We were all set to go on a really cool European vacation when reality set in…it costs way too much! So instead of ordering baguettes and walking along the Seine, my wife Laurie and I gathered up the kids and headed for our old stomping grounds, Del Mar, California.
These days, whenever we vacation in SD, we stay at the posh beachside resort…L’Auberge, which my wife describes as “very Shee Shee -- La La.” Shee Shee, I found out, means very luxurious, and La La means you’ll be broke by the end of your fabulous vacation.
First up, our friends the Salmons came to visit. Steve is a longtime friend and fellow gold medalist on the 1984 Olympic Volleyball team. His wife Cathy is one of Laurie’s best friends, and their 3 kids are like peas to carrots with our girls.
Hanging at the pool and bodysurfing in the Pacific presented the perfect opportunity to unveil my new wardrobe of O’Neill, Volcom and Lucky Brand. Having lost a bunch of weight, 20 pounds to be exact, I can now fit into my “skinny jeans”, a pair of 1984 Levi’s with solid gold studs we got for winning the Olympics in Los Angeles.
My wardrobe isn’t the only thing that’s shifted into the 21st century this summer. In the past I have listened exclusively to sports and political talk, but I’ve recently rediscovered music thanks to my iPod Nano, a Christmas gift from the girls. Artic Monkeys, Pitbull, Gorillaz, Neil Young, the Kooks and My Chemical Romance. I now rock!
One of the highlights of our trip was a dinner adventure at Bill Walton’s house. Bill, the former NBA great and announcer, is another wonderful friend, and one of the most gracious and knowledgeable people I know.
He lives in a canyon retreat, filled with Grateful Dead memorabilia, more drums than they had along the Mohawk, four black labs, and a teepee in the backyard.
Needless to say, it’s a large teepee.
Dinner was sensational and topics of conversation included Harry Potter, the NBA, the Tour de France, ESPN, Keith Olberman, Richard Nixon, the legendary John Wooden, the importance of speaking Spanish, and singer Emmy Lou Harris, and the virtues of allowing your hair to gray naturally.
Another great day was our “surfing safari adventure” with former SDSU teammate Duncan MacFarland. We met Dunc up in North County and proceeded to trek to a local surfing spot known as Dragon’s Beach!
It was there that Duncan took my daughters, Mac and Grace out to “surf the line”.
While they were at it, I decided to see if I could re-capture the halcyon surfing days of my youth. You see, when I was at SDSU, I lived on the beach and went surfing a lot. I figured I might be able to pick it right back up and impress the fam.
Well, I was lucky I didn’t drown. An old rib injury made it painful to lie on the board. Paddling with a reconstructed shoulder was problematic. And finally, getting to my feet was a nightmare. Falling off, however, was easy! Bottom line: Mickey Dora I was not.
Our final dinner in Del Mar was a hoot. We met up with Bob Ctvrtlik and his wife Cozette. They had just returned from Monaco where they attended the wedding of his buddy “Al”, AKA The Prince of Monaco.
According to Bob, food is very expensive in that tiny kingdom…especially fish. The special at one restaurant, a whole fish presented live at the dinner table, cost $1200! No word on the cost of chips.
The vacation ended not with a bang, but a whimper. Next time you fly, punch the service desk attendant for me.