Monday, September 22, 2008

Columbia 5.5 Nationals

This weekend I did the Columbia 5.5 "Nationals" on the Seabiscuit, with Steve and Jeff. While this has been a good year for us we went into the nationals in a bit of a slump. We knew Bill would be very fast, and that Adam would sailing with new sails, a new bottom, and a solid crew. I figured our strength on the Seabiscuit would be boat handling. Also we had played with the rig tune a little and hoped our boatspeed would keep us close for our boat handling to push us over the hump.

One of the fun things about sailing in the South Bay is the tow out of the Estuary. The race committee towed out all eleven boats, which is quite the spectacle. as the boats do look good going through the water. Also the 5.5 fleet is one of the more colorful fleets out there, with most of the boats painted colors other than white. Come to think about it there was only one white boat sailing this weekend.

The first start was in a light breeze and we stuffed it up big time. We had planned to be at the boat and then tack right away. However we ended up being late and crossed the line maybe 15 seconds after the next to last boat. This did give us a clear lane though and since we didn't have anything to lose we tacked over and headed out on a lonely flyer to the right corner. It quickly appeared to us that we had made the right call. The only reason we had to doubt ourselves was the fact that every other boat went the other way. Pretty soon we had been lifted over the other boats and we rounded the weather mark cleanly in first place with a good 3 or 4 boat length lead. This would prove to be pretty fortunate as the pile up at the weather mark was pretty spectacular. One boat hit the mark, a couple of other boats made contact, Liem did an especially impressive job of sailing down onto Bill and T-boning him and spinning him around. The video of the rounding is fantastic, and if I could figure out how to do it I would show it.

We lead all the way around for the first lap and a half, but had to tack twice more than Adam on the second beat to avoid a large ship that had just anchored in the middle of the race course. This allowed Adam to close up on us to make a nice job of gybing a little earlier than us on the second run and then get by us at the bottom mark. We rounded just behind Adam and where forced to follow him on the short beat to the finish for a second place finish. Still after our start, we felt pretty good about ourselves as we seemed to have plenty of boatspeed.

The second race was basically all Bill on Maverik. We where having a great battle for third with Adam up the last beat when I royally miss judged a crossing right in front of the finish. I had called two or three crosses on the final beat, and thought I had it down. For some reason I just stuffed the last one up completely. Adam would have hit us right at about the back of the boom if he hadn't have crash tacked. We did our circle for the foul and ended up fourth in that race.

A funny thing happened on the second run during the second race. Keith and Cathy on Jaguar had sailed through the start finish line, which was restricted. When we mentioned it to them they told us that they had read the instructions and that we where full of shit, or words to that effect. It turns out that they had done the same thing in the first race also, which meant that they started the regatta with two DSQ's. Sadly it was only going to get worse for them from there.

By the start of the third race the wind had started to pick up a little. One reason that the 5.5s race in the Estuary or on the river in Stockton is that they don't like big wind and waves. They have actually sunk boats out on the bay in the past. The race committee for whatever reason decided to send us out on a three lap race into the teeth of this. Anyway we got our best start of the day easily winning the pin end with speed. However sailing 5.5s in those conditions kind of sucks. Every other wave either stops the boat, or soaks the crew. We all kind of struggled to make it to the top mark with Bill eventually rounding with a huge lead over the second place boat. We rounded three or four back, but immediately got tagged hard from behind by Helicopter Bob (Mike Jackson) who had rounded up as soon as his kite had filled. Mike to his credit dropped the kite and did his circles without us having to yell at him to much.

We had decided to put up the small kite for the spinnaker runs as 5.5s are a little Squirelly in that much breeze. We don't seem to go any slower, but we are definitely a lot more stable. This decision was soon justified as Billy's backstay broke and his whole rig went over the front of the boat. At one point it looked like he might be able to get the thing back up just by pulling up the mainsheet, but I think they realized that was a losing battle and got the sails down, and secured the rig on deck. As we sailed by the committee boat downwind I suggested to them that maybe they should consider shortening the race as the conditions seemed to warrant it. Sure enough on the second upwind beat they made the announcement over the radio that they would be finishing us at the weather mark. I think we ended up fourth in that race which put us solidly in second for the day. Adam now clear ahead with a 1-3-1 score.

