15 seconds of blog fame

A friend of mine runs one of the best blogs covering the "livable streets" movement in Los Angeles County. During the holiday season he wanted to take a break - so he conducted a bunch of interviews to fill the dead time. I was fortunate to be one of the interviewees. You can read it here:

Streetsblog - Los Angeles

Ashley and I are spending much needed time with family in Colorado. We hope you are all enjoying this season.




A while back I wrote about my my quest to ride my bicycle 6,000 miles this year. This past week I hit my goal. The previous post marked my halfway journey - and also featured some questionable photoshop skills.

This time I decided I wanted to celebrate and go all out on a party. So Ashley threw me a celebratory bash at her office - her I am showing off the commemorative mileage marker with some of the gals from work. I wore my favorite polo and relaxed fit Levi 550's for the occasion.

In all seriousness - Ashley has been very supportive and rode with me nearly 1/6 of the miles I've gone this far. Next year I might shoot for 7,000.

That process could get a lot easier - from what I understand. Not the riding, but the calculating. As it stands now, I put my miles into an excel spreadsheet that I've put together. It's a fun tool and I have it counting daily averages, monthly totals, and it was also doing the countdown to six thousand.

My friend Brant told me about this iPhone application that's free and it turns your phone into a cycle-computer. Calculating mileage, routes, distance, speed... unbelievable. The only thing is you have to mount it on your bike. That makes me a little nervous, but I have to admit I'm severely interested in these prospects. Then the application takes all of these factoids and shoots out reports that you can download on your computer. The future - so amazing.

It saddens me to think that my little excel spreadsheet that could may be made redundant by a sexier, sleeker form of technology, but I still might rely on it as a safety net.

Hope all of you had success with your goals this year - any you'd like to give a status report on?


oh tannenbaum

When I think of Christmas trees, several memories come to mind:

The tear jerking scene in Swiss Family Robinson when Mrs. Robinson breaks down over the harpsichord. It's Christmas Eve, and she's sure that her sons were sent of on some fool's errand in the name of exploration. Just as she's about to give into utter-dispair, she hears the faint singing in the distance of her two sons, Fritz & Ernst, and the femme-fatale Roberta/Bertie who almost broke the brothers apart.

Swiss Family Robinson was rabidly watched in our house and it's not hard to see why: it involves things kids love - pirates, tree houses, booby traps, tigers, coconut bombs... and gender trickeroos. Ok, kids don't really love that but seriously, any movie industry types looking for the next blockbuster need to remake that movie in a hurry. Guaranteed smash hit.

Also what's kind of weird, that movie was made in 1960 but I could've sworn that Wil Wheaton played Ernst. There's no possible way that could've happened. But in my head, the two actors are exactly the same. See my comparison below.

Identical right? For those of you who don't know Wil Wheaton by name, he played Ensign Crusher in StarTrek: The Next (best in my opinion) Generation, and Gordy LaChance in the ultimate coming of age movie, Stand By Me.

I've really digressed.

The other memory that Christmas trees bring is the story my dad tells when he brought a sickly sapling into our living one room as a "joke." Note, my dad's jokes on frugality are/were strongly grounded in reality, so you can see why the punchline was muddled. Anyway, he brought in this hideous tree we dubbed the Charlie Brown tree because it was so pathetic. My dad claims that when I saw it I cried. Also, I was probably 12. This definitely didn't happen, but I did cry when he gave me a haircut with a pair of rusty garden shears from the 40's that were probably meant to "thin" hair as opposed to actually cut it.

Getting ugly trees actually became a tradition that we really enjoyed. Some years we'd go into the national forest and poach reclaim a tree that probably was going to die because it was growing too close to another tree. We'd do it in the middle of the night - super fun. That was Ashley's first introduction to Pulsipher Christmas tree hunting actually - sneaking into the woods and cutting down a tree. So much fun.

This year we started a new tradition. We went with Chad and Kimber to go hunt for trees. Chad is somewhat of an expert on trees, and Kimber is advanced in delicate tree care (they put ice cubes in their tree bowls!).

After some thorough hunting... we found a little guy that suited our humble home. The great place about this lot was that it included stands, so we wouldn't have to buy one. But the true piece de resistance of the night was strapping our little tree into my bicycle trailer and riding home.

It was really awesome. I have to admit, one of the really fun things about owning/using a bicycle trailer is seeing the look on people's faces as I ride past. It's almost as if I can see them thinking, "wow, why don't I try that" or "that looks like a lot of fun." Maybe they are thinking, "that guy is a world class loser." Who knows? I do know that I get an immense amount of satisfaction in doing things on a bike that most people would use a car for.

The night was a huge success - and we spread holiday cheer in the process. As we crossed the street cars started honking in celebration and one guy yelled out "Merry Christmas!"

