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Just did something utterly crazy - chartered a ๐Ÿง‘โ€โœˆ๏ธ private plane โœˆ๏ธ to Palm Springs ๐ŸŒด and Joshua Tree (via Jeep Wranglers) for Hunter’s 50th Birthday! ๐Ÿ’–

(Also worth noting: celebrated on rare palindrome date: 02 02 20 20 – which in a mirror is 50 backwards ๐Ÿ˜ฎ )

This took over a month to research, pull off, and plan! I’ve never done a charter plane before so it took quite some time to figure out planes, quotes and more. I’d like to thank the amazing Captain Jan Johnson for helping me research and suggesting, ultimately, who we went with - Centurion FS out of Palo Alto.

We rented a super cute “Quest Kodiak 100” plane, able to seat 8 very comfortably, single prop plane.

Ironically the major amount of planning, devoted to going to Death Valley, got scuttled 12h before take-off due to high wind advisory - specifically including Furnace Creek landing strip (not much of an airport - mostly tarmac and tower - no refuel options, etc.). The very accomodating Pilot called me and we spent 40 minutes trying to find any way to make it work – an then ultimately decided to change to Palm Springs + Joshua Tree (two places I’ve always wanted to visit). It took only ~20m more to fly there and back, and +5% extra cost – with lots of scramblings to procure a pair of genuine Jeep Wranglers. Thankfully, it just worked!

Huge shout out to Hunter’s amazing friends who all went with the last-minute changes, kept it secret, and were up for this crazy adventure from [6am to 9pm]. [ boarding - with convenient side entry ] [ giddy, ready to go ] [ I’m shook - I can’t believe this is happening! ]

After a beautiful ~2h cruise over California at only ~10,000 foot from the ground, we arrived in Palm Springs ~10:30am.

had a really nice brunch and cocktails on Kaiser Grille patio (but under shade ;-) right out on the main strip (and olde town area).

I flew in a decadent chocolate cake and candles which the server set up for us at the end.

Then we took the Jeeps and had ~4-1/2 hours to do a (mostly driving) tour of Joshua Tree (~40m drive from downtown).

We jumped out at some of the great and interesting areas, like Cholla Cactus Garden:
And the super popular (giant) Skull Rock:
And the Jumbo Rocks camping area:
We even did just a bit of off-road 4x4 (my favorite ;-)
Joshua Tree:

We had a blast and soaked up the hot dry sun while the Bay Area was getting a very strong cold snap. We had a bit of an adventure on the return in some high up-to-11,000’ clouds – sorry Amy! They had some turbulent moments, but the vast majority of the flight was way above the clouds (and bumps and danger).

Thank you Captain Jim ๐Ÿง‘โ€โœˆ๏ธ (pictured in top photo above, left side) for keeping us safe and giving us an utterly amazing weekend. Hunter was beaming and grinning ear-to-ear, getting to be on radio and in copilot seat both ways the entire time.

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Tracey Lover

Youโ€™re the best Pookie! Was such a great time. And total huge surprise. - Hunter.

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tracey is a nonstop dance party. so you dont have to. dont ask me about k8s. thanks for dropping by today. you look nice.