After our trip to Austin, we headed back to Camarillo to get new tires for the van. This ended up taking longer than we thought so we spend a couple days in the Camarillo suburbs. We worked from our favorite park, checked out a hike at Point Mugu State Park, and made up games to pass the time. Throughout all of these outdoor activities, Choi hid from the sun as best as he could, appalled by how tan he’s gotten over the last couple of months in California.
Fitted with our new tires, we headed to our next destination up Highway 1, Santa Barbara. We loved the look of Santa Barbara; cute restaurants and houses were tucked between long stretches of beaches and the rolling hills of Los Padres National Forest. We arrived in the afternoon and spent a few hours walking along the beach and pier and then drove away from the beach a bit to spend the night on a quiet residential street. On our drive up into the hills we looked out and saw a huge fire raging near where we had been earlier in the day. This was a frightening experience for us and unfortunately an all too frequent occurrence for locals. We kept an eye on the fire and on twitter and decided that it was far enough away that we would stay the night. The next morning, we learned that the fire ended up burning about 10 acres but luckily no one was hurt and, despite strong winds, firefighters contained it by midnight.
The next morning, I went for a run along the ocean and then jumped in the freezing cold waves afterwards. The cold water felt so good and refreshing, I’ll try to make beach runs and swims more regular as we go up the coast! We spent the day working from a great parking spot right off the water, alongside several other van conversions, RVs, and skoolies.
After work, I pulled out my roller blades and Choi hopped on his bike. We rolled along the beach, up a big hill, and through a park full of locals walking their dogs. We loved this park which overlooked surfers in the waves below, the long Santa Barbara beaches stretching down the coast, and green hills behind. I just started roller blading when I got my blades over Christmas and was proud to only fall once during this ~5 mile blading excursion. Luckily, I fell into some soft sand dunes and only a couple of nearby walkers saw my wipeout, none of whom seemed to care.
Hungry and not too keen on spending time cooking after our blading / biking adventure, we walked over to East Beach Tacos, a little restaurant we’d spotted the day before. It had a really long line so we knew it had to be good! It was delicious and picturesque. We sat at a picnic table outdoors with a tray overflowing with tacos, ceviche, and a rice ball stuffed with tuna. As we ate, we watched kids and tourists hit at baseballs from batting cages right next to the tables. We walked back to the van, very content.
The next day was Saturday and it was time for us to continue our journey up the coast. We first stopped off in Lizard’s Mouth, a climbing and hiking area in Los Padres National Forest. It was a beautiful area and we took a narrow, winding road through huge trees to get there. We hadn’t climbed in over a month so we felt pretty weak and out of practice but we had lots of fun trying out a long traverse problem with some other climbers and enjoying the beautiful weather.
After climbing for a few hours, we drove into Solvang, a Danish town that reminded us a bit of Fredericksburg back in Texas. It was full of tourists snacking on pastries, drinking beer, and wandering through gift shops. We had a really fun afternoon eating way too much food and watching a group of middle-aged women dance enthusiastically to “Baby Got Back” while they downed glasses of wine. It was the perfect entertainment that reminded us a bit of our wedding back in January 😉.
After our afternoon in Solvang, we continued on to Pismo Beach, where we would spend the next week exploring the city, eating good food, and hanging out in many more parks and beaches.
Santa Barbara, we loved your beach and rolling mountain views, great food, nearby climbing, and perfect weather for blading and biking. Along We Go!