Thursday, July 28, 2011

Anniversary and Boys Week Out

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!?!?!?!?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Routine Days... Breath in Breath out, Repeat

Not a ton going down on the home front; training is going super good, the kids are all good, and outside of my lawn drying up all is going good.

Ended my 2nd week of building base for 'cross with 10 more to go. Feeling fresh and the gym sessions have me (at least mentally) feeling sharp. Getting in a lot of AM rides to avoid my arch nemesis 'heat and humidity' which is allowing me to focus on the work to be done instead of surviving.

Sunday morning was a good 3hr early AM road ride, but by it's end (at 9:15am) I had all the heat I wanted.

Would have liked to race the local mtb OMBA at Sac Trails yesterday, but the heat index was well over 100* so I passed. I've ridden the new course (5.5miles) a couple different days (this morning being the latest) and it's really fun, fast, and not your typical 'Sac' rough surfaces. After volunteering and watching the racer's faces I'm happy with my decision as I don't want another heat injury like I had a couple years back (now it's tough to shake).

Tour DAY France has been interesting and hated to see Horner get knocked out and not really sure for whom I am rooting. Levi, well what can you say about him... when he is on the TdF roster the DS might as well plan on racing with 8 guys; not a fan. Nutty watching 'the arrow' and Johnny H get destroyed by a car and one of them ending up in a fence. Reminds me of a mtb race in Germany when I overshot a corner and ended up in an electric fence - took a bit to get out and the whole time I was on 'electric' fire! AC looks like a guy off of 'spanish meat' while Evans looks impressive. Looking forward to the mountains. Ian watches everyday and calls me at work when the leaders are within 5k to go over play by play. He's a Cav & Thor fan.

Speaking of the youngster, he finished up baseball last Friday night and his group ended up 15-7. He had a ton of fun, but is thankful it's over and much closer to basketball season. He is at the Anthony Tolliver (Minn Timberwolves pro) basketball camp with some buddies this week at the Courts. He is loving that. Funny deal - the high school coach called me the other day and asked if Ian could play in a three day 'shootout' jr. high (7/8th graders and Ian's in 5th grade) tourney. He's played two games so far and has played more than he's sit; not scoring much, but doing the fundamental things that keep him on the floor. He is 2/3 the size of these guys but it doesn't shake him much. The below is him (little guy in the background in a red shirt) at a shoot around with the jr. high guys:

Jake is working like a Jamaican (multiple jobs) splitting his time between DQ and BASE (youth day program). He says the days are long, but he is liking finally having some change in his pocket. He's having a fun summer hanging out nightly with a bunch of friends.

On the subject of summer fun with Jake, he is heading to LA with my brother for a handful of days; Jim has work and thought Jake might like to hang out with him for a bit. Jake jumped at it and turns out I am going to fly out, spend a day hitting LA with him, taking in a Dodgers game with he and Jim, then the three of us are driving to Zion National Park for a couple days of backpacking before going to Vegas for a couple days. Should be really fun.

Not much going on with the little guy as he is still getting to know us and visa versa. Lots of energy in that little body!

Been pretty dry (rain wise) lately and my lawn in hanging on for dear life. Watering the garden and plants regularly and they look great. The garden is pumping out the goodies daily and dinner usually includes some kind of the day's pull.