So after getting my fill of snow in Utah, it was time to head off to the dessert in California. I usually try to not waste a lot of time at the airport and end up cutting it fairly close when it comes to checking in, but this time I surprised even myself. After scheduling the 5am shuttle from my hotel, we actually ended up leaving at 5:05am, at which point I was starting to get a little worried as my flight was at 6am. A slightly stressful drive over to the airport went smoothly and I went straight to the counter to drop of my bags (thank you priority check-in!) and walked over to security. As I was heading through the security check I got a notification that my flight was boarding, so I picked up my bags on the other side, walked to the gate, and straight on to the plane. From the time I left the hotel to the time I was sitting in my seat on the plane was a mere 20 min! I think that will be my personal best for quite a while.
The flight from SLC to LAX was fairly uneventful but had a gorgeous sunrise view above the marine layer when descending to LAX. After hopping off the plane, picking up my bags (I always feel awkward carrying skis around California), and grabbing a rental car, I decided to kill some time before driving east and went to hang out at the beach and grab a coffee. I could have flown into Palm Springs directly, but the flight into LAX was significantly cheaper, even factoring in the rental car. Plus it gave me a bit of time on the beach, which is never a bad thing!
After fully caffeinating myself and stocking up on supplies (read: groceries), I hit the highway and drove the 2 hours or so to Palm Springs. I had found a great rental house in La Quinta (a bit south of Palm Springs) for just over a week for the family vacation. I used VRBO, which is less popular now due to Airbnb, but I’ve had much better experiences from them over the years. Unfortunately, I could only stay for a few days until I had to head back to Vancouver.
Having never been to Palm Springs, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. The house and location ended up being perfect! There was a pool, hot tub, and outdoor dining area, all perfect for the warm California weather. The location was also quite close to the small town of La Quinta. The Palm Springs area is actually scattered with smaller towns, many of them with their own “downtown” areas. La Quinta is perfect for a family vacation; it was quiet and you could actually walk into the old town area for coffee or dinner if you wanted.
The best surprise was all the hiking in the area. In addition to Joshua Tree National Park, which is quite close, there are also many local trails at La Quinta Cove. You can see all the options on the La Quinta Tourism site. There is a wide range of difficulty, so be sure you’re prepared for the hike, even though it’s basically in the city.
I was only there for 2 full days, but I look forward to going back and maybe getting a chance to explore Joshua Tree and some of the other hiking areas. Heading back to the airport (skis in tow, lol) was uneventful and I was a bit early and had to wait around for my flight. I did enjoy wandering around outside, while being inside the airport 😉 California really seems to like their indoor/outdoor spaces.
Eventually it was time to board my first flight to Seattle. I missed my upgrade, but I did get my extra leg room, so I was able to tough it out (although I always find Alaska ecomony to be quite nice). After arriving in Seattle, I transferred to my Victoria flight. Yes, I said Victoria. For some reason the flights from SEA to YVR were all booked, so I had to head to Victoria and then grab an Air Canada flight back to Vancouver.
Of course the flight ended up being delayed and it didn’t help that upon arrival my luggage was last off the plane. By the time I got through customs I had pretty much missed the luggage cut off for my last flight. The Air Canada agent was trying to figure out how to put the bags in their system without charging me (since they were already checked in), but I think the time crunch worked in my favour as they basically just printed luggage tags and sent me on my way.
The short flight to Vancouver was pretty much empty and we arrived without any problem (although the duct tape on the inside of the plane didn’t make me feel all that confident, lol.) I made my way home to drop off my luggage and repack for my next adventure: Maybe Liechtenstein 🙂