Friday, March 27, 2009

Gettin to the Sun

Day One of my SB trip started at 5:00 AM when my alarm went off and my DW hit me. I had been having the most marvelous running dream in which, by some astute observation and quick footwork I was actually winning a race. It was all downhill to the finish and, inexplicably, my neighbor was behind me egging me on, and then, WHAM, and I just stopped running and then . . .

Well, at least the dog was happy to go for a walk that early in the morning. :-P

My day was going to be rather long—SEA-PDX-LAX-SBA starting at 9:00 and ending about about 3:20. Shuttle Express had a bit of a surprise for me. They were showcasing their Seattle-to-Portland shared Limo-Vans and I got to stretch out in leather seated comfort looking everyone once in a while at the television that was going. One other passenger, a rather grumpy businessman. A nice way to start the trip actually.

Got to SEATAC in plenty of time, time enough to stand in a rather long, but rapidly moving check-in line followed by a rather long, but rapidly moving TSA line. 

There were lots of kids and families going off on vacation and people seemed in jovial moods overall. I did notice lots of sweatpants-flip-flops combos that did not make, shall we say, for the most attractive traveling ensembles. 

Plenty of time after all this to head over to the C Concourse for a leisurely breakfast at Dish D'Lish and an even more leisurely jaunt over to N for my flight. 

Not much to say about the flight down to Portland. It was overcast the whole way and I only caught a glimpse of the top-third of Mt. Rainier as we went past. Portland was overcast too and I couldn't see much. 

About an hour of waiting in the terminal, a rather drab little place the reminded me very much of a bustling bus terminal. Difficult to find a place to sit down amidst all the kids racing around, high-spirited teenagers, and uncomfortably seated adults taping away at their keyboards, iPhones, and Blackberries. So many places to be going. 

As I was standing and stretching a bit I heard an uncharacteristically harsh and high-pitched engine noise. Two F-15's went strolling past—dark and sharply menacing. 

You can just see one through the window here. 

I slept for most of the PDX-LAX flight, then read a little of "A Ball, a Dog, and a Monkey: 1957 -- The Space Race Begins" (fascinating), and shared my candy-bar with the little kid sitting next to me. 

Descending over the central coast was pretty interesting. The sun felt wonderful and I had a clear view of the Channel Islands (Anacapa Island, scene of some wonderful kayak caving, touring, and surfing, was particularly apparent). 

Amazing how dry everything looked and to know that I was just going to land, turn around, and come right back the same way. 

Landing in SB was kind of eventful. We came in really hot. It seemed much faster than normal, the pilot hit the breaks hard, and then I was in SB. Sunny, 70's, light onshore flow. Ahh!

Quickly picked up my rental car, a Hyundai Elantra (blue) and off to the hotel. I drove Hollister to State Street checking carefully to see what changes had happened. Not much seems to have. Sure some the businesses have changed but the overall ambience has not. The Taco Hell is still at the corner of Fairview and Hollister, etc..

Turns out that a friend of mine, GW, was transiting through SB on his way up from a conference in San Diego to home up in Marin County. We met as Adventure Programs Staff while we were both in grad school. We also worked on a Politics on the Net research project for BB just before we graduated. CW is an Ultrarunner (something that I simply failed to understand back in my pre-running days) and is the brains behind He had been out at UCSB's West Campus rebuilding a kiln all day (UCSB's Art Department is apparently getting out of the pottery business and has kilns free for the taking) and picked me up a little after 5. We headed out for a quick meal at La Super-Rica, Julia Child's favorite restaurant and a little hole-in-the-wall taquería. Yum!

Then off to Santa Barbara Roasting Company for a coffee and a chat before GW had to head up to the coast. Tomorrow he is crewing the Lake Sonoma 50 and has to be up early. Wonderful to see him. Now, what do we have to do to get him to visit SEA?

After he dropped me off I decided to go chase the sunset. Drove the freeway up and then ended up out at Devereaux Point just as the last rays of the sun (and the surfers) were disappearing. 


In the morning I'll head out my first run since Sunday, March 15, 2009. I feel good and am rarin to go! Afternoon plans include a visit from MB who is driving up from LA to spend the afternoon. 

Can't wait!

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