against the window. Upon the wasp’s reappearance, my daughter had instinctively hurled a backpack in its direction. The car screeched to a halt; four people plus one wasp made an emergency exit. The people in the oncoming car (which fortunately stopped) look puzzled by our synchronized leaping and hopping.

Despite the shortcomings, or maybe because of them, we had a blast. Before we checked out of the hotel, I noticed a family arriving. A pouty teen-aged girl led the group, arms crossed. “But this place isn’t anything like it looked online.”

And the dad behind her pleading, “Well, the pool looks all right. C’mon, it’ll be fun.”


C.R. Evers said...

LOL! Great pictures and I love your description of your events! Sometimes those kind of trips are the best! I have one of those stories in my back pocket too. I may have to blog about it someday. :0)

I'm glad you guys made the best of it an ended up having a blast!

Kim Kasch said...

Great photos - I love hiking so I can can see how this would have been a great trip.

The net can be deceptive - I used to always tell my kids you THINK you're talking to a beautiful young girl/guy but it could be a 50 year old poser creep - at least a homely cousin isn't dangerous :0

PJ Hoover said...

Too funny! I love the story and the entire post!

ICQB said...

What an adventure! The ones that you can laugh about are the ones that you remember.

Great pictures! I've driven past Palm Springs a few times, but never stopped there. I do know that my mother-in-law loves to visit there.

adrienne said...

Christy - you should blog about that trip! I love travel tales - especially the real nitty-gritty.

Kim - You have to be wary, but there's so much more info at your fingertips - at least it was possible to plan a spur-of-the-moment trip...

PJ - I think a family car trip always yields a good story!

ICQB - The scenery in the canyon was a nice surprise, but unless I could be pampered in some ritzy resort, I can't see spending more than a weekend there.
And yeah, the way we travel we usually need to keep a sense of humor :)

Kelly said...

What pretty pictures! Glad you had a family getaway! I booked our wedding night at a themed hotel that I saw in a newspaper ad. Mr. Lucky was our room (I thought it was funny and it was poker themed). When we got there, the hotel had an icky vibe like it was a porn palace! Luckily for Mr. Lucky and me, we got there late and left early!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

We've had a similar experience. We went on an RV vacation once that was just like the movie RV. Anything that could've gone wrong did! We had a blast laughing at the whole thing.

It's Just Me said...

I miss living in the SW Corner of Colorado - we could just take a day trip and be somewhere FABULOUS- especially a great hiking location.

Looks great!

Thanks for dancing through my blog again

Bish Denham said...

So there really are palms at Palm Springs;-) Beautiful!

What a story. It's that learning to make lemonade from lemons all over again. It's not so much where you are, it's who you're with.

Mary Witzl said...

Wonderful story. You really capture the mixture of joy, irritation, and unfulfilled expectations that almost every family holiday is made up of.

I know Palm Springs well: I'm from Riverside. Riverside is like a hotter, bigger, less charming version of Palm Springs. I dare you to ever try having a fun holiday there.

Mary Witzl said...

Oops: in the interest of Telling the Truth, Riverside isn't really hotter than Palm Springs. It just feels like it.

Suzanne Casamento said...

Hee hee hee. Sounds like you made it fun.

I'm going to Palm Springs in a couple weeks. I will now double check our accommodations. ; )

adrienne said...

Kelly - What a great wedding story! Obviously you're willing to take a bit of a gamble. :-D

Becky - I'd love to take an RV vacation sometime! And I've even seen the movie.

It's Just Me - No doubt...with four states to explore that must have been great fun.

Bish - So true, a little humor and resourcefulness goes a long way.I just wish we could do it more often!

Mary - Believe it or not, the Riverside Arts Council is sponsoring a contest challenging families to do just that! For fun I googled it and that was the first thing that popped up. (And yes, I have been there in summer. Whew!)

Suzanne - Have fun, and may there be lots of amenities to enjoy :)

Debbie said...

The photos are stunning. Sometimes the best times are when things start out wrong.

Rena said...

Great story! Funny, but out of all the years I lived in CA, we never made it to Palm Springs. Your pictures were awesome though. They make me want to get out of the house and take some myself today. I think I've been couped up too long lately.

adrienne said...

Debbie - Isn't it true? Maybe it's the thrill of the unexpected!

Rena - Same here - I've been here years and never been there. It's good to discover a new getaway. I hope you have the chance to get out and about, too!

LW said...

What a tale, love your stories…

Cyber-duped, I think we all have been there, a few years ago when we went to Florida my kids got a first hand lesson in Retro…but not in a good way.


adrienne said...

Louise - Did they discover the past wasn't such a blast after all? :-D

sruble said...

Hotels never seem to be what's promised online.

But the pictures from the hike are gorgeous! Makes me want to go there.

adrienne said...

Stephanie - The whole trip was worth it just for the hike alone!