Maybe it was the sheer exhaustion from a month of non-stop travel and yet another pre-sunrise flight catching up with me. Maybe it was that we were heading out into the desert of southern California with absolutely no firm plans or ideas of what to do for the day. Or maybe it was the several rum minis I consumed on the flight from Houston to Ontario. Regardless of the reason, when it started to rain on us as we settled in to relax at the pool of the Hyatt in Palm Springs I was pretty sure that something was either very wrong or very right.
The original idea was to take advantage of a $140 round-trip fare to spend 12 quality hours in Palm Springs. Maybe ride the Palm Springs Tramway up to the top of the mountain and ride around on a burro. Alas, that was not meant to be. The tramway was closed for maintenance so we could not take the ride. On top of that the rumors of burro rides being available up top were apparently just that – rumors. Just two hours after we had landed in California we were sitting in the parking lot of the tourist board, dumbfounded by our IDB for the day: Involuntarily Denied Burros.
We managed to regroup and quickly. Lunch was secured, along with a couple margaritas and then we decided that our initial plans to be active during the day were a mistake. Blue skies and a hot sun called for the exact opposite. We really needed to be lazy. As an added bonus, it turns out that lazy was incredibly easy to accomplish. We headed over to the Hyatt, put on swim trunks and settled in at the pool. Run a decent enough bar tab and otherwise act like you belong and it turns out that no one even thinks to question you.
And then it rained. Right as I hopped in to the pool I noticed that I was also getting wet from the skies above. Sure, the skies were still pretty clear, but it was definitely raining. In the desert. Yeah, things were getting a bit weird.
We spent the next 4 hours alternating between the pool, the bar and the hot tub meeting new friends and otherwise enjoying ourselves. We met Justin and Stacy, a couple who had come out to Palm Springs for the weekend. I heard Stacy mention something about the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and before we knew it we had become old friends. They invited us to borrow the shower in their room to clean up after the day at the pool which was a very good thing both for us and for our seatmates on the flight back to Houston that night. It also gave us a phenomenal view of the sunset that evening. The clouds were pretty stunning.
We headed out to dinner with our new friends and whiled away the last few hours we had in town before loading back up into the car and starting the drive back west towards the airport.
It turns out that the area between Palm Springs and Ontario has a couple Indian tribes living there and these days that means casinos. We had an extra half hour to spare and breaking up the drive meant a somewhat better chance of me not falling asleep behind the wheel as we approached hour 20 of the day so we pulled off the highway and headed inside. Our plan was to stay only 30 minute or until we lost $50. We were only in building for about 10 minutes. We were both up $45 and there was absolutely no reason to look that gift horse in the mouth. The day was already strange enough so why not add to that the crazy of leaving the casino a winner?
The rest of the drive back to Ontario was rather uneventful, as were the two flights home. Sure, there was the downgrade from a international configured 767 to a domestic 757 but that just opened up the opportunity for us to take a bump down to coach and score $250 to arrive home at the same time we originally planned. Seeing as how that was nearly double what I paid for the ticket I was quite happy to take that certificate off their hands.
Quite a successful mileage run, even if (or perhaps especially because) it was completely random.
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