Another Sea Otter Classic has come and gone. This year didn’t disappoint. My buddies came out from Chicago and rented a rather large RV. They learned the hard way that Monterey, CA gets cold at night.
This year we bailed on the organized ride and did our own. We rode into the towns of Monterey and Pacific Grove and on to Carmel by way of 17 Mile Drive.
We had perfect weather and met a cast of characters out of central casting. The best being a bleach blond 48 year old beach bum who told us his life story no less than 3 times because we gave him a beer. It was like someone gave a seagull one potato chip and it wouldn’t leave. We learned he has 6 kids. He’s lived on 8 continents and visite 88 countries. Not to go to Santa Cruz because it’s a bad scene and they stole his bike.
Sunday, I entered my first mountain bike race. First I got a flat 3 miles in. Second I flipped over my handlebars on a washboard descent. I tacoed the front wheel on my new bike and separated my shoulder. I managed to straighten it out enough to finish the race. I managed to place 34 out of 38 in my age group. Not bad.
I have some great pictures to share when I’m not writing on my phone.
The kids start school soon, so we wanted to get in one last day of hanging out. We played hooky for a half day (leaving the phones on of course) and took a drive around San Francisco to see some of the sites we’ve overlooked in the past.
The first stop was the Cliff House and Sutro Baths ruins. One of the best things about having a smartphone is being able to look stuff up on Wikipedia while you are at the spot. I was reading about the bath houses and trying to figure out where things where at. There was once an amusement park near the site as well.
From there we headed over to Golden Gate Park to check out the Japanese Tea Garden and Flower Conservatory. It felt like Summer was already over because it was so overcast and cool.
We topped the day off in Pacific Heights and had dinner with our friends David and Stephanie. They had not seen my son since he was a baby. The last time they saw him he was about 18 months old. A bunch of us had gone out for Ethiopian food. I was the only one with a kid so none of us had really thought through the timing. We lasted about an hour before total meltdown. On the way home, we grabbed some fries at Jack in the Box and all was good again.
Golden Gate Park
I went up to Tahoe this past Sunday with my son and his friend. It’s pretty cool to be able to load up the car with bikes and be only 3 hours away from some of the most beautiful parts of the country.
There’s a place up there called Woodward my son wanted to go to. They have day and summer camps there where they’ll teach you all the extreme sports like snowboarding, skateboarding, dirt bikes, and par core (sp?).
While the guys were busy doing flips and shit into foam pits, I went for a ride along the Donner Pass. I started down at the lake and road up to the Summit.
Donner Lake from the summit
Donner Summit 7135 Feet
Woodward Skate Bowl
Woodward Foam Pits
Donner Lake through the trees
Bridge near Donner Summit
It’s easy to forget how close we are to some of the best National Parks in the country, one of them being Yosemite. It’s only about 130 miles away, but takes a little over 3 hours to get there. For Mother’s Day we took a day trip over to one of my favorite places on earth. There’s not much else to report, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Bear Trap strategically placed by the backpacker’s campsite.
This past weekend, some of my Chicago biking buddies flew in to join me and my son down in Monterey, CA for the 25th annual Sea Otter Classic. It’s the biggest bicycle show in the country, if not the world. And if you’re into bikes, it’s the place to be.
We took the Westy down and camped inside the grounds of the Laguna Seca raceway, which is also where it’s held. We arrived around lunch time Friday and spent the afternoon meandering around the show.
I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking. It was one of the best times I’ve had all year.
In case of fire, hotel becomes a nightclub.
I loved this sign, it was by the elevators at our hotel in San Diego.
I love traveling up and down the West Coast. Everything is within a 90 minute flight. We went down to San Diego this past Spring Break and stayed at a resort on Coronado Island. It’s a cool little town, definitely different than Santa Cruz.
Everyone had a chance to work on their tans poolside. We did a good job of getting around. We went up to La Jolla to check out UCSD, had lunch in Old Town, and of course, took a trip to the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
Giant Panda eating what looks like crap, but is actually bamboo cakes.
Look closely, there’s a Koala Bear in there.
We tried going to the zoo first thing on Monday and it was a complete shitshow. The lines were an hour plus just to get in. We went back Wednesday in the afternoon. It was the perfect plan. We waltzed right in fresh as daisies. The rest of the crowd looked like the walking dead and were moving to the exits. We didn’t quite have the place to ourselves, but we weren’t waiting in huge lines. They’re one of the few zoos in the country with Giant Pandas. So it was a pretty cool getting to see those in person.
The other highlight of the trip was surfing lessons for the kids. We wanted to take them too, but my knee isn’t ready.
Coronado Surfing Company van. Chris, was a great instructor.
Coronado Island is a great place to stay if you want to get away from the bustle of the city. They’ve got a decent little downtown built up around the famous Del Coronado Hotel.
Interesting factoid, Tina Weymouth of the Talking Heads is from Coronado Island.
When you need to buy a suitcase at 8:36 pm on a Saturday night, where else you gonna go but TJ Maxx? It wasn’t until I got home that I realized what a huge bargain I had scored.
Are you bragging, or complaining?
While temperatures in the Midwest and East Coast dropped below zero, we took advantage of a nice sunny day and headed down to Santa Cruz. For those of you unfamiliar, it’s where they filmed “Lost Boys.”
The Santa Cruz Boardwalk has one of my all-time favorite roller coasters, the Giant Dipper. It’s a small wooden coaster with a 70 foot drop. It’s not that impressive to look at. There’s something about it though. Maybe it’s the view, or the way it shakes your teeth loose, or the dips, but I can’t miss riding it at least once whenever I’m there.
Late February is one of the best possible times to go there. You will practically have the park to yourself.
Tired of watching the nonstop blather about the earthquake, we packed up the car and headed to Point Reyes National Seashore. We stopped in Cowgirl Creamery for lunch. After a pleasant picnic on the grounds of the visitor center we embarked on a 10 mile round trip hike down to the beach. I’ll let the picture do the rest of the talking.