Trip Recap... Santa Barbara and the End

Anytime I hear "Santa Barbara", it makes me think of The Graduate, when Ben is searching for Elaine at her college and he shows up at her fionce's frat house and asks about the location for the wedding.

"Where's the makeout king getting married?"

"Santa Barbara!"

That's where we headed for our final stop for a few days... to Mere's parents house.  The drive down along the coast was really beautiful and we couldn't get over how blue the water was. 

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It was a long drive, though... like a really slow rollercoaster... up and down and around...  Don't plan on averaging any more than about 35 or 40 down the coast when all is said and done.  Plus, you'll want to stop at every scenic overlook, too... and you probably should!

We finally made it to her parents house on Sunday afternoon, just in time for dinner.  Her dad is really amazing with their outside grill, but even more amazing as project manager for the construction of their house.  He planned and built their house from an empty patch of land at the top of the hill, and while they're still doing little things like putting in doors and furnishing, its really amazing. 

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If I had this pool, I'd be in it everyday... drifting.. here in the pool... Ben Braddock style.

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Maybe one day we can get Mere's dad to do a video tour Bob Vila style, because knowing her dad, there's a story behind those lights, the fences, the arch, and every stone... the attention to detail was really impressive.

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Mere at home...  finally!

Getting to stay in one place for a few days, as the driver, was a welcome rest.  Her parents were  gracious hosts and joined us for a Dodgers - Phillies game, too.

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In the end, the EuroPod (Subaru Tribeca), made it 5594.3 miles, and did 20.9 MPG over that span.  The... ah-hem...  two speeding tickets have been paid for (my mom, who is now reading this blog, and, to her credit, sent me a Plugoo message the other day... didn't know about the second one...) and will not show up on my insurance b/c such is the out of state policy for the New York Department of Motor Vehicles.  It was a little short on pickup, but then again, I'm used to driving a car with 300HP.  It was a very comfortable drive, though, and picking up a portable XM radio was a clutch decision. 

Oh, and for those of you that took bets in the pool...  there were no arguments.  None.  5594.3 smooth miles.

So thanks to everyone who housed us, fed us, met up with us for lunch, brunch, etc...   We had an absolute blast and will be sure to visit you all soon again... and fly there... and stay longer.

 

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Wrapping up the trip recap... San Fran Siblings

Only a couple more stops to go to wrap up my recap.

After Petaluma, we stayed in San Francisco to meet up with Mere's siblings, and hangout with Toby and Brooke, too.

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@ptrain's siblings.

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I can't speak for Mere, but they're my fave couple that we hangout with... Love the matching shirts!

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I can haz nap now?

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View from Amy's apt.

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Foggy!

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Driving the Europod down Lombard St.

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Did I ever tell you about my special talent?  I took this picture.  In fact, many of the pictures I have where its just me and another person up close, I took.  I have a knack for flipping the camera around and holding out my arm in a way that makes it look like someone else took it.  In fact, my aim may be better when I'm not actually looking.

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Stop #10 Yellowstone pics and videos.

I'm a little bit bleery eyed from not sleeping on the redeye last night, so yes, these are out of order.  Don't know how Redeye VC does it.

We got to spend a day and a half in Yellowstone on our trip and it was really amazing.  We came in through the east entrance via Rt. 16 and stayed at the Grant Village Hotel.  The accommodations were simple but sufficient.  Then, the next day, we spent the whole day working our way north, seeing geysers, waterfalls... all sorts of natural phenomena.  One thing I didn't know about Yellowstone is that the whole thing is sitting on a very thin layer of the earth's crust... making it a haven for hot springs, boiling mud pools, etc.  The springs spew minerals of all sorts of different colors making for some amazing formations.

So, here goes...   First, this is one of the first things we saw when we came into the park.  A Buffalo came perilously close to the EuroPod:

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We missed Old Faithful by 5 minutes, but caught this other guy just in time:

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Road Trip Recap - Stop 11 - Butte, Montana

Mere has a lot of family in Butte... and that's where her parents grew up, so we made a stop there and stayed with her aunt.  Sorry to take so long to catch up, but this was the Saturday before last.  I had been having too much fun in too many places without wifi to keep up the vacation blogging.

Butte's an interesting place.  Called "the richest hill in the world", Butte was a copper boomtown that  peaked in 1917 and  started to significantly decline in the 50's and 60's.  That didn't stop mining companies from erasing a section of town called Meaderville in favor of a big gaping pit for copper excavation.

The pit closed in 1982 and is below the water line, so it continues to fill with toxic water to this day.  While some residents have renovated Butte's old "copper king" mansions and there are some people moving back in to start new businesses, the big pit is really a sad symbol of what we've done to the environment and how quickly one-industry towns can fall.

On the very bright side, however, Mere's Aunt Gretchen was a very gracious host and gave us a great tour of the town's history...and treated us to breakfast at the M&M.

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