Our second day in the desert was Memorial Day. A's dad works at the Palm Springs Air Museum, and they were having a big event for the holiday, so we headed there (after breakfast at IHOP, because I was dying for some Swedish crepes with lingonberry butter). The last time we visited A's parents, we went to the air museum, but R was way too young for it then. A's dad didn't understand that R couldn't stay still and listen to lectures about the planes and World War II for 20 minutes at a time. Even A and I had trouble staying focused!
This time was much better. R was very interested in the fighter jets, and he got to climb aboard and get a tour of one of the big bombers (a B-29?) and see all the guns and turrets. He was excited, but also very concerned about the guns and instructed me sternly that I was not to touch anything. :-)
The Memorial Day festivities were nice, but not very well organized and it was really, really hot inside and outside the hangars. The main event was a bomber flying over the museum and air strip and dropping thousands of carnations over the crowd. R and A were out in the middle of it and got "rained" on. They enjoyed that. It was a beautiful sight. But the flower drop was supposed to be at noon, then 12:30, then we found out that that was just the beginning of speeches, bands playing, etc. and that the plane still needed to be driven out of the hangar (after clearing out the hundreds of people in front of it) before it did its passes over the museum. They had some food vendors there, but there was one snow cone vendor with one person working at it, and we stood in the hot sun for probably half an hour to get ours. (The line was longer for water; luckily, we had brought our own.) The sun made me cranky, but overall, it was a good experience.
That night, we went to A's sister's house for a bbq. Her house is nestled at the base of some incredibly beautiful mountains, and we were in awe of the view while we swam in her pool. With the sunset and then the moon and stars - and bats flying overhead - it was breathtaking. R swam for hours, and after goading from A's sister and her fiance, he summoned up the courage to jump off the diving board. Over and over again. (He had arm floaties on - otherwise, I never would have let him do it!) We had great food, nice wine, and a lovely evening.
The next day, we had a lazy morning and then took the tram ride in Palm Springs up the mountain (I'm not sure what the mountain's name is). The tram scared me because I couldn't see the machinery, and I just didn't trust the whole thing. And, not only were we climbing upwards quickly, but the floor of the tram also rotated. Plus, whenever the tram went by one of the towers that hold up the cables, it bumped and swayed and gave us that weightless vertical drop feeling, in addition to the spinning and heights. Ugh. My only "comfort" was that I knew if something happened, we'd ALL be smashed to smithereens. That is, I wouldn't be leaving my baby behind to live without me. (Yes, I am paranoid and sick!) Here is some video I took from the tram:
At the top of the mountain, it was beautiful. The air was cool and smelled amazing and clean. It was surreal to be in a cool, shady forest in the middle of the desert. We took a little hike with A's sister and her fiance (A's parents stayed behind at the lodge/gift shop/restaurant). The boys climbed a huge boulder to get the ultimate view. R scrambled right up without any trouble. On the way back, he got cranky and tired, so A's sister's fiance (L) carried him back to the lodge, Lord bless him. A and I were out of breath just from the hike. I have no idea how L carried R all that way on his back!
The rest of the day wasn't so great. A and I started to lose patience with his parents, and we had an uncomfortable lunch with all of us at California Pizza Kitchen. At least the food was good! That night, though, A and I escaped for a little while to go to the store to get supplies for s'mores. A built a fire in his parents' fire pit. It was 85 degrees out, and the fire got really hot and smoky, but we didn't care. R was thrilled to have s'mores, and I finally tried a s'more with an added layer of peanut butter slathered on the graham cracker. (I've been imagining this creation for years.) Oh boy, I found my new vice. Next, I want to try making a s'more with a peanut butter cup instead of plain chocolate squares. Drool...
Our last day in the desert, we headed out early to visit the Living Desert, which is basically a zoo. We've been there twice before, but we thought R would enjoy it more this time. They have a huge model train layout, but it was so stinking hot outside that R was only interested for a few minutes. He liked the live animal show, which was fun. Animals pop in and out of different parts of the stage and show off their skills. We saw a servil (desert cat) demonstrate how it scoops mice out of narrow holes in the ground. We also saw two desert tortoises, a porcupine, a parrot that used to be native to the U.S. but now is only found in Mexico (if I remember correctly), and a desert fox. In the rest of the zoo, we saw giraffes and camels and zebras and warthogs and hyenas and antelopes and ostriches and a cheetah. It was nice, but the heat just wiped us out. And, we were already at the end of our tolerance for A's parents, so the combination wasn't great.
That afternoon, we drove back to LA. Despite all the warnings about the traffic, we had smooth sailing even though it was rush hour. Yay! We stayed at a hotel near the airport, which had an amazing pool and hot tub. And, we had a lovely dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in Marina Del Rey, right on the water. Breakfast at the hotel in the morning was wonderful! Made to order omelets, pancakes, French toast, plus fresh fruit, cereals, bagels, and and oatmeal bar. It was the perfect end to our vacation, and we really liked having some time to ourselves to unwind before hopping on the plane to come home.
The plane ride was uneventful. Oh my goodness, it is SO much easier traveling with a five-year-old than with a two-year-old. We all had a rough time adjusting to the time change once we were home, but we took an extra day off to help with that.
So, that's it. All in all, a good vacation. And, R got to spend some quality time with his other grandparents and his aunt and uncles. It had been so long since he had seen them, he didn't really know them at all. But now he does, and A and I are happy about that.
So, what vacations do you all have planned for this summer?