Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ragnar SoCal Recap Pt 4

     Those of us in Van 2 headed back to John and Ric’s house for the after party.  When we got there,  I got a quick change of clothes and headed to the back yard.  Everyone's jaws hit the floor when they stepped into the back yard and saw what Ric had put together.  It rivaled some of the best wedding receptions I have been to.  Satin covered chairs, LED mood lighting, fully stocked bar with all the trimmings, propane heaters to keep us warm on a cool night, fine china and flatware, stainless steal buffet style food trays and large umbrellas floating above us.  
John’s Aunt Sue prepared a wonderful spegetti dinner with your choice of a vegetarian or a meat sauce, garlic bread and salad. 
The Ragnaholics joined us as well and I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful way to wind down and celebrate, than with my new running family.
     The next morning John, Susan and myself returned the vans and met the team at Baja Betty's, John’s favorite hangout, for a mimosa brunch.  I of course stayed away from the mimosas but the spread was fantastic and the food was wonderful.  I also partook in the “cheese crack”, which is a homemade cheese dipping sauce that I thought was going to be to spicy for me by the looks of it, but it was not at all.  
     We reminisced about our adventures and took a few picture, then John awarded Tay, who was unanimously voted by van 2 has our All-star of the Van.  Tay is such a wonderful person and totally deserved it.  With her new job and having to move, she had the least amount of time to train and she rocked her three legs, all while having a constant smile!  Cat had the great idea to have everyone sign her BIB but all I had was my medal so I asked everyone to sign the back of mine. 
     After brunch most of the team headed to the world famous San Diego Zoo.  My overall impression was it was a nice facility and had a lot of interesting designed exhibits, but even with a $5 off coupon it was $41 dollars a person.  Once we got into the place we hit the Skyfari chair lifts that took us to the back of the park and gave us a nice birds eye view of the place.  We made our way around the main exhibits, checking out the polar bears, pandas, monkeys and others.  The park is very hilly, and all of our legs were so tired and hurting so we hopped on the double-decker tour bus to get a tour of the rest of the park.  
     We were all pretty exhausted and getting hungry so Hillary’s boyfriend suggested a great fish place on the water called The Fish Market.  The restaurant was literally right on the water of the bay, right next to the USS Midway museum.  I ended up getting the fish & chips mostly because there was not much else that interested me and my basic palate.  It was so nice just to sit and talk with everyone.  I learned so much about their backgrounds and why they are who they are, which is what makes them so great!  The sun set over the bay as we were finishing dinner and we said our sad goodbyes to Caitlin who had to change her flight and get home early for a family emergency.      
      Thomas and I made plans to visit the USS Midway while the ladies made plans to head to Mission beach.  The Midway was amazing!  Its sheer size alone makes you stand in awe of how it can stay afloat.  They offered a free audio tour with your admission so, we made our rounds from the lower decks all the way top side on the flight deck.  The one thing that stood out to me was how the higher in rank you got the nicer the accommodations would get.   Unfortunately we were running short on time so we were not able to make it to the tower tour of the ship.  
     Thomas’s flight was leaving at 5pm and all of us wanted to get together for lunch before I took him to the airport.  We met at a cool little restaurant called Fat Fish in Mission Beach and hung out on the patio.  Again, I got the fish & chips platter, it is my weakness when it comes to seafood.  After a wonderful lunch we had another round of sad goodbyes with Thomas leaving.  After I dropped him off I headed back to Mission beach to check out a huge souvenir shop.  Being that close to the Pacific I told the ladies I couldn’t be this close and not get my feet wet, so we walked to the beach and hung out and took a few pictures.
     We dropped Martha off at her sister’s place, hugged and said our final goodbyes, because her sister was taking here to the airport.  Cat, Bonnie, Katie and I headed straight to the airport to drop Colleen off and say our goodbyes.  The four of us met John and is Aunt Sue at another local favorite of John’s, Gossip Grill.  We grabbed a table on the patio and the ladies ordered some drinks while we waited for John and Sue to arrive.  I was a perfect relaxing end to a long week.  I ordered myself a bacon bbq burger and fries which was really good.  The menu was quite interesting with their choice of words for some of the items.   
     When we finished John took Katie back to the hotel, since it was going to be the last time he would see her.  Cat, Bonnie and I headed back to John’s to pack.  When John got back we sat around and talked for a little while longer before we all crashed for the night.
     Katie, Bonnie, Sue and my flights all left around the same time, so it was quite interesting getting us all to the airport.  John let us use his Jeep Compass to get to the airport, which we filled the entire back cargo area with luggage, we had bags between our legs, on our laps and squeezed 5 people in. 
     Cat’s flight was at 2pm so she dropped us off and John was going to take her back later.  It was hard to say the final goodbyes with everyone, but I was ready to get back home and see Mandy, I had been missing her terribly. 
     My first flight went pretty well, I had an isle seat but this time had someone right next to me.  I was able to get a good bit of reading done but I dozed off for a little while, which was unusual for me.  We landed in Chicago where I had an hour layover.  It seemed to go by pretty quick, because before I new it I was in my window seat taxiing to the runway.  The second flight, a lady that was on my last flight and I shared a row with no middle passenger which was nice.  Once we hit cruising altitude the started passing out drinks and snacks.  I didn’t even have half my drink down when we made a sharp turn and the pilot came on stating we were on final approach and to prepare for landing.  Once off the plane, grabbed my luggage and headed to the door to meet Mandy.
      I have said this is was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.  Its true that I will never forget, and have made 11 new life long friends, but the adventure was so fun I know other Ragnars are in my future.  If you asked me if I would recommend doing a Ragnar, I would say HELL YES you should. 
     Till next time, thank you Strangers to Solemates for such a wonderful adventure!!!


  1. Great recap Dean. Glad to share the adventure with you!

    1. Thanks Thomas! It sure was a great time.

  2. Loved reading your recap! You truly are a wonderful person Dean and I feel like the lucky one to have gotten to know you.

    1. Thanks Paige! I couldn't ask for a better exchange partner!