Monday, January 3, 2011
Dates & Dinosaurs
Day one we decided we wanted to get to Phoenix, AZ, getting us out of range of weekend trips before we really decided to do anything crazy. (We have to leave something for when we get back to Edwards!) The short winter days means that daylight is limited. Phoenix is about a 6 hour drive from Edwards leaving us plenty of time to get things packed before heading out - I hate being rushed when leaving for a long trip - so this was perfect timing.
Jeff and I always debate about whether to leave from the South or the North gate when heading toward PalmSprings but since he was driving we left via the North gate. (I'm looking for someone who can prove that the south gate provides a more direct route to the 215.) Regardless of how you get there, Palm Springs is about 3 hours away from base and is a great place for your first min-break. We were in Palm Springs last February and had a blast, but there is more to do then one weekend can hold. This small stop allowed us to check off a few things from our list.
First, Hadleys Fruit Orchard claims to have the Best Date Shake in California - so we had to stop and check it out. There is some debate online about if Hadleys should be able to count their shake since they used crystallized dates and not fresh ones. Despite the controversy we stopped to check it out. Hadleys has a small restaurant where you can order the date shake - they also have sandwiches if you need a bite to eat. The bulk of Hadleys though is dried fruit and snacks and resembles Casa de Fruta on the way to San Fransisco. I know your dying to know what we thought of the shake - personally I like the one made with fresh dates better. but that is just my opinion. It's certainly worth the stop to see if you think Hadleys has California's Best Date Shake.
Just down the road are the Cabazon Dinosaurs, which claim to be the worlds largest dinosaurs, but, in my mind anyway, are more famous for being featured in PeeWee's Big Adventure. It is completely free to take your picture in front of the two large dinosaurs and there is a gift store inside the belly of the non-T-Rex dinosaur that you enter through a door in the foot. To go inside the T-Rex or see any of the other robotic dinosaurs you will need to pay admission to the park. This is a photo opportunity you cannot miss!
The drive from the dinosaurs into Palm Springs is easy and takes you through some beautiful windmill farms. We dropped into Palm Springs for lunch at our favorite place - Fisherman's Market & Grill. They have ample street parking and a free city lot right next door, meaning you won't spend any time looking for parking. I had the grilled mahi-mahi fish tacos and Jeff ordered the Grilled Fish of the Day sandwich - both come with a side so if you don't like coleslaw be sure to ask for something else. As always the food was delicious and fast so we were back on the road in no time.
Next stop Phoenix!