What are your Christmas tree tales?


thanksgiving photo-recap

We had a lovely Thanksgiving in Northern California. We visited family in Modesto - and then I fulfilled a lifelong dream in San Francisco when we visited Alcatraz. Below are a few highlights, and you can view more of our adventure here.

The Bay Bridge - the "other Boelyn Girl" of the Bridge World

We don't quite have fall foliage like this in Los Angeles - which made the fall festival of thanks so much more special.

Pretending to sup from my commemorative cup - my best gift shop purchase of all time

Ashley attentitively participates in our audio tour.


happy thanksgiving, from los angeles

Los Angeles loves you, and we do too.

Ashley + David


the newest pulsipher

Yesterday Ashley and I went to the hospital for an advanced ultrasound. The previous ones had kind of been peekaboo shots, couldn't really tell what was going on - although the one thing I was confident that I saw was a fine pair of butt cheaks. That, and the glorious organ that makes boys boys.

Although, after our first ultrasound the doc was giving us an 85% chance it was a boy. So the remaining 15% still lurked out there - was it going to be Barbies or GI Joes? The subsequent two ultrasounds (yesterday included) confirmed that it will be a boy.

It was a very long appointment, and I wasn't the one getting jabbed with a baton. The doctor (?) who was doing the ultrasound was pretty content to just go to work in silence, as if we weren't interested in what she was doing at all. We kind of had to ask questions about what she was looking at - and her thick accent made deciphering what we were looking at even more difficult.

Highlights included some nice shots of the femur (4cm), heart, umbilical cord, feet, and of course his little face (pictured).

I would guess that the whole process took nearly an hour. She was taking a lot of measurements. Both Ashley and I were somewhat confused by the way she slapped the computer monitor. The doctor was kind of funny, because she didn't really come off as all that personable, yet she went to some effort to type out a message on the picture - "hi mom and dad" - a message from our son.

I'm glad she took the liberty to speak on behalf of our son - if I could speak for him I'd say "hey mom, when are we going to go for another round of cheeseburgers? Also, will you please make some more cookie dough so I can eat it raw? Thanks a million mom. I owe you one."


i need a new magazine

I've been subscribing to Gentleman's Quarterly for about... 4 years now.  I don't know why exactly I started.

When I moved from Denver to Washington DC, I sold a stack of old GQ's to some slimy looking dude for like 5 dollars.  Weird right?

I got a letter in the mail saying that due to an "upgrade in my account" it allowed them to "seamlessy provide subscription service" without having to renew my subscription, I'd just be billed.

But I didn't want that.  It's like one of those CD clubs where unless you check the box, they're gonna send you hoards of CD's and make you pay for them.  I showed those guys who's boss.  Send me three copies of Lenny Kravitz Are you Gonna go my Way will you...

Anyways, I've kind of been wanting to cancel my subscription for a while.   My favorite segment is "the Style Guy" where people ask questions about grooming and dress.  Sometimes I like the opinions and its generally a good idea to have some sort of foundation as to why you are ascribing to various dress standards.  But sometimes I'd ask myself "why am I taking advice from a guy who has like 17 pairs of jeans and ten thousand dollar hermes shoes" or whatever.

Sometimes there were very fascinating articles.  But then other times there was kind of questionable content and I would get kind of bummed about that.  So in the end... I nixed it.

So where does this leave me?  I think I can afford one magazine subscription, what do you recommend?  Keep in mind I already get Bicycling for free somehow (but, it hardly satiates my bike interest, that rag is strictly for roadies).

I'm not sure which direction I should go?  Pop culture, men's interests, bicycles, technology.  Ideally I'd like a little bit of all of that.  Actually, if there was a magazine that was all about bicycle transportation I would be very physically attracted to that magazine.  I once saw this Mag called "Momentum" that I think was trying to do what I just described, but the issue I saw had a family with a dad who looked like a serial killer so I decided I didn't want my family to turn into that. 

I guess I could do Wired... or the Economist... but I want something exciting.  Any ideas?


it's not a tumor

A little bit ago I noticed a freckle on my left eyebrow. It seemed to come out of no where. Then Ashley went on a trip for 8 days, and when she came back she noticed that the freckle had gotten a lot bigger. After consulting with Kimber, our personal medical consultant - we decided to get it checked out.

I went to the Doctor. The doctor referred me to the dermatologist. After looking at the freckle or "rapidly growing lesion" as they called it in my files, Dr. Goldstein decided that I had two options.

1. Wait for a month and see what it was doing, then probaby do a biopsy
2. Do a biopsy now!

Because I am a man of action, I opted for the biopsy now. I laid down on my side, they numbed me up and they took a chunk out of my eyebrow. He warned me that this procedure would leave a small scar, and that because it is on my face and "not on my butt or back" that it is something to consider. I thought about it for two seconds, and then remembered how awesome scars on the face are. It was a no brainer.