One of the best parts of having the nationals on the bay is the sail home down the Estuary by the whole fleet of 5.5s. The fleet is certainly very photogenic, and lots of other boats always take lots of pictures of us. Usually some hi jinks occur and this year was no exception, we soaked down Adam and crew with a water cannon that Steve keeps on board. They tried to get us with a bucket, but we stayed away from them.

Day two turned out to be a little rough and tumble with us getting into scuffles in both races. We had basically conceded the series to Adam at this point and where just going to concentrate on covering Liem for second place. We had four points on him, so we needed to keep an eye on him, but we weren't to worried about it. This proved to be a bit of a mistake because we got royally screwed at the start. We came down the pin maybe a couple of seconds early with Helicopter Bob ahead of us. Mike came up right at the start and we lost sight of the pin as he did this. The next thing we know is the pin buoy popped up out of the water behind us, meaning that we had missed the starting line. We think that Jackson ran the thing over and sank it, which led to us missing it. He never mentioned it, but it put us in the position of having to gybe around to start the race. Once again we where in last place and had to work our way up through the fleet. What working our way through the fleet means is that we end up running in packs with other boats. Downwind on the first run one of the Stockton boats tries to go in between us and another boat. We take him up, but he doesn't give way. Eventually we make contact and we immediately protest. After the usual exchanges of pleasantries on the run he eventually concedes and does his penalty circles. While all this is going on Liem sails away and goes onto win the race and into second place overall.

So for the final race we are one point behind Liem, however I do the math wrong and figure that we are tied. So we figure all we have to do is beat Liem and we have second overall sewn up. Our start for the last race was pretty eventful. We got banged into by our friends on the yellow boat from Stockton again. I think this was either frustration or pay back for our little to do in the previous race. Anyway no real harm done, except to maybe anybody who was listening ears during the exchange.

We did not have a great first beat and came into the top mark just behind Liem and Keith. Liem however must have misjudged the tide and ended up hitting the mark, which gave us the opening we needed to get by him. Liem was doing his penalty circle, right as Keith was rounding and Keith claimed that Liem fouled him while doing his circle. Right into this mess we came steaming around the mark, and had one of our better sets. This got us right on top of Keith who was busy yelling at Liem. Keith them comes down and hits us on the bow with his stern. We inform him of our intent to protest, but while we are doing this Keith jumps out of his cockpit and runs back and shoves our bow away in frustration. We then protest him again for the push. Keith now owes us three penalty circles and has just had his own rounding stuffed up by Liem.

While Liem had been doing his circles Jackson had gotten by him also, so we began to relax a little more as now we had a boat in between Liem and us as insurance. Jackson must have felt he owed us one or something as he covered Liem very closely to the finish which we figured gave us second place by two points. As it turns out we only beat him by one point, but that was enough.

There was some after race shenanigans at the club after the last race involving Keith and Liem and a couple of protests. But eventually calmer heads prevailed and it was all sorted out.

So there you go, the Columbia 5.5 metre nationals from the perspective of the second place boat. Nice job to Adam and crew on the win. They sailed well, and deserved the result. too bad for billy, but hopefully the boat will be back up and running quickly as the damage was minimal and should be a relatively easy repair. Of course a big thanks to Steve and Jeff for letting me sail with them. We have had a lot of fun racing on Seabiscuit this year, lets hope it keeps going.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Out with a whimper

We just finished the last Wednesday night race of the summer and sadly for team Seabiscuit we kind of went out kind of meekly. Tonight was the windiest race of the summer series, a condition that usually favors us. We ended up second in the race, and tied with Helicopter Bob for for second in the summer series. I guess we lost the tiebreaker though and we ended up third. Adam won the race and the series pretty easily in the end. So, nice job to him.

The race itself was pretty fun. We didn't get the best start but it was not that bad. We tacked right away, which probably ended up being the wrong thing to do. We had plenty of boat speed, but Adam and the new guys did a little better than us on the Alameda side, while we got stuck on the Oakland side. Adam and the blue boat both beat us to the top mark, but the blue boat hit the mark with it's boom. We ended up going a little wide of the mark to avoid them, but then also had to avoid Helicopter Bob before we could bear away and set. This allowed Adam to get some separation on us and gain a lead that we never really threatened. After the race we had a drink at the club, but we where all kind of over it, and I was home by 9pm. Probably the earliest I have been home after a Wednesday night race ever.

