Monday, July 04, 2016

Palm Desert Bound!

Vacation time for the Riley Fam!   Despite all of our different weekend adventures - or my kid/girls trips, John definitely craves a point in the summer when he can take time off and feel like it was an actual vacation.  After the "big-ness" of Disneyworld last year, we knew we had to scale down a bit - so a road trip it would be.  As we have Marriott time share access, the guys rooted for a trip to the desert - specifically "Palm Desert" - and actually the property we originally bought (but have always used since then to trade out).  

We were on the road by 5:20, and this was our sunrise view.  Pretty awesome way to start a 17 hour drive.

John thoughtfully created a sleeping cubby in the back.  Honestly, I didn't think it was all that worthwhile, but the kids fought over who got to be there to sleep and when (and yes, it saved me from hours 15-17) - so well done John!   Brayden, in particular, had gotten very little sleep the previous week, had no voice left, and had picked up a cold.  For him to get real sleep was essential for the harmony of our trip! 

Adults up front and still smiling as we began!  (Let's not address the fact that our two kids are so close to being classified as adults themselves....really, I went into this trip with a certain worry about that, wondering how we'd all get along with that in mind).

Outside of Sacramento, we made it to a California must-stop, "In 'n Out".  

No time to stop and smell the roses, so if the kids had to use the bathroom, they needed to meet us on the other side of the drive thru.

I can't even tell you how maddening California traffic was - that mid to southern stretch of I-5 is excruciating.  Crazy drivers, a black hole of scenery, a horizon of smog... I took a driving stretch during this time while John slept and my inner road rage surfaced.  John called me "The 'Principled' Driver" as I was determined to not let anyone sneak in and pass me from the left.  We were in a 70mph stretch, but trucks had to go 55mph, so we obviously had some issues in our 2 lane stretch of getting slowed down.  I stayed with the fastest drivers in the left, but watched as moron after moron tried to cheat the system by getting ahead on the right, only to be stuck behind a semi, and then sneak in in front of us.  I was running an ongoing dialogue with these fools, had a name for each of the offenders, and stood my ground.  It's no wonder I had to retreat to the back for a nap after my turn was done!

Around 7:45, we pulled into our resort.  Right as the sun went down.  Sunrise to sunset - that was a worthy road trip.   Clearly, the scenery improved from that dead I-5 stretch. 

Our room view - the kids had a lock off unit adjacent to ours that was all one room with a bed and hide-a-bed.  The Marriott arrangements are similar in many of their club locations - this one matched the one in Orlando and had me missing our "people" from the previous vacation.  

(The kids' room)

Our "living room".  I guess I never snapped a pic of our bedroom.

We all really needed to go to bed - that much time on the road makes for some cranky family members.  

This scene made things seem a lot better Sunday morning.  It would have been a lot more ideal if it wasn't already near 100 degrees at the point we walked across the street to go there.   I am really not a fan of heat to that extent, especially since my body doesn't really adjust well to it.  Sure enough, I was treating myself for an overheating headache for the rest of the day and evening.  Fortunately, I kept it at bay - but it added to my own level of crankiness.  

But, this view - and the feel of the sun, and the perfect temperature of the pool, it was wonderful.

 This was the view from the other direction.

Brayden's before and after tanning color pics are obnoxious.  At 17, we do our best to give him parental guidance, but he was determined to emerge from this vacation in full summer hue.  He just gets dark without burning....

Prior to embarking on our trip to Westfield Mall (inside!) - I went out to our patio to just chill.  I saw a lone duck waddling a ways away on the path and ran inside to get a treat to throw at him.  Instantly, I was surrounded with what totaled to 38 more ducks... Clearly, this isn't their first rodeo getting snacks from the visitors.

A few of them were even brave enough to take it right out of our hand.

John snapped an awesome photo with the HDR on his phone...

Getting our family to pose for pics....ugh!!!!!  I could show about 10 failures for every different attempt.  We eventually had to just mandate one a day so they'd cooperate.
Babe's Brewhouse was the destination for dinner.  It was quite a wait, and we were a little annoyed with one another. 
 We had a lot of time to wait - so we took pics.  That didn't help Brayden's mood.

But, finally getting seated and getting food did help.  Thumbs up from Brayden to the completion of our first full day in the desert.