Christmas Day felt like a fairly normal day. Cleaning the house, packing, Jim watching football, and then driving to the airport - which I suppose is not all that normal after all. We didn't want to impose on anyone for the Holiday so we rented a car to drive to the airport since it cost less to do that than to park the car there for the week. Then the storms and busy travel day took over and our flight was late leaving. Fortunately we got in the air only an hour late, then made it to San Francisco to find out that we had not actually missed our connecting flight (it was held since there were so many passengers arriving late). After sitting at the gate for over 30 minutes while they loaded luggage onto the plane, we landed in Los Angeles to find out that we (and everyone else from our initial flight) had no luggage.
Christmas dinner consisted of our new traditional/non-traditional Holiday food:
We also weren't smart enough to pack anything in our carry-ons so we had to figure out something else to do for the two days until we had our luggage back.
Enter after-Christmas sales at the outlet mall the next morning:
Normally, I don't love after-Holiday shopping and I'd like to say this was an exception but it really wasn't. At least there were some killer sales and my shirts cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 each. (This non-traditional-female-anti-shopping attitude may change once we have jobs)
Finally clothed and ready to go, we headed to our first real stop! Joshua Tree National Park
So, we went through Joshua Tree and didn't take a single picture of one. Yes, I see the irony in that.
We did see these ocatillos however, which were huge and Jim couldn't believe them. I think he's still trying to wrap his mind around the size.
One cool thing was the cholla cactus garden. Jim also remembers these from his youth and a time his brother was attacked by a runaway cholla. I've heard the story and I guess you had to be there... The light was really harsh. I've got to say it made me super-duper glad that I've never been stranded in the desert.
The only hike we took was to the forty-nine palms oasis. It was a pleasant walk and not too long but it was pretty neat to run into a little stream and pocket of life in the middle of an otherwise rather dreadful landscape.
We don't have trees like this in Oregon...
It was a charming little walk, but my favorite part was the company. The hubs is completely my favorite person in the whole world. Even though we almost missed flights and had the luggage debacle I felt no stress at all at the start of this trip. That is saying a lot, because I tend to stress a lot about silly things. We were ridiculous and together. It couldn't have started out any better.