This weekend will be the Columbia 5.5 nationals out in the south bay. I think we should have at least ten boats, maybe more depending on how many end up coming down from Stockton. I figure that Billy on Maverik should be the favourite going into it. He has won the nationals the last two years and is just plain fast in the boat. The fight for second should be between Adam and us. Although Liem and Helicopter Bob have both been sailing well at some point during the year. The new guys are a bit of wild card, Peter, John, and Syvain have sailed the boat really well in the two races they have done so far. The results have not been then for them, but that is not because they don't know how to sail the boat fast. The Stockton boats I don't know a whole lot about either. It is possible one of those boats might sneak into the top also.

The pictures are of three Stockton boats at the Alameda Marina rigged and ready for the Nationals, and of Adam and crew during tonights race. Note the bottle of Mt Gay that they are drinking.. Maybe that is the secret of their speed?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Blame Canada

A few weeks back I wrote about a loser I had to deal with while trying to buy a new phone. I said then that I would call out folks who for whatever reason piss me off in this most passive/aggressive of ways. That is by anonymously slandering them on this blog.

Today's winner is actually someone I work with. He came to me at work and told me how big a bunch of assholes that my class mates at CMA had been during the Big Boat Series. What it came down to was this. While my co-worker had been sailing on the winning boat in his division,D. My class mates who were sailing in another division, A, had come from behind and passed him to weather, therefore stealing his wind for the ten seconds or so that it took for them to pass him. This was after he had waved at them to go below the boat that he was on. My co-worker was upset that my class mates had the nerve to slow him down while he was on a potentially race winning boat and was fighting for every second on the race course. Whereas my class mates where as he put it "finishing DFL in every race."

This really rubbed me the wrong way for some reason. What makes him think he is any better than these guys? Just because he is on a winning boat the CMA guys should just roll over and slow themselves down for him. The attitude he gave me you would have thought it was my fault. I think that is why I am going to give this guy the loser award, I just down like his attitude. He is one of the most arrogant people I know and just rubs me the wrong way at the best of times and when he comes after me and acts like an entitled jackass it definitely is not the best of times.

So congratulations Rusty, you are the second person chosen for the Life on the Alameda Estuary loser award.

The pictures are of CMA's one design 48 sailing in the Big Boat Series.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Big Boat Series weekend.

I am sitting here at school doing my first watch of the semester. Watch for a first class cadet such as myself, consists of sitting in a temporary trailer on the waterfront and doing nothing. As the CDO, which I think stands for Campus Duty Officer I supervise the ACDO. The ACDO in turn supervises the two poor bastards who have to watch the front gate. The front gate here at Cal Maritime is usually broken about half the time, and when it isn't broken we usually leave it open as there is some kind of special event going on and we don't want to inconvenience our guests. This is all considered to be part of our leadership development training, which of course is a big part of our curriculum here at CMA. Just to make sure my training is done right I am not supposed to leave the campus at any part of my watch. Since the watch starts at 0730 and ends at 073o the following day this means that I actually get to spend the night on board my old Nemesis the Training Ship Golden Bear.

Having said all that the last few days have been pretty good. Thursday after school I got a few hours in at work, but did not have to stay late to do any overnight repairs for big boat series. Friday I didn't get called in either. I did do a little bit of work on the boat though. Mostly washing it down a bit.

Saturday was boat maintenance day. We have been having some problems with both the fore and aft heads on the boat. We had the diver come by and clean the bottom thinking that might clean up a clogged through hull, but alas the problem didn't go away. The problem was basically that we had no water going through the heads and that they really were beginning to stink, a lot. I did the aft one first disconnecting the hose from both the through hull and the toilet, and then running a wire snake down the hose to clear out all the gunk. I then jammed a screwdriver into the motor on the head and kind of ground all the shmeg out of that. I then ran a couple of bucket fulls of fresh water and bleach through the hose to flush that out. Once I hooked everything back up the results were spectacular. I have never seen so much water running through that head ever. This will be one of life's little victories that I will savor for a long time. I repeated the procedure on the forward head with equally good results.

This of course gave us a reason to go out and celebrate Saturday night. Steve, Dina, and I went over to the Forbidden Island Tiki Bar where much frivolity ensued. I knocked another eight rums off of my list of rums I need to drink to get my name on the wall of rum. Just as we were about to leave a couple of people we knew from the Encinal Yacht Club showed up. It is not exactly a secret that the Encinal is not one of my favorite places these days. So for the president of the club to walk in and ask what is going on, resulted in him being accosted by us three drunks and being told whats for.. Sorry about that Mark..

