October 28, 2008 — So first thing this morning we went looking for Carl’s old coffee haunt on State St, which is the main street in Santa Barbara. He actually had low expectations that it would still be there or if it was that it would not be the same. He figured that by now it would have been turned into a Starbucks.
Guess what? It was there — despite Starbucks on two or three nearby corners! So we sat outside and had a nice cup of Capachino in a large ceramic coffee cup. Yum!
Meanwhile, I was in awe of the shopping “mall.” Not so much with the stores — they were the usual, nothing too high end, really — but the notion of “mall.” I’m not even sure I can describe it. The stores are all on a block and have entrances from the streets, but also to a open air corridor. So the downtown looks very nice, but the shopper has access from inside the block as well. If we didn’t have so much sight seeing to do, I could have really spent some time shopping in this place.
After coffee, we drove the rest of the way down State Street to the ocean. We parked and took a walk in the park on top of a cliff looking over the ocean. It was a nice park — lots of people out and enjoying the morning. BTW — temperature here is a bit cooler than the desert. We wore jeans today.
After this, we drove along the ridge line of the mountains that border Santa Barbara — Paradise Road, which is off the San Marcos Pass Road and goes through the Los Padros Forest. We tried to anyway. After a couple of hair raising moments of meeting big trucks on this curving, narrow ridge road, we came to a point where the road was closed. Obviously they were working on the road. So we turned around and when we reached the bottom, we drove north along the San Marcos Pass Road. Since Solvang was only 14 miles away, we decided to go there next.
But first we stopped to check out Lake Cachuma. When Carl lived here, this lake was dry, there had been a five year draught. In fact, Santa Barbara had invested in a salination plant, which never went online because it rained just as the plant was finished and read to be of use. So they moth balled it. There was a fee to get into Lake Cachuma, so Carl drove up to the Lake Cachuma Dam.
After that we drove to Solvang, a Danish community. As you know, Carl and his family are from Denmark — in fact there is a Petersen Inn right in town — so I have heard about this town for as long as I’ve known Carl. This town smells so good, we bought treats at three different bakeries that we will have as snacks for the next few days. There is more to Solvang than bakeries — there are several places to buy quilts, dolls, and embroidered handcrafts. There were also several inviting restaurants — too bad we ate so much at the complimentary breakfast this morning.
After walking around Solvang for an hour or so, we drove back to Santa Barbara. I’m not sure where it was, be we walked along a pier in which lots of people were fishing. We sat on a bench and ate one of Danish treats here. We were overlooking the University of California, Santa Barbara branch in the distance.
After that, we drove to the Old Mission Santa Barbara and walked around there a bit. Most interesting part of this place was the Chumash washing trowel in which the oldest known American carving still exists.
We ended the day by going back to Hendry’s Beach and having dinner at the restaurant that Carl used to eat at all the time. It may have changed but it was still appropriate to eat there. It turned out to be delicious — and not even that expensive. After, we walked a good way up the beach. And then we came back here — worn out from a great day.
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