Hess Bike Tour – June 1, 2024

Tacos, water views, and good company

Map link: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1AJqlbNMHbQuSPoMmYpTS1nK94G0om3s&usp=sharing

Starting in North Park at 8 AM, approx 4 hour ride with tacos, coffee, and cool ocean breezes. Hit me up if you’d like to join us. Cheers!

Pizza Port 100 (Volume 2) – May 18, 2024


2024 route – South to North version

Pizza Port is a long beloved pizza and beer business in San Diego. May 18, 2024 we’re going to be riding bikes to hit all 6 locations and enjoy the beautiful SD coastline. Map link below, if you’d like to join please email or text me. Cheers!

Pace will be in the 10-15 miles an hour range, below is the estimated timing for each stop, based on Google Maps projection (which is about 10 mph pace).


Approx. 100 miles, maybe a bit more or less. Will take all day and plan to stay in San Clemente or have a ride back home from there. Hopefully train will be operating to SD at that point in time, but I wouldn’t bank on it.

We’ll start in North Park at 6:30 AM then head south to Imperial Beach before turning North and ending at San Clemente. Note: We may not be able to access Camp Pendleton and if so would be riding on the freeway shoulder for approx. 12 miles to end the day.

2023 edition Strava summary

San Diego – Pros and Cons of Living Here. Bonus: Considerations if Moving Here

Any place has pros and cons. Cost of living, weather, job opportunities, access to airports, access to outdoor recreation, and so on. I recently asked on X what the biggest 3 Pros and biggest 3 Cons are for living in San Diego. I had approx. 45 responses and I think they’re a good summary of factors for living in San Diego. You can check out the thread here:

I’d like to add my thoughts on living in San Diego and elements to consider if you are moving here.

  • The Weather is Awesome – I made fun of how often this gets mentioned the first 3 years I lived here. Now I reference it very often. It is really pleasant, although definitely colder than you probably expect if you haven’t visited here before. It gets chilly in the dark and never really hot.
  • Water Views and Urban Canyons – these are my two highest rated housing location considerations to look for, and I’d probably put the canyons above water views – mostly because coastal areas are quieter and less interesting. Ocean breezes are also very good, even if without a water view.
  • Mexico – If you live in San Diego you need a passport and a Global Entry card (with your vehicle SENTRI registered). Go to Tijuana, farther south into Baja or all the way to Cabo, Valle de Guadalupe, and so many other places. You can also fly anywhere in Mexico very affordably via the Tijuana Airport which has a US access point at the Cross Border Express (CBX) airport crossing. It costs approx. $25 each way to utilize, on top of parking.
  • It’s Early to Bed / Quiet – Trying to match up with East Coast timezones, a lot of military personnel, and surfers / hikers / yoga-ers / Orange Theory and F45 lead to a lot of early mornings. SD shuts down earlier than any other big city I’m familiar with. I don’t mind it at this point in my life, but it was a surprise on arrival.
  • Less Pretension – Not sure why, but what people do for work or where they went to University are not as prominent as in other places I’ve lived. There is a lot of money and expertise here, it’s just not first topic of conversation.

As with the X responses, it is expensive to live in San Diego. Per one recent study the 8th most expensive place in the US. #1 place to live for the 8th highest price? Sounds like a good deal. #SDlove

typical day in San Diego (Windansea Beach in La Jolla, which is a neighborhood of San Diego)

Carvana Is Awesome + Cars Are Expensive

My spousal equivalent (SE) had a job promotion opportunity in 2021 that would require driving to work. A focus of our family decisions has been to have a pretty centralized area for daily activities (work, school, activities, residence, groceries, etc) for convenience, community ties, and cost so the need for a dedicated car for work transport was a pretty big factor in our decision on the job opportunity.

SE decided to take the opportunity and consequently we ended up buying a 2nd vehicle. We purchased a 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid from Carvana for $23,990 in early 2022. This vehicle purchase was the absolute best car purchase experience of my life and I would highly recommend checking out Carvana. I’m not really big into car finishes and features; mostly looking for good value and convenience so that might vary for others. I think it took about 15 minutes start to finish to select, purchase (including financing, registration, etc.) this vehicle. 10 days later I picked it up (about 10 minutes total, mostly for signing documents) and drove it home.

About a year after making this purchase SE got the opportunity to transfer back to a closer work location. Making the move was a no-brainer but we kept the vehicle, mostly because of potential uses for it – who knows when a friend might borrow, or a kid is sick, or the adults in the house just want to do something at the same time in different places. So we kept the second car until after being out of town for a month, and then not using the car for another month after returning we considered getting rid of it.

