Monday, July 30, 2012

Santa Barbara

It takes the patience of a saint to drive North along the coast out of LA on a Saturday morning. Saints we are not. We could have walked faster through Santa Monica. As we continued North at a snails pace we crept through Malibu and the traffic lightened. The landscape turned from cityscape to gorgeous golden foothills. Mountains entered the picture and joined the dark blue waters of the ocean. The anxiety of the traffic dissipated as we gawked at the beautiful scenery on our way to Santa Barbara.

The city of Santa Barbara had a beautiful downtown area filled with Mediterranean-style architecture with stucco white walls and red clay tile roofs. Although the city is home to a lot of LA's rich and famous it is not pretentious and the downtown restaurants and shops offered a relaxed atmosphere.

We camped for three days in the San Ynez Mountains about 15 miles inland surrounded by hiking trails. Looking into the woods with our headlamps the first night we saw multiple sets of eyes staring back at us. The fearless creatures looked like a cross between a fox and a coyote and came into our site and began to snarl at us. After a sleepless night worrying we were going to be eaten alive we discovered they were the endangered Kit Fox. "Pretty awesome huh," was the comment from the camp host the next morning. Yeah, pretty awesome but I'd rather see them in a zoo.

Our second day we did a some kayaking in the morning and took a friend's advice and called her good friend Jane who lives in Santa Barbara. Jane is a yoga teacher, artist, and world traveler and was a real treat to visit with. We were invited to have dinner at her and her boyfriend Steven's yurt located in the mountains just outside of Santa Barbara. We enjoyed great dinner conversations and ended up staying until late evening. We hope to return the favor and invite them to stay with us whenever and wherever we decide to settle down during this journey.

Next stop, wine country!

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