San Diego, CA
Left work at 3pm on Friday and went straight to the airport (via my mom) for our 4:30pm non-stop flight in to sunny San Diego (aka San Dog). (I should of known it was going to be an awesome trip when my mom showed up with bags of my favorite liccorice for me since the airport has been out of them the last couple of times we've flown!) The flight was loooong and bumpy. I almost threw up the Quiznos we had just eaten at the airport. Seriously.
As soon as we got off the plane, I could already tell why Matt loved that city so much. Sunny skies, palm trees, 65 degree weather at 6pm, the beach right by the airport... Such a welcome change from the cold and snow in Kansas!
Hopped a shuttle bus to Advantage Rental Car. Another bumpy ride that again made me want to throw up. I was in pretty rough shape by the time we got there! Stupid motion sickness.
Got a sweet little renal car - Chevrolet Cruze - for $59 for the whole weekend! That's a steal if you ask me (although we paid that much in gas again before we returned it). Took off down the freeway for Matt's friends house, Stefan in Rancho Santa Fe, where we would be staying for the weekend.
I couldn't go to the house without one quick stop at the beach. It's been for EVER since I had been at a beach, and Matt and I hadn't ever been together, so we went to one of his favorite spots in Del Mar, parked along the raod, and ran down to the water. It was dark by then, so we coudn't see much, but the sound and smell was enough. LOVE.
On the walk back to the car, we had to cross back over the railroad tracks...and the lights started flashing and the guards came down. Not knowing how long the train was going to be, and not wanting to wait for it, we took off on a dead sprint and ran through the crossing guards. I wanted Matt to get a picture of me on the tracks with them down...which probably wasn't my best idea. I could see the train coming - fast - and about 10 seconds after I jumped off the track, the very short Surfliner train whizzed by. Fast.
We had reservations for dinner, so we had to hussle to Stefan's house after that. We basically just dropped our stuff off, I got a quick tour (AWESOME house that they re-did themselves), and we were out the door again. We met up with two other Austrian friends of Stefan's (he's Austrian) at Samurai Japanes Restaurant - a hibachi place. The food was delicious, our cook was hilarious - total California surfer/hipster - and the boys enjoyed a few too many drinks. It was a great first night. :)
|Matt and Stefan|
After dinner, it was off to bed. We were staying in Matt's old room at the house. He used to live there and actualy helped put sheet rock up in that very room. Anyways, Stefan went out and bought us a nice black leather futon to sleep on since that room was now his brothers office. Problem was, it was TINY. Lucky for us, we're used to sleeping on top of each other so it wasn't much of an issue. But I did pull a footrest over to my side of the futon in case I rolled off! (Can't believe I forgot to take pictures of it!)
We slept pretty well and got up fairly early on Saturday morning. We had a full Saturday planned (per the usual). Stefan was up early, too, so we went out for a good breakfast at 101 Diner in Encinitas. Stefan had to work later, so we took separate cars. I drove the little rental care, while the boys drove in front of me along the ocean in this:
|Leaving Stefan's house. His toy car is in the garage...|
Fair?? I think not. Not only was it just awesome to look at, but it was super loud and super fast. Two of my favorites.
We actually stopped at Stefan's favorite coffee shop, Lofty, first but they were under construction and didn't have his apparently "mind blowing" drink. So we went back to the diner for breakfast. It was busy, but we didn't have to wait long for a table inside, although I would have preferred one outsie on the sidewalk! I couldn't get enough of that weather. I can't imagine being able to go for a run any day of the week - in perfect weather. (I saw more people running/biking with their dogs that day than I think I have in my whole life! One guy was even running and pushing his DOG in a stroller! San Dog is a very active city!)
Once again, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I was hungry, but the amount of food we ordered was over the top. (I may have ordered two things...) The boys both got eggs benedict with avacado. I got pancakes with bananas and blueberries in them, which came with a side of sausage and eggs, AND I ordered some gelato with berries and oatmeal in it, too. It was all delicous. But it didn't all get eat. Woops!
Once we were completely stuffed from breakfast, I had to check out a couple of little shops along the street. We wandered in one and happened to find the perfect Christmas tree ornament for our travel tree: a starfish decorated to look like a person holding a surfboard that said San Diego! I also bought some shells for Allie and Brody there, and was eyeing a bag from India for quite awhile...but managed to walk away from it.
From there, we stopped at a local art shop and bought four small canvases to paint. Stefan is a VERY talented artist - although he disagrees, I have the pictures to prove it - and has his paintings up all over his house. Matt painted with Stefan when we lived there and hadn't done it since leaving, so we were hoping to find the time to paint some more art work for his room back in KC.
Stefan left to do some work from there - he runs his own company - so Matt and I started our trip back along the beach to eventually end up at Torre Pines State Park. We were planning on heading straight there, but we got sidetracked several times. The first being at alocal bazaar on the side of the road. We were there probably 20 minutes and ended up with a bag - almost the same one I was eyeing at the little shop - AND matching bracelets made by a guy from Senegal!
Like I said, we were planning on going right to Torre Pines, but after a slight detour of driving the wrong way on the 101, we stopped at a quick shop for drinks and ended up in a auto parts store for a bathroom break. Once we were driving again, the beach was just too beautiful. The sun was shining and the weather was too perfect. I had to stop and get out. So we pulled off on the side of the road and walked along the beach at one of Matt's most often visited beaches called Pipes. I may have gotten a little picture-happy...
|Matt got really good at timing these jumping pictures!|
After walking awhile and just enjoing the beautiful view, we made it back to the car, only to stop again a short while later. All the beaches along the 101 were ridiculous, and I had to see them ALL!
