Wednesday, October 4, 2000

Keep the Wagons Moving

We took no pictures yesterday. This is pretty much a monumental thing since we seem to have been averaging about 100 a day each for the past week or so. But it was a travel day and we saw no lions or tigers or bears (oh my!) and the order of the day was just to get started on the road home.

I hoped to be on the road by 9:30. We were on the road by 9:28, which is in itself something of a miracle. I thought it was going to be a 2 hour drive to LA, but it was more like 3 by the time we arrived at Steve's. We didn't get lost and we only stopped once, for gas, so we're starting to feel like we know what we're doing. On top of that, as we drove through Huntington Beach we felt right at home. We even got off on the Magnolia off-ramp, when it was time for our gas stop, since we spent so much time wandering around on that street on our drive down and we more or less knew we we'd find there.

As we drove through LA, the offramps now seemed like old friends -- Mulholldand Drive, Sunset Blvd.... We could reminisce about being Lost in Beverly Hills just a few days before.

We got to Steve's shortly before 12:30. Today is his birthday and I'd told him we'd take him to lunch to celebrate. We drove to an eclectic cafe in NoHo (North Hollywood). I know it was an eclectic cafe because it was called The Eclectic Cafe. Steve and I ordered baked chicken and Peggy ordered scallops and when the waitress asked if she wanted them blackened, she said yes, thinking they would broil them or something. She didn't realize that "blackened" meant they would come Cajun style, and extremely spicy, so after she took the first bite and smoke poured out her ears, I decided to switch plates with her. I'd never had an order of scallops before (though knew I liked them because I'd eaten them before). They were quite tasty and Peggy was much happier with the roasted chicken.

After lunch we walked over to the El Portal theatre, which Steve's partner Jimmy runs, stopping en route at the office of Ronda Espy, in whose recording studio Steve had cut a demo CD a week or so ago. But when we got to the El Portal, Jimmy was out galavanting, so we didn't get the chance to see him, or to give Peggy the grand tour of the theatre complex, though Steve did talk about the city's planned renovation of the NoHo area and how it was going to become a big entertainment complex, with the El Portal at its center. It all sounds very exciting. (Maybe I'll come down and review some theatre for The Enterprise now that I'm a big theatre critic.)

We went back to Steve & Jimmy's for a bathroom break before getting back on the road again. Steve played his latest song for us (even Peggy, who is not a fan of Steve's music, liked it) and explained his concept for his next show, which sounds very kewl indeed.

And then for the last leg of the trip, the drive to Santa Barbara, which was another short jaunt. We took a brief turn around downtown Santa Barbara just so Peggy could get a feel for what the town was like, and then we came here to Walt's sister's house to wait for her to get home from work. Oddly enough even after so much time in the car together in the past week, it was very nice to have the chance to just sit, without the motor running, and to talk, watching the crows flying overhead through the open sun roof. We reminisced about our activities thus far, and talked about the time Peggy has left of her vacation here. I enjoyed it very much, and I realized what close friends we have become in a short period of time and how much I will miss her when she returns to Australia.

Alice Nan returned from work, followed just a few minutes later by Tom so after introductions, we all piled in Alice Nan's car and drove out to see the new condo she's just purchased while there was still some daylight left. It backs up on property owned by the University of California Santa Barbara, an area called "the bluffs" and, I think she said "the marsh" and will be just great, because she has a vast expanse of land between her back fence and the cliff overlooking the ocean, and no threat of development in the foreseeable future. She said when she was looking at the house she was already wondering where I'd plug in my computer when I came to visit. With luck, it will be at a window overlooking the ocean. I might plan an extended stay....

Dinner was at Harry's, the hauf brau for the "in" crowd of Santa Barbara. Nothing fancy...just good plain cooking. Peggy's style. And after dinner we went up to show Peggy Tom & Laurel's new apartment and to allow her to get her dog fix by playing with the two big dogs, Sierra and Akila.

Then back here to visit for a bit until we were all having drooping eyelids. Tom went home, Alice Nan and Peggy went to bed and I sat here reading the 50 e-mails that had accumulated during the day. I was going to write a journal entry, but I was too tired and had nothing to say. When I awoke at 5 a.m., I was no longer too tired, but still really had nothing exciting to say, and now I've said it.

It's not a great story. It's just what happened.

Today we'll head out as early as we can and hope to get home in time for Walt and me to get into the car (groan) and drive to San Francisco for the symphony. It's Blomstedt conducting! How can I miss it? I just hope I snore in time to the music.

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