As probably everyone but us predicted (alright, we would have bet so ourselves), we weren't quite ready to leave Venice on July 6th.  Of course, we left anyway.  Long story short, the house wasn't rented, and the wagon was filled to the ceiling - Sanford and Son style, with 3 1/2 months of stuff in no discernable grouping.  Best of all, among the chaos were five bags of Ruthie's clothes, and seven boxes of files, yep files, which we hadn't managed to organize during the preceding five inexhaustibly busy weeks; which pretty much consisted of being unemployed and sleeping until noon everyday.

At any rate, following a brief patented Newhouse "moment of concern," we decided it might be a good idea to make the first stop of the trip in . . . exotic Studio City!  Actually, we had always planned to make a quick stop at Uncle Jim and Aunt Melinda's to have brunch with them and to drop off the aforementioned files, albeit in some sort of organized manner.  However, we figured why not turn a 'short good time" into a longer one, and get some free meals and cocktails to boot.

Turns out, we made a great choice.  What had started out as a pretty stressful beginning to a very long trip turned into a bottle of Laphroig, a couple bottles of wine, grilled steak and salmon, and a very comfy bed.  Not much for roughing it, but who are we to complain.  Oh yeah, we still woke up at noon the next day, and somehow Uncle Jim tricked us into eating chorizo and omelets.  In case anyone cares, Ruthie got the files consolidated into a single box, and Mike condensed Ruthie's five bags into two.  With the car packed and ready to go, we were ready for day two of our daring and perilous journey to . . . Santa Barbara.
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Yolanda's Restaurant
Santa Barbara Mission
After a grueling hour drive up the 1 and 101 Freeways, we could go no further, and stopped to meet our friend Erika (a.k.a. Dr. Felix) for happy hour.  Erika told us to meet her at a place called "Yolanda's," which was in a strip mall just off the 101 Freeway in Camarillo.  Interesting, we thought, but knowing Erika's expertise in all things happy hour, we figured she would not lead us astray.  Turns out, the margaritas at Yolanda's are so good, they inspired us to find and photograph happy hour destinations for the rest of the trip.  In a nutshell, the margaritas basically come in fishbowls and are about as perfect of a blend as we have ever had.  Of course, being hte responsible road-trip?pers that we are, we only had one each, but we will be back.  As for Erika, we left her at Yolanda's with a friend.

Feeling refreshed, we headed on up the coast to Santa barbara to stay with our firends, John, Dana, Jackson and Lucas Childers.  John essentially finds people jobs like the ones we just left; oh, and by the way, like the ones he and Dana also left a few years ago.  Dana now spends most of her time writnig children's stories and hangin out with their two adobarable kids - Jackson and Lucas.  Some folks may remember Jackson from his "striptease" at one of our BBQ's a few years ago (when he was about two and a half years old).  As for Lucas, the NFL better get ready.

Although we found another comfy bed at John and Dana's, this time there was no sleeping until noon.  John and Jackson were banging on our door at 8:00 a.m. sharp, and hour the two of us had not seen in months.  It was not all bad though, as the eggs, bagels, and coffee cake were on the table waiting for us when we stumbled into the kitchen.  After breakfast, Jackson headed off to a day of yeoman tie-dying at school (pre-school aint so bad) and John for a slightly more difficult da?y at the office.  As for us, we said our good-byes, and headed out to explore Santa Barbara.  We took a quick tour of the Santa Barbara Mission, and walked and shpped on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara for a few hours.  Gotta love Santa Barbara.
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