5 July 2002
Midnight, Santa Barbara
After a long drive we are here at Walt's sister's house. The day started early, with Walt having to drive in to Sacramento to get his mother, then off to the Bay Area to pick up my mother and Jeri. With two bikes and suitcases for five people, it was a very full car!
Though traffic for the 4th had been predicted to be heavy, it was lighter than usual in most places, so it was a pretty uneventful 6+ hours to get here. We made one stop in Gonzales for lunch and another in San Luis Obispo to get gas. Otherwise it was a straight shot through to Santa Barbara.
I had high hopes of using photos on this journal and brought the smart media card reader with me, but alas, forgot that it needs software to install, so I can't use it. So I'll have to sprinkle photos throughout entries next week.
We arrived here at dusk, so were here in time for fireworks. There were big fireworks in downtown Santa Barbara, and little ones on the campus of UC Santa Barbara. The UCSB campus can be seen from the deck of the house, so we turned up the volume on the TV showing the festivities in DC and sat on the deck watching "live" fireworks from campus
I remember the 4th of July celebrations when I was a kid. We didn't go all out, as some families do, but Karen and I had sparklers and we would usually go somewhere to watch fireworks, shivered down in a blanket, looking up in the stars.
This has evolved in modern times to sitting in the living room watching it all on TV. Somehow not quite the same! But you couldn't beat the spectacle of the DC and NY celebrations. Heck, even the downtown Santa Barbara fireworks were pretty spectacular. Seems everyone wants to go all out on this post-9/11 Independence Day.
It did get a bit over the top, though, when it seemed the organizers were laying "patriotism" on with a trowel. Let's dust off Kate Smith, and throw in Aretha Franklin dressed in God knows what...and who better to complement Kate and Aretha than ...Brittney Spears??? And naturally we need real cannon fire for the Wm. Tell Overture. And mustn't forget Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma (now *there's* a patriotic little ditty!), and top it off with Canadian Celine Dion (whom I love--but she is Canadian!) singing the "God Bless America."
Jeri said it reminded her of a parody you'd see on The Simpsons.
But you can't say that the fireworks...everywhere...weren't spectacular. It was nice to see NY going all out...though I tried not to count how much it must have cost. I always have such a difficult time justifying the monumental cost of fireworks in a country with so much hunger. But that didn't stop me from enjoying them.
It's great to be here with Tom, and fun to see him and Jeri catch up on things. It's been so long since they've seen each other. Tomorrow we will finally take that family bike ride, from here, down through UCSB (Jeri's old stomping grounds) and then to the beach and back. I suspect "back" may include a hill or two. But I feel the need to get out and into the air and pedaling my bike.
Now to post this and get some sleep. I hope all had a safe and sane 4th...and sorry I don't have any pictures to jazz this up with.