I was numb pretty quick, and then I could feel that odd sensation where my flesh was being tugged at and stitched up.

What will transpire next on this blog was of great interest between Ashley and myself. Do you want to see a picture of the sample they took from my eyebrow? Obviously, If the readers are like myself, the answer is a resounding yes. However, if you are a wimp and a communist then maybe it isn't for you.

Whether you like it or not, behold my triumph over rapidly growing benign lesions:

Now that you've seen the gore, I'd ask you to participate in the poll.


my antithesis

n. pl. an·tith·e·ses (-sēz')
  1. Direct contrast; opposition.
  2. The direct or exact opposite: Hope is the antithesis of despair.
I really need to get this off my chest. I have no idea who this guy is - but in some sort of marketing fiasco that can only be equated with new Coke - this man is the spokesperson for TGI Fridays.

Sometimes I like to call that restaurant TGIF Fridays.

Anyway, every time I see a TGIF commercial I get really uncomfortable. Actually, I get worked up and irritated. I have a very strong distaste for them, and in particular their spokesman. My feelings against this guy are so strong, they are best captured in this statement: This man is everything I do not want to be.

This guy is like a senior year version of me that was cryogenically frozen, dropped out of college freshman year, and works at an adult movie theater. Seriously, who are the girls that like guys like this?

Why would I take dining advice from him? What about this man, hints... or smells of credibility? The only thing he reeks of is Hot Topic and brut cologne.

Is there anyone out there who is everything you do not want to be?


election recap

So - I may or may not be the first blogger to break this story, but Barack Obama will be the first Black President of the United States of America.

We had an election party in our new home, with our dear friends the Nelsons. It is nice to have good friends (who happen to share our hopes for the outcome that night) to watch the elections with.

What a night - pizza, carmel popcorn, martinelli's sparkling cider, cheesecake from trader joes - it was a veritable feast of the belly and politics.

My heart goes out to those who passionately hoped McCain/Palin would win. Honestly - I know how you are feeling. The past two elections were proverbial kicks in the groin for me. It is a horrible sense of regret and pessimism about what the future holds. In the same breath - you've
had your 8 year party and now it's time to give someone else a try.

I really enjoyed Obama's acceptance speach. It was passionate and moving. I really got the sense that he was humbled by his new position, and what everyone expected of him. As you can see from the picture next to me - every one was riveted to the screen.

All in all - I'm glad it's over. Let the healing begin. What did you guys do on election night?



I am a self diagnosed harpaxophobic. For the millions of sufferers out there - You are not alone!

I too - know what its like to experience the deep pangs of fear every time a household item goes missing - to assuming it's been stolen.

I too - constantly wonder if I locked the door.

I too - assume that a cat burglar has stolen our laptop if it takes me longer than 20 seconds to find it.

I too - try to assuage my anxiety of loss by purchasing heavy duty locking mechanisms to secure my bike.

I too - leave my key attached to my bike chain - an open invitation for any idiot to walk away with my bike.

Oh wait - you don't do that? Well... good for you.

The other day I accidentally left my bike key attached to my bike chain. Granted, it was a little out of the way next to Pasadena Town Hall. But still - it was like leaving a car running with the keys in the ignition and the doors wide open. Had an opportunist struck (like I normally fear), I would've returned to that light post completely dumbfounded.

I got really lucky.

I still live in fear of being robbed - but it's good to know that even thieves miss an obvious take every now and again.


top 10 things i miss about ashley...

Ashley has been in Charm City visiting her sister for the past week. She is taking a well-deserved vacation and getting to spend lots of time with family, friends, and two little nieces that she is crazy about.

While gone - I've been holding down the fort. Solo living is really boring. I run out of things to do really fast. Last night I was really lonely. I've been thinking, these are the things I miss about Ashley right now:

10. She laughs at my jokes. Life is really boring when you don't have any one to test your quality material with.
9. She smells so good. The house is going to smell like a bachelor pad when you get home - sorry honey.
8. She won't let me eat cereal more than 3-4 nights in a row. Left alone, I can't help myself.
7. She has a special way of teasing me that I really enjoy.
6. Saying goodbye to her in the morning. She's still in bed and I get to snuggle her and kiss her before I leave. I love that.
5. She gives me a hard time about not brushing my teeth until the afternoon on a Saturday. (Did it again!)
4. Television/movies aren't nearly as fun when you don't have anyone to relive them with
3. Giving her a hard time about not reading this book.
2. Snuggling
1. Having her next to me as I sleep. Sometimes I just like to put my hand on her side. It helps me sleep.


left to my own devices

On Saturday Ashley left for Baltimore on a well-deserved vacation. She's visiting her sister and enjoying being "auntie" to her two beautiful nieces.

