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Solstice Weekend Part II

Saturday – Steph and I planned on waking up early to get a crack at some good parking downtown, but instead we left the house around noon. We parked at Bath and Mission, which is quite far from anything remotely interesting. We walked quickly through the crowds that were already lined up in anticipation of the parade. I came across Jessica’s parents and said hi. Lee was wearing a hat with a M logo on it and he said “I got this because Dave has one and I wanted to be cool like him.” Good answer. I mean, who wouldn’t? They recognized my Avo(cado) shirt that Jess gave me for Christmas.

We made it to Tupelo Junction with ease and was surprised to find that it was not that crowded. That’s something I learned this Solstice – if you can get over the parking and crowds, it’s the best time to shop or eat! Anyway, we got a seat right by the window and a minute later the parade started. In the meantime, the Greens were having a special brunch at The Palace Grill. Apparently, they took reservations weeks (months?) ahead of time. Brian let me know a week before and by then it was too late. We had the granola and yogurt appetizer, Steph had a smoked salmon scramble in a toasted bagel and I had a asparagus, wild mushroom, black truffle, and cheese scramble. At lunch, Michal sent me a text to tell me that he was four hours early and was going to get his bike looked at.

I should side track a little and explain what’s going on. In May, a user on one of the message boards I frequent started posting about his journey which involved riding his bike solo from Anchorage to Panama. He was riding 12,000 km over the course of 120 days to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. He had such a down to earth, care free spirit, as well as a very easy to read writing style that I, and many others, couldn’t wait for his posts each day. Anyway, I offered him a warm shower and a place to sleep if he stopped by Santa Barbara. He agreed and told me he’d be arriving on Saturday at 5 PM so I planned my Solstice day around that. Back to the original story.

When we finished, we went outside and watched the parade. We saw some lame hippies and some really cool floats. One of them was these golden statue people and they formed a fountain, complete with squirting water. The finale float was a big spaceship with an acrobatic woman spinning inside. The theme this year was “Stars” so the float was very appropriate. We got behind the last float and followed it down State Street a few blocks before breaking off to Alameda Park. At the park we got some free fruit (c antelopes and watermelon) and got in line for the beer garden. I sent a text message to Kelly and she met us in line. When we got inside, nobody knew what was going on and nobody would make a decision. I kept looking at Kelly for a hint at what she wanted to do but she kept bobbling around wide eyed and kept telling me she was confused and still hung over. We eventually broke off. I saw Sam and said hi briefly then Nate called me. Luckily he was in line so he bought Steph and I a beer. We drank that together then he left and I found Penny and Michelle. We decided to go over to the Douglas party across the street. We got there and Kelp was setting up. I recognized a lot of Citrites and immediately snacking on some of the food. Eventually everyone made it to the party.

I had been texting Michal back and forth all day. We found that he arrived early, biked past my house in Goleta and to the Velo Pro bike shop on Hollister. Apparently they didn’t have what he needed so he went to the one downtown. This was perfect because I really wanted him to see Solstice while he was in town. I mean what other opportunity would he have to do so? I was worried though because now timing was all messed up. In addition, I couldn’t fit is bike in my car to take him back. Anyway, after he got his bike fixed, he came over to the party and I led him to the food and drinks. We listened to Kelp play a little longer and then left. He slowly (3 mph) rode his bike following Steph and I back to my car. For some reason the walk back took forever. He unloaded all his bags into my car and we drove back to the apartment.

He arrived about 30 minutes later but spent another 10 minutes riding around the complex. I finally got a text that said, “You told me Willow Springs, but not which apartment. lol.” I soon found out that’s typical Michal; he laughs at everything. I went out and found him and he came inside. We immediately threw his stuff into the washing machine and I sent him off to take a nice shower. We waited a little bit longer and when the wash was done, we put it in the dryer and went to dinner. I took Steph and Michal downtown to The Palace Grill. It’s always a favorite with my friends and I and I thought it’d be a nice treat for a guy who had been living off of burgers, cereal, and mac and cheese. When we entered, we were immediately given song cards and he was really curious about them but I made sure he didn’t open them until the music started. When it did, we sang a hearty round of “What A Wonderful World.” We loaded up on the muffins and all got pasta. Steph and I shared an order of the bread pudding souffle and Michal dusted off a dark chocolate souffle by himself. He said he could have eaten two of everything.

Since he is only 20, we couldn’t go clubbing or drinking. Well that and the fact that he was in hospital scrub pants and a volunteer t-shirt I let him borrow. So, we went back to my place and watched not one but two movies! That’s right, we saw “Vacancy” and “The Proposition.” This whole weekend I was keeping in touch with Sam, who I hadn’t seen in years.  She and her boyfriend were visiting some of his friends in Santa Barbara. We kept missing each other but she came over to hang out for a while. I was happy to see her!  We went to sleep after, but he stayed up a while to update his blog and answer emails. Unfortunately for him, the night before my internet went down and remained down over the weekend. Luckily, I have some nice neighbors.

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