Former President Barack Obama donned his civies and hit the links Saturday, Jan. 21, as he began his desert vacation and his first full day out of office.
His motorcade was spotted about 11:30 a.m. heading to Porcupine Creek, the 249-acre, private golf club of Oracle founder and billionaire Larry Ellison, according to several media reports.
The Obamas flew from Andrews Air Force Base to Palm Springs after the inauguration of Donald Trump on Friday. They reached the Palm Springs area around 3:30 p.m., but arrived during a rare rainstorm, which forced their plane to circle and ultimately land at March Air Reserve Base near Riverside, about 50 miles west of Palm Springs.
The couple arrived in Rancho Mirage, near Palm Springs, around 8 p.m. Friday, and their motorcade pulled into Thunderbird Heights, a hillside neighborhood they’ve visited many times.
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The Obamas headed to the Coachella Valley for a post-presidential vacation, following the inauguration of Donald Trump in Washington, D.C.
About an hour before rerouting to Riverside, the Obamas’ plane circled the valley for 40 minutes, attempting to land at the Palm Springs airport twice, according to air traffic control transmissions.
Other flights were also delayed or cancelled due to the weather. By late morning, low clouds covered the valley, high winds rocked the area and rain flooded the streets of Palm Springs.
Onlookers waited under the cover of umbrellas and raincoats near the airport to watch the former president arrive in Palm Springs.
Roughly two dozen people hid under the eaves of the Palm Springs Air Museum adjacent to the airport for nearly two hours, waiting to glimpse the former president and first lady. A staff member at the museum said they had received more phone calls about the Obamas’ arrival on Friday than any other previous visit while they were in the White House.
Inside the Palm Springs airport at gate 15, an impromptu Obama-landing watch party broke out amongst travelers waiting to catch their own flights. About a dozen people crowded against the window of the terminal, all chatting about when they thought the plane would land.
One of those onlookers, Susan Walker from Phoenix, said she was excited to see the Obamas, whom she called “fabulous people,” after a “tough day” for many Americans.
“I think they’re people to look up to and respect and I think Michelle is the most amazing woman we’ve ever had in the White House,” said Walker, who has a 21-year-old daughter. “She’s the kind of woman I want my daughter to grow up to be.”