Sunday started with a brisk walk to go and get the car from in front of the Tiki bar. Then Steve, Jeff and I took Steve's boat out to watch the Big Boat Series. I thought that I would be a little bitter sweet out there watching the racing, but to my surprise I found that I didn't miss it at all. The three of us did however have a lot of fun watching the bottom mark roundings, taking a lot of pictures, and providing a lot of running commentary.

The pictures are from that day, sadly I can not figure out how to get a video out which is to bad as I have a couple of good clips, including one of a guy falling off of J105. So if anybody can give me advice on attaching video clips to blogs let me know.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday night race

Tonight was the second to last Wednesday night race of the season. Only four 5.5s out tonight, Bill's boat being in the yard, and Adam probably over at the St Francis getting ready for big boat series. Although it did look like Helicopter Bob intended to go out, maybe his crew got stuck in traffic or something. Still it turned into one of the better races of the season.

The newest boat of the fleet made it out for the first time along with Alert, Jaguar and us on Seabiscuit. We got a pretty good start, and sailed up to the first mark in the lead pack trading spaces with the new guy and Liem the whole way up to Jack London Square. The new guys, Dave, Peter, and Sylvain from the local UK loft, actually beat us to the mark but due to the lack of race instructions they had set up to round the mark the wrong way. We told them to keep sailing and not worry about it, but they turned back and re-rounded the correct way.

We got around the mark first and had a pretty good set, but Liem also had a good set and sat on top of us the whole downwind run. We got to the bottom mark and decided to do a Mexican take down at the mark. We pulled it off pretty well, but as we gybed around the mark the tiller seemed to splinter in Steve's hands. The tiller seemed like it was going to hold together, despite the big chunks coming out of it so we kept on racing. The second upwind beat was interesting in that we seemed to have a lot more point than Liem, but he had a lot more speed than us. We tacked on him a couple of times to cover him, but he eventually got ahead of us by peeling us off on a group of downwind boats. He only had to go an extra boat length to do it, but he got us.

After what was one of our better sets we closed in on Liem downwind and managed to get really close by the bottom mark. We had a good take down, and set ourselves up nicely for the reach across the Estuary to the final mark. Of course this being the Estuary, just as we had gotten ourselves set up for the pass, the wind shifted and we ended up losing most of what we had gained on the run.

From the final mark to the finish it looked like a one tack fetch so we set ourselves up high as liem had gone low for the pin. Liem at this point also had his own issues with traffic and ended up getting bad air from a boat in another class. We actually got by him after he tacked to clear his air, but then almost lost him again after it got really light just before the finish line. A couple of more tacks right at the line saw us cross the line with Liem less than a foot off of our transom.

So after about six lead changes, having to deal with a new guy who is really fast, and some dumb luck right at the finish we ended up winning the race. For the summer standings going into the last race it is Adam with 9 points, Jackson (helicopter Bob) with 10 points ,and us with 11 points. I think we should be ok for the overall, but the summer series is still wide open. Watch this space for the final results after next Wednesdays race.

Sorry no pictures, I just didn't have time to take any tonight.

A week that was

This school thing really gets in the way of all the spare time that I used to have for writing this thing. Updates will be less frequent sadly, but once I get back into the swing of things maybe I will get into some kind of regular schedule.

The rest of the weekend after the Nine Inch Nails concert was no less hectic. We did some light house (boat) cleaning, including a trip to the pump out, before heading to an Oktoberfest beer fest at the Speisenkammer in Alameda. We met up with a bunch of folks and had a couple of beers before heading up to Barbara and Tom's place for a bar b q. We had a couple of great steak's and watched the movie Idiocracy on the denovision, before we both passed out from all the fun of the night before.

Sunday we went for two sails. The first was with Dave and Jack on their Andrews 56 Charisma. We did a nice tour around the south bay, although we did stick our nose out into the slot a couple times, but decided screw it as the wind and tide had gotten up a little to much for a casual day sail. After we got back to the dock we then took Gonzo out for an evening sail with Kirsten and R.T. This was just a sunset sail around the Estuary and although this was a very pleasant sail by the time it was over Dina and I where both pretty sailed out.

Monday was back to school for my first full week. I am slowly getting back into it, but I am not yet fully back into the rhythm of it yet. Monday after school I stopped at the sail loft and got a couple of hours of work in before heading home to watch the Raider game. I have to say that that will probably be the last football game I will watch for a while. Between the commercial breaks and the length of the game I found it to be basically un-watchable. Of course the two local football teams are helping me in this by being so bad as to not be worth watching anyway.

