Sometimes, very rarely in life, you find exactly what you need, when you need it. I was lucky enough to meet a ray of sunshine in human form about two years ago. Miss Elizabeth Bennett, otherwise known as Tonic Of Wildness, was a fellow classmate of mine at UCSD during my year-long design program. The two of us shared a similar aesthetic style and cynicism towards our fellow classmates. At the time I had just moved to San Diego and had absolutely no friends. Elizabeth was my first post-college friend, and she kept me sane and happy during a period of intense stress.
Since returning from Europe she has become one of my closest friends and my favorite adventure buddy. The two of us have made it our mission to go on as many adventures as possible, whether big or small. One of my favorites has been our weekend trip to Joshua Tree and Palm Springs.
We set off not-so-early on a Saturday morning… me with a massive hangover, while Elizabeth, perky as a parrot, proved to me that she can rap along with every word Kanye West has ever spoken (truly a woman of many dimensions). We pulled into the Pioneertown Motel (straight out of a western movie set) and set out for some food and shopping in town. The town of Joshua Tree is one of those rare places that somehow combines high design, with a laid back/truly authentic atmosphere. Once we got our fill of vintage tees and high quality coffee, we set off on an adventure through Joshua Tree State Park. Our hike was short and sweet, with insane views for miles and miles. Blasting indie-alternative-electronic jams, we made our way back through the park as the sun was setting. On a whim, we pulled over to watch the sunset and raced back to the motel as fast as possible so we could make it in time for dinner at the adjoining bar and restaurant, Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.
While chowing down on some delicious grub, we scoped out some hotties in the local cover band, and cheered along with the crowd, as one of the bar’s bouncers, with a beard down to his waistband took the stage and killed basically every classic rock song our generation has grown up loving. After getting our flirt on with some desert hippies, Elizabeth and I turned into the night, full of desert dreams and rock n’ roll.
The next morning we decided to go in a different direction, and booked a reservation at the Parker in Palm Springs for brunch. Going from Joshua Tree to Palm Springs is like returning to Earth from Mars. Palm Springs is an oasis of money, style, and design in the middle of the most stark and austere environment you can imagine. The Parker hotel seems unassuming at first, and yet when you walk in to the lobby, you’re assaulted by bold design and luxury. The brunch itself was quirky, over the top, and provided the best people watching I’ve ever experienced. After clearing out our bank accounts on some decadent brunch fare, we set out exploring the architecture of the city. My obsession with mid-century modern architecture and design took me to new levels of frenzy as we drove past the rainbow walls of Saguaro Hotel and stopped for coffee in yet another incredible little shop on the main drag. As we made our way through the neighborhoods, we even found a collection of giant, florescent robots peeking out of someone’s backyard!