West Coast Wander, Day 9: Santa Barbara to San Clemente, California

In which we pass many towns ending in Beach.

We had a two-week vacation, and decided that it would be fun to drive down the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California and then drop off our rental car and take a train back home. I’m calling this journey the West Coast Wander, and plan to blog about it every other day so as not to totally alienate those who have no interest in travel, and yet allow those who do to travel vicariously with us. Here’s the first in the series, if you want to start at the beginning.  I hope you enjoy it, dear reader.

I somehow lost my notes for this day of travel, so I had to reconstruct them using our photos and itinerary. I hope I haven’t missed anything crucial. I suppose you’ll never know, but it bugs me.

I slept so well in our lovely cabin that I didn’t even have to be rousted out of bed by Dear Husband. And then to make the day begin on an even more positive note, DH made us breakfast using the last of our eggs. (We have been trying to eat out only once a day, and have made food from our cooler the rest of the time, but we’re reaching the end of our journey and trying to use things up. I hate wasting food.)

So after having eaten the breakfast of champions, we decided to drive around Santa Barbara and enjoy it in the daylight, all the while looking for souvenirs. Because I had to have souvenirs. After all, my name is Barbara, and while I’ve always known I was a saint, no one else does. So t-shirts were required. And postcards of the mission, on which I wrote, “See? I’m a saint and I’m on a mission!”

Just humor me. My friends and family have to.

We would have loved to take a whale watching cruise to Anacapa Island, but, again, time worked against us. Onward.

Instead, we headed to Ventura, California, to check out its many thrift shops on Main Street. While we didn’t buy much, it’s always fun to go back in time in a real vintage thrift shop. And a dog, sound asleep in a baby carriage out front, made me laugh. (I miss my dogs. We are so lucky to have a kind and reliable dog sitter in our good friend Herb.) We did get a vase, which was kind of crazy since it would have to make it home in one piece, but you know…impulse rules.

After that, we wandered in a pretty little park, mostly to use the public restrooms. We noticed there were a lot of homeless people in the area, and that gave me an idea. There really was no way we were going to eat all the food in our cooler. So we filled up a bag with yogurt, spoons, and cheese, and I gave it to the closest group to share around. They needed it and we had it, so why not?

After that we drove along the coast some more, and then stopped to have a picnic lunch in Malibu, on the rocks overlooking the ocean. It was a beautiful day. I have no idea why, but food always seems to taste better when eaten out-of-doors.

We drove past the Getty Villa, but as was the recurring theme this trip, it was closed, as was the Anderson House. This pandemic kills in a variety of ways. We just focused on the beautiful day. We remained on the coast road despite our GPS urging us to take the freeway. We did drive through a lot of stop lights (after they had turned green, of course).

We also passed the Santa Monica pier, and drove through Venice, including the canal neighborhood from whence it got its name. We drove through a lot of towns ending in Beach. I think I was getting tired.

We even saw a living wall of succulents! Okay, California, now you’re just showing off. Have mercy.

Finally, we pulled into San Clemente, to stay in a quirky hotel called Nomads. It’s theme is “Eat. Sleep. Surf.” And you could tell that they mostly cater to surfers. There was even a rack in the room to prop up surfboards, and a fold down bench in an unusually long shower stall where you could wash and wax them.

This was a cool place, though. The bathroom sink was made out of solid wood. I was trying to figure out a way to inconspicuously rip it off the wall and bring it home with me. No luck.

So I comforted myself with pizza from the restaurant two doors down, where we met up with friends. It made me realize I hadn’t spoken to anyone but DH in well over a week. He’s good company, but, you know, it was a fun evening.

When we got back to Nomads, I began to anticipate problems when I noticed that they provide a heaping bowl of ear plugs beside the bed, as well as a sound machine. That’s never a good sign.

And sure enough, it sounded like the surfers upstairs were rolling bowling balls across the floor. Intermittently. All evening long. And when anyone took a shower, the pipes groaned and shuddered in the whole building. It was like being back in my college dormitory all over again. And I didn’t like my college dormitory. At all.

But this was such a cool hotel, in a perfect location, and we were to be there for two glorious nights without having to schlep our luggage from pillar to post, so I just made very good use of those ear plugs enhanced by the sound of electronic ocean waves, and managed to sleep quite well, to my utter shock.

I don’t suppose I should have been all that shocked, though. We were now at the southernmost point in our coastal trip, and had started out within view of Canada, and were now within 75 miles of Mexico. We had covered a lot of ground, and we still had several days to go.

Here’s where you’ll find Part 10.

I wrote an actual book, and you can own it! How cool is that? http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5


Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

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