The week before mother’s day was teacher appreciation week, and boy did I feel the love. Between catered lunches, candy, flowers, wine and gift cards, I was spoiled.
For the holiday weekend; Shawna and I ran off to the desert for some sunning, soaking and reading, three of my favorite things well four!
We spent the entire day in the sun and then had a mediocre dinner. We woke up on Mother’s day, went back out to the pool for a couple of hours and then headed to Temecula for some food and wine.
We went to a new winery in town, it only opened a couple of months ago, however this was our second go around.
I am not mad at the wine. I really enjoy their Chardonnay, I think it’s one of my favorites from that area.
Also, we must acknowledge that pizza in the picture. The pizza maker is Carmine (an Italian > New Yorker > Californian) and he has a traveling wood-fired pizza truck. Handmade sourdough crust, homemade fresh mozzarella… you guys, this pizza was so delicious. The one few that we ordered had a name, but I am terrible at recalling names…They had a base of San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, slightly caramelized onions with fennel sausage, fresh basil and were finished with a drizzle of olive oil. (and maybe some hot honey at home)
We took two days to soak up the desert heat and wade in water. Good times and tan lines. We have a favorite hotel in Palm Springs but it was booked for the dates we wanted so we decided to try out the Saguaro hotel. We thought about stopping in Temecula on the way out there for a wine tasting, but decided to just hightail it straight there to be poolside.
The Saguaro is a super trendy hotel that has a retro vibe, aesthetically eye pleasing with blocks of color everywhere. We asked for a pool view room so we could have an idea of how early people trickled down to the pool. Shade was sparse so we wanted to stake our claim on a proper poolside lounger.
Once we were checked in we swiftly changed into our suits and headed down to the crowded pool. See those loungers in the bottom of the photo? One of those opened up so we dropped our stuff and hot stepped literally into the pool. You guys, it was 110 degrees out and I’m pretty sure the pool water temp was 95 degrees. I honestly didn’t think I would make it there for two days, however I adapted. We brought our own adult beverages and our frost buddy cups which was a lifesaver. They have a poolside bar but it’s super pricey and the bartenders are green. Tip 1, bring drinks and a cup. Tip 2, get a poolside room. That was the biggest mistake we made. Each time we wanted to go to the room it was through walkways, key cards, stairs and around and through and down stairs and key cards etc. EVERY TIME….That got old fast. Meanwhile the smart ones were just hopping into their poolside rooms.
We learned that Palm Springs had a two day, two weekend musical festival called Splash House. The Saguaro hotel was a location, our favorite (sold out & now we know why) hotel was a location and one other hotel were all home base for this house music situation. Luckily we were checking out the day it started, phew. The pool wasn’t big enough or cool enough for 80 + drunk people and their floats or their urine.
We spent the entire afternoon in the pool talking and making new friends. We were deep in a conversation when I saw this in a friends sunglasses. I told him to stand tight so I could take this picture. Summer in a photo.
Eventually the sun set and it was finally only 100 degrees outside. Everyone trickled out of the pool putting a period on the day. We made our way to our room for dinner.
The next morning we claimed some pool chairs and went for breakfast. We weren’t impressed but we were fed. We hit the pool and read and sweated and read. I was almost done with my book and the pool was filling up, I told Shawna I needed to finish it before our friends showed up. I ended up crying in the pool, damn book…. but I did finish it.
We took advantage of the hotel restaurants happy hour, we slightly dried off and headed in for tacos and drinks.
Back in the pool we talked and talked until time slipped away and once again the sun went down, funny how that works. We ended the night, ordered a pizza and fell asleep watching the death channel.
The next morning we had a nice lie in, and then hit a recommended spot for lunch before heading home. We were told we MUST try El Patio.
So we did and it was delicious. Shawna got breakfast but me, not me. I ordered the Del Mar for us to start with. Fresh ceviche of crab, octopus and shrimp mixed with cucumber, tomato and the sweetest mango topped with avocado and pickled onions. SO GOOD!! I asked for the trio of salsa’s (I don’t think thats the right name) but it’s not on the menu so make sure that if you visit, ask for it! Finally, I had the fish tacos and they were perfect. We thanked our new friends for the suggestion and will most definitely be back.
As for the Saguaro hotel, I’m not sure if we will be back. One thing that I didn’t mention was the music at the pool was terrible, really bad IMHO. Maybe it was the music of the DJ’s that were going to be playing at the festival, either way it was not good. You guys, that’s all that played for two days, the same playlist over and over…I wanted to go find someone and pay them to change it. Other than a handful of negatives (working ice machines were limited) it’s not a bad hotel, we did have a great time.
Even though we missed the 5th graders promotion, we were lucky enough to have pictures and videos taken for us.
We took the girls to the fair as a graduation gift, an expensive one. Rides, rides and more rides, throw in some corn dogs and farm animals, we had a great time.
