So I’m here, in South Florida, bringing in 2017 alongside my wife as we’re guests of her best friend for the next few days. Earlier today, we ventured down to Miami Beach, where we did a Segway tour. It was an enjoyable time. There was a person out of the group who fell off of their Segway but it wasn’t me. I’m a pro when it comes to handling the Segway and that goes all the way back to my first time ever getting on one. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Segway tour in Santa Barbara.
How I first came across this moment? While staying with my cousin in suburban Los Angeles during my 2-week West Coast trip in August 2014, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to take a day and ride up to Santa Barbara. It was one of the few areas in California that I had never visited and the drive from Woodland Hills wasn’t terribly bad. In true spur-of-the-moment fashion, I literally had no plans for my day in Santa Barbara. Once I found parking, I took to foot to sightsee around the city. As I was walking back to my rental vehicle from some mild shopping at Paseo Nuevo, I happened upon a bookstore that had every Dr. Seuss and Berenstain Bears book ever made. Directly across the street from that bookstore was Segway of Santa Barbara. I figured I had nothing but time and absolutely nothing to lose so I walked in and signed up for the next tour. I ended up in a group of 6. We did one of the beach tours. After about 25 minutes or so of training, in which I was the only person in the group to not fall, we were ready to go. The tour was fantastic. I got a chance to see some of the hidden parts of Santa Barbara that I probably wouldn’t have seen in such a hastily-planned trip. One of those parts was the Montecito neighborhood, which is home to some pricey and famous real estate. All in all, it was a pretty good tour.
What it meant to me then? My first experience with the Segway actually changed my perception of them. Prior to that first ride in 2014, I associated them with mall cops who often harassed young shoppers unnecessarily. That day in Santa Barbara though, I learned that Segway personal transporters are pretty much like having shoes that are wheels.
What it means to me now? Today, I’m very much fond of the Segway experience. They make it possible to see so much of the cities up close and personal at ground level. Gone are the days of taking tour buses to see the sights. I can see everything I need to see on the Segway and then go back later to follow up. I’ve done this in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, San Diego, and now Miami. Going forward, one of the first things I aim to do when setting my activity schedule during my travels is hooking up a Segway tour. At some point, however, I may get one of them for personal use. I think it would come in handy for the 10-minute walk from the Farragut North WMATA Metro to the Department of the Interior.