Monday, July 27, 2015

A Good, Good Weekend. (Or, "How A Train Trip Saved My Sanity.")

After what seemed like an endless barrage of bad news, tough days, and sleepless nights, it felt almost like I was tempting fate to plan an out-of-town trip. Yet here I am now, on the final leg of my travels, and there aren't enough words to describe how amazing the last couple of days have been.

It started with a six hour train ride up the Pacific Coast. The weather was perfect and the views were incredible!

Before I knew it, I was already at my first stop.

My friend, Dani, picked me and we went back to the Coy Home to wait on Matt to get home from work. Soon enough, we were all on our way (with their cool son, Bennett) to a great dinner at Hollister Brewing Company. And for those foodies who peruse this blog, I'm happy to share that I enjoyed a delicious BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Smoked Gouda, Duck Fat French Fries, and a perfectly paired draft beer brewed onsite.

And then we opted for a decadent evening of stand-up comedy on the big screen and pints of ice cream. Five Stars all around for the entire night.

I woke up Saturday morning early but took advantage of the chance to lounge in the bed for an extra few hours. It was perfection.

Too soon, the lazy morning and the later coffee conversation with my hosts came to an end. We just had time for a quick selfie and then it was off to the train station for the next leg of my journey.

The trip north on the Pacific Surfliner was even more beautiful than the day before. Mile after mile of California coastline and I never tired of seeing it.

My best stop was the start of the mystery leg. I knew someone was picking me up at the Grover Beach train station, but not sure who it would be. As I walked along the train and towards the parking lot, a lovely lady looked at me and asked, "are you John?" I said yes and she said, "I saw your picture from Facebook but expected you to be wearing a headband."

How cute is that? She saw this picture and didn't really have any other frame of reference for me. 

Anyway, my driver was Jen, one of the world's coolest mothers-in-law and all around fun lady. She was assigned John Patrol while the rest of our group made their way to the farm for the big BBQ. 

For me, it was another chance to be lazy. I played with the kittens and the dog, enjoyed the cool breeze and the warm day, and even watched as an older Jeep was brought back to life with a replacement engine. 

Well done, gents.

And then the guest of honor arrived, my amazing SoleMate and running buddy Bonnie! She and her husband, Tim, flew i from Virginia for vacation and had no idea I would be there to surprise her.

The huge smile on her face when I walked around the corner was worth every bit of travel time. Plus, I also got a chance to visit with more teammates and their families. Good food and better company. What else can a guy ask for?

Sunday, we were off to San Luis Obispo to cheer on Hillary, Jessica, and Bonnie as they competed in the SLO TRI. They were amazing, of course, and I only wish I could have stayed through the entire event. Instead, I had to get back on the train and head back home.

I had eight hours to relax, unwind, and enjoy the view again, so I used some of that time to mock up a couple of fun "movie trailers" on my iPhone using iMovie. Super easy, super fun, and super silly.

And since I had extra time, I decided to create a movie for my husband, too.

And with that, my last miles on the train rolled by and my weekend adventure had come to an end. It was the perfect mix of friends, travel, relaxation, and laughs.

Thanks, all, for giving me EXACTLY the weekend I needed.

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