Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Busy Month (Part II)

Upon returning from my adventures in The Great White North, I was ready to spend a great weekend with the fam. But first, one more mini adventure before the busy family weekend. A few weeks prior, my friend Dan Rodriguez had invited me to see the 49ers vs the Chargers. In SF. Since we share a love of aviation, he also had the great idea that we should fly up there together. It took a lot of convincing to get me to agree. So, the day after I got home from having abandoned my family for a week, I turned right around and abandoned them again. But only for one night this time! I flew up to Paso Robles (PRB), picked up Dan, and we made our way up to SF (SQL). Did some great tailgating with Ryan Grenier and Craig Henderson. We cracked open a few brews, and Dan showed me how to core jalapeƱos "the mexican way", which was a lot faster than the "whiteboy way". Great game with great friends! The next morning, after some fried chicken and waffles, we had Craig take us to the airport to start our journey back. We departed SF (SQL) for Paso (PRB), but decided to make a detour to Coalinga and Harris Ranch (3O8) for lunch. Yes, I had a porterhouse. For lunch. After fried chicken and waffles for breakfast. If you've never been there, Harris Ranch is the third largest beef producer in the nation, and has their own runway outside their restaurant. Pretty unique. They have a store where you can buy steaks to go, and they will package them on ice for your trip home! They also have AvGas, which we were in serious need of.

Not even pausing for a single night's sleep in my own bed, I got home from the airport and helped Alison load up the car with kids and gear. Really, I didn't do that much. She had everything ready to go when I walked in the door. She handed me Scotty with instructions to put him in the car. Of course, SHE contends that she also handed me her suitcase with all her clothes/running gear. I recall no such hand off, but more on that in a minute... After catching a quick glimpse of my home, we were off to the Sheraton Anaheim and Disneyland so that Alison could run the Disneyland 5K the next morning. After an uneventful, traffic-free drive to the OC, we arrived at the hotel and began to unload kids and gear.
Somewhere during this chaos, Alison asked (in a bit of a panicked tone) "Where is my suitcase?"
"Suitcase?? What Suitcase?"
Then, in a more panicked voice: "The one with all my running gear that I handed to you by the front door and told you to put in the car!" she gasped.
"You didn't hand me a suitcase. You handed me a kid in a carrier!"
"I handed you a suitcase too!!!"
"No you didn't!"
"Yes I did!!!"
"No you...."
Because I could tell this was going nowhere fast, I decided to listen to my husband's sense of self preservation and bite the bullet.
"Okay, after dinner, I'll drive home and get it."
Crisis averted. Hey, what's a few more hours on the road?? No big deal.

We met up with Kati Sears for dinner, a friend of ours who had signed up for this run with Alison. We had a great dinner at Catal, a Patina group restaurant at Downtown Disney. Alison and I have dined here a couple of times, and it's a pleasant upscale escape from the tourist mess that is Disney. After a couple glasses of wine and an excellent meal, we headed back to the hotel and I prepared to make my dreaded round trip. It ended up being not too bad. KROQ was in the middle of a flashback weekend, and my mind was kept occupied singing along to tunes not heard since my high school days. Doctor Green Thumb by Cyprus Hill anyone? It was about midnight by the time I made it back to the hotel, absolutely exhausted.

Somehow, we were up at 4:30AM to get going. Alison headed out to meet Kati, and I got the kids up and going. The kiddos and I made our way over to Disneyland to get a good spot to see the girls run by. As it turns out, the course winds its way through the park, and finishes in California Adventure. We were let into a spectator section near the finish line, and I selected a great spot to get some good shots of the runners. I got some REALLY good ones of Alison! Hehehe!

Hey, this is getting pretty long and I'm kinda tired! I think I'll make this a 3 part series... Stay tuned!

A Busy Month (Part 1)

Boy, time sure does fly. This may be a long one. In fact, I think I'll just make this a two part deal. It's been more than a month, and quite a bit has been going on. When last I wrote, I had just come off of a night out with the boys. This time, I have a few more solo outings to report on (Part I), but also some excellent quality time with the fam to round it all out (Part II).

I had to attend the ASRS meeting in Vancouver, BC in late August. Being just a short drive from Whistler, I decided to head up a day early and head up there for some mountain biking. I arrived the night before my ride, and shacked up at the Westin. I was given a room looking out on the village and barren ski slopes. Since I was hungry, I ventured out into the village to find some grub. I checked out a few spots, and settled on a tapas bar. Can't remember the name, but it was the only such place in the village. On a tip from my buddy Craig, I selected an entree called "Poutine". A local delicacy consisting of fries, covered in: cheese curds, grilled onions, bacon and foie gras gravy. Washed down with a local IPA, I was in heaven. Fat and happy, I headed back to my room to get a good night's sleep before my adventure the next day. I hired a guide and a bike from Whistler Bike Guides. I opted for the full day ride, and it was seriously epic or "gnar" in the local parlance according to my guide Brian. I was excited to arrive at their shop and find a Santa Cruz Carbon Blur LT (about $6000 worth of hardware) waiting for me. That's like stepping up to the rental counter at Hertz and being told "Sorry sir, but the only car we have left for you is a Ferrari". Well, that's ok THIS time... Ha! I couldn't wait to get going. I was introduced to my guide Brian, who happened to be the local grocery store manager, and took side jobs as a mountain bike guide. He was great, and made the day worth every penny. I won't bore you with every detail of the ride - the pics that follow should tell you what you need to know - but I would absolutely go back and do this again. It was supremely beautiful and challenging terrain.

I was going sooo fast, not even the camera could stop me. HA!