I got Kaili to go on my favorite drop ride with me. I also talked her into Gravitron, remember that one? That was our favorite when I was young, loud music and spinning so fast that you can climb the walls. The girls also loved it! All of us but Averi went on a ride that Shawna and I had been eyeing, we were surprised that K and S braved it with us. It was pretty intense and I think both of the girls considered tears, but once we were back on the ground they said it was fun!
Averi however wasn’t a fan of most of the rides, she screamed for the man to “STOP THE RIDE” when we went on the one that has the cars that travel in a circle and navigate a set of hills in the process at a high speed. We started backwards and she was NOT having it. She passed on most of the rides after that, braving a fun house here and there. Oh and she did the giant slide,
We spent the next few days at the pool flaunting their obnoxious pool floaties.
Shayne got an Avocado floaty but she was not in the mood for a photo shoot.
Now we are days away from July and we have two more family birthdays coming up, AND a Great Wolf Lodge stay. The fun continues.
About four months into the midst of Covid we were itching to isolate somewhere warm and with a pool. Obviously hotels weren’t allowing guests and even AirBnB’s were scarce. I found a place in Desert Hot Springs called The Getaway, it was a seven unit apartment complex turned vacation rental. The owner was kind enough to let us stay for a few nights so we could have a change of scenery. Luckily, out of all the units, only a few were occupied because uh, isolation right?
The place was mid-century, had everything we needed, a pool and a hot tub, and it was just what the doctor ordered. However, driving into the town of Desert Hot Springs was not what we imagined.
This is the property.
Nice and quaint with lots of available sun.
This you guys, is what it looks like on the outside of that building.
Desert Hot Springs is like Palm Springs’ seedy cousin. Neglected, poor and you probably shouldn’t leave your cash lying around. But, we had a great time and became fast friends with a lady that was also staying long term there while her man, an essential worker, was working in Santa Monica.
Fast forward two years, we wanted another sun soaked few days but Coachella and Stagecoach had all of the desert hotels bumped up to ridiculous prices. So we decided to try another place in Desert Hot Springs but this time chose an actual hotel that had some security and indoor room entrances. Miracle Springs Resort and Spa’s website said they had the above, but also had seven natural hot mineral pools, an outdoor pool and a restaurant. That checked all of our boxes so off we went.
We drove through a sand storm on the way in. Not smog or haze just sand.
When the map told us we had “arrived at our destination” this is what we pulled up to.
Uh nope, nope, not staying here.
We knew or I should say we really really hoped that this wasn’t the place, so we drove around the lot and into another parking lot and then things looked a bit better. Not great but better.
We checked in around seven in the evening as their restaurant Capri was closing. We asked the receptionist if there was a place to eat nearby that she would recommend. On her advice we drove a few blocks to a Mexican place called Casa Blanca. What do you know, the parking lot was packed, phew! We had a margarita and some really, really good food. Surprised and satisfied, we headed back to the hotel stopping off at a 7/11 for some pool snacks and a Snickers to stick in the freezer (for late night snacking).
We woke up and headed to Capri for breakfast.
We both ordered the eggs Benedict, and it was exactly as you’d expect from this place. Basic, no frills, egg bennies but totally satisfying. Let’s be honest, this place was not Italian, something tells me that their sauces come from jars.
The waiter/bartender Adam, was super attentive (maybe with the help of a substance or two) and very nice. He was our server both days.
This place claims that their hot pools are mineral hot springs, I mean, maybe they are, however….
They looked like condo hot tubs.
The grounds were nice, loads of greenery, beautiful flowers, and palm trees that were play houses for all types of birds. The pool water was perfect for the 90 degree weather. Enjoying some adult beverages in the sun was all we needed.
We spent the day reading in and out of the sun. With snow capped mountains in the distance.
The deco is straight out of the 90’s and it could use a facelift or two. But if you want a no frills place to lay in the sun with really no rules to abide by, then Miracle Springs resort is just fine.
News is, is that our city may be heading backwards in terms of Covid cases. Mother nature is doing her 2020 thing and then we have the political part, long story short, it’s looking grim. With that, I thought I would shine some light on the last month or so that we’ve had.
Before stay in place school started back up, we spent some long days at the beach.
The girls (with a little help) whipped up a strawberry shortcake for Shawna’s half birthday…from scratch!
Did I mention Kaili started horseback riding lessons? I will say that I was blown away with her natural ability to ride. I have no doubt she will be a fantastic rider like her grandmother.
There were a lot of pool days.
We had a couple of taco Tuesdays, with the children.
There were a many nights of singing, actually, I don’t think a day goes by life without music.
Let’s not forget the food that we made.
Finally, the first week of school arrived. All of us were less than thrilled…including the cat.
I hope everyone is doing well and is keeping healthy.
