Getting Down to It

How I wish we still used suitcases like these. Before The Big Dump of 2001, I had a set of three tweed striped cases like the one in this picture, which I used stacked, as an end table. I loved those because they'd belonged to my dad back in the day when he was a Big Band drummer on the road before Uncle Sam hauled him off to WWII. Someone needs to design vintage-looking luggage with modern features such as wheels and retractable pull bars. How cool would that be? I'd be so on top of that...

Today I'm doing laundry and packing for my trip, which begins the day after tomorrow. Because my own 1990s era luggage is outdated (the large case has wheels, but it rolls upright and pulled by a leash and it always falls over one way or the other), so I'm using Lynette's large case, which will provide ample room for my stuff and still leave room for gifts and things that I bring home.
  • Thursday, August 23-Saturday, August 25 — Santa Barbara: I'll be staying with my friend, Big Brother Ernie Joseph. He has an apartment above his recording studio in which many, many very famous people have stayed while doing session work on their various recordings. Your head would spin if I started naming them. I will arrive just as his group, the Brian Faith Band, begin their weekly rehearsal. The following night they have a gig in Ventura, so I'll be going with them, naturally, and will be taking tons of photos. Saturday is pretty open, and I hope to meet lifelong Ernie & the Emperors fan club president, Cathy Swain. She and I have become well-acquainted on Facebook, so I'm looking forward to meeting her face-to-face at last, after all these years of hearing the boys talk so lovingly about her.
  • Sunday, August 26-Monday, August 27 — Santa Ynez Valley: I have an inner need to revisit the places of my childhood on this trip, so I'm spending two days at The Wine Valley Inn in Solvang. While there, I'll be spending some time with the fabulous Jayne Martin, a fellow writer and free spirit with whom I have a lot in common in an eerie, synchronistic kind of way. She too kicked around San Francisco back in the days of Peace & Love, and she too has rubbed elbows a lot of people in the arts and entertainment business. We're looking forward to comparing notes over bottles of local wine, but don't expect me to tattle here; we'll be chatting "off the record". Sorry! Visiting her at her home in the foothills of the Refugio Mountains will be a treat for me because I grew up there—that lovely landscape was my back yard when I was a kid.
  • Tuesday, August 28-Thursday, August 30 — Ventura: I'll be staying at the home of a dear friend, Carole Raines. On the night I arrive, we're going to Zoey's Cafe to enjoy Phil Salazar's Bluegrass jam, which he holds every week. The rest of my time there, I hope to see a couple of old friends, but mostly I want to hang out with Carole in her garden, relaxing with a certain inhaleable herb.
  • Friday, August 31-Sunday, September 1st — Thousand Oaks: Finally, the reason for the trip: BandTree IV! Stopping by the Camarillo Airport to get a China Doll tee shirt for Joel, I'll drive over the Conejo Grade (pronounced Ko-NAY-ho) to Thousand Oaks, where I'll be staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites. Nothing is happening on my first night there, which is good because Bandtree events begin on Friday night when the bands rehearse at the venue. Again, lots of photos. The actual event is all day Saturday (noon - 10pm), so I'll be using Thursday night to rest up and write about the trip thus far.
  • Monday, September 3-Tuesday, September 4 — Mussel Shoals, Pacific Coast Highway: I've arranged to spend two full days in a suite that's only 10 feet from the ocean. After all of the activities and excitement of the trip, I'll need to unwind to the sound of the surf outside my window and the privacy of a small inn. I've stayed at the Cliffhouse Inn on two previous occasions, so I know the peace and restoration that await me. During this time I also hope to drive the short three miles north to Carpinteria to visit my old compadre, Jacki Hammer, for a couple of hours. We haven't seen each other in over a decade and I've missed her terribly. For a long time during the mid-1980s we were inseparable.
  • Wednesday, September 5th: I return home full of memories, photos and, I hope, a renewed and refreshed state of mind and spirit.
But now laundry and packing beckon. I probably won't post anything before I leave, but I do plan to post photos and happenings along the way. Have a great week!