Taking a Step That is New: A San Diego Recap

We got back yesterday from a mini-vacation in sunny San Diego. Peggy left last Sunday in order to participate in a conference there, and Chloe and I followed her 2 days later. So below is a day-by-day recap of things.

Tuesday - Chloe and I dropped Chamberlain off at "the spa" (aka the kennel) and headed to Denver Int'l Airport. All flight related things went well (though we heard from the captain when we landed in San Diego that our flight was one of the last to leave Denver... storms came through the Denver area shortly after we left and outgoing flights were halted for a while.) When we land in San Diego, Chloe and I made our way to the Hertz lot to collect our rental car, and there a little surprise we had for Chloe was revealed.

For weeks, Chloe's been hounding us to rent a convertible when we're in San Diego. We kept on telling her they're kind of expensive to rent, and just left it at that. Little did she know that we already had one rented through Priceline (a great service folks... can really save some money.) Anywho, after going through the check-in process we walk out to the rental car lot to get our car, and lo and behold, there our convertible was... a Nissan 350Z Roadster. A nice car, but alas, a two-seater. Ugh... so much for a grand surprise unveiling. Back into the rental office we go and get set up with a convertible that can accommodate 3, plus luggage. After scanning the inventory, the rental agent set us up with a Ford Mustang.

Chloe and I jumped in, lowered the roof and made our way to the hotel to meet Peg. She jumps in and we drive around a little bit to take in some of San Diego as well as get some dinner. After dinner, Peg headed off to a party her company was hosting, and Chloe and I hung out in the hotel room watching TV.

Wednesday - Peg had to work today, so Chloe and I played at Legoland. I wasn't quite sure what to expect before we got there. Would it be lame? Chloe too old for it? Thankfully, neither of those rang true... it's a pretty cool place and one that had plenty for a 6 year old to do (I wouldn't say it's a great place to take teens, though.) It's a decent sized amusement park with water rides, roller coasters and various other amusements, as well as home to a decent smattering of pretty impressive lego builds. The Miniland USA section -- where 7 metro areas, in part, are reproduced with lego bricks -- was pretty impressive. The Manhattan build has over 2 million bricks and includes the yet-to-be-built Freedom Tower (which alone took 4 months to create.)

One of our favorite rides of the day was the pirate ship ride, whereby riders could use water guns to squirt other riders as well as nearby spectators, and nearby spectators could use well-placed water guns to squirt riders... we did the formers, but had a great time doing the latter. Chloe also enjoyed the Lego/Volvo driving school, whereby kids would drive lego-esque Volvo cars on replica streets, replete with stop signs and traffic signals. Chloe followed the rules of the road for the most part, though staying to the right of yellow needs some work.

Thursday - Peggy had a half day of work today, so in the morning, Chloe and I headed over to Coronado to comb the beaches for sea shells. Not much luck, sad to say. But it was great strolling around and largely empty beaches and watching Chloe dip her feet in the Pacific for the first time. We also made it out to the end of the fishing pier in Imperial Beach for some ice cream. After our snack, it was time to head back to the hotel to meet Peg, check out (we switched hotels, going to another one we found on Priceline), and grab some lunch.

It was too early to check in to the new hotel after we were done with lunch, so we made our way over to the USS Midway to take a tour of it. The tour was great... first of all, it was an audio tour, so Chloe could wear -- and play with and be entertained by -- the little audio device and headphones we were given. Secondly, it took us through many different parts of the ship, from bunks, to laundry, to medical, to engineering, to the hangar deck, to the flight deck, to the mess halls... our legs were pretty tired by the end of it.

After the tour, it was time to check in to the new hotel, and have Chloe check out the pool for a bit before dinner.

Friday - Today's big event was a visit to the World Famous San Diego Zoo. And it didn't disappoint. It's a big zoo, but thankfully, our admission ticket included unlimited use of the double-decker bus that goes around the zoo, as well as the aerial tram that takes you from the entrance area to the opposite side of the zoo. We were lucky at several exhibits as the animals -- the hippo and orangutans, in particular -- were right up against the plexiglas, so we could literally be just a couple of inches away from them. We were also able to see a relatively young gorilla and its mother palling around.

Saturday - Today was a pretty easy day. We took our time getting going, but eventually found our way to Cafe Chloe for breakfast. Peg read about it in some travel magazine, and as coincidence has it, the owner named it after his 6 year old daughter. (To further this coincidence... when we were there, a couple that appeared to be regulars to the cafe showed up with their puppy, a puppy they named Chloe.) After breakfast, it was a short drive north to check out the Torrey Pines State Reserve. Here we did a short hike down to the beach; while short, it didn't lack in elevation change; in 3/4 mile, we descended about 340 feet. We hung out on the beach for a while. When it was time to go, Peggy and I thought it would be an unfun walk back for Chloe up the trail, so I walked back to the car alone while Peggy and Chloe walked up the beach to a point where I could meet them.

Once back together, we headed back to the hotel for some lunch and some more time at the pool and hot tub. After some swimming and lounging, it was off for a final night's oceanside dinner in La Jolla.

For pictures of our trip, visit this link. Make sure to do the "slideshow" feature.


