The first week was mainly about hanging out with friends, which is a nice way to ease into this travel experience.
We started with one night in Yountville to decompress from the mayhem of moving. Wine tasting at Maisonry and dinner at Bouchon was a great reward for all the work leading up to our departure.
The next night was the aforementioned kitsch-fest that is the Madonna Inn, and then it was off to LA!
My former Apple colleague, Gavin, is a huge theme park enthusiast and coaster fanatic, so we had to make a stop at Magic Mountain. (Pro Tip: buy tickets online at least 5 days in advance to save $25) Between the mid-week timing and the mediocre weather, we really didn’t have to wait for any rides at all!
We managed to ride the front car of 3 different coasters in our first hour of being there! This initally seemed amazing but after the third one, we all admitted we didn’t feel so well and needed to slow down. 🙂
The most interesting ride was The New Revolution – a “VR coaster”. Essentially, they strap a Samsung phone to your face and then put you on a real coaster.
The VR scene is a scifi battle – it appears like you’re flying a jet and battling aliens. While we all agreed there was a lot of opportunity for improvement, it was also incredibly exciting. You had no idea which direction you’d be headed since the VR environment doesn’t show any indication of a coaster track. Freaky! We couldn’t stop talking about it.
After riding all the coasters we could stomach, it was lovely to have a chill night with Mary at her house, playing silly games:
Then the final part of the week was spent in Las Vegas. Tim had been there for work, so he stayed to play with us. SOTB was supposed to come meet us, but after 5 hours of flight delays, his flight was ultimately cancelled and I can only assume he stromed out of the airport with a series of obscenities so vehement that he’s prevented from returning to SFO anytime soon.
Thanks to Tim’s excellent coaching, I managed to walk away from the blackjack tables $300 up! The German got his fill of poker, and we had an amazing dinner experience at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. in the Cosmopolitan – not only was the food amazing, but they had singers and dancers performing throughout the space. I highly recommend it!
Next up: Nature!