Before I begin to describe my roadtrip with my sister there are a few things you need to know. We are "Gibson Girls" and share a few traits that made my husband e-mail us that when apprised of our coming, half of Santa Barbara was evacuated:
1.) Due to various causes, both Buffy and I have acute short term memory loss.
2.) We have trouble reading maps or following directions, and my rental car didn’t have enough power to run my GPS.
3.) Any kind of electronic device immediately absorbs the "Gibson Curse" when we try to use it.
4.) We were both very tired.
5.) Whenever we have a problem of any kind, our immediate response is to burst into gales of laughter until tears are running down our cheeks. (On a prior roadtrip, this phenomenon was illustrated by our behavior following my receipt of a ticket for going 90 in a 70 mph zone.)
So our roadtrip started in Irvine, CA, as we headed for the Getty Villa (museum) in Malibu. We got there fine. Our troubles started when we decided to use the IPads they provided for us with a guided tour of the villa and its statues. We simply could not figure out how to use them. After several patient guards helped us, we were still in the dark. The Gibson Gremlin had definitely made an appearance. We stood in the middle of the villa, choking with laughter as we tried to bring up the sculptures we were looking at. Finally, I succeeded in bringing up the Roman statue of Hercules. However, the dialogue was in Spanish! More laughter! After a cursory view of the Getty’s Roman treasures, we decided to eat. I had a plate of cheeses, raisin toast, and nuts and dates. It was delicious!
Then we were on our way to Santa Barbara via Highway One. Neither of us had ever made the drive before, and it was absolutely spectacular, reminding me much of the terrain in Greece. I told my sister that this was her European trip. Highway One is definitely the long route and we arrived in SB at around five o’clock to find that we had no reservations in the hotel I had reserved on Saturday. The hotel was also a vast disappointment. Instead of a "mountain retreat with a view of the coastline and city of Santa Barbara", it was in Goleta, hard up against the Highway 101. Had we had a scenic room, our view would have been of the highway. There were also ominous sounds from the roof they were repairing. The desk lady told us in no uncertain terms that we had no confirmed reservations, we realized I had somehow messed up. Taking Buffy’s laptop, we sat in the lobby and looked up the hotel on Priceline (very good rates, if you ever travel). Then and there we made a new reservation, and carrying the computer to the desk lady, showed her our confirmation number. Finally realizing we were sisters and not Lesbians, she became very helpful. First she upgraded us to a garden deluxe room. Then, at our request (there was no elevator) she put us in a first floor room. And she figured out exactly what we had been up to in the lobby (to make sure we got the best rate) and laughed. We could barely stifle our own laughter at our coup. The Garden Deluxe Room, turned out to have a short hedge outside our sliding door which almost, but not quite, screened us from the parking lot. Our patio was four feet square with two plastic chairs. We dissolved into hysterics. My sister refused my invitation to sit out there and luxuriate. "I don’t want to inhale gas fumes". I spent the next interminable hour confirming our Carmel reservations which I had apparently not done either.
Then, dinner. The desk recommended Toby’s which turned out to be a sleazy joint across the freeway. We consulted our map, and noticed a restaurant called "Fresca." It had a nice ring, so we endeavored to find it using the map. After dozens of wrong turns, we stumbled on it by accident. We had turned up trumps. Outdoor heaters, a guitar-playing minstrel, and wonderful fresh food. We especially enjoyed our desert which was layers of chocolate mousse in a goblet,interspersed with some kind of Italian sweet cream which we are determined to find the recipe for (we are writing a cookbook). After this triumph, we slept well. The next day, we visited the town which has parking places limited to 75 minutes on the street. We dashed between stores and reparking the car. That was an adventure, because we kept going the wrong way on one way streets. Nevertheless we found an Italian shoe store with a half price sale, a Nordstrom’s with a wonderful cafe, and an Italian pottery shop that was uber expensive but had "picnic ware" in melamine which was portable and cheap. I indulged. I swear it looks genuine.
By two thirty we were on the road, and on the road, and on the road. We thought we would never get to Carmel. We arrived only 10 minutes (at a surprisingly nice hotel/resort, cheaper than the room the night before. Bless priceline)before the 8:00 massage I had scheduled for both of us in my room. We barely had time to strip. But the massage was absolute heaven. I had arranged for roomservice dinner beforehand, knowing that we would be limp noodles afterwards. So we ate a steak dinner in bed, and then went to sleep.
The following day was superb. We ate breakfast at a very small and friendly cafe and Buffy was able to watch the final moments of the US soccer game which the owner had recorded. Then we strolled and ended up in a linen store (with Italian linens!) where the owner bonded with Buffy because she used to live in SLC (my sister is a graduate of the U). She told us about a state park, not 10 minutes away. Mostly to curb my spending in all the wonderful Carmel shops, we decided to give it a try.
It was magnificent. I swear that Pt. Lobos State Park off Hwy One just outside Carmel is the most beautiful place on earth. More beautiful than any place I saw in the Greek Isles. Clear aquamarine water, cliffs covered with wildflowers and Monterrey Pines (you know the ones that grow horizontally), rock formations in the sandstone that looked like whales, sea lions, picturesque fog creeping over the surrounding hillside that was covered with green flora. We hiked and my hips didn’t even hurt! It was definitely serendipity–the best part of our trip.
That night we ate in a snazzy restaurant, dressed to the nines, with Buffy’s son, who wears dreadlocks and jeans and lives in a commune in Santa Cruz. Peter is the most loving and gentle creature alive–just born a generation too late. His love for his mother was overwhelming, and he was so glad to have a great meal that didn’t come out of his garden. We told him that if anyone gave him trouble about his hair, we would say he was a rock star. He said, "And you’re my groupies?" We were flattered!
Back to our room to pack. We had to leave at dawn to avoid the LA traffic when we got close to home. Peter drew directions for the fastest trip on the paper table cloth. We left at 7:30 AM, and aside from a disastrous trip to Carl’s Jr. where most of my burger ended up on my white shirt, we made the trip smoothly, arriving at 2:30 pm in Irvine.
The Gibson girls obviously have a guardian angel. We don’t know who it is, as we derive most of our crazy genes from our father, but we suspect a third great grandmother who crossed the plains with nine wagons without her husband. Thank you, Vira Ann!