Sarah’s parents were in town last week and we went with them on a trip toSan Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara over the weekend.  We didn’t get backto the Bay Area until late Sunday night.  Last night we did groceryshopping, laundry, and other chores that had been neglected.  Today weare finally back into our normal routine, such as it is.

The trip to SLO (as the natives refer to it) and Santa Barbara wasfun.  SLO was cold and rainy while we were there, which is exactly howit was the last time we visited.  Rumor has it that SLO gets sunny andwarm in the summer but we can’t confirm that rumor. Santa Barbara was sunny and reasonably warm.  In many ways, itreminded both Sarah and I of San Diego.  In fact, I even slipped onceand called it San Diego during a conversation.  We visited the SantaBarbara Mission, the Botanical Gardens, and the Zoo, among other placeswhile we were there.  Santa Barbara was a nice place but I wouldn’twant to live there.  Too many people who looked and acted exactly likethey stepped out of a Southern California stereotype and a really high costof living would make living there very difficult.

We took Amtrak between Oakland and San Luis Obispo.  The train wasabout forty-five minutes late leaving the station, but once it got going theride was easy and relaxing.  We had lunch in the dining car, which wasunique.  It is not often that I’ve eaten lunch with other people whilein motion and facing them across a table.  Usually, when one has lunchwith other people while in motion, one is on an airplane and the four peopleare seated side-by-side, instead of two abreast and facing each other. The food itself was unremarkable, but better than I expected.

We were supposed to catch the train between San Luis Obispo and SantaBarbara.  However, the train was running over 2.5 hours late so I gottired of waiting and rented a car to take us to Santa Barbara.  Theonly car big enough for four people, two large suitcases, and severalsmaller bags available at the local Enterprise franchise was a DodgeDurango.  So, I drove an Evil Earth-Destroying SUV 130 miles down toSanta Barbara.  Suffice it so say that I got more than a few chuckleswhen I pulled up to the train station in the EEDSUV to pick up Sarah and herparents.  We put something like 140-160 miles on the EEDSUV before weturned it in the next day.  Of those 140-160 miles, 130 miles werehighway miles.  In that time we used, a little over twelvegallons of gas.    On the high side, that means that we got awhopping 13 miles to the gallon!  The Chevy Corsica I used to driveroutinely got 22-24 mpg in everyday driving just around town and that carwas ten years older.