Saturday, December 19, 2020

AcroYoga - Blooper Reel

Blooper Reel from our latest AcroYoga practice! Fun Times! Ha!

The last fall was right after we got through the hardest part of the long Amazon Washing Machine. We were one transition away from completing it for the first time. So Close!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Beach AcroYoga (Propeller and Amazon)

During the King Tide, Tori and I went down to Beacons Beach for our weekend AcroYoga practice. We found a nice spot next to the reef exposed by the low tide and filmed our Propeller Washing Machine that we haven't performed in a long time.

While we have been practicing the Amazon Washing Machines every weekend, this was our first time making it through the first half of the machine without stopping. This long symmetrical flow created by Jacob and Debbie combines Big Lemoi, Nunchucks, Rotisserie, and High Barrel Roll. The second half repeats the four transitions going in the opposite direction.

After our practice, we walked down to Stonesteps Beach where we saw a Peregrine Falcon perched on the sandstone bluff.

The sunset was so beautiful that no filter was needed as it painted the sea and sand a purplish red glow. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Shelter Island (Mai Tai Cocktails at Bali Hai)

Today, we visited Shelter Island in San Diego Bay.  The 1.2 mile long island was originally a low sandbank that was built up into dry land starting in the 1930's and is connected to the mainland by a causeway. Parking near the Shelter Island Boat Ramp, we walked the length of Shoreline Park, stopping to admire the public art. The Tunaman's Memorial (1986) is a bronze sculpture by Franco Vianello of three fisherman hauling in a giant tunafish. In the center of the island's turnaround is the Yokohama Friendship Bell, a large bronze bell gifted from San Diego's sister city of Yokohama in Japan. At the tip of the island with a great view of Point Loma is the Pacific Spirit statue (2002) and the Pearl of the Pacific fountain (1998), both created by James Hubbell. On our walk back, we passed under the Pacific Portal, a flowing concrete gazebo that replaced the original Rotary Pavilion.

Our friend told us about the famous Mai Tai cocktails at the Bali Hai Restaurant on the other tip of Shelter Island. This Tiki Bar has been around since 1954 and follows the Polynesian theme that was required by the city when the island was first being developed. Sitting in the Lounge, we sipped the extremely strong Mai Tai's and shared the Ali'i Tasting Plate that came with Coconut Shrimp, Tuna Poke, Spinach Lumpia, Beef Skewers and BBQ Ribs. All five were delicious!

Our table in the lounge had a great view of the San Diego Bay as the sun set behind us and painted the sky pink. The restaurant has its own guest dock, for boats that want to stop for a meal. We watched the Full Moon slowly rise as the boats came into the America's Cup Harbor for the evening. The city lights of Downtown San Diego were fully lit by the time we finished our cocktails.

Because we had anticipated the strength of the Mai Tai's, we went for another nice walk along the Shelter Island causeway to the mainland, ending at H&M Landing on the far side of the harbor. After our two walks, we were still pretty hungry after our Bali Hai appetizer so we stopped at the nearby Miguel's Cocina to share some chicken nachos and a salad. It was a good day!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve (Waterfall Hike)

On Saturday, Tori and I went for our first hike in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. (Peñasquitos means little cliffs in Spanish.) The 4,000 acre preserve stretches 7 miles between the Interstates 5 and 805 merge to just east of Interstate 15. The preserve also encompasses the smaller Lopez Canyon that runs parallel to the main canyon.

Starting at the Penasquitos Creek Park, we hiked along the flat canyon trail through the open chaparral before switching to the narrower trail that runs along the edge of the wooded creek filled with Sycamore trees and California Live Oaks. At the knocking sound of a woodpecker, we paused to watch the bird's rhythmic drumming against an old dead tree pierced with holes.

Our destination was the Penasquitos Creek Waterfall where the year-round stream cascades through a small volcanic rock defile.  It would be cool to return to see the falls after a long rainy season. The creek, originating in the city of Poway, is populated by Pacific tree frogs, crayfish and largemouth bass and drains into the Penasquitos Lagoon that connects to the Pacific Ocean at Torrey Pines State Beach.

At the base of the falls we turned around and hiked back, keeping an eye out for the frequent mountain bikers racing along the main trail. We also spotted several horseback riders. Our entire hike was 4.6 miles and took a little over 2 hours.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Halloween AcroYoga

With no Halloween Parties or Trick-or-Treating this year, Tori and I dressed up in our Onesies and had some AcroYoga fun in the park instead.

