2015 Jun 28 | Temecula: potato chip hike, winery tour, balloon ride

This car has shiny pink paint.

I got a little hole in the bottom of my work shoe and put some tape over it. Ogii told me to buy some new ones; I said it was fine. She said if I didn't buy new shoes she wouldn't go shopping any more. Wait, was that supposed to be a threat? Because it backfired. If all I have to do to prevent her from shopping is not get new work shoes, mine are getting duct taped up until the end of time. But then she went shopping to buy me new shoes. And she bought these. Ah, yeah, pretty sure I can't wear those to work. Hell, I don't know if I can even wear them into any clubs; they have spikes on the front, for goodness sake.

At least they were cheap. Although I think it says something if they keep lowering and lowering the price and still nobody buys them.

I bought some leather patches and glued and ironed them onto the bottom of my shoes. We'll see if that works.

The sun is not in a good position for this drive.

We were walking back to our car in a deserted mall after watching Jurassic World and I see and hear this thing screeching around a corner; I swore for a second it was a velociraptor.

On Thursdays I start at 9am. It used to be if I was there at 9am maybe the first patient would be there, but lately there have been more and more showing up early, so I've been showing up a bit earlier to beat them there. This morning I was there at 8:45 and the 9:00, 9:15, 9:30, 9:45, and 10:00 patients were all there. On one hand it's nice because I can get through them all quickly, but on the other I don't like making patients wait, so it makes me a bit anxious.

At a little event for California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago.

Me, Miguel, and Rick. I didn't talk to the assemblyman that much because I was so busy talking with a couple of other doctors whom I might work with in the future on different things. Great to always be networking rather than just sitting there making small talk and eating food.

I don't want a receipt, but there's no option for that.

Friday night we drove down to Temecula for the weekend. On the way there we saw this interestingly-colored Prowler.

We stayed in a cheap Motel 6 since all we were doing was crashing there from 9pm to 3am. I don't think it's a good sign when they have a security guard kicking non-guests out of the parking lot.

We got up early on Saturday and wanted some breakfast. On the way to the motel we had driven by one a few blocks away that said it was open 24 hours, so we went back to that, but it was closed and all the lights were off. So much for that idea. So we went to another one, but it was only serving lunch/dinner at 3:30am. That doesn't sound right, but oh well, I'll guess we'll have a hamburger and fries for breakfast.

On the way to the hike there was a big line of trucks doing road construction.

Not this way.

Not this way either.

There we go.

Most people actually hike from the west and park in a lot at a park. However, that hike is about twice as far, so we took the back way. Not as many people and shorter, but you have to just park on the side of the road.

Uh oh, the strap on my tripod broke. The other side already broke, so I guess it's not going to break any more. Good think I can just tie it in a knot and it's fine.

Since we're up before sunrise, we have headlamps.

Don't forget to take the left way when we come back.

It's starting to get a little brighter out.

Pretty views on the way up.

And we made it! Just like we had hoped, nobody else was there. If you get there later in the day there's usually a line of over twenty people waiting to take pictures.

We set up the camera on the tripod over here, but the remote shutter wouldn't reach that far. Thankfully the camera has a setting where it just keeps taking pictures every few seconds.






She's making sure I don't get too close to the edge.

It was a bit of a tough time getting up and down. Nothing horrible, but you did have a few feet where you had to slide or push your way up and down.

Perfect timing for the sunrise.

The fog on the other side was beautiful, too.

There were actually a fair number of houses down below.

This was a big one.

Oh no, the flap on my shoe is peeling off. It were in the other direction it'd be fine, but this way it catches every time I take a step.

Might as well use this.

It's not duct tape, but it'll do for now.

Crepuscular rays.

There are these towers at the top of the hill.

Ogii between two trees.

A flower and tree.

A giant pinecone.

The sun behind clouds between two bushes.

This rock had all these little holes like shelves that people put other rocks into.

A tree with red bark.

A lot of hills were scattered with huge boulders.

This rock was cracked.

And these left a big hole between them.

Interesting grass-like plant.

There were lots of flowers.

The sun over the eastern side.

A twisted tree.

This chain was stuck to the top of this giant rock.

Ogii figured it was for climbers to latch on to.

Some guys walking up with pads that they put on the ground for them to fall onto when bouldering.

A little squirrel.

This house it the closest one to the top. They should put out a little lemonade stand. Most people get pretty tired on the hike up, so I'm sure they'd sell a lot of drinks and snacks.

More flowers.

A shortcut, although it doesn't save that much time.

Another little shortcut we can take back to our car that we didn't see in the dark.

When we got here, we were the only car.

Now it's completely full in both directions.

There were lots of nice houses on hilltops.

A neat old car.

Our next item on the agenda was a winery tour in a San Francisco cable car.

A little bell to signal you needed to get off at the next stop.

Our first winery, South Coast, had won a lot of awards.

Many others up on the wall.

The tasting room.

We got to try five different wines.

Us with our first ones. We actually both ordered two different wines each time so we got to try ten at each winery.

The next stop was Maurice Carírie.

We both like whites...

... and aren't fans of reds.

