Sunday, January 6, 2019

UCSB Road Trip

For all my friends and classmates who travel regularly....I want to be just like you.

I imagine some of you are sick of the road; I'm nowhere near that point. So bear with me as I engage my inner travel geek once again...

Daughter wants to look at UC-Santa Barbara as a potential landing spot. She's with me for the last week of Winter Break. I have air miles and hotel points ready.

So away we go...

Game on.

On New Year's Eve, we drive to Portland and stay near the airport. Surprisingly, Panera Bread is not very crowded. But the tomato soup is really good.

Next morning (Happy Birthday to my big sister Leslie), we're in PDX having breakfast. 13 minutes from the hotel, thru Security, and into Capers Cafe. Once again, TSA Pre-Check is worth its weight in gold.

And our server did some serious sparkle for New Year's Day...

Car rentals from LAX are remarkably inexpensive. A Chevy Impala for $14 a day?!?

Drive up the PCH; we miss the mudslides that happen a few days later....I plan on lunch in Malibu, then I blink and we're past the business district. But it's awfully pretty.

90 miles later, we're in the Kimpton Canary Hotel.

Nice boutique chain, if you're not familiar. And Santa Barbara is, well, Santa Barbara. State Street is a casual version of Rodeo Drive.

Good thing Zoe glams out nicely....

Ok, this picture isn't exactly glam 

After dinner, Zoe whispers, "Look, Dad!" And points to a guy wearing a 'Last Blockbuster Video in America' sweatshirt, which just happens to be in our hometown of Bend, Oregon. Then she is mortified when I chase the guy down. What does she expect?!?

Later, a knock on the hotel room door. Turn-down service. What's that, she asks? When I explain it to her, she bursts out laughing. The rest of the night, I threaten her with turn-down service. Her stomach hurts from giggling.

And then there's this...her new lashes.

And a nice view from our balcony...

Next morning:

Given that school is still out, there are no tours, just a one-hour presentation. And that's plenty. The entrance requirements are stiff, the price tag is high...and Zoe is determined. Prior to the trip, I contact a professor in the Film and Media department, and we find him for a personal meeting. He favors us with a tour and an hour of his time.

Zoe is in her element. She loves the smaller campus feel. And did I mention it's Santa Barbara? She's thinking that Bend might be a bit lacking in comparison.

This tower's elevator is broken, and the stairs are locked. Can't a brother get his workout done?

Zoe loves the lagoon on campus!

And the university's own beach...

Lunch along the waterfront and Stearns Pier. Ridiculous seafood tacos...and a better view.

No autographs, please.

I think I could enjoy spending more time here.

Next morning, while Zoe sleeps, I'm at the laundromat.

Kinda contrasts with that whole turn-down service thing...

Brunch along the water. She really doesn't want to leave town; I'm hip.

Love me some Spanky...

A quick detour through Calabasas so Zoe can say hi to Kris Kardashian. Then a trip down Mulholland...

I have this notion that we can pop into the Getty Museum and enjoy the views. The traffic onto Getty Center Drive suggests otherwise, so we keep going down the 405. And I sit in my first Los Angeles traffic jam. 

I feel so assimilated to LA culture; maybe I should become a yoga mom or something?

Gramercy Tavern in Santa Monica has an Anthony Bourdain mural.

Sigh. Missing me some Tony.

The LAX Hilton does me a solid upgrade to an executive suite. Very sweet!

Outside our window...Runway 25 Right.

Wait a minute...

Upgraded room....Executive suite....600+ square feet

Okay, but




(opens hidden closest)

Oh, here they are.

(with apologies to Bulldog Briscoe)

Nice Executive lounge on our floor. Some munchies, drinks...

And a woman having a conference call on speakerphone. I'm sorely tempted to join in. Or at least sit down at her table and start clipping my toenails.

Zoe's sweatshirt explains it all.

Hilton's lobby is not lacking in electricity. I first stayed here in 1983 for the Rose Bowl's Army Navy Thanksgiving dinner was a hot and cold burrito at 7-11 with my two best Annapolis buds.

Gift shop is selling what?

Zoe sleeps very neatly. My blankets look like they've been blender-ized.

The next morning, some creative make-up.

Back to Portland and the Kimpton Monaco for a couple of days. First up, a few hours in Powell's Books. Then lunch...

What the pho?

Coke vs Pepsi is one rivalry. In Portland, it's Voodoo Donuts vs Blue Star.

When a single donut costs as much as a cappuccino, you're doing it wrong. Or right...

Back to the real world!

Great trip. Zoe really wants to be a California girl.

Anything is possible, kiddo. Get after it!