I wore a Giraffe Onesie while Tori had her Big Bird Costume.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Bahia Resort in Mission Bay (Kenny's 50th Birthday)

We just spent a four-day weekend at the Bahia Resort for Kenny’s Birthday. While we have visited the local resort that occupies a small peninsula jutting out into Mission Bay before, we have never stayed there. Since we arrived before any of our friends, Tori and I explored the grounds and their Harbor Seal Sanctuary. Both of the seals were abandoned as pups, probably due to their severe vision problems. Even though they can't be released into the wild with their medical condition, they are able to swim around their small lagoon with familiar ease.

Walking over to the Mission Beach Boardwalk, we enjoyed Sushi on the upper deck of the Cannonball ocean-front restaurant. For the rest of Friday, we hung out with Kenny and Kirstin at their bayfront room, watching the sunset over the resort's two sternwheelers that are currently closed due to the pandemic. On Saturday, Kenny's friends came to hang out on the resort's beach and celebrate his Quarantined Birthday. At sunset, we all went for a birthday cruise, biking and rollerskating down the boardwalk before coming back for birthday cake.

Even though it was overcast most of the day Saturday, we had fun kayaking and sailing in the classic 1970’s Hobie Cat that Kenny purchased last month. There was a decent wind as we crisscrossed Mission Bay with the other sail boats. Kenny didn't have his trapeze rig set up yet so I just hung out over the side while holding onto the cables. When he has the harness hooked up, I would love to film it with my GoPro while seated over the water.

On Sunday morning, Tori and I went for a walk on the boardwalk and checked out the Green Flash Sculpture by Malcom Jones (2002). Despite seeing countless sunsets, I have yet to see this actual phenomenon in real life. We walked all the way down to the South Mission Beach Jetty where there was a huge crane barge anchored in the channel. Sunday was much sunnier and we spent most of the day just hanging out at the resort, kayaking, sailing and practicing our AcroYoga on the grass. There was a bit of drama at the end of our last day as a man climbed atop the roller coaster at Belmont Park next door, threatening to jump.  He was finally talked down by the police.

Below is the video of Kenny's Birthday Cruise along the boardwalk on Saturday night.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Joshua Tree and Palm Springs Getaway

For a long weekend getaway in Joshua Tree and Palm Springs, Tori and I drove up Wednesday night after work and stayed at the High Desert Motel.  It was a standard roadside motel, but it was clean and located less than 10 minutes away from the entrance to the Joshua Tree National Park.

We woke up at sunrise on Thursday morning and drove over to Rattlesnake Canyon located near the Indian Cove Campground. We arrived at 7am to escape the heat of the day and had the whole canyon to ourselves. My Chevy Truck looked like it was starring in a TV commercial parked in front. There is no marked trail within Rattlesnake Canyon, instead you make your own path as you scramble up into the boulder-choked ravine. This is my favorite hike in the whole park, sitting at the northern end of the Wonderland of Rocks, ten square miles of huge boulders and cliffs.

We enjoyed a second sunrise as the sun climbed over the nearby mountain ridge. When we visited in the spring of 2019, there was a small stream flowing down the center. All that remains along the watercourse is dried-out algae waiting for the infrequent rains of winter to return. Climbing the steep wall near the dry waterfall, we traveled much higher into the canyon then last time. Scrambling under a giant boulder perched precariously on the slope, we emerged onto a large open area where we could finally see outside of the canyon to the joshua tree-covered plain below.

After sunning myself like a lizard on the smooth rock shelf, we crept up to the edge of a narrow, but deep ravine, carved out of the monzonite rock and polished smooth by the intermittent stream. At the bottom, we could see a string of half-empty pools leading toward the dry waterfall we passed farther down the canyon. Tori took a photo of me sitting along the steep edge trying to get the perfect shot. It was a little scary even though I was on solid rock.

The grey skies had been overcast all week from the California wildfires, so it was great to see blue once more above our heads as the smoke dissipated in the high desert. With no other hikers, we had the whole canyon to ourselves. Heading back down, Tori slipped on a loose rock in the dry stream bed and banged her knee and elbow. Luckily, we were near the entrance of the canyon so we were not far from my truck where we could drive back to the motel and put some ice on it. 

After breakfast from the Crossroads Cafe, we re-entered the national park at the Main Entrance and drove all the way through, descending from the high-altitude Mohave Desert into the Colorado Desert area of the park. Except for the Cholla Cactus Garden, we had never visited this less-iconic section as we stopped to stretch our legs in the 108 degree heat at Porcupine Wash and Turkey Flats to stare at Pinto Mountain across the plain. Driving through the mountain pass of Cottonwood Springs, we went all the way to the sign at the Southern Entrance before turning around and heading back.

Back in the high-altitude Mohave Desert, we stopped at Twin Tanks to hike the Arch Rock Trail.  Because of the intense heat, we chose this short 1.2 mile trail that we have never hiked before. Most of the trail is flat before reaching the ridge of boulders set back from Pinto Basin Road. I captured a great shot of Tori standing under a Joshua Tree with the far ridgeline appearing closer than normal with my telephoto lens.  