The Panoramic option on the iPhone is pretty amazing and we get some awesome shots of the beach using it. (A photography friend actually edited/combined two of them and this one is now framed on three canvases and hanging in Matt's bathroom!)
So again, we decided we were really going to head to Torre Pines this time. But then we saw a cool surf shop that Matt used to go to that had Nixon watches - which are near impossible to find in KC - so, yes, we stopped. Again. It's a good thing we did, because he ended up buying the coolest Nixon watch EVER! :)
We did eventually make it to Torre Pines, but the portion of the road leading up to it was under construction, and Matt was NOT happy about it. I guess that was his favorite stretch of the 101. We parked, packed a bag with snacks and water, and did end up getting to walk across that part of the road though, so it wasn't THAT bad. ;)
We tried to get creative with our photography to get some good beach shots. None of them turned out too well, but the Panoramic option definitely looked pretty cool again...
After our beach/highway walk, we started the hike up the giant hill/cliff. It was actually a pretty good workout! We took numerous pit stops for pictures. Matt kept laughing at me every time I thought the view was nice from where we were and stopped to take pics, but obviously I had no idea that the REALLY good views were yet to come!
It was a couple mile hike, and it was hot, but totaly worth it for the views at the top...
We continued hiking around and down again -- all the way to another beach farther down from where we had started. It was at least another mile or so down, and the path got narrow and steep.
(I got more seashells for the kids along the beach on the walk back to the car.)
|One more beach jumping picture!|
|This is the one that was edited/combined for the canvas print.|
On our way back to the car, Matt saw a sign for some cave thing that he had seen before but never checked out. We walked in to an old little shop and paid the $4 to walk down a tunnell (that was built over 100 years ago) and check it out. The stairs were dark, wet, and slippery, and the view at the bottom left plenty to be desired, haha. Oh well, at leat we can say we did it I guess!
We finally decided to head back to the house so we could shower and get ready for dinner. But not before arguing over finding a Wal-Mart or Target to get some stuff for Stefan's bathroom. I mean, don't get me wrong, the house was very nice, but it was just missing a girls touch. The bathroom had no toilet paper holder, no hand soap, and no towel to dry your hands on. (I don't even want to know how the guys wash their hands.) I really wanted to get him those things. So while we sat in traffic, trying to find our way back home, we decided to skip those places since they weren't anywhere nearby. (How is there not a Wal-Mart nearby?? There's one every other mile in Kansas it seems like!) However, as luck would have it, we found a Marshalls right by the grocery store we stopped at for some items Stefan asked us to bring home for a green smoothie. So I found what I was looking for after all! Stefan's bathroom now has a toilet paper holder right next to the toilet, hand soap, and a hand towel. :)
Once we got back, Stefan whipped us up one of his famous green smoothies. It looked beyond disgusting - kale, wheat grass, honey, bananas and berries...who knows what else. It was drinkable, but I wouldnt' say it was good.
We showered after choking the smoothies down and got ready to head out on the town for the night! I had been pushing for going to a club that night, but it was still somewhat undecided.
|Nice "club attire" right?|
We met up with two more Austirans for dinner at Wine Steals, a wine bar in Cardiff. They had live music and the atmosphere was really cool, but their seating rule was basically sit wherever you can find a table. So we stood around for probably close to an hour stalking these two tables of women, just waiting for them to get up so we could jump on the table. It was a mess, but it worked. We got two small tables and pushed them together to squeeze 5 people. The wine was good (so I heard) and the pizza was delicious, so no one minded holding plates in our laps to eat off of.
Matt and the Austrians. We finished off two GIANT pizzas.
It took some work, but I eventually convinced all the boys to go to the club that night downtown. Vegas is really the only other city I had ever been to a club, so I really wanted to check this one out to see how it compared. So we mad the 30 minute trek downtown to the Gaslamp District.
(Random side story: We dropped of Maxi's car at his apartment on the way, and Stefan got out to pee in the parking lot. While doing his business, he spotted two raccoons in the trash dumpsters, and proceeded to antagonize them with his camera. He's lucky he didn't get attacked!)
|Julian, Maxi, and Stefan crammed in the back seat of our Cruze|
Once we got inside, it was straight to the bar. I could see that the place had potential to be cool, but the music was pretty quiet, the lights were too bright, and not many people were on the dance floor. It was still kind of early, but I wanted to know if we were wasting our time. So I went up to one of the bouncers and asked him if it was going to get loud and crazy later. He gave me some explanation about how it was the natural progression of the club and, "There's a reason we're the best at what we do. Just wait and see."
Well, he was right. By the time we (they) had all had a drink and made it down to the dance floor, the party was getting started. The headlining DJ came on, the lights went down and the music went way up. IT. WAS. AWESOME. (Like, almost Vegas-awesome) Crazy lights, people riding rockets with sparklers, a robot, steam blasting machines, etc. It might have been my favorite part of the whole trip...
|Stefan is holding me - and yes, that is my leg in the air...|
|Not sure who the black girl is in front of us. I think she just snuck in the picture!|
Stefan and Maxi took videos on their phones a couple of times. Here are links to the YouTube videos: Part 1 and Part 2.
We stayed at Fluxx and danced for a couple of hours, but left around 1:30 I think. Julian and Maxi still wanted to party (they're crazy), but the rest of us were pretty tired. Maxi literally tried to pull us into every single bar we walked by on the way to the car. He REALLY wanted "just one more drink." Poor guy. It didn't happen.
We crashed when we got home. In our cute little futon. :)
Sunday/Monday coming soon...