I turned 40 on Monday. My husband knew he wanted to do something to soften the blow, so, four months ago he told me to take some days off of work and don't ask any questions. On Saturday, I had a party at Disneyland. Wheee! At that party, I was given a gift by my husband. A multi-frame photo display. But WAIT! It already had pictures in it: Catalina Island. A photo of the coolest mid-century-looking hotel on that Island. A picture of a helicopter. A picture of a boat. Hhhmmm. I was told to pack less than 25 pounds of stuff and we were leaving in the morning! Sunday morning we get to the helioport. Fog, fog, and more fog. No flights the rest of the day. Husband calls the agent he booked with and we are quickly told to drive to the other side of the marina to catch the boat, but the next one is sold out. Booo! We race over anyway and the gate agent says, run, run, we're holding the boat for you!!! YAY! And we are on our way! Of course, husband is mad we didn't get to fly on the chopter, but how cool is it that he planned this whole thing and we were going to be Jet-Setting fools? We dock at Avalon, Catalina and get to the Pavilion Lodge and we have the prettiest room. Blue and green and the softest. plushest, most luxurious bed ever created by mankind. We unpack and head to our first tour: A submarine! The submarine tour is really cool. It is a little dizzying at first, but you get used to it. A kajillion fish go by and you get to see giant kelp and Garibaldi swim by and they look like they are looking at us. Wait, they ARE looking at us as they can see us just as good as we see them! We ARE the fish tank now! After that, a nap. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have an Island of fun and I can do anything I want and I took a nap. I must be old. After the nap, we hit the bars. My goodness, you haven't bar-hopped until you've done Avalon. Imagine 20 of the coolest and most relaxed bars all within three feet of each other. And you don't have to drink alcohol, either, to have fun. But we did. By the end of the night, I had amassed four sailors and my husband. We ended up at the Marlin Club with a barkeep with a silly apron. I can't say here what was ON the apron, though... It turned midnight in the bar and I turned 40. WHOOOOO! By then I stopped drinking so everyone bought me a Shirley Temple. (I didn't want to wake up hung over, see.) We goodnighted the sailors and went to sleep. Waking up the next day, we had breakfast at the waffle place just next door to our hotel. We got ready for the Loop Tour and got on a 1950's bus. Okay, yes, I love mid-century, so it really was a vacation back to the past. The bus tour was such a great idea. Too bad the execution wasn't as good as the idea. It was hot and too dusty for us. And at four hours, it was two hours too long. But, we did get to see the ranch, the airport and some really great views of Bison and the interior of the Island. Had it been two hours, it would have been right on the money. The tour covered the history of the island and some idea of the direction it is going today, plus some background on the recent fires they had. The views, though, were well worth it. Just gorgeous! After that, it was a shower and a relaxing afternoon on the beach. Then, we got all gussied up for Steve's Steakhouse with a view of Avalon. Good food, great wine and perfect service. Too bad I burst into tears at dinner. Again, I was turning 40. After dinner, I wanted ice cream. And I got some! A vanilla cone dipped in chocolate and then back to bed. I was beat. Waking up the next and last morning on our mini-trip, I was sad to have to leave. But I was leaving in a helicopter! We had several hours to go and we hadn't seen much of Avalon outside of the bars. So now what...? We rented a golf cart. Since I was the experienced golf-cart driver of our family, I got to drive. (I worked on studio lots and had our own in my department.) Husband is the navigator. ZOOOOM! We went all around town and followed the rules and the map and found the botanical garden and the bell tower and the Casino and took some great photos overlooking Avalon. It is amazing how wonderful fresh air smells when you live in the city. We turn our golf cart in and take a walk on the green pier and see if there are any tours we can take before we go. The green pier is the pier in the middle of the town where all of the tour guides and companies are stationed. It is also where you can rent boats, kayaks, snorkling gear, etc. But, alas, either the tours were full or the timing was wrong. So, we went off for Italian food and picked a place with ocean views. Sigh. We get our stuff from the hotel and take a taxi to the helioport. Now, I am afraid of heights and I wasn't even sure if I could get ON the helicopter. We waited and it was a bit late and then you could hear this noise in the background and thuarp-thuarp-thuarp here it is. I get the backseat and a huge window. It takes off and wobbles right then left then we swoop up and down right into the ocean. Okay, that's just how it felt because we were 15 feet from the ocean at take-off and those things dip down to fly. After a minute, I relaxed. I am never taking a boat to Catalina again. 14 minutes of jet-setting joy and you get to see all of Avalon from above. And we zoomed a cruise ship and a few container ships. We were about 300 feet above the ocean. Okay, I have no idea but it felt like 300 feet. It was scary and thrilling and fun! We looked for dolphins and whales but came up empty. We landed in Long Beach and ended up in a how-long traffic jam. The end!