Once we made it into the boulder field, it was not far to the iconic Arch Rock. At 30 feet wide, it is not a huge arch, but it was impressive nevertheless. After cooling off in the shade and hydrating, we continued along the narrow crevasses beyond. With its flowing formations of weathered rock, this unique and surreal section of the trail stood out from other areas of the park. 

We found a perfect spot to set up my tripod and take a couple of Standing Acro Poses. What you don't see in the pictures below is the swarm of bees as we quickly jumped into two versions of the Counter Balance Thigh Stand. Tori was stung by one of them before we escaped. On our walk back to the trailhead, I felt a little bit of heat exhaustion near the end despite drinking my entire water bottle. The air conditioning and ice-cold Gatorade from our cooler helped me recover quickly. During our drive out of Joshua Tree, we stopped on Park Boulevard so I could take a picture of the hump-backed rock formation sticking out of the side of Ryan Mountain.

Driving down into Palm Springs, we could see smoke drifting over the windmills in the San Gorgonio Pass from a new wild fire on the slopes of the San Jacinto Mountains. My father has a timeshare at the Palm Canyon Resort so we spent the final four days of our trip lying by the pool in the desert heat.

Our room had a great view of the San Jacinto Mountains from the balcony. After relaxing from our long day in Joshua Tree, we drove into Downtown Palm Springs and had dinner and cocktails at Lulu California Bistro. I love the cooling water misters everywhere to help combat the heat.

On Friday morning, we hung out at the pool, eating avocado toast for breakfast and sipping cocktails until noon. Except for the pool's slides and jacuzzi, the rest of the swimming area was open during the pandemic. We did have a laugh at the elevator's social distancing guidelines with the floor signs facing the walls on each side of the confined space. Instead, all the guests were taking turns with the elevators instead of multiple groups trying to ride at the same time. The great thing about the dry desert heat is that my sunglasses never fogged up while wearing a mask.

For lunch, we went to The Real Italian Deli for sandwiches and drove to Desert Hills Premium Outlets.  Along the way, we could see the red flames of the wildfire on the mountain slopes. With fire engines parked at the base, we could see that the fire was pretty contained. After shopping and posing with the large Metal Rat Sculpture by Ricardo Breceda, we stopped for Date Shakes at the nearby Hadley Fruit Orchard on the way back to Palm Springs. For dinner, we had Mexican food under the cooling misters at Las Casuelas.

On Saturday, we spent another morning at the pool, practicing our Standing Acro Poses in the water. After the pool closed for an hour at noon for their daily cleaning and sanitizing, we headed down to Palm Desert to drive up the winding Palms to Pines Highway into the Santa Rosa Mountains. At the Coachella Valley Vista Point, we stopped for the great view of the desert below. Further up the mountain, the Cahuilla Tewanet Vista Point was closed but we still had a great view from the side of the road. At the Sugarloaf Cafe, we turned around and headed back down.

I love the picture below of Tori walking down the center of the empty boulevard lined with palm trees. Palm Canyon Drive in downtown has been changed to a pedestrian-only street since the last time we visited. For dinner, we had reservations at FARM, a Provencal-style French restaurant with a lovely outdoor garden patio. In the evening, they only serve a 5 course prix fixe menu that changes every week.

We had a Bachelorette Party sitting behind us with all six women wearing wedding dresses. After an Amuse Bouche, I had the Citrus Burrata Salad and Tori the Ahi Tuna Tartar for our second course. After the Limoncello Sorbet as a Palate Cleanser, Tori had the Chilean Sea Bass and I had the Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb. For desert, we enjoyed the Chocolate Mousse and Banana Crepe.

After lying out by the pool on Sunday morning and watching Justin Herbert's first game as the Chargers quarterback against the Kansas City Chiefs, we drove over to check out the Windmills in the San Gorgonio Pass. Garnet Avenue is the frontage road along the 10 Freeway with good views of the giant windfarm turbines with a mountain backdrop. After finding a good spot to set up my tripod, Tori climbed up to stand on my shoulders in the Two High Pose and she hooked her foot around my neck for the Flag Counter-Balance Pose. I think they came out really good in the photos below.

For dinner, we went to King's Highway. While the remodeled dining room of the former Denny's Restaurant was closed, we enjoyed a nice meal on their back patio near the hotel pool. After checking out of the resort on Monday, we headed back to the Outlets for an in-store appointment at Lululemon since we were not able to make it in on Friday. The Turkey Sandwiches on Focaccia bread were so delicious at The Real Italian Deli, that we picked up two more to eat for dinner when we returned home.