Fathers Day, First Day of Summer, and Snow

What better way to spend Fathers Day and the first day of Summer* then afoot on a hiking trail... a trail that was largely covered in snow, nonetheless.

I was up at the Brainard Lake area again today, but today was joined by Chloe, Peggy and Chamberlain on a hike to Lake Isabelle. From the trailhead, the hike (one-way) was about 1.5 miles, but because of snow still blocking some access roads, we had to park about 1/2 mile away. (We asked a park attendant why the roads were closed and were told that, for some reason, the roads aren't plowed or shoveled. It's their hope that the roads will be clear by July 4th.)

Because we were still below treeline, the large majority of the trail was susceptible to shade; as such, there was still plenty of snow covering it. These aren't official figures, but it's my guess that approximately 80% of the trail was snow-covered, and the longest single-stretch of hiking on earthen ground was probably about 40 yards. In certain areas, we were probably walking on snow that was 7-8 feet deep. Thankfully, the snow was hardpacked, so we could walk across it with few problems.

While it made for an interesting hike and some beautiful scenes, the snow did make the going a little slower than usual, and we had to turn back earlier than hoped so Peg could catch a flight to San Diego. Because it's so close to our home (30 minutes away), we suspect we'll be back there sometime this summer to to the hike in full.

(Pictures, top to bottom: Peggy and Chloe standing on one of the many piles of snow covering the trail; Chloe trekking past a snowy meadow.)

* Today's the first full day of summer here in CO. Technically speaking, the summer solstice took place at 11:45p last night.


There's Not a Much Better Way to Celebrate...

... than to jump on the bike and do a little bit of climbing. With yesterday's official clearance to ride wherever, I couldn't have been more excited to get on the bike this morning and go on a ride with friends Carl and Brady for a ride up to Brainard Lake.

Even though it is climbing, I'm never crazy about the way to start to get there: you get about 1 mile to warm up on a gradual incline before things kick-up: 8% average for the next mile, followed by .3 mile false flat, and then a leisurely 5% average for another .6 mile. But hey, I'll take it over flats and gentle rollers. And it gave me a chance to see how my legs and lungs were after several weeks of inconsistent riding. The early indication: OK, considering.

After a brief descent, we took the next 20 miles to climb up to Brainard. I'm sure there are many vistas to compete with it, but on a clear day like today, the final approach to Brainard is hard to beat. You come over a slight knoll and all of a sudden in front of you are some of the mountains of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and their snow covered slopes and peaks reflecting off of the lake. After the knoll, I realized that that view — and the solitude that accompanies it — is in my backyard (expanded).

After taking in some liquid and solid fuel, and putting on some clothes for the descent, we pointed the bikes downhill and headed home, taking one last glimpse of the peaks as we rode away.

Not a bad way to resume my cycling in earnest. Not bad at all.

(Pictures, top to bottom: profile of today's ride; me, Brainard Lake, and some partially snow covered mountains of the Indian Peaks Wilderness.)


Please, Release Me. Let Me Go.

I had another round of visits with some radiology and orthopedic folks today to get an update on how the ol' collarbone is healing. Comfort- and range-of-motion-wise, I had little concerns going into today's appointments, and I suspected there would still be some weight-bearing limits placed on me when I left. But the big question was would I be able to resume non-flats cycling again. (I had been riding off and on for the last 3 weeks, but mostly in the flats. And since I like climbing, the flats weren't going to cut it for much longer.)

And so after some x-rays were taken and reviewed, I got the news I was waiting for. "Kurt, you're in your second trimester. That, and you don't have to see us again... the bone is about 85% healed. Just hold off on full-body-weight-bearing stuff for another 30 days or so." And just like that I was officially released from the orthopedics department.

(Pictures, top to bottom: An x-ray taken at my May 11th appointment, showing the 8th screw that was added during surgery as well as the longer screws on the end of the plate [visit this post to see the difference]; An x-ray taken today, showing "less black" between the points of fracture compared to the May 11th x-rays.)


Phew... finally time to catch my breath. It's been quite a busy couple of weeks here in Boulder and while I'm sure there are several things that deserve getting their individual posts, well, that just ain't gonna happen. So, in a nutshell, here are some highlights from the last 2 weeks or so:
  • May 30th: Chloe and her Banana Bees wrapped up their soccer season in style by going on a goal-scoring spree! (If I recall correctly, I think they scored 4.) It was by far the most fun the girls had all season, and the same could be said for the parent-cheerleaders.
  • June 3 - 11: My parents paid us a visit. Their visit featured: trips to Mt. Evans, Rocky Mtn. National Park and Flagstaff Mountain; visits to the New Belgium Brewery, a truck stop with (self-proclaimed) world famous cinnamon rolls, McGuckins, the Boulder County Farmers Market, the CU Heritage Center (which contains most, if not all, of Glenn Miller's gold records, and photos of famous CU folks like Larry Linville) and the Celestial Seasonings factory; and dining at Chautauqua and a Tajikistani tea house.
  • June 8 - 12: Chloe took part in her first summer camp. The focus was on the ecosystem in and around a local creek. Not that I learned that from Chloe... all we heard about was how excited she was to pee in the woods.
  • June 9: Someone turned 38.