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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The North vs. South - California Bragging Rites

No doubt about it. I am a Northern California snob. Born and Raised in San Jose. Schooled at Los Gatos High and Santa Clara University. Currently in love with my home in Santa Cruz. I used to say the best thing about Southwest Airlines is they can get you out of L.A. and back in S.J. in less than an hour.

I was certain that Santa Cruz deserved the rite to the name, Surf City over Huntington Beach in their recent legal wrangling over who really gave birth to the sport on the west coast. After all, when The Beach Boys were singing "South Bay Surfer" I KNEW it was our South Bay they were heralding.

However, earlier this month I got a taste of the South Bay beach cities of Southern California and it was so amazing that I am gladly eating my words. We had our first family wedding in twenty years when my nephew got married in Manhattan Beach. We stayed in M.B. and enjoyed the sunny cities of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. These little seaside enclaves are jammed with lots of unique shops, great restaurants and beautiful healthy people just like The Beach Boys sang about in all those songs.

My favorite part of this place is called "The Strand" which is a cement pathway that runs on the beach for miles and sort of connects all these little towns together. The Strand has multi million dollar beach homes on one side and priceless ocean views on the other side. It is designed for cyclists, skaters and pedestrians who all seem to get along, share the space and enjoy the natural beauty of this smooth path through paradise. The picture here shows one of my favorite homes as I stood on The Strand. I then turned 180 degrees to shoot the ocean view that this home has out their front windows. With only about 15 feet (the width of The Strand) separating their porch and the beach it is easy to see how the MEDIAN price home here is $2M.

The bottom line is that I still choose the northern sector over the southland as a place to call my home. However, I will be returning to these glorious beach towns soon on my next vacation. It's almost like a little bit of Hawaii without the long trek across the Pacific.

-That Carl Guy

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

My Very First (Real) Ride

I have been Spinning for about five years now. Some of you may think that means playing DJ (spinning the hit songs) like I have done for a career since 1969. But actually it is a great form of exercise on a stationary bicycle. Forget that image you might have of someone sipping on a soda and reading a magazine while they barely move the pedals on a LifeCycle. A Spinning class is a brutal workout. It is 45 minutes to an hour of jogs, runs and sprints that is the equivilient of a 15 mile bike ride. I got hooked on Spinning right out of the chute.
The endorphin rush is spectacular. In less than one hour and in any weather you can get a great cardio workout and burn lots of calories.

The funny thing is that most people who spin are cyclists who are there to train. I am a Spinner who just got his first taste of the open road. My sister-in-law, Kristy, took up cycling a few years ago and now goes on all kinds of organized rides. She even has done the Deathride which is a serious 129 mile, 15,000 vertical feet through three passes in the Sierras.

Our first ride was from Castroville (the Artichoke Capital of the World) down about twenty miles to the famous 17 Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula. What makes this ride so spectacular is the cool ocean breeze in your face and no cars to run you off the road. They have a very smooth bike path that runs along Highway 1 so you never have to worry about traffic. A stop for lunch in one of the many great spots in Pacific Grove makes this journey complete. Navigating 17 Mile Drive by bike is an amazing up close and personal look at some of the most incredible personal homes and exclusive golf courses in the world.

See you on The Peninsula!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

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