12.27.2024. Pappy + Harriets + Pioneertown. Pioneertown. California.

On our way out of the desert, we had lunch at Pappy and Harriets in Pioneertown. It's got great BBQ. Definitely more happening at night if you can wing that and keep an eye out for the shows there. There are some surprises coming through there if you are lucky.

Then we walked around Pioneertown and found that offensive $200 jug of soap in one of these stores.

Then driving back to Palm Springs I mowed a desert lawn...

12.24.2024-12.27.2024. Joshua Tree. California.

Everyone has been asking me for pictures of Acido Dorado, but I am not allowed to post those. It's written into the contract of the rental of the house. It's an amazing house and covered in mirrors, which means it's very delicate. I loved the play of light within the space when you open it up to let the natural light inside. I even woke up at sunrise one morning to see the fiery colors at dawn. It was exceptionally cold at night so we were unable to enjoy the hot tub as it was simply too cold. So we put some logs in the fire pit and stargazed while bundled up in blankets instead. This rental is definitely not for everyone and filled with rules. So while this architecture may lure you, I am sure all the rules that comes with it in addition to the price tag will make many of you pass on this rental.

It was a 2.5 hour drive to Joshua Tree from Santa Monica. Which is as much driving as my poor back can almost tolerate before it goes out. The landscape is beautiful. It was easy to see the gentrification that took place since Covid. You now have brand new overpriced homes next to local homes that have been there for a while. Stores are Walmart, Grocery Outlet, and such sprinkled with small hipster stores that sell $6 drip coffee and organic undyed t shirts for over $50. The most outrageous item I saw at one of these stores was in Pioneertown where they sold a gallon glass jug of organic soap for $200. Makes me wonder: who the hell are these people buying $200 gallon jug of soap around here? While I, and many others, appreciate the availability of organic boutique places to eat and what not for those that can and are passing through that would have these options, it was rather jarring seeing the disparity of the gentrification in the desert.

Unless I was heading to The Dez to grab coffee and food to go (which I highly recommend before hitting up the park or for an outdoor outing) and that part of town, everything else was basically a 25 minute drive away. We did not go to Crossroads Cafe there but that is also on my list. I made a reservation for dinner at Kitchen in the Desert and I highly recommend it. They also open early for breakfast. They have a large al fresco dining in addition to their indoor space. The menu was inventive and the ambience was very desert.

Hiking in Joshua Tree around Christmas is peak season, as the mild winter weather is perfect for hiking. This would be my first time spending time in the desert. Due to its terrain, you do not have bird song, as it's mostly birds of prey and woodpeckers. There are little smells like in the forest as there is little to no foliage. I have decided that I am definitely more of a creature of the forest rather than the desert. However, the prehistoric rock formations, cacti, Joshua trees and color palette were something to behold.

12.22.2024-12.24.2024. Proper Santa Monica. Santa Monica. California.

For the end of last year, I had grand hopes of being in another country for the last 2 weeks of the year as we were to have it off work. Alas, the odds were not in my favor as all plane tickets overseas during this time was outrageous and we ended up not getting the 2 weeks off work anyhow due to continued launch at work. Since I had enough credit card points for another domestic flight, I decided to hop down to Southern California to explore Joshua Tree. I have only been to the desert once when I shot at the Kill Bill Chapel in Lancaster. I recall driving to it and thinking I really should spend some time here in the winter time. I have also always wanted to stay at Acido Dorado since it was done ~2011. Why not? When else am I going to do this?

I decided to start off in LA to see some friends before driving to Joshua Tree. I opted for Proper Santa Monica. The Selby calls the lobby the museum of chairs, and I nearly died laughing.

Their restaurants were decent both in the lobby and on the roof by the pool if you are stuck at the hotel.

They also have an award winning Ayurvedic Surya Spa there for those of you looking for the ultimate pampering. This was definitely the most decadent Ayurvedic massage I have ever gotten as it's choreographed with 2 people. For those of you not familiar with Ayurvedic massage, please beware that this is done with oil and you are to leave it on your body and hair for optimal healing. Basically I was flammable for the rest of the day and got whips of oil intermittently. I ended up buying some bath salts to take home from here as I was very sad to not have the time to take a proper bath in that zelliged rose tub.

The Selby came by with his girls and we hung out by the pool and ate all kinds of nibbles. Then the girls had a grand ol' time bouncing on my giant bed and pressing all kinds of buttons on the wall.