You know what they say, "when the cat is away the mice will play." In my case - that means a trip to the grocery store without fear of reproval!

Not that Ashley monitors my diet at all. Nor does she stifle me from expressing myself creatively via my love of food. But since she's gone for a week, my trip to the grocery store took on a whole new meaning. I could get whatever I want. The prospect was almost too good to be true.

It reminds me of those "sweepstakes" Kids R Us used to advertise... something to the effect of "five minutes to grab any and all toys you can get to the check out." Five minutes, alone in a toy store. I think they advertised that on the television or it was a grand prize for Double Dare - and every time I heard the commercial the concept completely captivated me. I've never really felt like I had that strong of an imagination, but in those moments I know I was completely incapacitated in a greed-coma. Paralyzed with thoughts of rabidly throwing toys into the cart like a junky in pursuit of their next fix.

Anyways, I've always liked the idea of being left to your own devices, as I've blogged on the topic before.

So here is a report of the aftermath:
A gallon of Tropicana Orange Juice
Two pints of chocolate milk
Bag of salt & vinegar chips
Packet of van de camps hoagie rolls
Gallon of Moose tracks ice cream
Deli cut turkey
Sliced medium cheddar cheese
Frozen Pizzas (haven't bought these in like four years, no joke)
An individual slice of "Louisiana crunch" pudding cake.

All in all, not too bad right? Some of those things I probably wouldn't buy under Ashley's supervision. Frozen pizzas, nope. The hoagie buns, no way - she'd find better ones. Two chocolate milks - forget about it. Just one. Again, not that Ashley is the food getstapo, it's just the "editing" influence your spouse has on your consumer habits. I mean, that's why they are called "your better half" right?

Left to your own devices - what kind of stuff would you buy in a ravenous frenzy of self indulgence?



Yesterday we found out that we were having a boy. Well, 85%. So I don't know if that means we are having an 85% boy, 15% girl, or the chances are 85% that we are having a boy - but I'll take either!

Just kidding - the ultra sound was pretty cool. The point where our doctor got the definitive shot was amazing. It was like we were looking at him from underneath - we could see his little butt-cheeks and then EUREKA... the "money shot."

This past summer - Ashley and I went back to Denver for my family reunion. It was really fun, as we got to see all of my siblings, and new babies. One part sticks out with me in particular - hanging out with my nephew Isaiah. Isaiah is 3 and has tons of boy energy.

Summer was a pretty big blockbuster for little boys. The Hulk, IronMan, Batman... lots of macho stuff for kids to enjoy. As Isaiah and I ruff-housed, Isaiah really enjoyed pretending to be the Hulk and "smashing" things. I think I recall Ashley saying, "wow, he's really turned into a little boy."

Ashley's family has been abundantly blessed with little girls. Ashley's two older sisters have five girls between them. Ashley's family is a family of four girls... and one boy. The boy being the baby of the bunch. This environment has made Ashley very comfortable at the prospects of raising girls.

Enter stage left - "our little lemon," as I've been calling him. Ever since Ashley told me that he is about the size of a lemon - lemon just seemed like a nice thing to call him.

Our little lemon - breaking windows, bones, flicking boogers, laughing at fart jokes, smashing things - it's all very exciting. Not that Ashley isn't excited - but maybe she's just a little nervous that she won't have as much immediately in common with our little lemon. But then I reminded her - that she was a tomboy when she was little, and that her mom & brother always has a special relationship.

I once read an article in GQ that discussed how great fatherhood was, because it was an opportunity to "relive your childhood." I think having a boy will allow Ashley to revist all of her tomboy ancestry. She was once a very ardent dinosaur student. I'm excited to be a little league coach, to go on camping/biking trips... and as a tribute to my dad - mow the lawn together.

Ashley is going to be a great mother, to boys and girls because she is so much fun, loves adventures, has a great sense of humor, and is a natural nurturer.

Any mom of boys have some tips out there? First things first... how to change diapers without getting pee in the face.


we finally got our piece of the pie....

After a tumultuous, drama filled house-hunt - we have finally found our little urban oasis.

When I lived in England - it seemed like people where moving all the time. This was problematic as we tried to make appointments with them, for example:
Me - can we come by and see you guys next week?
Them - Nope, canna do next week, I'm movin' house
Me - Oh really - where are you moving?
Them - up the street two houses.
Me - (speechless)

People in England move all the time. At least, a lot of the people I met. And they move really short distances. Up the street, over a block, down two roads. It is really amusing, and also quite charming that families stay so close together, and the strength of communities are forged by decades of familial territoriality.

So after two years of scoffing at the notion of the British Style of moving.... we are doing it ourselves.

We are moving one mile south of where we currently live - in a fortuitous twist of fate. We are really happy to be staying in this side of town, close to Ashley's work, close to grocery stores, and still far enough away for me to get a great ride downtown.

