Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Home again! Loved California!

After a week's vacation it is sure is nice to be home!

I took a week off from running . . . okay . . . except for just one marathon last Saturday by myself in Solvang.  We went to a family wedding and had a blast!

Solvang is in a wine region just north of LA and we spent Friday sampling lots of different wines!  Wonderful rehearsal dinner Friday night (yea . . . more wine!) and then the wedding Saturday late afternoon.  The ceremony and reception was at a vineyard and I've never been to a wedding where everyone was served wine when you got to the ceremony!  Heck we drank wine the whole ceremony long!

But this is a running blog . . . enough off-point commentary!

I knew that San Francisco weather was cool (long sleeves feel nice!) but I had no idea that even LA has cool weather.  They tell me LA rarely gets into the 80s!  Usually 60s or 70s max!  And dry!  No wonder there are so many great California runners . . . they have perfect training weather year round!  And I found the folks I met to be super nice and friendly.

I got up early Saturday morning to go for a run.  (Not hard to get up when your body is on eastern time!)  I was actually cold when I started and wished I had brought a long-sleeved shirt!  A guy at our hotel had told me about a road that sounded like a perfect out and back so I could go as far as I wanted.  Just no water or stores!  Since I didn't take my Nathan with me on the trip I improvised!  Doubled plastic bag with four Gatorades inside which I carried!  Okay . . . not the best idea I've ever had but it did work.  Sort of!

But true to form, I quickly missed a turn, got lost and had to improvise again.  I ran about 7 miles of somewhat interesting running by a bunch of wineries and small farms.   On Friday, a huge bike stage race had run their time trials section in Solvang (we missed it due to pre-arranged wine tours) but their route out of town had several, well-placed port-a-potties!  Nice!

Eventually, I found a different road with virtually no traffic and beautiful scenery! 
~5 miles out and not a single house!  The road ran through some guy's ranch!  HUGE!  On each side of the road fields and pastures as far as you could see!  Beautiful!

Ran back to Solvang to pick up my nephew and his wife for a final ~3 miles or so.  But they bailed so I just ran around town until I finished . . . maybe ~26-27.  By the end the temperatures had climbed to the 70s maybe.

Back to the motel, shower and off to lunch and a couple of cold beers!  Then, a short afternoon nap before the wedding.

The next day, after a post-wedding breakfast with everyone, Connie, Michael, La and I drove to Santa Barbara to spend the day.  What a great town!  The layout is just about perfect . . . on the ocean at the base of mountains!  We had a blast there . . . here are a few pictures . . .

On Monday everyone decided they wanted to go on a whale watching cruise.  I tend to really get seasick, so I was going to stay on dry land . . . but Connie shamed me into going with them . . . the old "Well, if you're not going, then we'll all just stay here and try and find something else to do." routine.  Damn I didn't want to go!  Once out of the harbor the captain told us it was going to be unusually windy.  Turned out it was a REALLY rough, windy day out there and probably 75% of the folks on the boat got seasick.  Honestly the first person started losing it within 15 minutes!!  They even ended the trip early to the cheers of passengers!!   I had taken a pill and only got a little queasy . . . but both Connie and La felt bad.  And Connie even fed the fish!  . . . Yes . . . There is some justice in this world!

But we did see whales . . .

The pictures just don't show how rough the seas were though!  So glad to get back on dry land!


  1. I love that your week off included a solo marathon!!

  2. True to form, Frank.... "take a week off from running... except one marathon". LOL!

    Trip sounds like a blast. Great pics too, thanks for sharing!

  3. Sounds like a really fun time! Great improvised water carrier!

  4. I'm a new follower but; I also run too or trying too.... Been to Solvang many times I'm from California... but reside in Nevada. Beautiful pictures you posted thanks for sharing..


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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.