I realize that the following photographs are probably interesting to nobody but me. But that's what vacations are about ... having a good day and wanting to remember it, so you take your stand-and-grin family photos and post them on your blog.
I hooked up today with three riders from the area, readers of this very blog who offered to not only lend me a (very nice) bicycle for three days, but also took me on a morning tour of the area. The man who lent me his cyclocross bike, Mark, told me he didn't want me to go home and write the usual "IHATELA" visitor news. I have to say, the sprawl of humanity that covers the area freaked me out at first, but I'm really warming up to Southern California. We started in Huntington Beach and headed down the Pacific Coast Highway (I called it the "PCH" and my mom said "That sounds so Californian!"). We rode to Laguna Beach and then up the canyon to Irvine, rolling through some bike-path-laced hills back toward the PCH. Fun, really mellow ride, something short of 50 miles, a little daunting with all of the traffic and two flat tires, but a refreshing and scenic taste of this piece of California. Thanks guys!
We all went to In-N-Out Burger for lunch. Their menu is, um ... limited. Sorry guys, I still don't understand the hype. But it was a fun lunch. And a great ride. This is the best aspect of being part of the cycling community - no matter where you are, you have friends.
My two little sisters flew in this morning. Just about the time they came in, every single one of the clouds in the overcast sky had burned off. Just like that. In Juneau, that kind of cloud dissipation takes weeks. I was shocked. We hit up the beach first thing.
Later, we talked them into a group bike ride with the three working bicycles we had dug up, and one that had a wobbly front wheel and off-set (and rusted permanently that way) handlebars. This picture illustrates well what my sisters thought about the bike riding.
Before the midway point of our five-mile ride, the rear brake arm on Sara's Wal-mart mountain bike snapped off and the front pads were so worn they didn't work anyway. We turned around a limped home, with Sara bombing into the grass just to stop, my dad attempting to perfect the skewed steering of the wobbly wonder, my mom pedaling some bike that made loud grinding noises with every turn of the crank, me being yelled at by a passing (not oncoming) cyclist for riding into "his" lane in the 5 mph-max zone as I was trying to help Sara, and the whole time I felt really bad about riding the good bike, which no one wanted to ride because it had drop handlebars. But we laughed about it all the way home. Yes, we tourists are silly.
But that's what it's all about.