We'll be moving in October 20th. If you are in the area, need exercise, and would like some free pizza - come lend a hand. No one will be turned away.


"the best two years..."

After many LDS missionaries return home they confess, "that was the best two years of my life." The picture on the left is me and one of my best friends, Philip Bond in Preston England. We were attending the open house of the Preston England Temple in May of 1998.

I wouldn't trade my mission for anything. It was a remarkable time and I'm honored that I was able to serve my church and represent my beliefs. I learned a lot about work, life, and what I want out of it.

Two years is an interesting period of time. October marks my two year anniversary as a bicycle commuter. I can honestly say - it has been the best commuting years of my life. As I was riding home tonight, I thought about what I might say. I thought about a funny line from the movie Fever Pitch. The line comes at a seminal moment in the movie, where one of Jimmy Fallon's students (he's a teacher) says to him, All these years you've loved the Red Sox, but can you honestly say that the Red Sox have ever loved you back?

The sage-like wisdom from his pupil helps Jimmy's character decide to give up his valued seats at a Red Sox game, and pursue his love for Drew Barrymore's character. I really love that part of the movie - because it makes me think about the reciprocity needed in love.

People love their cars... but do their cars ever love them back? For the most part, cars are money pits that take, and take, and take. They don't give anything back. I know that cars are a necessary part of life and they provide safe and comfortable means of transportation for many. But lets face it - they pollute, cost a lot of money, break down... not to mention the hassle of traffic, insurance, and the host of other headaches that come from car-concerns.

On the other hand - the last two years of bicycle-commuting have been so rewarding. I've become so familiar with my city. I'm recognized by school crossing guards. I have interesting conversations with strangers. I get almost two hours of exercise every day. I don't put any harmful materials into our atmosphere. My fuel is free, and the most expensive maintenance on my bicycle has been new tires ($39.00 each).

This isn't to say that bicycle riding is free. Of course there are costs - but for two tanks of gas I can covered my entire bicycle maintenance budget over the past two years.

I know you have kids, I know you have errands that are far away. I understand. I'm not saying that bicycles are for everyone, all of the time. But they are for some people, a lot of the time. My full time job is to make it easier for people to get to places by bike... and I absolutely love my job.

In other two year increments...

Ashley and I have been married for almost two years... and these years have been the best of my life.
Ashley and I - Easter, 2006

Ashley and I met in Washington D.C.... and our time together has been remarkable. Whether it was blizzards, jungle-chicken bus escapades, or rendezvous in the mountains because we couldn't bear to be apart - my life is exponentially more fulfilling, exciting, and happy with Ashley in it. I love her a lot.

Just North of Leadville, Colorado

One thing I know for sure about my life with Ashley - it will never be dull. She loves adventure like a fat kid loves cake... or Angela Lansbury loves a mystery. I'm more cautious and hesitant by nature, but Ashley always helps me get a better glimpse of what is around the corner. Thanks honey.

So - I'm looking forward to these next two years... who knows what they the stork
will bring. Whatever it is I know it will be amazing.


moving etiquette

The time has come for Ashley and I to end our time at the University Village. We have found a place in Culver City that we are totally crazy about, and we hope we get it. I think we are finalists with another couple.

We are definitely excited to be moving into a 1st floor house (ish), with a private patio and cute garden. We'll have to box up our modest belongings and hope to be prepared for the movers. And by movers, I mean... friends and well wishers from church.

The very topic of "church move" sends cringes up a lot of people's spines. Many of you know horror stories about people expecting too much, not being ready... etc.

When it comes to asking for help in moving, I think there are three rules you must abide by:

1. There will be food. If it is an afternoon/evening move - you provide pizza. If it is a morning move, you provide donuts. These are non negotiable.

2. There will be boxes already boxed up. If you don't have your crap together, then I think the hired help have every right to turn around and leave you in your disorganized squalor.

3. There will be sweat. You will be working as hard, or harder than everyone else. If you, as the movee, aren't sweating and lifting your share of heavy stuff, then you are a loafer and a free-rider. I also ascribe to the believe that it does NOT suffice to appoint yourself onto the "I'll just make everything fit into the truck" committee. That is for people who are injured, have seasonal allergies, or are otherwise hampered by some physical/mental malady.

Rest assured - when we move there will be pizza. I'll give you more details as the date approaches. What are your rules for moving? Any horror stories you'd like to share?


companies that deserve your patronage

Back when I was in the business of selling shoes, I was told that an unhappy customer tells ten friends, but a happy customer only tells two friends. Classic scare tactic right? What's the message to a young, impressionable salesman like myself? Don't screw this up or an angry customer is going to take your promising career for an uncharted cruise to hell!

I've heard iterations of that statement expressed elsewhere so at this point I'm pretty much calling it a fact of human nature, much like "the person who cares the least, controls the most" in relationships, "can't teach an old dog new tricks," and my favorite, "men are from mars, women are from venus."

