Up at an elevation of 6700 feet, the days are warm, but not hot, and the nights are quite cool, sometimes even close to freezing. The surrounding valleys have been downright steamy, with highs of at least 100 every day. Why, with such lovely weather right here, would we venture down into the blast furnace? (All my former co-workers know the answer–ice cream!) I just couldn’t stop thinking about the avocado ice cream we had last weekend, so when we wanted to make a Costco and Trader Joes run, I suggested that we go to the ones in Palm Springs, and make another stop at Lappert’s Ice Cream.
We also wanted to check out the world famous attraction, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which whisks you up 6,000 feet in altitude, up the side of the San Jacinto mountains. At the top is Mount San Jacinto State Park, with miles and miles of hiking, and fantastic views of the Coachella Valley. At $24 a person round trip, the tram is pricey, but it’s a unique and exhilarating experience to move from “Mexico” (95 degrees) to “Alaska” (60 degrees) in just 10 minutes!
There are hiking trails to remote campsites and to the highest peaks in the park. After a week of hard work, we opted for a more sedate experience, and took the 1.5 mile Desert Overlook trail.
The man behind the counter at Lappert’s Ice Cream was impressed that we made the long journey to his store. We learned that the ice cream is a very high butterfat content, which is why it’s so yummy! I had Avocado and Hawaiian Sea Salt Caramel, and JJ had Pistachio and Macadamia Coconut. Lappert’s really needs to open a location in Big Bear!
Then it was time to get to work! We went to Trader Joes, which was the most empty one I’ve ever been in. (Our Denver Trader Joes experience was a bit like getting onto a Japanese subway!) Next we headed to Costco, where I needed to get my own membership, after years of just handing a shopping list to my dad. I had heard that this particular store was really big, and the stories were true. I just stood there, dumbfounded, after we walked in the front door, and contemplated the disgusting nature of American excess. We tried to focus on the few things that we needed, but it was impossible to find anything in the sea of consumables. We staggered out an hour later, but with only the items we had on our list. (HA! Take that, Costco!) Thankfully, our new membership also gave us access the discounted gasoline station. We paid $3.79–much, much better than the average of $4.19 that we see in Big Bear Lake.
We both realized that we were dehydrated when we got back into the car to start the drive home. I had a gallon of water with us, and we each drank a whole Nalgene full on the way home. Concerned about the car overheating as we got into the foothills, we left off the A/C and just sweltered. It was so sweet to see our mountain range rising up in front of us, beckoning us with green trees and cooler temperatures.
I haven’t been writing much about work, because it’s…challenging. The workload is incredibly high, with an emphasis on bathroom cleaning. Many days, we are in each of our two bathrooms 7 or 8 times to check paper, and several times each day for cleaning. It’s so disheartening to leave the restroom in perfect shipshape, and then return a few hours later to a disaster. I’m particularly stymied about what leads campers to, um, expel bodily fluids on the floor of the bathroom, or in the shower. On my good days, I laugh about us being the newest members of the Sisyphean club, and on my bad days it can make me want to cry.
This past week, we figured out a few things that make our days flow more smoothly. We’re getting our work done in a little less time, leaving more space for free time in the afternoons. I switched from feeling overwhelmed by my workload to feeling like I was the one calling the shots, and that feels much better. I also enjoy planning our next weekend adventure, and dreaming about where we can explore over the winter.
The other hard part is that we’re really starting to miss friends and family back home. If you have a moment this week, send us an email or give us a call or text. We miss you!