It was during our previous Summer 2018 trip to Miami and Key West that we decided to start trying for a baby. Three months later, as we were decorating our Holiday tree, I ran out of the bathroom with a positive pregnancy test in my hand, crying happy tears of joy. Soon after, we decided to book one last trip as a family of two to celebrate Jason’s 40th, New Year and us soon to become a family of three.
After months if not years of seeing all the enticing photos all over Instagram of iconic modern architecture, bright and colorful facades and palm tree lined streets we decided to check off another travel bucket list, Palm Springs, California. From the windmill farms to Salvation Mountain and Joshua Tree, it was only fitting that we would choose this iconic city as our destination for our last trip as a family of two. By then, we were 10 weeks pregnant and decided to make our exciting announcement on January 1st, 2019 as a way to kick off what was sure to be the best year yet.
We arrived in sunny Palm Springs to an open air airport surrounded by lush landscapes and palm trees...and super balmy temperatures. I was not prepared at all as I had packed very light and for 80+ degree weather. Hungry after our flight, we headed straight to Palm Canyon Drive and found a cute spot with outdoor seating. We had to experience the Palm Springs vibe fully by booking an airstream trailer for the first part of our visit. Unfortunately, Palm Springs met us with some unexpectedly cold temps during the day and freezing ones in the evening and we had no running hot water. Even more so, I found Palm Springs, aside from the modern architecture and California dreaming vibes, to be overly car centric and it was difficult to walk or bike anywhere since all the destinations were located along extremely busy roads and bike lanes seemed to just disappear out of thin air. This was also the first trip where we didn't enjoy a cocktail and it makes you realize how much it limits your evening outings and how much our social lives revolve around drinking. During the second part of our visit, after returning from Joshua Tree, we splurged on one of the modern minimalist hotels with a pool and were so thankful for the modern amenities, like hot water that on our last evening in Palm Springs, we decided to just stay in, enjoy a hot shower and cuddle in the large bed to a movie and a good nights sleep.
After a somewhat disappointing and chilly start to our trip in Palm Springs, we were excited to get out of the City and visit one of the most mesmerizing desert landscapes, Joshua Tree. On the way there we stopped by a saloon with an Old West vibe to grab a burger and chili. We got seated at a long table with two older and slightly tipsy women and one cute puppy who invited us over for cocktails to her modern home in Palm Springs. For the first time ever on a trip, we also made a detour to the nearest JCPenney's, so we can pick up warmer clothes. We reached Joshua Tree just in time for sunset and it was one of the most beautiful ones we had ever seen. We enjoyed some small hikes over the next two days and unfortunately we happened to be visiting during the National Government shut down, so some parts of the park were closed and so were most of the bathrooms, which was unfortunate timing for this pregnant lady who had to pee every half an hour. On our last day, as we drove to the southern end of the park and what we thought would be an awaiting restroom, it just so happened to be closed. I barely made it until we were outside of park limits until finally Jason had to pull over so I can pee gracefully as ever in the bushes on the side of the road.
Following a few cold days in Joshua Tree, we decided to take a slight detour on our way back to Palm Springs and make a pit stop at Salvation Mountain, a visionary art installation in the lower desert of Southern California. As we made the two hour drive, the hot sun blasted through the windows, which was a nice welcome for my sore throat and pesky cold I had picked up in Joshua Tree. The scenery on our road trip there was like something out of the movies. We passed police check points, palm tree farms and Salton Sea before arriving to the desolate town of Niland, California with its many abandoned historic structures and one working gas station. It was a far cry from the small towns I've visited in other places and left a bit of an emotional mark on me as we passed a small dog walking alongside the road. On our way back, we once again passed by the vast and eerie landscape of Salton Sea. We were greeted by large beach signs and billboards of a promise of what once was or was supposed to be a hot tourism destination. This was one of those places I had to immediately research and find out more about as almost nothing is able to survive inside its waters. There was no one around except for a few campers, so we decided to stop and check it out for ourselves. As we approached the water, the smell became stronger and more unpleasant due to elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide. I stepped into a black tar like substance and with completely soaked and smelly shoes, I decided that was enough for me. It was time to head back to the City.
On our last day, we decided to visit this California roadside attraction and snag a selfie with these larger than life dinosaurs, Dinny the Dinosaur and Mr. Rex. Afterwards, we may have also stopped by the nearby casino and after trying the first slot machine and winning $80, picked up our winnings and headed to the airport. The sun was shining and the desert heat was at last starting to settle in as we bid farewell to this beautiful City. Now, as we await the arrival of our baby, these photos have us California dreaming of one day returning as a family of three.