I’m back and better than ever! It’s Kelsey’s dad with a blog about our recent trip to Santa Barbara for my niece’s wedding. None of the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Unlike the trip that Kelsey and I made out to San Pedro for my brother’s birthday a couple years ago, we left plenty early to drive to Hartsfield airport. While on the way, I serenaded Kelsey and Phillip with a few powerful renditions of “Phillip The Man”. Fantastic if I do say so myself. Anyway. We got to the airport and parked in extended parking row 63 (in tribute to 1963, the year that John F. Kennedy was shot). Kelsey, Phillip, Kyle, Kari, and I all flew out together – a train wreck just waiting to happen. We got to the gate and I began to chat it up with a lady sitting near us. The lady loved my Chinese proverb “Humor is the passport to success.” What can I say? The flight itself was long and bumpy, but four and a half hours later we landed at LAX. Victoria and Clark picked us up and we were on our way to Santa Barbara.
Clark did a terrific job driving and also helped put together a specially requested “SoCal” playlist, a playlist only with songs about California or songs by artists from California. We hit massive traffic going up Highway 1/PCH. But eventually the traffic broke loose and we stopped at Neptune’s Net. Neptune’s Net is a classic beach-front dive and we enjoyed their food and beer. Some would say the highlight of Neptune’s Net were the two seagulls who were “doing the wild thing.” Some would say this “doing the wild thing” was disgusting. Anyway, just nature.
We finally got to Santa Barbara where, guilty as charged, it was sunny and 72. We found our hotel, The Inn at East Beach. Only stay there if you DO NOT want air conditioning and DO NOT want an elevator. Otherwise, it was okay. Lucky for us that the Swedish girls’ volleyball team was staying there also. 😉
We rested and then were on our way to Dargan’s for a reception-type activity for those who were from out of town for Sara and Christian’s wedding. Needless to say, the “Alabama Rednecks” traveled the furthest. Anyway, Dargan’s was a huge hit. All the Rednecks wore Hawaiian shirts, and I thought they looked great.
OMG. While leaving Dargan’s, Victoria mentioned she was hungry. Great idea and, even better, there is an In-N-Out in Santa Barbara!!! Clark did another terrific job driving and got us there safely. I ordered a double-double, animal-style for both the burger and the fries. Heaven!!!
Since some of the Rednecks were on Eastern time and some on Central time, getting up early was not an issue. Special thanks to Kelsey for organizing a special beach-front/sand workout for us. Promptly at 9:30 A.M., Kelsey, Kyle, Kari, Clark, Victoria, and I were at the beach. I was there for moral support and played the host role as if I were Jeff Probst from Survivor. This workout was tough and way over my head, but I think I was able to convince some of the people nearby that these activities were actually an audition for Survivor. To their great credit, Kelsey, Kyle, Kari, Clark, and Victoria finished the workout all in a tie for 1st place.
Next step, just chilling out at the beach to do some eating, drinking, etc…
Then everyone got dolled up for the actual wedding ceremony at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. The ceremony was in the courtyard area and it was wonderful. After the ceremony we took trolleys on a driving tour of Santa Barbara; I was very impressed that we drove by Katy Perry’s childhood home.
Next was the reception. Prior to food being served, Sara asked me to do the blessing. This is a huge honor and I was grateful to be asked. We dined on “ultra” free-range fried chicken. Then the fun really started with the band Live Wire. They were terrific! Highlights of the reception included my nephew Brian when he sat in as the guest drummer for “Free Bird”. I also became aware of a shocking event called a keg-stand. Apparently this act involves a participant being held upside-down and chugging beer from a keg. I would have no knowledge of this, but apparently my cousin Monte does.
Brunch was held at a Santa Barbara Mexican where a member of the staff was handmaking tortillas and homemade churros. We chose the dining option that included UNLIMITED margaritas – YIKES! At the request of others, while going through the buffet, I returned with a full plate of salmon and a full plate of BACON. Yummo! While at this brunch, we discovered that another wedding guest used to live in Wisconsin and is a huge Packer fan. The Lambeau Field backpack was the first clue.
After the brunch, Victoria and I took a walk on the pier. Guilty as charged, still sunny and72. Then we walked back to the hotel. While walking back we stopped and watched a softball game and ended up cheering for a team called “Nice Poke.” Anyway, by this time I was done and out of gas and ready for bed.
The whole crew was up early to drive to LAX and fly back to Atlanta. All in all, by Andrich family standards, it was a very nice trip. No family fights. No family drama. Everyone behaved themselves, including me!
Until next time…