Palm Springs, California

We decided to take a two day trip up to Palm Springs, California.  Several of our friends have been there and told us what it was like.

After we arrived at the hotel we quickly jumped in the truck and went exploring the streets.  Saw one of Frank Sinatra’s old houses, it was actually on Frank Sinatra Drive.  Drove on Gene Autry Lane, Bob Hope Drive to name a few!  Colleen was in love with all the streets filled with palm trees of all sorts.  Our big thing to do would be the Aerial Tram!

A little about Palm Springs;  In the early 1920s, Hollywood stars adopted Palm Springs as a place to escape the travails of Tinseltown. They were wowed by the fine weather, laid-back vibe and views of the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains – plus it was close enough to comply with the “two-hour rule” stipulating actors under contract had to be on call if needed by the studio.  Palm Springs isn’t a solitary oasis. Nine cities make up the Greater Palm Springs area: Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells (famed for its tennis tournament), La Quinta, Indio and Coachella.

These areas started growing in the 1930s as Hollywood movie stars built their smaller getaways from their Los Angeles area estates. Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Estée Lauder, Carmen Miranda and Bing Crosby built homes in these neighborhoods.  Though celebrities still retreat to Palm Springs, many today establish residences in other areas of the Coachella Valley. The city’s economy now relies on tourism, and local government is largely supported by related retail sales taxes and the TOT (transient occupancy tax). It is a city of numerous festivals, conventions, and international events including the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Palm Springs has one of the highest concentrations of same-sex couples of any community in the United States.   In 2010, 10.1% (2,307) of the city’s households belong to same-sex married couples or partnerships, compared to the national average of 1%. Palm Springs has the fifth-highest percentage of same-sex households in the nation. When the United States entered World War II, Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley were important in the war effort. The original airfield near Palm Springs became a staging area for the Air Corps Ferrying Command’s 21st Ferrying Group in November 1941 and a new airfield was built ½ mile from the old site. The new airfield, designated Palm Springs Army Airfield, was completed in early 1942. Personnel from the Air Transport Command 560th Army Air Forces Base Unit stayed at the La Paz Guest Ranch and training was conducted at the airfield by the 72nd and 73rd Ferrying Squadrons. Later training was provided by the IV Fighter Command 459th Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron. General Patton’s Desert Training Center encompassed the entire region, with its headquarters in Camp Young at the Chiriaco Summit and an equipment depot maintained by the 66th Ordnance in present-day Palm Desert.

Palm Springs is also home to the great Aerial Tramway.  The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway—the world’s largest rotating tram car—travels over two-and-one-half miles along the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon, transporting riders to the pristine wilderness of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park.  At the top you are at an elevation of  8,516 feet.  Check out below for my two video’s on this experience.

Close to Palm Springs is the southern part of Joshua Tree Nations Park.  We stopped in and took some shots as well.

A bit about Joshua Tree;  Joshua Tree National Park is an American national park in southeastern California, east of Los Angeles, near San Bernardino and Palm Springs. The park is named for the Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) native to the Mojave Desert. Originally declared a national monument in 1936, Joshua Tree was re-designated as a national park in 1994 when the U.S. Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act. Encompassing a total of 790,636 acres (1,235.4 sq mi; 3,199.6 km), an area slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island—the park includes 429,690 acres (671.4 sq mi; 1,738.9 km) of designated wilderness.  Straddling the border between San Bernardino County and Riverside County, the park includes parts of two deserts, each an ecosystem whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation: the higher Mojave Desert and the lower Colorado Desert. The Little San Bernardino Mountains traverse the southwest edge of the park.

It was a great couple of days and if any of you are in the area I would suggest you stop by.  Sources of this article include Palm Springs Aerial tramway, Wikipedia and our own experiences.  Write below if you have questions or a comment.