I haven't had this much fun on vacation in a long time. Part of the reason for that is I had so much to do (and for that, I have jschen to thank, among others). The highlight of the trip was definitely the Palos Verdes Fun Ride.
I arrived on Friday, and Jason (jschen) picked me up from the airport. Saturday morning was spent fitting me to his beloved Vivian. We rode for about an hour (silly me, I thought it was quite a bit longer than that). We descended the road on the left, and went up the road on the right, which was probably the longest "steep" hill I'd ridden (darnit, can't see the road on the left).
After riding, we went out to lunch and to the beach. There's nothing like the sound of the ocean. I just love that sound--couldn't get enough of it. The beach we were at:
Saturday night, we went out to dinner with Mark (efficiency) and Dave (DaveSANYYZ) at a restaurant called BJ's. It was awesome--oh, and the dessert! Heaven... we had a deep-dish cookie that was cooked PERFECTLY with a big scoop of ice cream on top. Some of the best dessert I've had, and that's saying a lot coming from me--I'm a dessert connoisseur. Mark and Dave were cool as hell--and Mark gave me an awesome bottle of tequila!! It's one of those bottles you almost don't want to open because it looks so cool. (I said almost.)
Sunday morning, I woke up at 4:30 so that Jason and I could get to the ride by 7:00. He picked me up around 5:30, and we headed out. You can read my ride report here. After the ride, we went to Pancho's, and I had a margarita (hm... on retrospect, probably not a good idea considering I was already tired as hell and dehydrated) and a HUGE burrito. Got back to the hotel room at around 4:30 and crashed for two hours. Ate dinner with Jason later on that night.
Monday, I got a rental car and went to SeaWorld. I saw the Budweiser Clydesdales (and scratched one's nose even though you're not supposed to--hey, I'm a horse person, I can't not touch 'em!).
When I got there, they had the dolphin and killer whale exhibits closed, so I was disappointed. As I was leaving, I turned a corner and happened to notice that I was passing the dolphins... they had literally just opened it! And I pet them!! Dolphins are one of my favorites, and I've never touched one before, so I was in awe.
I also saw the killer whales, as they opened that exhibit, too! One of them kept "spitting" at the birds... I took a closer look and realized he (she?) was taunting them with a piece of fish. He kept spitting it out about two-four feet away, making the birds chase after it and go scampering back to their little dock after realizing they couldn't get to it. This went on for the full half hour I was there watching.
Monday night, Jason took me for a tour around his lab. I saw some really cool (or weird... depending on your stance) art, and a bunch of cool lab-geek stuff. After that, we went to dinner and I crashed in the hotel room early.
Tuesday--bike shopping!! I hate shopping, but I do love shopping for bike stuff... I went to Nytro and tried out a Felt Z25, which was a pretty nice bike... also tried out a Kestrel something or other. Nice bike, but not for me. At Hi-Tech, I tried out a Look 555 (again, nice bike, but not for me) and a Kuota Kebel. I think I found my new bike! I think I even like it more than Vivian! The only thing I didn't like about this bike was the saddle (oh my ass hurt on that thing)... but the frame felt stiff and responsive... I actually felt like I had something substantial underneath me, without it being heavy or bulky. Now to work something out with my shop... I love love LOVE that bike.
Tuesday night, Jason and I went to an awesome beachside restaurant. We had great food, talked bikes, watched crazy swimmers in the ocean, watched the sunset, and watched crazy dogs chase after orange thingies in the surf. I couldn't keep my eyes off that dog--I know he loved every minute, but I couldn't help thinking he'd go under.
This morning, before I went to turn my car back in, I stopped for a few minutes at a beach and listened to that heavenly sound of waves crashing against the shoreline. This was one of the few vacations where I really wished I had a few more days to spend. Normally, I'm looking forward to going home, but I really could have easily spent more time here, and at the beach. I'm almost (almost) thinking of looking for jobs in San Diego...