The Last Stretch of the 2007 Summer Bus Tour
Posted Friday, October 12, 2007
The Bus from Southern California to Southern Florida!
Monday, August 27, 2007
The fun at Sherman Island, CA soon came to a close but the wind did not. Even as I drove away, the wind was still cranking and people were still riding.
Our next destination would be the Kite Connection at the Pier in Huntington Beach, California. So once again, we began our drive south and made a point to bipass all rest stops along the way, ensuring no encounters with craziness or weirdo’s!!! Yeah right, aren’t we heading to Southern California...home of the weirdo’s?! Oh well!
The trip to Huntington went well and without incident to report. We arrived around midnight and since the bus isn’t the most maneuverable vehicle, especially in very populated cities, we decided to go ahead and park in a large store parking lot for the night. Once again, minus the luxury of jacks, I spent the night on an unleveled surface. Once again, THANK YOU TO WHOMEVER it was on team Best that spilled Coca~Cola on the jacks! I had to spend the night rolling over and almost rolling out of the bed on several occasions!
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The next morning we woke up to find that there was a lot of wind. But due to the fact we had been riding so much in Sherman the decision was made to take a day off to rest. Later in the week, I would soon learn it was a bad idea.
Around noon, we met up with Patrick, from Kite Connection, at the famous Pier.
The first thing Patrick said was how good the wind was going to be and how we should get out there! But personally my aching hands needed a day off. Patrick went kiting and we decided to go ahead and take in a bit of “scenery” (wink wink) from the top of the pier. Wow! Southern California sure is nice and the Pier has some great views of, uh, kiteboarding. YEAH! KITEBOARDING going on out in the water!
A while later, we decided to make it down to the beach and visit the kiters and feel the water.
Down on the beach, we ran into Patrick again, who had just gotten off the water from a bit of a mishap and was bleeding from the shin. It turns out, he completed what I like to refer to as a “boost to board shin trick." It's not one of my personal favorites but I have seen a few people master it.
Really?! Yeah, that cut on your leg looks like you had a blast!!!!!! Hmmm, NO. Either way, Patrick did have a blast and I should have listened to him about going out to kite because throughout the rest of our stay there wasn't any wind.
Even though the wind was minimal, we did get some good swell.
That night Patrick decided to play “Mr Fun Time” host and take me out on the town. I thought to myself, “Alright...a night out in Huntington Beach. This will be awesome!” There were three of us out on the strip; me, Patrick and his friend Dan or Dave….I don't remember. Whatever. Around the time of our 3rd drink and 2nd shot, I realized that Patrick was buying all of the drinks. I figured it was my time to step up and go and buy the next round. This was when I realized something was terribly wrong. I asked Patrick what his drink of choice was and he said, “Dude, I don’t drink.” Immediately, the drinking came to a SCREEEEEEEEEEECHING HALT! (Editors note: Be weary of the guy buying the drinks who doesn’t drink himself!) “What the hell are you talking about Patrick?!” I replied. Then he said “Yea man, I just don’t drink.” This was scary to me for many reasons. First of all, I was already feeling the effects of the alcohol. Secondly, I wasn’t quite sure what that meant for me. Thirdly, why in the HELL are you in a bar if you don’t drink??? His sobriety, however; was good though for one reason “Designated Driver”!!!!! So, we spent the rest of the night (more like until 1 am because I am "old" as Patrick said) harassing various people in the bar and trying to rally up a game of Naked Twister. It was actually a bad idea just to let you know because it got us kicked out of one bar. Well, not actually because we voluntarily left upon the management's suggestion.
We did however see some cool stuff down there, like the Silver Man, who was ½ scary and ½ cool.
I also saw a bikini made out of sea shells. I also didn’t know this………if you see a girl wearing a bikini made out of sea shells……and you hold her…next to your ear…….you can hear her scream. I thought I would hear the ocean but it was kind of hard to over her screaming.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The next day we spent on the beach pumping up kites (regardless of the lack of wind) and got in a session of surfing next to the pier. Other than that, not much else happened. Although, we did have a few people stop by and inquire about the kites. How could you miss the Best Bus on the side of PCH with kites pumped up?!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
The following day we had to tie up a few loose ends on the bus such as transmission fluid and oil changes. The final task was an eventful time in the Wal-Mart parking lot. You see, as it turns out the front tires on the bus have never been changed? WHAT? You have to be kidding me!!
With the on-call help from Ramon Robles of R & R Auto Service, we finally got the tires changed.
Now that the bus was taken care of, we were sure we'd make it across the U.S. without any mishaps! (Well, define "mishaps"...That story is yet to come.)
Friday, August 31, 2007
It was time to refocus our attention on kite demos but we needed wind and it wasn't happening.
With no wind in the forecast, I decided that it would be nice to reunite with one of my old friend's, Tony from Texas ,who currently resides in California. Tony became a helicopter pilot, when he moved to California, and has since learned to fly quite well. Fortunately for me, Tony made some time to see me and offered to take me for a ride in his helicopter!
It was an awesome flight and we had a blast! He seemed to know all the hot spots and I felt a little like the paparazzi because we flew at around 200 feet off the ground over the beautiful Californian coast....
