I said, I'm fine to drive...

Trip Start Jan 01, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, February 18, 2006

A million apologies as we have fallen a bit behind in the blog. Before we can update you on where we are, we need to do some housecleaning. First, before our tearful farewell to Heidi, Clay, Frannie, Elliot and Milo, we must tell you about the wonderful dinner we had with Conn and Marlen on Venice Beach at Piccolo Ristorante, a must if you are in the area, both the place and the company! ZoŽ and I also found Pasadena to be charming and loved Huntington Gardens and the Norton Simon Museum, a wonderfully small museum with just enough masters to make you wish for more but not so many that you become jaded. We also had a wonderful day and evening with my Uncle Robbie, Aunt Thery and my cousin Andrew...visiting Compton and Malibu, two places not often used in the same sentence. I must say that LA seems to be a city that is easy to hate, but we found it to be utterly delightful (aside from some air quality issues)...lots of little cities, each with its own character making up the whole...sorry for the simplification, especially for those who live there, but we both had misconceptions and were happy to have them destroyed. Thanks to all our friends in the LA area for making time to see us!! Shout out to Jason and Ingo!

Upon leaving Malibu, we headed to Santa Barbara. If there, visit Montecito coffee for amazing pastries. The wine country was beckoning us from the beaches and we answered the call most happily. Napa and Sonoma get the press, but the vineyards outside Santa Barbara, now somewhat famous due to the movie 'Sideways,' were spectacular. Set amidst rolling hills populated by cows, coyotes and plenty of birds, the wineries range from the large and commercial (Fess Parker...where Miles pours wine all over himself) to the deliriously under the radar (Foxen...owners Bill and Dick's t-shirt states "If you don't know Foxen, you don't know Dick...or Bill", much funnier AFTER your tasting, I promise.) It's funny how a tastings at a multitude of vineyards and really curvy roads mix so well!! We did manage to make it to San Simeon in time for sunset on the beach amongst lots of retirees and some open pit fires and had a cozy dinner at the Sow's Ear, much better than the name might suggest.

Upcoming stops: Hearst Castle, Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, and San Francisco

Travel Notes:
Most alarming statement heard at a gas station: Woman enters and says, "I don't want to alarm you, but there is a fire in the trash can by the gas pump."
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