But seriously - what does it say about us - if we only regurgitate negativity and never spread the good word, especially about companies? Maybe that's why companies with wretched customer service stick around, and the good
guys get dumped on. Boy, isn't that a life lesson, nice guys
getting crapped on.

So in an effort to buck the trend, I wanted to do a quick PSA for a couple of companies that I've had outstanding service from. They deserve your patronage because they stick by their products, are attentive, and courteous.

And just to prove that I'm not all sunshine and rainbows I'll throw a few negative ones in there to show you how much fun smear campaigns can be.

Cat Eye
These guys make some of the best lights & accessories for bicycles. They are innovative in design and function. A while back I wrote to Cat Eye, telling them about some of my good experiences with their product. I also told them that I was having issues with a fastening device with one of the four lights I own, made by them. The man who responded was very nice, and asked for my address. He shipped me a replacement part, for free. What great service. The light was only 20 bucks - but still. They won my lifetime patronage right there.

RE Load Messenger Bags
One of the best makers of messenger bags around. Sturdy, custom made bags that can seriously fit anything your little heart desires in it. A while back, my comfy shoulder strap started fraying. I took a picture of it, and emailed the folks at RE Load. I told them of my problem, and asked what could be done. Without a second thought, they sent me a replacement strap at no charge. I had owned the bag for 4-5 months and had put it to good use. I was so pleased with their service, I swore myself to a tribute later on down the road. Definitely buy products from people who back their stuff up. It's good business, and good investing.

Contour Design
These guys make protective accessories for portable electronics. I bought a shield for my iPhone. After purchasing it, I found out that the slot to manuever the silence button was not wide enough. I emailed the company and informed them of this design malady. They told me they were fixing it, and would send me a new one when the redesign was out. They kept their word. Not only did they send me a new one, they overnight fed-exed it. For a $25 dollar item. Pretty sweet.

Bike Trailer Shop
This is an online mercantile that sells bicycle trailers and accessories. A little while ago I ordered a liner for my trailer, and a cargo net. I got a bungee cord, but no cargo net. When I called, instead of playing semantics (like I thought they might), they apologized for the oversight and sent me my cargo net the very next day. Thank you very much!

Companies that are in our dog house:

Ashley bought me a pair of their underwear - for athletic endeavors. The only problem is, they were made for women, clearly. Not anatomically smart at all. I wrote them a very thoughtful letter about how they could improve their garment, and If they needed some help I'd be glad to show them how men's supportive undergarments should fit. Ok, I didn't say that last part but I did give them valuable feedback. I never even recieved a peep from them. Thanks for nothing, literally.

Online flower merchant. Ashley used them to get flowers to her mother for Mother's day. They did not get to her on Mother's day. She paid for a service she did not get. When Ashley confronted them about it... all they offered was a stingy 20% discount. Lame.


Yes - We have bad luck with flowers ok? Don't rub it in. I ordered flowers for Ashley and they didn't include the thoughtful note I penned. Now the note is floating around in cyberspace - sentiments never delivered. How tragic.


Los Angeles to San Diego by bicycle

This blog post was inspired by true events...

Sometime back in April or May, I got the idea that it would be fun to ride our bikes from Los Angeles to San Diego. Sometimes I say things I don't mean. I'm not saying I didn't think it would be fun, but I definitely had no idea what a multi-day, 150+ mile bike/camping trip actually entails. The problem with saying things that sound like a really fun idea... is that when you are in the company of people who are inclined to act on them - they become reality really fast. Our friends Chad & Kimber were sold on the LA-SD bike trip from day one and Ashley's favorite pastime is dreaming about vacations/adventures... so the bike trip went from abstract concept to reality in embryo way faster than I could prepare for. I like being prepared.

In the weeks & months prior to the trip, I read several books on bicycle touring and scoured the internet for information on bike camping, routes, etc. There are a lot of helpful resources out there - and one of the foremost authorities on bicycle touring in the US helped us out a lot, the Adventure Cycling Association. They have tons of information on bicycle touring - and one of their most helpful resources is the maps they publish that help people (like us) get where they want to go. Fortunately, we lived right on one of the routes. This allowed us to navigate our way down to San Diego on a path that was tried and tested by cyclists. Really important.

I'll do my best to recapture the trip through the pictures. It really was a lot of fun - but it was a long ride.

We started out on Thursday, August 14th - 7:30 am at the Mar Vista Recreation Center. Here you can see we all look bright eyed and bushy-tailed. We literally had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

As you can see in the picture below, Ashley is all smiles as she eats her bagel and cream cheese. She's all bundled up like its February. I told her she'd be removing her jacket shortly. She did.

