Tuesday, July 10, 2012

4th of July in Catalina

We decided to do something new for the 4th this year and ended up in Catalina. We were fortunate to be able to rent a friend's vacation house for a few days, and since we now have the means to cross the ocean, it was an easy choice! We called to invite our friends the Milams, and they didn't hesitate to join up on another Grillo-Milam adventure.  Even though I have been to Catalina many times, I somehow managed to avoid being there on what is probably Avalon's busiest weekend. What a blast it was! From the Parade, to the drinks on the beach at Descanso, it was all good.

Since this was one of those goofy years that the 4th falls squarely in the middle of the week, I elected to take Thursday and Friday off and make a nice long 5 day weekend out of it. The plan was that Joel and I would take all the gear and the big kids on my boat, and the wives would ride the Catalina Express with the babies. We departed for Avalon early on the 4th, leaving from the marina around 8AM.

The "big kids" - ready for the three hour tour!

The crossing was nice and smooth. We made it to Avalon in about 50 minutes, not counting the two stops mid-channel to watch the dolphins. It really is amazing how excited kids get over seeing dolphins swim by! We had a bit of time to kill until the parade, and since my brother had reserved a spot for us at Descanso beach, we decided to take advantage of that. A few destroyers later, we headed into town for the parade. The parade was fun to see, complete with the USC marching band. We posted up in front of Luau Larry's, and the kids collected all kinds of candy that was being thrown by the parade. After that, it was back to Descanso for some more quality beach time. Joel had no problem getting used to the island life!

After the beach, we headed back to the house to get dinner going.The Milams insisted on bringing the food for the trip, and it sure was nice. They brought a well marinated tri-tip to BBQ, and it was delicious! Joel was the master BBQ man.

If there was one negative of the trip, I would have to say that the fireworks were pretty bad. Of years past, my parents tell of amazing fireworks shows that you could see directly overhead from where we were moored in front of Descanso beach. Not so much this year. Apparently due to budget cuts, the city of Avalon did a super budget show off the end of the pier in the main harbor that wasn't visible at all from where we were. We occasionally saw a flash of light from over the Casino, but that was it. Needless to say, the kids were rather disappointed.
Thursday brought another beautiful day at Descanso. We again had a prime spot on the beach, directly in from our boat, which made swimming back and forth a lot of fun. At one point, I pulled my dinghy ashore, and it became a makeshift playpen for the little kids.

Our day was spent hanging out on the beach, and occasionally the boats. We were moored next to my Dad's sailboat, so we got to spend time with my parents as well. My brother Alex was also there, and took Gabby out for a paddle board ride.

An excellent trip, and something I look forward to doing again soon! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day

Having fun in Palm Springs for Mother's Day!

Monday, May 7, 2012


Monday morning bacon and egg burritos. Just wish I had an avocado lying around!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Where have we been?

Time to catch up with the Grillos! So many fun new things going on and it's been awhile since I've had a chance the motivation to write about it. 

LA Marathon 3/16/12
When last I updated here, Alison and I were training for the LA marathon. Things were going well with that, right up until about mid way through my training program. I was out for a 14 mile run, and at about mile 9, I began to experience an incredible pain of the outside of my left knee. Tried walking a bit and then running, but the pain was like someone sticking a large needle deep into my knee. Fortunately I was near my parents house, so I walked there and got a ride home. Turns out that I had injured my IT band. A rather common running injury, but tough to recover from. I gave it a few weeks of rest and stretching before I tried to run again. When I did, it was painfully obvious by mile 2 that this was going to take more time to heal. I gave it another month. By then I was going stir crazy. I did get out for a few bike rides, but I could still feel the dull ache in the knee, so I tried to limit that. By the time I was able to run three miles without too much pain, I was so far behind in my marathon training that there was just no way I was going to be ready in time. Alison however experienced no such maladies, and kept right on trucking with her training. I'll admit, I was a bit jealous as marathon day approached and she was in super form as you can see...

Since the marathon was the day before our anniversary, we made a weekend out of it and stayed at a hotel up in Santa Monica. We went out for an awesome sushi dinner at Roku and turned in early after a nice walk back in light rain. I had decided to ride the course on my bike as she ran it. I fitted her with a Garmin GTU10 personal locator so that I could see her position at any time on an app on my phone. It was pretty neat to watch her little blue dot run the streets of LA! After dropping her off at Dodger Stadium, I drove back to the hotel and hopped on my bike. I planned to meet up with her somewhere on Hollywood Blvd, and headed out that way. It was kinda fun to be out on the LA streets on my bike that early in the morning. Hardly any cars, and a feeling of stillness that is rare in LA. I made my way across Beverly Hills, and up the hill to Sunset Blvd to check in with Garmin. At that point, she was still near downtown, so I continued on east. I stopped again at Hollywood Blvd and the 101 Fwy. She was only about a mile away at this point, so I posted up on the side of the street and waited for her to come by. It was fun to watch the blue dot get closer and closer until I finally saw her. This was at mile 10, and she looked pretty good!
Alison at Mile 10, still looking fresh!
I was able to follow her along most of the route, and snagged a few more pics...

Mile 20, Feeling it!
Ocean Ave. 1/4 mile to go!
In just a shade over 4 hours, she crossed the finish line. 26.2 miles! An amazing accomplishment! I am very proud of her! 
New Boat
We picked up a new boat! I've been thinking about it for years, and the right opportunity came along at the right time. I happened to be chatting with a friend at a kid's birthday party a few months ago who mentioned that he was considering selling his boat. Curious, I inquired further. As it turns out, it was just the kind of boat I had thought about. A 21ft Boston Whaler Outrage. Perfect for runs to Catalina with the family! After a sea trial and agreement on terms, we became the proud new owners of "Milly". 

So far, we've been to Catalina twice, and it's been a lot of fun. Our first trip over was to go fishing with Gabby and my Dad. We went ashore in Avalon to grab some lunch and supplies, and spent the afternoon fishing for sand dabs. I think we came back with 20. Gabby had a blast!

Setting Hoop nets on the last night of lobster season 2012! 
Stay tuned... Lots of fun stuff planned for the summer!