Weekend Trip to La Quinta, CA

As I posted the other day (…drunk), I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to California with family.  We spent two days (one night) there, and saw a few sights.  On the first day, as I mentioned last time, we checked out this place called the Living Desert and it actually proved to be an incredible experience.

I’m not generally one to promote zoos, I have more than a few qualms with their methods, but the purpose of the Living Desert is conservation of and education about the deserts of the world, from their environment, to their wildlife (plants and animals), to the people who call them home (they had a couple exhibits about a number of ancient and current tribal peoples living in various deserts around the world).

They had some beautiful animals on display, many of whom were rescued and being rehabilitated but deemed un-releasable for numerous reasons.  They had a significant number of exotic birds on display, and I was most impressed by their two golden eagles and their Eurasian Black vultures.  They had a pair of cheetahs on display, which my brother-in-law noted their enclosure for the cheetahs was much larger and nicer than the one at the San Diego Zoo (which he’d visited this past summer with my sister and father).  They had giraffe, ostriches, some reptile, etc., and they also had an area for hiking!  Sadly, I didn’t have my camera with me for this trip (couldn’t and still can’t find it!) and my phone was knocking on death’s door, so I couldn’t take any pictures, so I can’t visually prove how amazing the place is but I do highly recommend visiting it if you’re ever in the area.

The next (and last) day we went out to visit the Palm Springs Air Museum.  I might chalk it up to coming from a family with a lot of former air-force, or maybe just a touch of humanities innate lust for flight which drove aeronautics for centuries to design and test out machines for flight, but I love airplanes.  If there is an air museum in town, I will visit it.  Luckily, I had my phone fully charged for this site, and snapped as many pictures as I could of the gorgeous planes they had on display.

They had 27 serviceable warplanes from WWII, split between three hangars — with one dedicated to the Tuskagee airmen, one dedicated to planes flown in the Pacific, and one housing a gigantic plane with four engines.  There were also to-scale models of navy boats, a small theater that played documentaries hourly, the ‘tiny plane’ pictured in the gallery below was an old flight simulator.  They had old uniforms from the WWII era, I read up on Kennedy’s service aboard a PT190 boat, we climbed aboard and walked through a C-47 Dakota+ plane, and then spent nearly an hour in the museum’s piece d’resistance, a massive library complete with LIFE Magazines dating all the way back to the very first one.

Perhaps the best part of this little museum was that it was entirely run by volunteers, many of whom were veterans of WWII.  You were able to talk to these older men, get their first-person accounts of the war, and of how those various flying machines and naval boats worked and operated.  One of the men spoke of joining the navy at 17, starkly putting into perspective the pampered lives of our current youth, another flipped through an old LIFE Magazine with us in the library and excitedly pointed out a sketched rendition of his old commanding officer.  Another told us of his time serving on the PT190 boat, and that, while he’d never spoken of the war prior, working at the museum had proven almost therapeutic for him and now he spoke regularly and readily of it.

The museum itself was entirely funded by private donors, and for being completely operated without any federal aid, was incredibly impressive.  Another highly recommended site should you pass through the area.

Afterwards, we got a late lunch at a place called Lamppost Pizza.  We ordered a large, on one half is chicken/avocado/tomato on white, and the other half is pepperoni/ham/mushrooms/onions/green peppers.

Yes, that is my finger in the shot. No, I couldn’t wait until the picture was done to start reaching for the pizza…but look at the thing, can you blame me?

Overall, it was a good trip.  I got absolutely no writing done (I know, very sad), but I had a great time, some great experiences, and learned about new things and new people — which are all the foundations for great writing.

Never pass up on an opportunity to experience the world.  It’s advice I’ve gotten time and again, it has never failed me, and I now pass it on to all of you.

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