JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Sometimes it's the food joints you stop at out of necessity that can be the best discoveries, like Joshua Tree Saloon, our last chance for lunch before heading into the national park.  I had worked up quite the appetite stalking a desert iguana for a close up, so the mahi mahi fish tacos and an ice cold coke really hit the spot.

Joshua Tree Park has a special feel to it when you're hiking amongst the Mojave yucca and Joshua trees, making it one of my trip highlights.  We were very cautious when climbing amongst the boulders as they're the perfect place for snakes to sun themselves, fortunately our creature encounters for the day only included lizards, squirrels and a shifty looking donkey.

I nodded off during the long drive from Skull Rock to Lake Havasu, but at an intersection in the middle of nowhere, Andy woke me up and we got out of the car to look back at the setting sun.  While there was still light in the sky, I made a wish upon the huge shooting star that I saw.

PALM SPRINGS

First stop, Palm Springs!  Excited to drive around one of the world's largest and best preserved concentrations of modernist architecture to take photos, I purchased a map of modern Palm Springs from the visitor centre.  After getting lost in the maze of streets and then feeling like a criminal whilst trying to hold my camera above the fence of Frank Sinatra's Twin Palms Estate, we gave up and headed to the outlet stores (here).

As the sun was going down we took a twilight ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.  Rotating up 8,516 feet left me weak at the knees, but the view from the top is well worth it.  Pack a jumper though (we didn't), as there's quite the temperature drop up in those mountains.







DESERT HILLS OUTLET SHOPPING


With 180 outlet stores Desert Hills Premium Outlets was a little overwhelming for day two, but I didn't let that, or an already over-packed suitcase, stop me from making a few exciting purchases.

What I bought:
1. Coach HPC flight bag (USD$79.99) // 2. Alexander McQueen bracelet (USD$119.00)
3. Nike relay print crop running tights (USD$44.99) // 4. Marc By Marc Jacobs Camo iphone 4 case (USD$3.00)

EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN CABAZON

On route to our Palm Springs destination, two enormous sculptured dinosaurs and "the world's biggest dinosaurs museum" beckoned us.  Surrounded by mountains and built over 30 years ago, Dinny the brontosaurus and Mr. Rex the tyrannosaurus rex (whose mouth we climbed up into), made an appearance in the 1985 movie Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

The highlight of the museum was actually the tiny hummingbirds flitting around the garden, but it was a good chance to stretch our legs after a long flight and a couple of hours driving on an unfamiliar side of the road.

We also made a stop to have a closer look at the San Gorgonio Pass wind farm.  The thousands of huge wind turbines spread across the desert and hills on either side of the highway are pretty spectacular!




REALITY BITES


Apologies for the break in transmission, I've been off on the trip of a lifetime!!  With lots of planning, Andy and I flew into LA on Saturday the 9th of August and road tripped, just the two of us, until meeting up with four friends and a surprise guest in Vegas.  Four night's and a wedding later, we headed to Santa Monica for our honeymoon.

With every intention of blogging, I packed the laptop (and Andy lugged my tripod across state lines as my luggage was already too heavy... nope, I never used it once), but why blog when you can swim under a super moon in Palm Springs, camp with a Navajo guide in Monument Valley and shop until midnight before heading up the Paris tower to look at the twinkling lights of Las Vegas.

I'll be sharing our trip with you in future posts, which will help me combat the post holiday blues that have kicked in this week.

Invitations:
$22 for 80 customized playing cards - makeplayingcards.com

MID-CENTURY MODERN: FURNITURE HEAVEN

I love retro furniture and have been known to return from walks with kerbside finds, my bedside table and most recently a lounge chair (that one I had to go back for with the car), so I found myself in a little bit of furniture heaven when I went to the National Gallery of Victoria for the Mid-Century Modern exhibition.

So many beautiful shapes and gorgeous wood, making me wish my calling had been furniture restoration.  I particularly enjoyed the shadows each piece cast.




PAOLA PIVI BEARS

I used my admin half day yesterday to do things I don't usually get to do during the working week, like check out Italian artist Paola Pivi's sculptural works at the National Gallery of Victoria.  The gallery foyer is currently home to life-sized Alaskan bears covered in neon coloured feathers.  The exhibition is free and continues until the end of August.