Yesterday I spent the day at at the sail loft. It is the week of big boat series so things are a little crazy around there right now. Although having said that I have seen them much, much worse. On the way home I stopped and took some pictures of some of the Stockton 5.5's that have come down to Alameda for the nationals in a couple of weeks. The other picture is of my chemistry teacher.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Nine Inch Nails... Concert review

Friday night Steve, Jeff, my brother Joe and I went to see the Nine Inch Nails at the Oakland Coliseum Arena. As opposed to concerts of years past, we did not do a lot of drinking, etc before hand. A couple of beers before hand while watching the Friday night race was about it. We even took Bart to the show, although that was more about the $25 parking fee the Coliseum was charging as much as anything.

The show itself was awesome. We where on the floor for the show, which meant we stood for the whole thing. Non of us actually got that close to the front, and the whole mosh pit scene, because let's face it we are older and softer these days. Still the crowd scene was pretty good. Lot's of people wearing black, even one guy with a black Kilt. A lot of pale, skinny, goth types around, which led Steve to make the observation that hot chicks look like hot chicks no matter how they dress up. Steve of course was wearing a light blue fishing shirt so he stood out and was maybe a little sensitive.

The show started off with a bunch of really loud fast songs. Which basically consisted of Trent Reznor yelling at us and lot's of very bright flashing strobe lights. I had had a bit of a chuckle when I had seen my brother wearing his sunglasses while we where in line to go in, but I think he had the last laugh during the show. I read a review of a Nine Inch Nails show where Trent Reznor had said that he wanted the show to make you feel like your head had exploded. Well, they came pretty close.

After the opening barrage, they did a few songs that where a bit mellower. The stage set up they used had multiple screens that they could drop down and light and project on in different ways. One really cool setup had Trent in front of a screen that was nothing but static, but wherever he walked you could see through the static to the band playing behind him. Other versions had projected images on the front with the shadows of the band backlit from behind. One song could have been taken straight from the iTunes visualiser, just trippy graphics projected onto the screen, with nobody in the band visable.

I was thinking of going off on a tangent here about drugs and alcohol, something along the lines of why is it illegal for me to take a hit of hash or smoke some pot here, as opposed to it being ok for me to drink half a bottle of Tequila? Here I am taking public transit to a concert where, with I was stoned, I would sit there and just space out on the light show and probably be able to function normally the next day. But, if I had gotten drunk I would have been noisy, obnoxious, maybe have gotten sick and probably have been more useless than I was the following day? But I will save that rant for another day.

At about this point of the concert I was thinking that Dina would have been able to enjoy this show. Maybe it wasn't the hard core thrash fest that it may have been made out to be. The use of the screens and other muti-media made for some interesting stuff. This however went away for the final third of the show. More lights, louder music, more anger. At the end of the show I felt like going out to run riot in the streets, breaking shit and smashing things. As it was we went out for Mexican food.

In the end I have to say it was great show. We had an extra ticket that Rich was going to take, all I can say is that he missed out. But Rich's loss was Joe's gain. Joe described the show as a cultural experience, which for him might be high praise.

Sorry about the quality of the pictures, concert lighting and camera phones don't mix well. having said that in some cases the pictures get it just right.

Friday, September 5, 2008

So it's back into the rhythm of school days. Early starts, really uncomfortable clothes, and bullshit corps stuff. For instance for my first weekend back at school I have the CDO watch. This means that I have to check in at 730 Friday morning and I am supposed to stay on campus untill relieved at 730 Monday morning. What I am supposed to do during my time here has never really been explained to me. As near as I can tell I am supposed to supervise the person who monitors the two people who watch the open front gate. They set aside a room on the ship for us, but we have no real specified job description otherwise. Luckily for me one of my classmates Craig needed one of his watch days off later in the semester, so he offered to switch my weekend watch for one of his weekday watches. Easy deal for me to take, but I will offer Craig another day of his watch at some point later in the semester.

I have actually managed to get out sailing on the Estuary the last three evenings. Tuesday after work Dina and I sailed the Nightingale back from Svendsens to Marina Village. The Nitey is back in the water and Tom Wylie and his guy Kyle are finishing the work off at Marina Village. Once we got back to Marina Village it meant moving Gonzo to another slip so we can sail the Nitey in and out of the slip she is in.