We were fans of this sour dough bread bowl with cheese in the middle. It was the best thing we had all day by far, and there lots of benches out in the grass to sit on.

They also had these frozen drinks which were amazing.

A windmill we saw on the way to the third winery.

And some longhorn cattle.

There were lots of horses, too.

Next was Oak Mountain.

And indoor area...

... and a semi-outdoor one.

There was also a lot of flowers just outside the patio.

Ogii smelling one.

And grapes.


There was a live band.

They wrote their own songs rather than singing covers.

We got poker chips to trade for drinks instead of having them checked off on a piece of paper; kind of different. However, they had mostly reds, so we didn't use them all up.

Fun bag in the store.

And the cave, although it's under construction. There was one lone worker in jeans shoveling the dirt around on this very hot day, poor guy.

The last stop was Masia de la Vinya.

We decided to sit in the grass under a tree here.

The grass was nice and soft.

They also had mainly reds, so we were only going to drink a couple, but the server was very nice and helpful and mentioned sweeter reds and dessert wines to try. The way they tracked how many drinks you had was also neat; it was a little passport. And you got chocolate, very nice.

A red and a white.

After a day of drinking.

The distinctive bridge that lets you know you're close to San Diego.

Saturday evening we went to a chalk art festival in downtown Temecula.

This one was especially pretty.

And this one was very well done.

A cartoon tree.

There were also a few photographers. The super-shiny prints, often on metal, are becoming more and more popular.

Lots of pretty views in the area.

Saturday night we stayed at Tuscany Hills Retreat. They had a nice little patio out front.

And a very nice reception area.

Our room had a balcony right next to the golf course.

It was a collection of old buildings they were slowly trying to modernize. I actually liked some of the stuff older, though, like this tiny TV. You should be out doing things, not sitting in your room.

The rooms had very high ceilings.

In addition to a big pool and a sauna, they had four soaking pools of different temperatures.

We saw a possum but he ran away before I got a picture of him. Oh well, while I'm out, might as well get a shot of some construction.

Sunday we got to sleep in until 4am, but then we headed to a nearby airport for a balloon ride.

They're serious about charging extra for people over 250 pounds; they made every step on a scale to check. One on hand that's kind of mean to people who are heavy, but on the other, maybe the semi-public shaming will convince them to diet and exercise.

There were a few other balloons already up. Something fell out of this one.

Ah, they're sky divers.

Filling up the balloons.

In the basket.

And we're off.

We were beside this other balloon.

The ride itself is a bit boring, so the pilot had some things to make it more fun. One was some rubber snakes.

Ogii got one too.

He also threw out a paper plane.

It hung around our level for a few minutes.

It was really hot when he turned on the fire.

Although it was much cooler in the middle, so people huddled inwards when he blasted it.

A road below.

Our shadow.

A bunch of plastic we were going to land near.

The chaser truck coming to get us.

Champagne afterwards.

And certificates.

The next stop was the Ricardo Breceda sculpture garden.

It was in a park, but if you said you were only visiting the sculptures, you could get in for free. There were lots of squirrels around.

And some rabbits.

Some pretty flowers.

One of his most famous works: a dragon.

Most were brown, but this dinosaur was yellow.

He made a lot of this type of dinosaur.

A horse and bird on a cactus.

Ogii with an elephant.

A bunch of sculptures lined up.

Some animals.

I like this shark; it looks happy.

Being eaten by an alligator.

This gargoyle was a bit different; mostly he did animals.

The weld marks.

This stage coach was out front of the park.

And there were a few lone horses scattered on the hills nearby.

My favorite was a series of horses jumping over the road.

Next we went to Pechanga for one of their mid-day poker tournaments. We saw the cable car from the winery tour from yesterday there, though, so we had to stop and say hi to our guide, Wally.

People had thrown a lot of coins into the fountain at the casino for luck.

A pretty stained-glass column.

And another one.

We were a bit early for the tournament, so we ran to a nearby Mexican restaurant, La Cocina Bar & Grill, which had a breakfast buffet. It appears Ogii likes meat.

Lots of desserts.

The ceiling was brick; you don't see that very often.

Back to the casino for the tournament. We both played for a few hours and then got knocked out without making any money. Most of the players were regulars who knew each other, and almost everybody was very friendly and joking around. It was a fun tournament. I was in a pretty big hand early on with AQ, the flop was Q93, and my opponent, who had called my reraise preflop, check-raised me on the flop. That's really strong, so he probably had 99, but I figured I'd see one more card, so I called. The turn was a Q, so I had three queens, but if he does have 99, he has a full house. He bet pretty small, though, so I called, and I hit the fourth queen on the river to win. Super lucky, but a bad play; I should have folded the flop and turn when I knew I was beat. The funnest part of the tournament was that every time the guy with the visor three players to my right had a jack, he won the hand in some way, often coming from behind by hitting another jack or two on the turn or river, so everyone was laughing about that.

I wonder how long that took.

I don't like most BMWs, but the new i8 is really cool. $140,000 though.

One way to create and ad: white stones on a hill.

In the afternoon we drove down to Oceanside to lie by the beach because it was super-hot in Temecula, but it was actually overcast and cold there, so we decided to head home.