Back when I was researching places in Puerto Vallarta to stay, I also was looking into horseback rides in the Sierra Madre mountains. My mom and I took a ride there while in port on a cruise years ago, it was a great time. I was in contact with Pam from rancho el charrofor months, sporadically checking in on how things were going down there. She moved down there from Ventura 50 years ago and never left. She has a ranch with a couple of handlers at the very end of civilization at the bottom of the mountains. I booked a five hour ride up to a waterfall on the Wednesday of our trip.
My brother had planned to meet us down in PV, arriving Wednesday afternoon. My hope was that we would all arrive back at the hotel around the same time. Shawna and I had coffee sent up to the room and then called an Uber at 9 in the morning, we were ready for our day. Pam was meeting us at a library in town, not far from the hotel zone to take us to the ranch. It took a good 25 minutes or so to get to the ranch, it’s literally out there. Pretty sure a lot of the little huts and stores didn’t have electricity or running water, very rural. We joked about why she has to pick her customers up, no one would ever find the place, there was also no cell service.
Pam’s horses were healthy and happy. After we signed our life away, we hopped on (much harder as I age, sigh) and we were off. Tomás, our wonderful wrangler led us out of town and up to the top of the mountain to a waterfall. He had his machete out making way for us to trail blaze, he would often get off of his horse to pick up fresh mangos and he also had a little snack for us to enjoy at the waterfall. My horse Lobo was sweet. His canter was a little uncomfortable and he wasn’t as sure footed on the way down. I thought for sure one time we were both going down when he slipped. Shawna’s horse, Frijolito was a pig and wanted to eat everything in his sight, but he was also hell bent on making sure he was the leader. So I took up the caboose taking in all the sights and OMG all of the big flying insects.
The ride was long and very serene. It was just us, the horses and the jungle. fun fact, this is wear they filmed Predator.
My ass (not that one up there) was so sore, probably would have paid off to have taken a few short rides before jumping into a half day excursion. We were hot and sweaty and ready to get back to the hotel to jump into the pool. Pam was kind enough to take us all the way back there.
My brother and his friend were already there, sitting in the lobby bar watching a soccer match. We said our hellos, went to change and met at the pool. There we had meet and greets, played some pool games and all sorts of shots were being ordered from our favorite bartender Jaime. We had Blowjobs, Donkey Semen, Sex with the Bartender and a few others that I have never heard of in my life. People would come closer and whisper “what was that you just had? It looked so good”. It was fun to yell the name and watch them either cringe or laugh.
We closed out the day with nine of us having dinner at the Mexican restaurant. I don’t want to talk down on the food but living in San Diego, it’s hard to beat what we have here. We ate, drank and talked for a couple of hours before dancing to music in the lobby.
If you are ever in Puerto Vallarta and looking for a horseback ride tour, I would recommend you check out Rancho el Charro. You really can’t ask for anything more if you want a real ride in the jungle. I will most definitely go back.
Kaili had this week off of school for Spring break and instead of us sitting around the house we joined Shane for a week in Oxnard, Ca.
We left Sunday early in the day and made a pit stop in Irvine for a visit with family before making our way up to Malibu. The drive along the coast up there is just breathtaking. We stopped at Paradise Cove for lunch. With tables in the sand and amazing views, you really do feel like you’ve reached Paradise.
We easily devoured a bottle of Cakebread 2012 Merlot for a very reasonable price considering where we were. It’s hard to beat sitting on the beach with a good drink while the kids are entertaining themselves in mother natures playground. The food was underwhelming, which seems to be a reoccurring theme for us lately but the atmosphere made up for it.
dThe last leg of the drive was an easy one and we got to the hotel by check in time. Our room that was supposed to be ready, wasn’t, and being a Hilton Honors member we got upgraded to an ocean view suite. Still full from lunch we decided to skip dinner and just go with happy hour beverages. We watched the sun set on the balcony before tucking in for the night.
Shane still had to work so the girls and I were on our own for most of the days. We played at the beach in the mornings and then spent the afternoons at the pool.
One day I brought my book down thinking I might be able to read a chapter and then I laughed and laughed and laughed at myself.
We would meet Shane at happy hour in the evenings and then head into town for dinner. We had some very good steamed mussels at la Petit Cafe in the harbor, after we managed to make it back to the hotel bar to catch most of the USMNT soccer match. The girls ate ice cream on the floor, we had some wine, it was perfect.
We also found a good Mexican spot in Oxnard called Cabo Seafood grill and Cantina and everyone was happy with their meal, a rarity these days.
Thursday morning we took one last dip in the hot tub before packing up for the drive home.
The hotel service wasn’t as good as it should be for a pricey resort but overall the stay was very nice. One of my favorite things is being able to hear the waves crashing from the couch as the ocean breeze blows through the room.
Kaili was complaining of an earache on the drive home and Averi was super tired and cranky. Turns out K had swimmers ear but luckily we caught it fast and she’s good as new now.
Little getaways like these are just what the doctor ordered.