Wednesday evening was the Oakland Yacht Club race. For some reason Adam didn't make it out so there was only four 5.5s out. They started us with another fleet and as a result we sailed a lot of the first beat in bad air. This got pretty frustrating a couple of times as we never seemed to be able to get going. At one point we got ahead of Liem on the yellow boat but he came back at us with a lot of speed and just simply started to roll us. Steve came up as liem was sailing over us and eventually hit Liem. I have to admit I am not really sure how to feel about that. Sure Liem has to keep clear of us, but it just seemed a little overly aggressive to me. I am not sure how Liem felt about it as he never came to the club afterwards, something he always does. Anyway, we ended up second to helicopter Bob, but I still feel a little funny about it.

Yesterday it was just to hot to stay in the boat, so I took Gonzo out for a short sail up to the turning basin and back. Not a whole lot of breeze, but it was nicer than baking myself in the main salon of the lobster T.

With the early starts I have at school these days I will probably be writing this blog at different random times. Usually writing form the school library as I am now. At least I get a good view while doing it. The other picture is of a new addition to the 5.5 fleet on the Estuary. the boat hasn't gone out and raced yet, but maybe they will get out tonight.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Back to School

Today was my first day back at school. Not a bad day all things considered. Having to be at school by 7.50, which means being out of the boat by 7.00am was a bit of a shock though.

My first class was with a teacher who I had interviewed as part of my job on the new teacher search committee. He seemed to do a good job on his first day, so so far I think I did a good job for the school. Time will tell however. I have a total of four classes three days a week, and a lab on one of the other days.

Putting on the uniform again was a little painful, mostly because I have to wear pants and socks in the high temperature's of Vallejo. This especially sucked during our first formation of the year. Usually these formations take five minutes and once in a while they go through the motions of inspecting us. I guess because this was the first formo of the year they felt they had something to prove. We ended up standing in the sun for half an hour while they went through every little uniform, grooming, and whatever else they could think of inspection. The funny thing is they didn't inspect the row that I was in, but they got everyone else.

One thing I noticed on campus, and at formation today was how fewer students there seemed to be compared to previous first days of class. The last few years has had larger and larger incoming freshman classes and the school always seemed more crowded. This year, not so much. Anyway, there you go. It is back to the reality that is the California Maritime Academy for me. Still it is the last year, and based on today's opening lecture's it should be pretty interesting.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Breaking the Law

We just got back from a short trip down the coast to visit friends in Pismo beach and Santa Barbabra. I have to say it was a very nice end to what has been a good summer.

We drove down to Cambria after work on Thursday and spent the night in a nice little place called the Sea Otter Inn. Cambria seemed very quiet the night we where there, but the locals assured us that labor day was the big weekend for them and that we had where just experiencing the calm before the storm. I think the quietness of the town was really bought out by the really dense fog that seemed to engulf the town, making everything really spooky.

Friday morning we did a tour of Hearst Castle. I have to say I was pretty impressed. I definitely saw a lot of English style stately home in the place, only in a much better location. Our tour guide was a bit of a character, but that just added to the charm.

We then stopped at Avilla beach to have lunch with a friend, and avid reader of this blog, Kath. Kath seems to be doing well and it was good to catch up with her as always. From there it was on to the Edna Valley Winery, which is home to one of Dina's favorite wines.

From there it was down to Santa Barbara to visit with our friends Tom and Barbara. It was on this part of the trip that I managed to get myself pulled up for speeding. We had been seeing the Highway Patrol all day, but he got me just as I had overtaken a row of slower cars and had just started to go down a hill. He was nice enough about it and wrote me up for 65+ after he told me I had been clocked at 83mph. there's no doubt that I am long overdue as it has been almost ten years since my last ticket. This is also only the third ticket I have ever got in 26 years of driving.

Staying in Santa Barbara with Tom and Barbara was fantastic. They have a place up on the hill above the mission, and the view from their alone would have made the trip worthwhile. Tom and Barbara put us up in what they called the guest cottage, which was about a comfortable a place as I have stayed ever. We spent our time in Santa Barbara getting guided tours of the town, eating great food, and just hanging out. It was as delightful a time as I have had in many years.

The top picture is of some Kelp that had wrapped itself around the pier near Hearst Castle. The second picture is of the indoor pool at the castle. The last picture is of Dina and Tom at Tom and Barbara's house in Santa Barbara. Sorry, no pictures of the Highway Patrol man that pulled me over.