Tuesday, September 2, 2014

(recap of 2013 pt 4) Avy's First Road Trip with Epic Kiteboarding Along the Way.

Well, it has taken me long enough to get back to my blog and finish out the recap of the summer of 2013.  So, without wasting anymore time, here we go. I promise I will get better at this "keeping up with my blog thingy"!

The summer of 2013 was finished off by my wife and I taking our 15 month old (at that time) on her first plane flight and road trip.  The plan was for her to meet as many family members from Becky's side of the family, while at the same time Becky and I capitalizing on any kiteboarding opportunities along the way. Additionally we had a wedding to attend.  A close high school friend of Becky's was getting married just outside of Reno the day after we arrived. So yes, that was our first stop in the trip.

So, what is the extent of Avy's first mini-vacation and road trip?

Our itinerary included flying from Seattle to Reno. Attend a wedding and visit Grandpa and Grandma Grayson. Drive from Reno to San Francisco, seeing Avy's auntie Deanna as well as one of our most beloved friends, the infamous Blaze, and then making the trek down the California coast on Highway 1 all the way to LA for a few days and then on down to San Diego.  After spending a few days in San Diego visiting family (and hopefully kiting) we would board a flight to San Padre Island in Texas to visit our good friends, Kynan Stevenson and his wife and son, Michelle and Erik.   Erik is only about a year older than Avy, so it was a perfect place to go end our adventure. Plus, the hope was we could catch some kiteboarding in flat water while there as well.

Naturally the first stop in our little adventure was the airport.  Just watching Avy get ready to board a plane was fun in and of itself. The tarmac and planes arriving kept her attention as she slowly painted the glass with her nose and lips. Yeah, gross...but cute all the same.

Once in the air, she may have been the easiest child ever, since she fell asleep about 5 minutes into the flight and didn't wake up until the landing gear dropped in Reno.  I wonder where she got that from? :)

Once we landed in Reno, the first thing we noticed was how bad the smoke was from various fires burning in the hills around Carson City and Reno.  Here are two pictures of the smoke. The first one is unprocessed. The second one is HDR.

Funny thing is, on day two as we were heading to Becky's friends wedding, while vision was down to about 200 meters due to the amount of smoke from the wild fires, the wind was blowing strong and steady.  Roughly, 20 mph or so.  And while driving through Washoe Valley I could see a lake and about the time I said "I bet we could kite in this lake right now" I noticed kites slowly emerging from the haze.  Sure as shit, there were roughly 10 kites in the air.

Mental note taken.  Stop by after the wedding and see if I can't find the beach they were launching from.

The wedding was beautiful, but of course, my mind kept wandering to Lake Washoe.  Let me give some background here.  The plan was to drive the day after the wedding to San Fran, but on the way, hit up Sherman Island.  Certainly I didn't think Becky's skills were up to the task, but I have always wanted to ride there. That being said, the last thing I expected to find was kiteboarding in Grandpa Grayson's back yard.  Lake Washoe is literally 5 minutes from his house and the hotel we were staying at.

On the way back from the wedding, I followed my hunches, trekked through some back country roads, asked a park ranger where to go, and eventually found that beach people kite from.  The wind had died and people were packing gear in the cars, but they gave me friendly advice and told us the following day looked decent.

Long story short, after checking the forecast, Sherman Island looked like a bust for the next day so instead we planned to go with my gut, get breakfast with my in-laws, with the hope of hitting up Lake Washoe right after.  My gut was right!  The next day paid off.  As we drove up, kites were already in the air.

Lake Washoe is located between Carson City and Reno, Nevada.  It is a pretty shallow lake that is made up entirely of snow melt.  In the end of August it was pretty warm on the Seattle standard scale.  As such, I put on a shorty and was plenty warm, although there were many locals with full suits on.

I got  an epic 2 hr session on my Naish 10m Park.  Avy had a good time watching daddy, while Becky watched her and got her own kite pumped and ready to go, so that when I got off the water she could get out there.

Lake Washoe is perfect for beginners.  It has a long curvy beach that will catch any kiter that ends up downwind.  That plus knee to waste deep, semi-warm water for as far as you can ride makes it a pretty epic beginner beach.  And I would also say, it was choppy, but well below what I would normally expect from 10m winds.....and certainly well within the acceptable chop for wakestyle tricks.  This has to do with the fact that the wind doesn't have too long to push the water into waves before it reaches the kiters.

It was still smokey, but actually far less than everywhere else due to the wind speed.  You can certainly see the smoke in the background of the pics.

After I got a ride in, it was Becky's turn.  And she had an awesome time and stayed upwind for her whole session.