Eddie Murphy’s house...
The Playboy Mansion...
Next to the HOLLYWOOD sign..
Through (YES THROUGH) downtown Hollywood...
Malibu and the Malibu surf point...
And so many other cool spots! It was quite a ride!
Thank you Tony and Jane for an awesome trip and I am so HAPPY for the both of you!
And many thanks to my new Casio Exelim Ex-Z77! I was able to photograph this amazing trip and offer insight to my experience to everyone!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
My Southern Cal trip had come to an end and it was time to prepare for an approximate 2,700 mile cross country trip. Today, I learned that I would have a couple of "co-pilots" alongside with me to Florida. (Isn’t a "co-pilot" supposed to help navigate and drive?)
I should have realized early on, that my "co-pilots weren't going to be much help to me. At the very first turn of the trip, I asked if I was “clear on the right” and Dan (Really his name is Dave, but it’s really Dan) looked at me while, never looking right and said “Yeah, it looks good to me???????” I thought to myself, "And I have to take these guys all the way to Florida? How did these two get a "bus pass?!"
A few days prior to my departure, Lia, Best's International Sales Rep, mentioned to Patrick (Kite Connection) and Dan that I was going to be traveling solo from CA to FL and there was plenty of room on the bus; so why not Road Trip?! They thought it was a great idea and made plans to do so before I agreed to it. (Now I know why now all those free drinks were coming my way from a guy who doesn’t drink. Obviously, there was a game plan. Patrick loosened me up with drinks that night and I eventually said something about them coming along for the ride too! SNEAKY LITTLE CHEEKY MONKEY isn’t he?!)
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
It was time to hit the road. I knew it was going to be a long 4 day drive but I though with my extra "co-pilots", in tow, it would make for an interesting trip.
Here is how the trip went from the first day...
The first leg of the trip was from L.A. to El Paso (or as I affectionately call it "HELL PASO").
We stopped briefly for a rest at a friend's place in Las Cruces, TX (850 miles into the trip), which is just outside of Hell Paso. Special thanks to Carmen once again for housing the BEST Team riders for the 1,000th time! She loves us and always makes the BEST drinks in the world…..if beer counts!
Thursday, September 6, 2007
El Paso to Houston (800 miles).
Friday, September 7, 2007
We left Houston and drove right into dead stop traffic and torrential rain. With four hours into the trip and only 68 miles traveled, this was one of the longest and most taxing times of the trip.
Which seemed like an eternity, we finally made it to Pensacola, FL! Houston to Pensalcola is usually only an 8 hr drive, that is, if you are not driving the Best Bus. But since we were in the bus it took us close to 13 hours and a lot of frustration. I was sooo happy to get to Pensacola, where we would soon meet up with Dan’s brother. Well, we thought we would meet him quickly. Dan’s brother is a pilot in training and I hope he is a lot better at flying than he is at giving directions because it took us four "U"-turns and 20 minutes worth of directions to find him. (Dictating lousy directions must run in the family.) Anyway, you would be correct to assume that the BEST Bus is NOT a great "U"-turn vehicle. In fact, I would rather take a "board to the shin" (YEAH..PATRICK) than do "U"-turns in the bus!
Saturday, September 8, 2007
We woke up and decided that THIS WAS THE DAY we would make it to BEST Headquarters in Delray Beach, FL!
I would like to interject here and give a genuine "Thank You" to my "co-pilots" for all their navigation assistance and special "thanks" to Lia for hooking me up with these guys.
Here are some pictures of my astute passengers and what they accomplished, on the bus, while I drove the whole way across the U.S.
By leaving Pensacola at 8 am, we figure we would make it to South Florida by 5pm, at the latest. Oh, we were sooooooooo wrong! We didn’t arrive until 10 pm and boy was I ready to get out of the bus! I had been driving for 4 days straight and all I could think about was a nice comfy...whatever; couch, floor, bed, or anything other than the bus.
Thankfully, we made it to Delray in one piece and were welcomed with open arms by our Event Coordinator, Keri. Well, one of us was welcomed...
Keri and I decided it was time to drop off the hitchhikers at a local hotel and let them take control of their own destiny up the East coast, which was their plan in the first place.
I never really heard much from them after that night except when they sent a text that read, "We took a VERY VERY slow train."
To Patrick and Dan,
It was really nice meeting you guys. I hope it was as much of an adventure for you as it was for me. Patrick, I think you can actually make it through life...just take my advice and don’t go walking around the streets all night especially in a town that you aren’t familiar with.
Dan, or Dave, sorry you’re a great guy. Thanks for not letting Patrick get killed along the way.
I hope you guys had fun up North and hope you made it back to California.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The bus has made its final voyage home closing the 2007 Summer Tour. It is the first time the bus has been here in over 1 1/2 years and it is good to have her back. She will be making some appearances at local demos around South Florida before it disembarks for the upcoming 2008-2008 Winter Tour.
Stay tuned for the winter chronicles.
One final note...
Thank You very much to everyone who has participated not only in our demos around the U.S. but also to everyone who has made the bus and me a part of their lives, I hope you have enjoyed following along.