The first leg of our trip was going from our home in West Los Angeles to Long Beach. We were able to ride on bike paths nearly half of the way - which makes the ride really nice. We arrived in Long Beach feeling pretty good about our progress. It was just about 11:00 and we thought we were halfway there. Boy were we wrong.

Here we are resting up in Long Beach, as if we'd conquered the tour de france. Little did we know that our journey would become significantly more arduous. I think that's the Queen Mary in the background, if I'm not mistaken. Below: David sprawled out, Kimber helping Chad stretch.
We made our way through Long Beach rather slowly. We got a little lost, and I also got a strange flat tire as we carried our bikes over the sand. Coming out of Long Beach - we hopped on the Pacific Coast Highway which would be one of the staples of our journey. As we came to the border of Los Angeles and Orange County - we happened upon a strawberry stand. Stopping at fruit stands, trading posts, toy stores, historical monuments, etc. (delay in our "progression") is the epic struggle between the David and Ashley travel approach. Once I've got a destination in site, its all engines forward. Ashley is much more inclined to enjoy the journey/process - and looks for opportunities where it can be maximized. Below is a picture of my defeat - the group enjoying strawberries.

With a belly full of strawberries, we felt invigorated and like the wind was at our backs. Nothing like getting lost to take the wind out of your sails. Despite having a detailed map - there were times when we got a little confused. Pictured below is when we realized that we had ridden onto the I-5 interstate highway instead of the PCH. I was not amused.

A quick re-direction meant going down a grassy knoll - then down the wrong way of an on-ramp. It's nice being on a bike where you can perform these kinds of stunts with little hassle. If we were in a car - this is like a 15 minute turn around. Below: Kimber and Chad lead our redirection:

The rest of the day one was pretty much a blur. Going through Orange County was a little rough going. We got pinched a little bit - going through Laguna Beach in rush hour. It also started to rain and Chad lost his sunglasses. There were some big hills. We were tired. Morale was low.

San Clemente to the rescue! We rolled into San Clemente desperately ready for dinner. At one point in the planning stages of our trip - we envisioned buying pizzas in town, and then taking them with us to our camp site which was supposed to be only three miles outside of town.

That plan was abandoned about 15 minutes into our trip methinks. When we got to San Clemente, we were so hungry I could've eaten my hand. With patience long gone, we hastily decided on eating at a local establishment - Pizza Port. We devoured two pizzas, and got one more for free because they forgot to take out the onions on one of them. It was rapidly becoming dark (good thing we had the lights) - so we picked up some firewood at Ralph's and headed out to our campsite at San Onofre state beach. I thought we'd be close to the beach given the name and all. We actually rolled up to our campsite a little before ten pm. We were so exhausted, it really didn't matter what our campsite looked like.

Not even this:

So it turns out that San Onofre state beach, or "Sano" as I heard one little surfer dude say, is more of a place for people to come surf and sleep in their R.V.'s, than to actually camp and rough it. The Nelson's enjoy real camping - so needless to say Chad was less than pleased with our accommodations. This wouldn't be the first time we'd be displeased with our room & board. Not that we were expecting to be in the wilderness - I had read up on the place - but still. You are literally right next to I-5 with cars, trucks and all other types of vehicles roaring through the night, but also the Amtrak line. Trains are really, REALLY loud. Fortunately Ashley saved the day and brought ear plugs which helped a great deal.

In addition to the noise, the camp spots are jammed together like sardines. Below: Chad and I try to drown our sorrows in some day old pizza port.
Thank heavens for showers. After riding all day in the hot sun, with three layers of sun screen and sweat - we were ready to be clean. Even though the showers didn't have warm water or privacy - it felt amazing to be clean. I can't imagine trying to sleep in the state we arrived in.

The next morning we weren't itching to get back on the bikes immediately - so we went down to the beach and see what the fuss was all about. It was a slightly overcast morning, but peaceful and a nice contrast compared to the beaches we are accustomed to "up north."

The rocks on the beach were ideal for skipping - below chad demonstrates his picture perfect form.

Kimber hunts for more skipping rocks, while Ashley consoles David about not having steak and eggs for breakfast like he wanted.

Ashley was more interested in lounging than skipping rocks - she fashioned a lazyboy out of driftwood in about 25 seconds.

The second day of riding was much more beautiful. The beaches in San Diego County were scenic, and extremely tempting to us road-weary travelers. Before we got to the beach vistas - we had to ride through Camp Pendleton - The Marine corps base. Bicyclists are a common occurrence through the base, so we weren't an oddity. We had to present ID at the guard gate before we were cleared to pass. Pictured below - we took a break and enjoyed the scenery. We saw troops marching, and a lot of young men in american trucks.

