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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Friday, July 25, 2014

West Coast Trip 2014, Part II

As promised, here is the continuation of the previous post... (and timely, I might add!)

At last year's Camp, I led a workshop that I so thoroughly enjoyed presenting, that right after, I proposed another workshop to Michele (the founder of SSLF) for 2014. She loved the idea of it, but with having moved just before Camp 2013, and all the work I've been doing on the house since, all the activities the kids have gotten involved in, etc., I didn't follow up with it.  I felt bad about that, but I did let Michele know that if she needed my help with anything - anything at all - for Camp 2014, I would be ready and willing.

About a month before Camp, Dana (one of her awesome volunteers and also my friend) texted me and asked if I would be willing to assist with the Segway Tour for the Alumni Track. The Alumni Track is the name for the series of events that have been set up for those of us who return time and time again to Camp, but don't exactly have the same needs as the others. We also really enjoy Camp almost as a reunion with the lifelong friends we've made through the organization. 

Segway Tour.... I wasn't quite sure what that was, but I was so happy that they thought of me that I eagerly agreed. About a week before, I decided to look up the keywords, "Segway Tour San Diego" to see exactly what I had gotten myself into.

So THAT'S what those things are called that I saw last year tooling around town that I vowed to never ride on.

Determined to not let my favorite organization down, I decided to suck it up. I mean, how bad could it be, anyway??? Lots of people think they're fun!

So Friday was the first official day of Camp, and as I mentioned before, Matt's birthday.  Assisting with that tour gave me some purpose for that day. My job was to basically get our group from the hotel to the Segway Tour office nearby (within walking distance), and keep track of everyone. We got from the hotel to the office without too much trouble. There were two tour guides that gave us all a tutorial on how to ride a Segway. They make it look so easy... It requires a fair amount of balance and coordination - two things I'm somewhat lacking in (I haven't blogged about how I broke my wrist and nearly my back while rollerblading with the kids this past March yet, did I).

We each took a turn on a Segway to get a feel for it and practice what we've learned. We were practicing on a nice, open, level space - perfect for this sort of thing. Once we felt confident enough, they would take us out onto the sidewalks for a tour of the beautiful gas lamp district of San Diego. I never felt very confident, but didn't want to hold us up any longer than I already had while trying to get comfortable on this thing.

The first thing we do when we head out is go down the sidewalk onto the road, then up the next sidewalk. All slanted, sloped areas that we did NOT practice on! I nearly lost it both times, but somehow managed to keep it together and make it down the block to the next crossing, but my nerves were getting increasingly frayed as we went on. Got down the one side, and by the time I got up to the other side, my nerves were completely shot, and I couldn't get a handle on the slope and ended up doing a 360 on the corner, nearly hitting a car at the stoplight. I'm yelping at this point and the guys in the car are laughing their asses off. The one guide was able to help me stop so I could get off, thank GOD, and told him (as I'm shaking and fighting back tears) that I am not getting back on that thing. The lady guide came over and I told her I can't get back on, but I'm willing to jog along with the group. She said, "No one has ever jogged and kept up with a Segway. You can go back to the office, and when we're done, we'll come back for you. Don't worry - we'll take good care of the girls for you."

I told her (rather emphatically), "Oh, don't worry - I'll keep up. I was put in charge of this group and I'm NOT leaving them."

She reluctantly agreed, and we continued on. Did I mention I was wearing flip flops?

I managed to keep up - for a total of SIX MILES. It was all adrenaline, people - I'm not a skilled runner.

At one point, though, we hit a long straight-a-way, and the Segways were picking up speed. At this point, I'm holding my flip flops and running barefoot to keep up, and was focused on my breathing so I didn't cramp up. I was in the zone. So much so, that I ended up losing two of the girls that were behind me- our hearing impaired widow (Donna), and her interpreter (Carrie).

So now, I've officially failed at the two main things I was supposed to do for this event in such an awful way.

Fortunately, the male guide went back and found them fairly quickly, but it took a while for them to catch up to us at the office. Thankfully, we ended up all together and accounted for.

Now, during the last nearly six years that I've been widowed, I have heard umpteen times someone say in various different circumstances, "In all my years of blah blah blah, I've never seen blah blah blah." Apparently, this was no exception.

The guides told me that in all the years they've been doing this tour, they've never had anyone keep up on foot - let alone in flip flops. They also have a policy that if you don't have a good time, you don't have to pay for the tour. This was the first time they ever let someone get the tour for free. One of the guys also mentioned that in order to keep up with a Segway, you need to run at a man's marathon rate. I highly doubt we were going at that rate of speed considering all the obstacles we encountered along the way, but it sure was a boost to my ego! Adrenaline, people.

Now that all that was over, it was time for our group to go to lunch before heading back to the hotel. One of the ladies knows the area well and suggested a place called Dick's Last Resort. I've never heard of the place, but apparently it's supposed to be very entertaining with an intentionally obnoxious (and politically incorrect staff). Totally fine by me, since I was too exhausted to have any political correctness left in me, anyway - and I just wanted beer. We were trying to tell Donna (who thankfully has a great sense of humor) where we were going. We said the name three times, and finally, I used a very politically incorrect gesture, and she immediately understood. =P

They had the biggest bottle of Corona I have ever seen in my life at that restaurant, and I was able to properly say cheers to the birthday boy with my widda peeps.

I'm sure Matt was watching as all this transpired, and was extremely entertained for his birthday!!

PS - Did you know the guy who invented the Segway apparently Segwayed off a cliff and died??? It didn't surprise me too much to hear this news.

One more entertaining tidbit - here's a fun video that my friend Matt sent to me after the "incident." Enjoy!

(PART III, to be continued...)


Michelle said...

Oh Andrea, what a story!! :) I can just see that happening. Thanks for writing down this hoot of a story! I'm glad the camp went (relatively) well!

Anonymous said...

Well Andrea: I consider myself relatively co-ordinated and I fractured my ankle the day before Mother's day on the golf course!!
Glad to see you back blogging.


mel said...

As a witness to your incredible run I can testify that you were amazing!!!

Andrea Renee said...

Thanks so much, guys!! =P

And so sorry to hear about your broken ankle, Mel!