Once we were done with riding for the day, we stopped by some friends, cleaned up, and headed on the road to San Fran.  About 2 miles from Lake Washoe we got to see a herd of deer and grab a few pics.  Pretty cool...obviously it was not hunting season.

Our plan was to spend the following day with Avy's Auntie Deanna (Becky's sister) as well as our most lovely friend, Blaze.  We had an awesome time while in San Fransico.  Avy even got to ride around a store shredding...with daddy's help of course.

We also got to visit some of the cool sites of San Fran.

The next morning we were on our way to LA.  A road trip that ended up taking way longer than planned, on Highway 1, which hugs the coast of California the entire way.  Anyways, it was a scenic 10 hour drive. We did stop along the way to enjoy some of the sites. One surprise was our stop at a lookout where we got to watch a few whales swim by, spouting every couple hundred of yards.

Once we did land in LA and checked into our condo on Venice Beach (totally epic little condo too) and we were greeted with the most beautiful of sunsets.  I took quite a few pictures of the boardwalk in HDR that evening.

The sky was so beautiful, I took some regular pictures as well....while drinking an ice cold IPA. :)

The next morning Avy and I headed down to the beach...a mere 100 meters from our door step. We had fun jumping waves, just in the same way I remember jumping them while hanging on my mom and dad when I was a kid.

After our time in the ocean and a stroll down the Venice boardwalk to admire all the muscles and silicon ;P we took a short walk to a cafe to meet with our friends Rick Radar and his wife, Chiara.  Chiara and Becky grew up together and have kept in touch over the years.  Both her and Rick came to our wedding in 2008. They had just adopted a gorgeous little boy 6 months prior to our trip...so we were stoked to see them and me the new little addition.

It was also funny to watch Avy get a little jealous to see her mother holding another baby.

Once breakfast was done, hiked back to the boardwalk for a cruise and a beer with our friends, and afterwards jumped in our rental and made our way across L.A. to a park to visit Becky's sister Robin, and her two children, John and Raina. Avy had a blast at the park, running around and spending her first afternoon with her Cali Cousins. Her older cousin Raina just really couldn't get enough of her...and Avy loved every moment of it.

After saying goodbye to family, the next day we were on our way to San Diego. This time we take I-5....I want to get there without 5 hrs of driving, if you know what I mean.

We have plans to spend two days there.  One meeting up with friends (Renee and Wayne), as well as family (Becky's Uncle Butch and fam).

Here is the thing.  We had heard there was occasional kiteboarding at a place called Paradise Cove.  Yes, we met with friends and family.  We had an awesome time.  I took some pics.  Avy rode a carousel for the first time....we went to Sea World too.  But all of this paled in comparison to catching a dope sesh at Paradise Cove.  It was epic.  Other kiters there told us it was the first kiteable day in 3 months...so yeah, epic timing too!

Oh yes, so you may have noticed two things.  1) Avy did take a spill right before we left LA, where she took a coffee table right across the bridge of the nose.  So yeah, that was fairly traumatic. 2) No, we didn't get any pictures of the kiting in Paradise Cove, San Diego.  You have to take my word for it...but I had left my camera at the hotel. :(

Paradise Cove was amazing though. Flat water due to the cove structure....wind was light, I rode my 14m, Becky rode her 11m...... so yeah, light wind......but you know I fell asleep happy, content, and tired that evening.

So, we woke up the next day and were off to our friends house in Padre Island, Texas...just 30 minutes out of Corpus Christie.

Was Padre Island cool.  Yes.  Was it Texas.  Yes. If you have been there you know what I mean...it's Texas.  Not sure I would want to live there, but my buddy Kynan sure gets a ton of kiting in living there, almost all of it wet suite free.

Did we kite?  Yes.  In the four days there, we kited 2 of them, and the day we left was also windy...and I should note, we were there during the off season as far as wind goes.  So yeah, my buddy gets his kiting in.  No, we didn't get any pictures....but it was light wind (14m for me) but pretty much glassy, warm, shallow water.  It was pretty sweet.  I dialed in my backroll kiteloop with a hand drag during one of the sessions.

What else did we see?  Well, our friends live on a water canal, so we kayaked, swam, fished, SUP'd, we would catch a great sunset every night....ate seafood, saw a dolphin swimming and surfing barge wakes in a shipping canal. The kids were a ton of fun to watch playing.  So yeah...a pretty epic last few days to our awesome road trip.

And that was about it....a flight home to Seattle.  We had a great time.  Made awesome memories....and yeah, scored some wicked sessions along the way.  For the first family trip with the three of us, I think all and all things went pretty well.

So, this concludes the kiting year of 2013.  I have some updates coming that will fill you in on what has been going on in 2014....but i will have to get back to you,  Hopefully not too long.

I really am going to make a real effort to keep this blog up to date over the coming months and year.