The anchoring effect was strong – we already had the car so moving from the current default took effort. But we decided to go ahead (and we’ll probably purchase another second vehicle at some point in the future, but who knows?).

How much did this modestly priced vehicle cost us over our ownership period? Approximately $667.46 per month. Probably on the low side, but I’m trying to be conservative to not inflate the actual numbers – I had to estimate for oil changes, repairs, gasoline, as we don’t track tightly.

Median household income in San Diego is $89,457 so to put in perspective, this sort of modestly priced used car would cost about 9% of the median household pre-tax income here in SD.

We sold the car on Carvana and again the experience was great – quick, simple, and easy. I’d estimate we took about a 15% discount to what we might have achieved trying to sell the car ourselves on Craigslist or other sites. We sold the car for $16,940 in September 2023, about 18 months after purchasing it.

Owning a car (or 2 or 5) varies between households, but the cost is pretty significant for the average household. Wanted to share our recent vehicle purchase and sale info.

Howth Cliff Walk – A Dublin Highlight

I was recently in Dublin for the college football kick-off game of Notre Dame vs. Navy (Go Irish!). The weather was lovely, the Guinness was smooth, and the company was pleasant. A friend suggested a coastal hike in Howth, a peninsula just to the East of center Dublin. I’d never heard of the area but sounded like a fun activity so we took the Dart Train to it’s end point in Howth.

The hike was an absolute stand-out of the trip and I’d highly recommend to anyone visiting Dublin. I really like having some physical activity each day when traveling, so it was a great pair with a night out in the pubs. There are a few different options for the Howth Coastal Walk and we did the longest, a full circle hike beginning and ending at the Howth Dart (Train) station in the main commercial area on the North side of the peninsula. There are a number of way-finding signs to get you started from the train station and once on the route it’s pretty apparent which way to go. The total was 7.5 miles, about 1,000 feet elevation gain, and took about 3.5 hours. The ocean was in view for the entire hike, as well as views of Dublin, some large sheep grazing, and a rolling golf course. There were a couple of spots to stop and jump in the ocean, which was about 60 degrees, but we didn’t take a dip – I wish we would have looking back now.

All in all a great half day activity in central Dublin. 5 stars.

From Set Structures to Self-Driven Choices

Growing up most of your environment is dictated by others and there is often a discrete and easy measuring stick to determine success. Did you get an A? An F? Who was fastest at the track meet? Are you on Dean’s List or not?

The employment world, especially at larger entities, is similar. Were you promoted according to the typical progression? What was your percentile rank this year and where did your manager score you on 1-5 Employee Achievement Scorecard? There’s a flow to the year that’s set and certain steps that occur on a schedule that is more-or-less standardized and consistent.

From birth through most of my twenties the above sort of metrics environment governed most of my world, outside of purely personal decisions. I did mostly well and it’s funny how a set scale of achievement can set your mind at ease. Got an A, maxed out the scale, mission accomplished, move on.

After leaving and becoming self-employed I’ve had to make a mind-shift that can be difficult. Being self-employed or running your own business doesn’t offer easy metrics to gauge and motivation and goals have to be self-set and self-driven. It’s also more apparent that the tidiness of a grading scale doesn’t really apply to most things. You might experience great growth and success but was it the top-level growth? Did you achieve in all areas or just some? How do you feel about those areas that you know you did not excel at, even if overall you’ve had success?

Sometimes I find the lack of specificity hard to deal with. There is no road map when you run the business, make the decisions, and there’s an infinite universe of options to take with finite resources and time. Even a smashing success – a 100% return in a year, for example – can feel in many ways like a failure. Another option was 150% and you didn’t take it. The overall outcome was good but just due to luck – it’s not repeatable and not due to your actions. Even if it was from your actions look at all the misses ensconced in that “win” – failing to optimize vendor agreements, substandard lending selection, below optimal revenue level. That 100% should easily have been 120% and you also lost future opportunities because of this performance miss.

These feelings are likely tied into the similarly messy and hard to grade role of being a parent. There is no strict guidebook for parenting and even if there was, it would be outdated quite quickly as the world changes and we must respond.

Summertime Sadness Road Trip – Kanab, UT to Lafayette, CO

Uncompahgre River in Ouray, CO

Uncompahgre River in Ouray, CO

Leg 2 of our summer 2023 road trip – Leg 1 here.

Stop 3 – Ouray, CO

After a really nice stop in Kanab, UT we headed NE toward Ouray, CO – a small mountain town near Telluride (approx 400 mile drive). The first part of the trip took us through northern Arizona, with a brief stop at Horseshoe Bend. We also stopped at 4 Corners along the way. Lots of big, open space on the first half of the drive.

