I never imagined that I'd live in California - coming from NH, it really didn't seem like a place I'd end up EVER. I did and it has been pretty much everything you see on TV or in the movies or hear in music. It's that good, it's also about 3x a much ($$$) to live here as anywhere else except for maybe London, Paris, Tokyo or Disneyland.
I've been able to live on the water and watch the sunrise every morning over the Bay and have even been awakened by seals barking. A lost whale swam by about a year ago or more and I had a pool that cost about $700 a month to heat (I got a solar cover for $100 that worked better instead). I had a hot tub, pool and guest house where we have had more guests visit in 2.5 years than we did in 12 in Seattle. We had 2 World Champions stay with us (Ben Collins and Katie Mactier) and I learned to swim a lot better at the Tiburon Penninsula Club where you can join the master's swim program for $65 a month or pay a $15,000 initiation fee and wait a year or two (the later is if you want to play tennis and use the weight room).
I made some great friends and found a never ending supply of folks who love being outside swimming, biking and running. I could also drive to Disneyland and visit a winery on the same day.
I blogged a lot and somehow managed to get into the middle of a triathlon love square - one that everyone made it out alive and seems to all be in great places and I think they all still like me. Everyone in the love square has actually spent a night at my house too. Weird.
I rode the ferry into the city every day and met about 4 people - all who became friends (Rich, JP, Chris and his wife Denise though I never met Chris on the ferry, just his wife). My wife rode the ferry for 3 months and had 30 friends in less time. I pays to not wear spandex and blog every day.
I read every book by Ayn Rand. Atlas Shrugged is pretty much the greatest book ever.
I did hill repeats and rode Mtn Tam as much as I possibly could. Today on a pretty easy ride, I actually rode it faster than I ever had before. I took about 8 mins off my time.
I ran over Ring Mtn a lot and the other day ran over it twice and broke my best time ever for the loop the 2nd time over (each loop is about 45 mins). I took 6 mins off my best time ever this week.
I got to drive to Sonoma and join a lot of wineries and even got to visit them so much, they knew us by name as well as our kids. The girls usually got free stuff and got apple juice in wine glasses and they even knew where to watch out for rattle snakes at Gun Bun. Sada knows how to pour wine without spilling.
We ate at Waypoint Pizza more than just about anyone I know. Everyone who has stayed with us has been there.
We had a nanny for 2 years that we love dearly and still visit with her every week even though we laid her off in January or March. I can't remember.
Our kids met lots of really great kids from amazing families and most of them have blond hair.
Our dog has a girlfriend next door (Sake) and his best friend Teddy lives across the street. Jack is pretty popular but he really is focusing on peeing on every single inch of Tiburon before we move.
I ran the same 11.5 mile loop a lot and never got tired of it. I never ran on the right side of the road, just the left - regardless of the direction I went. You run along the ocean for 11 of the 11.5 miles.
I live next to Robin Williams who isn't really that interesting. He saw Sada beef on her bike for the first time ever.
I got to spend the past 2.5 years training with Ian since almost the day I moved here. Then he got cancer and then he beat cancer and got into the Ironman World Championships in an 18 month period. He's the only person I know who probably killed cancer with training. In between chemo he still raced two half ironman races and finished better than over half the field. I'm going to be in Kona to watch him race and to rent a scooter.
I rode my bike home over the Golden Gate bridge nearly every day for 18 months and it never got old. I know just about every pothole and seam on the bridge as well as where it gets warmer and where the wind really sucks. I don't miss riding through the Fisherman's Wharf area in the summer with the tourists. The Chinese really do struggle sometimes with traffic lights, cross walks, moving cars and stepping out with ancient Chinese nana in front of a cyclist going 20+.
There are two guys who hide behind branches and get money from tourists. Maybe more.
I stopped at the top of the Headlands climb to look at the view every time. That's the only place I would ever stop to look. It's also a good place to grab a gel and find a trash can.
I got pretty good at going downhill. I also crashed and knocked myself out twice. I did that once about 3 days before Vineman and I had a hard time speaking and standing up 2 days before the race but still rode ok. One of those crashes was a result of an oil tanker hitting a bridge. After the crash before Vineman, my bike didn't have a scratch on it and it was standing upright against a car.
I think Santa Barbara is close to perfect. Santa Monica seems pretty close too.
When outside, my daughters are barefoot more often than not. I'm trying it out now.
When I asked my wife if she was ready to say goodbye to California and she said you should never say goodbye to California. Which is good, because I'm coming back again.
I'll write again when I'm in Washington. Though I'm sure I'll be less tan.