desert + mountain + ocean

My past two recent trips to LA have been pretty much all business. So, it was awesome this time around to do a little bit of exploring and relaxing. 

I'm a sucker for a view - so it naturally led to a trip to Joshua Tree National Park. As part of that I spent the night in a pool side casita (apparently that's what they call it). I went for a little bit of a night swim. I ate some guacamole under a big flowering tree. It was pretty great. 

Sunday was a true mix of activities. I started out with an awesome breakfast, followed it with a hike, and then a multi-hour drive to the coast. I wasn't sure exactly where I was going to get breakfast but knew that I wanted to try something that seemed in-line with the "Palm Springs" experience. While I was pumping gas, I found Cheeky's via the Foursquare app and was sold. One of the tips said "flight of bacon"... not joke.
My breakfast consisted of: chevre chive hash, cheddar scone, and a flight of bacon. I never would have thought to put goat cheese on hash browns... or that I would like strawberry bacon. Both are now true. The rest of the flight consisted of: applewood, jalapeño, apple cinnamon, strawberry, and bbq. Also, the iced coffee was perfect. They change the menu every week so I can't guarantee that I'll be able to ever replicate this order but I'm confident that whatever I order will be great.

Mt San Jacinto
I almost skipped taking the Palm Spring Tram because I had visited Key's view the day before. I figured they were just opposing views from either side of Coachella Valley. It also costs $24.95 for the tram experience which isn't exactly small change. I'm really glad that I didn't skip - because the view was pretty incredible. In the event you were wondering, there also were no bees.

The tram ride takes about 10 minutes each way ... and it slowly rotates around. This not only gives everyone a great view but also prevents an annoying tourist from bumping into you and trying to take a picture of rocks.

Once you get to the top, there is a 2 mile trail that offers 5 different great vistas. Unlike this time that I got lost in Mariposa Grove, the signage on the trail was excellent. I will say this place is covered in lizards ... and I'm not really a fan of them.
 The Beach
I will always be a water person. I might not like to swim in it all the time, but I just love being near it. After I left the desert and the mountains, I drove down the Pacific Coast Highway for awhile. All of the beaches are about a million times different. I had my heart set on taking a nap by the hotel pool, so I only stopped at a few vistas including Seal Beach ... which has no seals.

Sunday night I managed to get dinner with one of my best friends in LA and another good friend from grad school. I'm honestly not sure when the last was that I laughed that much for that long. We met up at this place called Abigaile in Hermosa Beach for some small plates and chatter. Phenomenal. I got there a little bit early and took myself on a walk. The beach isn't ugly right?
The Rest
It's only natural after you've had such a good few days, you need to be taken down a few pegs. As a result, I spent Monday sleeping on a boat. A haunted boat to be clear. Whenever I told anyone that I was going to sleep on the Queen Mary, there was a heavy mix of "yikes" and "I did that years ago!". I think I can safely say that I'll never do it again.

Oddly enough, just a few mere steps from the Queen Mary is a much nicer hotel where I bunked up last night. From portholes to balconies, with firepits, relaxing pools, and ceviche in the middle... this was much better. Plus, I saw this big fat seal taking a nap on the dock.
All of this is reminding me that I never recapped my trip to Florida ... and there are some equally phenomenal beach pictures there. Hopefully I'll get to that soon. My backup hard drive appears to have died so that might take priority.

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