Just a relatively short drive up the 15 freeway and out of San Diego is a desert oasis brimming with sun, sand and gleaming pools just outside the reach of the dandy fancy of Southern California.
No no, I’m not talking about Las Vegas. I won’t discuss that vapid whore until she recoups my cost for vacations past. I refuse to write about that spinning compass of moral vicissitude until I deem it appropriate.
Where Las Vegas is a whirling dervish of neon, buffets and vomit, Palm Springs has a bit more class and distinction.
It’s that younger sibling who’s just a little bit more reserved and has a bit more quiet calm than his obnoxious older brother.
Granted, I almost died on the drive out. Or murdered people.
Because I decided to take my wife Shannon to Palm Springs for her birthday, we had to find a place for Samantha to hang out since she’s only 3 and has an utter disregard for the fragility of her tiny skull.
On the way down to drop her off with my parents, it seems the I-5 south thought it was a good idea to stop functioning with any rational commuter flow.
Minus any coffee and with a rising blood pressure bordering on volcanic, it only took us two hours to get to Balboa Park from Carlsbad.
With that calming start behind us, we headed north on the 15 freeway en route to Palm Springs with a lightly drizzling rain and wind conditions intent on pushing my car off the road to remind us that sometimes even Mama Nature can be a grumpy turd.
Since I hadn’t been to Palm Springs in quite some time, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Tourist traps tend to become engorged and bloated cesspools if given the opportunity of a steady financial enema. But from what I could tell, the little desert town had really held its own. The sun had broken through the clouds and the misters lining every storefront were turned on, trying to knock back the almost 90 degree swelter.
After checking into our unfortunately named Zoso Hotel (I hate Led Zeppelin), we made our way to the room and dumped our bags with a trip to the pool in mind. What I did notice immediately was that every guy lounging/posing by the pool was in amazing shape. And with little to no body hair. And they really enjoyed the cranked house music playing over the pool speakers. A lot.
After about 20 minutes of broiling poolside, we headed back to the room to enjoy the air conditioning.
When my wife realized she packed a stunning red dress for dinner, but no underwear, we decided to walk around town to find a pair so that she didn’t feel inappropriate in public. And I could stop giggling like a schoolgirl.
What we found were a slew of cool little shops and restaurants, including Azul. The only eatery I know of with swinging “gliders,” which were basically tables on swings so that we could sit and enjoy our meal, while gently floating to 80s music.
Everyone who worked there was fabulous. Unfortunately, we were a little early for the Bette Midler female impersonator. Return trip next year!
Overall, we were more than impressed about our sandy excursion. Our only reservation was that we only stayed one day, which isn’t nearly enough time to shave off all my body hair for the pool pose-off. Sorry for that visual.
So when you get the inkling to run from San Diego, I say take a two-hour drive out to Palm Springs. It’s a good trip to the desert without having to explain why your bank accounts are drained and you have all that Las Vegas smell on you.
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