After figuring out where the bus was supposed to get me, I had a brief few minutes of car issues.

Me: “What do you mean you can’t come pick me up from the Airbus station?”

Car Gal: “Ma’am, we don’t have a pick up service.”

Me: “Yes you do. I was told to call when I was going to need a ride.”

This went on for several minutes, and two managers later, it was agreed that I would get picked up at the airbus terminal at 3:00. Silly of them to think I wouldn’t remember.

The wait at the pick-up gate was rather long and I engaged a woman in conversation who was also in from the Boston flight (a fact that I had overheard while arguing with the car people), and who was going to a wedding in the San Francisco area. The best part, she said, was that Jay Leno was going to be there, and then we ended up in a conversation about Andover and how she worked there and I grew up there. Small world syndrome strikes again.

All the while I am staring at the huge fricking palm tree across from the terminal, and thinking “Hey, that’s a palm tree.” Not that I have never seen one before, but it has been twenty years, and the thing was ginourmous. The bus finally arrived and I got in with the help of a very nice and some what off kilter driver by the name of Bill, who carried on a conversation with the other off kilter driver, Bob for about the first twenty minutes of picking people up and weaving through the LA traffic. All the while, I was thinking to myself how HAPPY I was not to be driving through LA because they all seemed to be lunatics.

The Palm trees continued.

They are EVERYWHERE!

After a while, I got bored of palm trees, and turned my attention to the conversations around me, the fact that huge bushes of bougainvilleas grew outside my window, and the fact that I was on a bus going to Santa Barbara. I was scared shitless by the fact that I was alone on the other side of the country, and also exhilarated because it all seemed so normal. to be on that bus. The scenery was awesome.

NOT a place I would feel comfortable driving!

And there were fields and fields of things growing. I found out later that a lot of them were strawberries, of all things, but I was content to think of them as grapes. The one thing that did concern me was the sign on one of the Vet’s offices as we crept through Carpenteria what said “Rattlesnake Vaccinations.” Apparently, this is a real thing, and they can vaccinate a dog over four months of age against Western Diamondback bites to reduce possible effects of being bitten. I wish I had gotten a picture of that one. I had a minute where I thought for sure that I was seeing things.

There was also this really cute little island that reminded me of Sora’s Island from Kingdom Hearts and I had to take about five pictures of it for Will since I just knew it had Paopu fruits growing on it. The bridge was very, very long.

Yes, there are fruits there shaped like stars, I just know it. This one’s for you, Will.

Eventually, we did get to Santa Barbara, almost an hour later than expected. I had a lovely conversation with a guy from India who was visiting for one day to have an experimental eye surgery, and when I finally reached the bus depot, a BMW was just pulling into the parking lot, and there was my ride. I felt kind of important actually. Not everyone gets picked up in a Beemer.

My car, however, was nothing so extreme. I was supposed to have a Mitsubishi economy car, but they ‘talked’ me into the Ford Focus for an additional eight dollars a day. Honestly, in retrospect, I might have been better off with the Mitsubishi given later events, but the Focus did have supreme gas mileage and amazing AC. Which I didn’t need too much, sadly. It was nice during the day, though.

Yes, I took this while driving. I was not going very fast. No one was. Honest.

By now, it was 4:30, and I decided to go to the conference. The highways only seem confusing in Santa Barbara, but they seemed confusing enough to me that day that I had no idea where I was going. And I also had to contend with the fact that all of the signs were Spanish names, and Cabrillo and Carillo sound and look an awful lot alike. Eventally, though, I got it all sorted out and wound my way up into the canyon roads of Toro Canyon towards the Pacifica Institute.

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