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Family Time in California,

Family Time in California,

I promised myself that I’d take a few vacations this year, mostly to visit and catch up with old friends.  My first trip came early in the summer when I flew down to Naples FL.  It was here, where an old high school buddy of mine and I were able to talk up the glory days while entered in a spam carving competition (but that story deserves it’s own post).  My second trip was only a few weeks ago and this time, I skipped across the country to visit Greg and Holly in Monterey, California.

I first met Greg in Colorado at a political leadership training camp back in the10th grade (I guess I was thinking of going into politics back then).   He lived in Fresno, CA near one of my uncles, so we kept in touch.  I was in Greg’s wedding about six years ago and that was the last time I really got to hang out with him.  Greg and Holly now have a house, 2 kids, a dog, and a few turtles; needless to say my visit to California was a little different this time.

As soon as I got off the plane, I met Greg and his 6-year-old son, Zach.   We quickly loaded up and made our way to pick up his daughter, Zoe from daycare!  Holly, who teaches kindergarten, would meet us later that night. As it turns out, Greg’s mom and cousins were also in town that week so I got the full family dose for a few days.  An early highlight of the trip was when Holly’s dad, Ken, who lives in Monterey took us sailing. We saw all forms of incredible sea life including 7 grey whiles (one of them even surfaced about 20 yards from our boat).  It was like a herd of underwater elephants going by  Late August is also Jellyfish season and they were everywhere!  I brought a G11 camera with an underwater housing and when I got back to the wharf I stuck it underwater and snapped a few shots; as you can see, there were thousands of them!

(Below is a cool little slide show I through together for the McKrills,check it out!)

Later in the week we hiked in Big Sur and then went camping in Santa Cruz.  Greg runs a surf camp for an outdoor recreation company so on Saturday we grabbed a few long boards and paddled out into the ocean. The pacific was a cool 52 degrees that day, and thanks to a new wet suit, it felt great! I haven’t been surfing in about ten years, but like riding a bike, I popped up pretty quickly within 3 or 4 rides.

Family time in California was enjoyable; it was very refreshing and sobering even.  I was impress with the way Greg and Holly had taught Zach and Zoe the importance of recycling, eating fresh local foods, and to “boo” McDonalds every time they drove by it.   They had a story time every night and the kids were fed and in bed by 6:30.  Equally impressive were Holly’s cutthroat poker skills, which I fell victim to on more than one occasion.

California is beautiful. I someday picture myself as an old man, sitting in a dinghy in the Monterey bay writing my memoirs, strumming on an old 6 string and eating clam chowder.  I’m no Steinbeck, but who knows, it could happen.

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