Palm Springs, California
Vista Las Palmas
We’ve been here a while now – a halfway stop if you will. It’s like a holiday in the middle of our adventure. We figured nine days would be ample time to fix any small issues the car may have, as well as give us an opportunity to recover from long hours on the road. For me this break has proven a time of reflection and extreme gratitude. After one too many stiff margaritas by the pool one evening, I found myself thinking: Oh what freedom to be able to surrender our fire extinguishers. What a relief we won’t die of an explosion or heat stroke after all. This is the life.
But seriously, I can think of worse places to be as we are allegedly staying in one of the swankiest areas in town. Liberace used to live around the corner and Leonardo Di Caprio owns a home a couple of streets down. All of this is news to me and I listen intently as the local Uber driver fills us in. When asked where the finest neighbourhood is, he replied with enthusiasm, “You’re in it.”
There are wonderful bits of architecture to see here, as Palm Springs is known for the mid-century modern homes that were built in the late 1940s to the 1960s and lived in by celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball. Since staying in a beautifully designed mid-century this trip, lounging by the private pool surrounded by palm trees and an amazing desert landscape, it’s easy to see why so many people enjoy living here and visiting Palm Springs.
Some of the best bits
Eating, drinking favourites
Every morning we drive to Ernest Coffee for cortados and we certainly have eaten our fair share of In-N-Out cheeseburgers (we probably have room for at least one more). We also tried brunch at Cheeky’s as well as Wexler’s Deli. Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey served delicious sushi rolls alongside appealing whiskey cocktails and The Purple Palm did not disappoint with an evening dinner poolside, retreating to the cabanas after for chats and silly jokes under a moonlit sky.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
One evening we drove to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and took the rotating cable car along the cliffs of Chino Canyon to the wilderness of Mt. San Jacinto State Park. The change of landscape is drastic, gazing from the desert in Coachella Valley up to the rugged and rocky Mountain Station. What took us even more by surprise was how close the tram is to the San Andreas fault line, the cause of many earthquakes in California. Needless-to-say, we quickly took our photos and hopped back on the tram to get out of there. The amazing views were well worth the altitude sickness, which overtook both of us about an hour after the ride! Just when I thought the trip couldn’t get any more eventful, the next night we woke up to rumbling, glasses clinking and furniture shaking – yes, an earthquake… thank goodness it was minor.
Since we had a Panamera on loan (and air-conditioning is a beautiful thing), we managed to drive through the desert canyons all the way to the serene mountain town of Idyllwild to admire the pine trees and smell the fresh, clean air (free from ethanol).
We also took a drive out to see the Cabazon Dinosaurs, an old Americana roadside attraction complete with life-size models of a T-rex and Diplodocus to name a few. Bizarre yet intriguing, this is definitely a sight to see.
Back to Porsches and driving
It’s been a relief to be somewhere for longer than a day or two. This trip has been amazing so far and quite powerful in terms of the challenges we have faced.
Driving that car is hard work for me. My car in London has a semi-automated gearshift. The 993 is a manual, with a heavy clutch and a tricky bite point, being just under five feet tall the pedals are a stretch, and I’ve never driven while sitting on the wrong side of the road before. Once moving you can’t help but enjoy it, and I can see why people fall in love with these old Porsches and are quick to forgive faults. These cars always have faults, but so do people. Perhaps that’s what makes them interesting.