Santa Barbara

Three Days to go


After spending a few days with Ryan in Studio City and taking a drive out to Palm Springs for the day, I was happy to be out of the awful Airbnb and heading north to Santa Barbara to spend the next three days with Betsy.

After another enormous thunder and lightning and rain storm yesterday morning, we had a lovely drive up the coast, stopping in Camarillo at the outlet mall to do something neither of us much like doing - shopping! But we both needed some stuff and we had to get the bug spray and sunscreen etc. And I needed another bathing suit and some shorts. I just don't understand people who can spend all day just going from shop to shop, browsing. It's exhausting! But we were successful in our endeavors, scoring some good stuff - shorts and sun protection shirts so I don't absolutely shrivel up in the tropical Belizean sun. Even here, in what is still technically winter, I can feel myself burning, so I have to be very, very careful!

By the time we got home it was cocktail hour. Tara, Betsy's room mate came home and we had a very lively evening which I regretted this morning. You'd think I would know better by now than to have that last drink - such a good gin, Death's Door! And that is what I felt like this morning.

But we went for a great walk which definitely cleared my head, much as the rain cleared the sky, athough I must say the sky was clearer than my head. We discussed some ideas we have - ways to make some money, start a small business and this trip is going to be a test run and I will describe the idea when it is more fleshed out. I think it's a good one - not new. We talked about doing it last time Betsy was up in Washington, visiting. But now, I think, is the time. This evening and tomorrow, we will put our heads together and sort out some of the details.

Santa Barbara is such a pretty area. The harbor is wonderful, still with all the fishing boats and the wharf which really hasn't changed much in the last few decades. I remember doing a photo project for college when I was about 25. And I think some of the boats that I took pictures of, are still there! That was when I did all my own film processing and printing - something I just loved to do. Working in the darkroom was always so much more fun than sitting at a computer, digitally processing the images. Oh well.... Progress I suppose.

Riding the Amtrak Rails

The first big adventure of the trip was a train ride on Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner  to Carpinteria, with the prospect of lunch with dear friends, Betsy and Jane!

Carpinteria is an oceanside city located in southeastern Santa Barbara County, California, east of Santa Barbara and northwest of Ventura, with a population of about 14,000. Jane lives there and Betsy did for several years while her daughter was in high school.

Wouldn't you know? The day dawned gray and rainy! Much like Washington and chilly, too. But it didn't make an iota of difference, as I waited at the Burbank Amtrak station for the train. The ride up was so pleasant. Sure makes a change from driving it, and so much more relaxing.

Snaking through the hilly, rocky terrain gives an idea of how big California is - and how much open space there still is. I sat on the sea side and as we headed out of the hills, the coast came into view. The ocean looked wild, kicked up with the fierce wind that was howling! Easing into Carp, Jane met me with hugs - it's been a while since we saw each other. Betsy joined us and our planned walk on the beach didn't happen. The wind had turned the beach into a sandblaster! So we opted for a wander around town instead.

Surf shop on Carpinteria

Jane bought herself her Christmas present,  a lovely outdoor, iron etagere and we browsed stores filled with trinkets and "stuff" before heading to lunch.

Of course, there was non-stop chatter and catch-up over Thai food at the Siam Elephant which led to a lovely glass of wine at Corktree Cellars.

But our day didn't end there. Betsy works with Sharon Green, the photographer behind Ultimate Sailing and we had been invited over for a bit of Christmas cheer. It would be the first time for me to see where Betsy works (when she is not on the road). I love being able to visually place someone when I talk or text them, so this was a great opportunity for me. As is wont to happen, it turned into a little party at Sharon's, always a fun thing.

It was a good thing I was spending the night!

Back to Burbank

The next morning, Betsy took me to the Santa Barbara train depot, a lovely old building built in 1902 Mission Revival architecture and restored in 2000. I was happy to see the train almost fully booked, an indication that rail travel is becoming more popular and I think, if more people realize how easy it is and how relaxing, it would be even more so. The only issue with it is that freight trains have right-of-way, so we got stopped and shunted onto sidings several times, which made us about 45 minutes late getting to Burbank. But thank goodness for technology! I was able to text Ryan so he didn't have to sit in the park-and-ride and wait.

My carriage awaited, and top down, we zipped home, where I had time to recover before the next adventure.


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Siam Elephant

509 Linden Ave. Carpinteria, CA 93013

Ph: 805.684.2391

Corktree Cellars

910 Linden Avenue, Carpinteria, CA 93013

(805) 684-1400 (P) • (805) 684-1414 (F)[/su_box]

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