I’d forgotten how pretty Colorado is and especially driving into cooler temperatures and mountains with trees and rivers after a long stint in the very hot Southwest summer. Eva decided that Colorado was the best state by far of our trip after about 20 miles in the state. (Although she also swore no more Mexican food until we’re close to the border after getting burned by bad refried beans at a pub.)

We made a brief ice cream stop in Telluride which had a really nice feel and I’d like to go back for a long weekend adult trip (lots of good looking restaurants, coffee shops, hikes, etc.). Driving downhill in the mountains was a bit intense as our brakes and rotors are looking like they need replacing. Eeeek!

Ouray is a beautiful little town with mountains all around, a very large hot springs pool, and lively Downtown. We played pitch for an afternoon at the Ouray Brewery and our small motel had a balcony right over a small river and we saw deer right outside a number of times. We didn’t get to do the Perimeter Trail around the town, but is on my list for a return visit as well. Maybe even a hike from Telluride to Ouray…

Highlights: Ouray Hot Springs pool, Colorado trees and waterways, hotel rooms with a small outdoor space for parental sanity.

Stop 2 – LaFayette, CO

Continuing through Colorado we took a pretty drive through Gunnison on US Highway 50 and over the Monarch Pass through the Rocky Mountains. The drive took us through Fairplay, CO (inspiration for South Park TV show) and was about 350 miles. The car was shaking pretty hard on the downhills and me forgetting to put it in low gear, but we made it through. A brief thunderstorm and hail just before arriving with family in LaFayette, just east of Boulder.

We had a great time enjoying some Colorado beers, playing in the backyard and at local playgrounds / parks, and a fantastic local indoor pool. The kids really liked the fast two-story water slide. Somehow I neglected to get any photos in Colorado so below are from the first half of this section.

Highlights: Time with family, playing pitch, shooting water guns (pewers) in the backyard, more than one room for the first time on the trip.

Summertime Sadness Road Trip – Summer 2023

Draft version of trip

School is out for the summer and this year we’re loading up the mini-van (Honda Hotyssey) and heading out on the road en route to a Minnesota lake house stay. I’m excited for the trip and have named it the Summertime Sadness tour since I really like the Lana Del Rey remix jam.

Thought I’d document the trip for future reference and reverie with some posts along the way.

Stop 1 – Las Vegas, NV

About 350 miles on the first leg of the trip, with a stay at Luxor in Las Vegas. Had to take the van in to a shop in Vegas due to pretty good shaking on the last bit of the drive up. Front tires a bit too old and starting to separate – better than blowing up the transmission like last time I drove this way.

Oh – and Vegas is insane hot in the summer. After about a day I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard it would be to live here in the hotter months. #SDlove

Highlights: Gelato at MGM Park (Eataly), Discovery Children’s Museum, drinks at Red Dwarf with family, attempted hike at Ice Box Canyon in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area – ended after less than a mile due to children mutiny. Honorable mention: Chipotle – my absolute favorite chain for meals with kids on the road. $5.55 for rice, beans, meat, orange / chips, and drink. Probably helps that rice and beans are our kids’ favorite foods…

Stop 2 – Kanab, UT

First, my apologies to Kanab – I was expecting a dusty small town in the southern-most part of Utah with not much going on. Instead a pretty charming town with lots of red rock mountains rising up around it, a nice Main Street, and a stellar Fourth of July concert and fireworks in the main town park. Main feature of the town is probably proximity to popular National Parks (Zion, Grand Canyon, Bryce, etc). About 250 miles from Las Vegas to Kanab by way of Zion National Park.

Zion was our stop on the way to Kanab and wow – very cool. The kids wanted to continue up The Narrows trail – a slot canyon with water you walk / wade through. The drive out of Zion to the east was one of the prettiest I’ve seen and even saw a herd of bighorn sheep along the way.

Next day was a trip to North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Spectacular and impressive views but some of the views were a bit too scary for this family. The lodge looked very cool but was closed for the month due to water issues and a pipe fix. Apparently it’s only open about half the year – not sure why but this area would be fantastic to stay in. I’d like to come back and stay in the park.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park was our outing on final day in Kanab. We rented a couple of “sand sleds” and attempted to snowboard down to limited success. We made it out exhausted and feet on fire as the day was warming up and walking while carrying kids on hot sand is pretty tough.

Overall a really nice time in Kanab area although the kid’s favorite by far would probably be the hotel swimming pool followed by the hotel breakfast (cereal).

Highlights: River Rock Coffee Company west of Zion (really cool views, good food and coffee, great prices too), Zion – The Narrows specifically, drive east from Zion, swimming pool and playing jump-catch a lot, Grand Canyon.