Kimber showed a lot of bravado by taking pictures of the troops training. I wouldn't have done it - with the patriot act and what not, I expected to be carted off to guantanamo or something.
We made it through camp pendleton relatively unscathed - although I can't vouch for the behavior of the marines on base - one of them pretended to pat Ashley on the rear end as they passed in their truck. I was really furious. Ashley, cool as a cucumber, wasn't phased. Below: just exiting the marine base.

The beaches are really nice down San Diego way. We saw so many people enjoying the beach that it was sometimes difficult to keep riding. I was in the caboose position a lot, so it gave me an opportunity to take a picture of everyone ahead. Look at our awesome form.

We stopped for lunch at a little taco place in Leucadia. By that time (2:00), it was REALLY hot. We met up with my old friend from college, Ryan. He was our tour guide through northern San Diego county. It was nice to have someone lead for a while where we didn't have to constantly refer to the map. Ryan could only guide us so far - where on earth would we find another guide? You may be asking yourself, "does lightning strike in the same place twice?" Yes it certainly does, and it did on this trip. Below - the crew after lunch.
Some award winning scenery - courtesy of Ashley.

This was a stretch of beach just before a large hill going into Torrey Pines. Before we attempted our ascent - we pulled off the side of the road to discuss our strategy. I, with my large trailer didn't pull off far enough because some die-hard in spandex shouted "BIKE LANE!!!" at me as he sped past. We rested a bit before attempting the hill. Chad, Ashley and Kimber went through the state park and I stayed on the PCH. After a bit I noticed that I was starting to catch up to those dudes who barked at me. The hill was pretty tough, and long. I was so intent on catching up with them that it literally fueled me up the climb. Here I was, pulling a 50 lb trailer and they just had their waify frames and sport bikes. At one point, I was only 30 feet or so behind them. I considered this to be a monumental success considering they had at least a couple of minutes on me AND weren't pulling anything. I had grand visions of passing them and making a snide comment like "pretty nice climb eh fellas? Like my trailer? Oh me? My first time - you? BIKE LANE!!!"

After Torrey Pines we had started to reach our breaking point for patience. Every hill was like a mental kick in the groin. When we FINALLY reached the outskirts of San Diego we met a very nice, well intentioned roadie. It was easy to tell we weren't from the area (pulling all of our stuff), and he asked us where we were coming from, and where we were headed. He must have sensed some level of pathetic, helplessness in our tone as he offered to lead us to our final destination. I thought this would be nice, because (once again) it was nice to not have to think about directions. The only problem was... he rode REALLY SLOW. Pictured below - our knight in shining spandex.
He also was fond of doing stretches while on his bike. In his defense, I did make a comment about "not riding too fast" because we had been riding all day. He was decked out in hundreds of dollars worth of gear, so I didn't want him to think that we were keen on a fast pace. He took the "easy gear" to an extreme... to the point where I was riding on his heels in a subliminal effort to speed him a long. He didn't get the drift. We were so close to our destination, yet we were stuck behind this guy and we didn't have the heart to tell him that his services were no longer required. We finally passed him and said our goodbyes at a light. Below - David & Chad with trailers - led by our fearless bicycle-buddy.
After a few short turns... we set our gazes on the Motel 6 in San Diego. After a somewhat disappointing sleeping arrangement the night before, one simple night in a humble inn sounded so good. Chad went to check in as we stood outside with the bicycles. As time wore on... we started to get more and more concerned. Finally... nearly 30 minutes later, Chad walks out to inform us that our room for 4 had one, queen sized bet. We were irate, heart-broken, and beyond the realm of being able to adequately deal with this news. The picture below captures our sentiments rather well.
Tight quarters in the Motel 6. We made the best of it, and Chad and Kimber (like champs) refused to take the bed. We could only fight them for so long. We watched a little bit of the olympics and then fell asleep.
The next morning was a little busy . After a short ride over to the train station, Chad and I set out on a kamikaze mission to find breakfast. We came back with jamba juice, just in time to load our bikes and trailers. It was a seamless operation, thank you Amtrak!
One of my favorite "hypotheticals" was posed right when we arrived at the Motel 6. I asked the group, "how much money would it take you to get right back on your bike and ride to San Onofre." The group had varying levels of demands... I decided that I wouldn't do it for less than $4,000.

We arrived in Los Angeles a little after 1:00 pm, and still had about a 14 mile ride home. That wasn't the best part of the trip - but it certainly wasn't the worst. You can tell by the smile on our faces (picture taken at Gateway Plaza of Union Station) that the trip was an over all success.
There were many lessons learned from the trip - which we may get into at a later date. The most important thing to me was that we didn't have any serious mechanical or medical issues, and that we were all still friends after the trip (barely) - just kidding.

I'm definitely looking forward to being able to do something like this again - maybe longer, and definitely to some new place we haven't been before. If any of you want a fun, new kind of adventure and you are short on time or money - think about bike touring. It doesn't have to be across country to be tons of fun.