Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Thursday, January 2, 2014

December 20-27 Christmas and family in Santa Clarita California

Friday Dec. 20...we left Temecula with the intention of hitting the interstates in the LA area at the quieter traffic times in the late morning and early afternoon. Pam plotted and negotiated a path around the outskirts of LA on Interstates 15, to 210, to I-5, which brought us through some mountainous areas, as well as towns like Pasadena, right into Santa Clarita, where we are going to set up for a couple of weeks. There were good traffic conditions for the trip, and Pam liked this route better than I-405, which runs right through LA, that she took while I was riding south. We spent the evening doing some final Christmas shopping at a huge indoor/outdoor mall, the first we ever saw with valet parking. We then found the home of my long lost California cousins that I had not seen in twenty years. Marina, and her brother, Lane, who are children of my dad's brother, Marina's husband, Michael, who is a camera man in Hollywood, and will be shooting the Rose Parade, and their children, Joseph,  20, Rosie, 14, and Christopher, 13. I had never met the three kids, so it was introduction and reminiscing of old times and family genealogy for the evening.

Saturday, Dec. 21....the early day was spent cruising around on the bike, checking out the Santa Clarita bike trail, which runs up and down each side of the Santa Clara River, which hasn't had water in it for a long time from the appearance of things. The trails are of a high quality surface, not too busy, and just rolling enough to get a little workout. I had no idea where I was going, so it was a slow go as I checked things out, and the Santa Anna Winds were whipping out if the east at about 20-25, bringing in the 75-80 degree weather. I rode about 19.2 miles in 1:36, just being a tourist. As evening approached we followed Buddy's flight out of Pittsburgh to Houston, Texas, where he was delayed by weather, mechanical issues, a tardy flight crew, and removal of three unruly passengers while he sat on the Tarmac for two hours waiting for takeoff. We drove in bumper to bumper LA traffic to LAX, to pick him up after 8 PM. The trip home was much calmer, and it was really nice to see the kid for the first time since we put him on a plane in Great Falls, Montana, in August. Pam put on her Santa hat to greet him with a hug, and tears in her eyes.

Sunday, Dec. 22.... Buddy and Pam Jeeped out highway 126 from the RV park to Ventura, which is a surfing hot spot 44 miles from Santa Clarita. I had ridden right through there, and it is actually the spot where Pam and I camped the night before we split for two days while I pedaled through the beaches of LA and  she drove around to Oceanside. They spent the day finding waves and surf shops for a future surfing excursion.  I hit the roads and trails around town, ended up at Marina's for a visit and lunch, and Michael, Joseph, and Christopher rode with me for a while through the paseos of the neighborhood. Don't worry, I didn't know what a paseo was either! It must be a Spanish word for lit, fenced, sidewalks that ran through residential areas so locals could walk or ride from neighborhood to neighborhood without having to negotiate the walled housing plans and main roads. They are well hidden in landscaping and trees, and were pretty hilly, even with switchbacks, until we got down out of the foothills and into town. There were several elevated highway crossings and walls protected everyone's back yards from paseo users. They were planned as part of the infrastructure before any homes were built. Very California! After the gang turned back for home, I pedaled a few more miles of trails before heading for home and racking up 28.35 miles in a total time of 2:36. Once again, the Santa Anna Winds were blowing, and that brought near record setting 80 degree weather. Sweet!

Monday, Dec.23...this day brought visiting with the relatives and a great Lasagna dinner. Buddy got out for a run, and a lifting session at an LA Fitness Gym on a free two week trial he signed up for. Can't beat the price! Buddy has really been working out and shedding extra weight, so one of his priorities on his vacation is to get some good workouts in. I hopped on the bike and threw down a quick workout with a hill climb through a residential area to a water tower. I didn't have the Garmin, but I figure it was about 8-10 miles total. 

Tuesday, Christmas Eve...once again went to Marina's for an early dinner and we all went to a Catholic Church to see Joseph play his guitar in the church orchestra and choir. Then it was back to Marina's to admire the Christmas decorations all along the street and have a cocktail. The street they live on is a virtual Light-Up night, with every single home going Christmas light crazy, and luminaries lining the entire street on both sides. Very beautiful and Christmas spirit filled.

Christmas Eve in Marina's neighborhood

Christmas Day.....I hit the roads of Santa Clarita for a ride in the morning. No trails today because I owned the normally busy roads, and took advantage of light traffic to ride on roads I wouldn't normally dare to ride on a normal day. Pam worked her fingers to the bone preparing a Christmas dinner, which we ate outside at the picnic table in the 70 degree weather.

Our Christmas tree!  Not huge, but ours!

Relaxing on Christmas morning!

Christmas dinner in California!

Thursday, Dec. 26.... We all took off to the beach in Ventura today to take advantage of great weather. Buddy rented a surfboard and surfed for a few hours. The waves were excellent, and he packed his full length wetsuit to keep warm in the 60 degree waters. Pam and I walked the beach and people watched while soaking up the sun on Surfers Point, near the Ventura Pier. We then had an outdoor seafood meal at a place Buddy picked out at Ventura Harbor, while watching harbor seals, pelicans, and the sunset from a second floor deck.

Looking down the beach at Surfers Point

Taking a break from surfing

Getting back into wetsuit

Heading back out into the water.  I think Buddy has a follower!!!

Friday Dec. 27.... We had to hang around the RV park for a 4PM Escapee meeting, regarding our Rose Parade activities, so Marina came to meet the Monaco (our RV), and the kids went swimming, hot tubbing, and strolling with their favorite cousin, Buddy. At five o'clock, the gang was on their way home, and we had a 'catered' Pizza Hut dinner in the clubhouse. I was a little disappointed that we paid for a catered dinner, and had delivery pizza, but we will eat whatever they put in front of us.

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