We started the morning by sleeping late, following with the complementary breakfast at the Embassy Suites in Palm Desert, which was exactly what I expected it to be, and which was priced right, especially on an award stay.
Then it was time to hit the road for Tucson. We avoided stopping for lunch in Blythe, because it was far too early, but when we reached Quartzsite, Arizona, 20 body minutes but 80 clock minutes later, we decided it was time (especially given the lack of options farther up the road). We drove around a bit and ended up at Silly Al’s Pizza (the name was irresistable, though the building didn’t inspire confidence), where we enjoyed something unique in our experience: a cashew and mushroom pizza. It was pretty good, too, though the mushrooms were lost to the other flavors. My only complaint was that we were no longer in California, and so there were a lot of people smoking in the bar and other part of the restaurant — but I guess that’s what happens when you leave California. Recommended.
I would have liked to spend a little time looking around in Quartzsite — it looked like there was a permanent flea market in progress alongside the main road, with booths selling meteorites, books, and more, but we were on a mission. So we got back onto I-10, where we were delighted that the traffic was light, even through Phoenix, and we reached Tucson about 5:30 (Mountain Time), just 3-and-a-half hours after leaving Quartzsite. I suspect doing the math would result in a number that the Arizona Highway Patrol would officially disapprove, but we were being passed much more often than we were doing the passing. We drove to the Hilton, our home base for the next few days, and checked in. Diane helped Jeff with his lines for Tartuffe while I picked up dinner from New Delhi Palace. As soon as I arrived, one sniff told me that I’d made a mistake by ordering take-out — we should have eaten there, instead, to get the food at its freshest. But I was committed, so I brought it back to the hotel, where we all enjoyed a very pleasant meal (they were quite helpful and gave me dishes and utensils, since, of course, we didn’t have any!). Again, recommended.
And then we visited Diane’s dad and his SO, which was, of course, the main purpose of the trip.
Radio Hanukkah continued to be enjoyable, by the way; we especially liked the Debbie Friedman Hour…errr, Miriam’s Tent. The lighting of the National Menorah was, umm, interesting — I hadn’t expected it to be an all-Chabad operation. And, as we drove back to the hotel tonight, we enjoyed The 2000 Year-Old Man, which I don’t think Jeff had ever heard before in its pure form (though he’d seen the Simpsons version).