As the summer of 2016 came to a close it was time for the SoCreate team to make another run at a company fun trip. We decided to recreate the experience from June 2012 and hit up K1 Speed in Anaheim, California for some go-kart action one day and Universal Studios in Universal City, California for a VIP tour the next. So we rented a big old 12 passenger van and hit the road.
Day one began with a stop for lunch in Studio City at Cocina Condesa for some Mexican street food. It was one of those hot, late summer afternoon days in sunny southern California, and while eating our lunch street side was a killer vibe, everyone was happy to get back into the air conditioned van when we were done. But no one was excited about chillin' in traffic through L.A. on the way down to Anaheim.
A good majority of our team had experienced the K1 race-off from 2012, but there were some that were on their way to their first "fast" go-kart experience. Tips were shared, strategies were "Googled" and everyone hoped that the warehouse that held the track wouldn't end up being one thousand degrees.
In 2012 we went to the K1 Speed in Irvine, which had a multi track layout. The one in Anaheim was a single giant track that ran under a walkway and had lots of interesting lines. And, the temperature was moderate...aside from the head sock and helmet that one had to wear that made your head bake like an oven. We were on the track three times:
- Once for a warm up of 12 laps
- A second run for a time trial (fastest lap) of 14 laps
- A final race with positioning based on previous time trial of 16 laps
The whole team had a blast, from passing one another to rubbing rails and even a few pit maneuvers.
While our 2012 experience had us racing with other random people, this time around it was just our team on the track. That definitely made for a great team experience. We even learned a few things about each other. Some have a hidden competitiveness in them, others drive 100% different than they do in a car, and some apparently have a magnetic pull for small chunks of tire.
Upon finishing a late afternoon of racing we headed over to the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach for some dinner at Patty Macs. This place has gourmet mac 'n cheese that is out of this world. After that we headed to our hotel, where a hand full of us stayed awake in the lobby well past midnight sharing stories of the past and solving different mysteries with a bunch of creative thinking and a bit of judgement.
The next morning we set out to make our way up to Universal Studios for the VIP tour. As the team hopped in the unmarked rented van we were approached by another couple at the hotel, who politely asked if this was the bus to the airport. While it was tempting to tell them that we were part of Air SoCreate (we were all wearing the same shirt after all), we respectfully broke the news to them that they were probably going to have to Uber to the airport because we were not the shuttle they were looking for.
After a few hours of Monday morning traffic on 405, 110 and 101 we made it to Universal Studios, but not in time to catch the start of our VIP tram ride. So we opted into going on the normal tram.
Then we hit the rides before a catered all-you-can-eat lunch.
And we finished that off with a VIP tour of the back lot.
It's always interesting to visit a place that is part tourist theme park and part working studio. While the rides and "Hollywood" shops are neat, our team certainly enjoyed the opportunity to walk the lots, see the props, and hear the stories of the industry work that goes on there.
So we closed the summer of 2016 out with a bang and are refreshed and rejuvenated as we approach fall and the end of the year. Next up is the annual Central Coast Writers Conference in our home town, an event that we are proud to sponsor and attend.