Deb and I had our 20th wedding anniversary last week; can't believe it was flown by so fast! For those of you who know her you know how incredible she is and the fact that she wants to spend time with me blows me away. Thanks baby and absolutely looking forward to the next 20yrs!
With not a ton of stuff happening on the home front Jake and I (with assistance from my brother embarked on a trip we had wanted to take for some time - 2011 Boys Week Out. I had told Jake that once he graduated high school he and I would disappear for a while just the two of us and have some fun, but as graduation approach and summer schedules loaded up it appeared it would not happen and both of us were bummed. But... a window opened up and we jumped at it.
First and foremost I have to thank Deb (as usual) for letting us take off while she took care of the crew and with our 'addition' I know it was a handful - you have rock star status in my book (but you always have).
So here's how it went:
My brother is on the Board of Governors for the CFA (a world wide institution in the Financial Advisers realm) and they routinely have meeting internationally. This past week he was supposed to meet in Japan (Tokyo), but that all moved since the meltdown, and he was going to take Jake along as a travel companion. Jake was stoked, but it got moved to LA (Beverly Hills) instead and Jake thought it would still be fun to go. They took off last Tuesday for LA and hung out at Santa Monica/Venice beach, was on the 'Lets Make a Deal' game show (with Wayne Brady), and generally hung out until Jim's meeting started. While he was in meetings Jake went with a group to The Getty museum and did some activities with board member spouses and guests. Both had lots of fun together and turns out a Swiss colleague brought his family and Jake had the full attention of three very cute Swiss girls the entire time (life was rough...). They (we) stayed at the very nice Beverly Hilton just a couple blocks off of Rodeo Drive (way nice).
I flew out on Thursday and after setting in the Hwy 405 traffic for a while joined them that evening. I arrived just a little late and missed having dinner at Spago (Wolfgang Puck place), but ended up soloing it until their return. The below is the 405 and then to what I parked my rental next at the hotel:
Friday morning Jake and I hit the various tourist spots of LA while Jim was in meetings; these included: Pierce Brother's Cemetery (M. Monroe and Don Knotts' tombs along with many more), Santa Monica Peer, Venice Beach, Pink's Hotdog stand (line was way too long), Roscoe's Chicken and Waffle for lunch (an LA icon eat place, but seriously it was not worth killing a meal there, Hollywood Blvd (including all the routine spots), Rodeo Drive (Jake's new mission in life is to buy something from the Gucci store), and a cruise through Beverly Hills looking at homes. It was a full day, but it only got better as the CFA group had three suites that evening at Dodger's stadium for a home game (it was killing Ian knowing we were there). It was a great evening and Jake had to 'suffer' through another outing with the Swiss girls; the smile has yet to leave his face. The LeBelle family insisted he come visit in the future and I plan to make sure that happens. Below are random pics from our day in LA:
Saturday morning (early) Jim, Jake, and I hit the road and drove to Zion National Park in the SW corner of Utah which was roughly a 7hr drive through mountainous desert. Once there we jumped the park shuttle and headed to the 5mile (round trip) hike up Angel's Landing. This is an incredible ascent and the pictures don't do justice to the grade of pitch and narrowness toward the upper climb; it is an amazing jaunt taking you to 1535 ft above the valley floor. In the summer I highly recommend it as an early or evening hike (which we did).
Crashed at the hotel and prepped the next day's journey....
Sunday morning back at it early to catch an 1 1/2 shuttle ride to the start of The Narrows hike; a 16 mile top to bottom trip with at least 60% of it in the river on slick rocks. I didn't take a camera as there was too much potential for damage from either water or slipping on the rocks. Cool dry-air morning conditions were perfect for the start. Hard to describe the technical hike, but at multiple points you hike in the thigh high river 30' wide with 1000ft rock walls on both sides - incredible! There were several places with water chest high and a some the only way to get down was to swim. I can read a river pretty well which gave an advantage as it was pretty much all about picking the right lines and negotiating river rocks and boulders. About 3/4 of the way down we made a side trip up Orderville Canyon which was really nice; technical and tight. We didn't press the pace and likewise didn't 'stroll' and it took us 10:15hrs to make the 18 mile hike (added 2 miles with Orderville). It was a long day and topped off with some really good pizza at a local joint. I was impressed with Jake and Jim's performance; no slackers which made it a fun trip. The follow are random pics from Angel's Landing:
Jim hooked during the night to make a 7am flight out from Vegas (3hrs away) the next day while Jake and I took our time leaving before heading to Vegas ourselves. While that area is incredible I would be hard pressed to live in that part of the country as it's pretty desolate and quite a ways to a major city; great place to visit... He had a little time before check-in so we cruised over to Hoover Dam and took in the sites. While it is an impressive man-made structure it lacks the 'awe' after standing on top of Angel's Landing.
Jake and I stayed a couple days at Bally's (hard to beat $34 a night) and took in the sights of that desert oasis. I hadn't been there since Deb and I's honeymoon 20 years prior and holy cow how things have changed. While checking in the attendant asked if we wanted tickets to Jubilee (Bally's show) and I asked if it was appropriate for an 18 year old and she smiled, said you have to be 18 to go, so I re-adjusted my question to include 'if his mom would approve' at which she let me know it was a topless performance... I smiled and told her I was a dead man if his mom ever found out I took him at which she replied "you do know you are in Vegas, right?" Needless to say we opted from Jubilee (and MULTIPLE similar shows) and took in the Blue Man Group one evening; highly oddly entertaining and would go back several times if available (highly recommend, just don't know how to describe it). Fun couple of days.
Wednesday early morning flight home and back to reality. It's been some time since just Jake and I spent quality time together and this trip was exactly what I was hoping it would be. He is an incredible young man with a wide open future ahead of him. I feel lucky he wanted to spend time with me and I'll hold on to this trip for the rest of my life.
Great seeing the crew and settling back into 'the whirlwind called life'. Oh, can we get SOME rain please!?!?!?!?