Category Archives: santa barbara

Past Trips – California – I Feal The Need, The Need For …. [10]

FLAGs – but not quite yet.

I had loaded up my stuff into the Jeep and was ready to head off.  When Mitch had completed his run back to Santa Barbara center and back, had some breakfast and freshened up, we were ready to move on.

We took the small side roads down to the coast at Santa Barbara, having not made it that far by foot the day before, when dinner was calling and time had run itself down a little more than expected.

Route Map Picture Pacific coast California
Santa Barbara Coast
Santa Barbara Man Sleeping Beech
Santa Barbara - Beach HutSanta Barbara Crud On The Beach

While the skies were overcast, it was still a surprisingly unenticing sort of a beach.  Though not for the gulls who seemed quite at home among the general organic crud that was washed up about the place.  The over cast skies

Route One California Big Sur Route Map
Route – Pretty Much

The intention was not too remain here, just to take a look around before moving on – we move on.  It was Morning and the way that driving days went had somehow already set itself, in the morning hours and earlier parts of the day Mitch was driving, the second half of the days I drove, it was the general way of things.  Today the afternoon had a particularity interesting promise about it, i was already looking forward to it.

Hills And Clouds California

Side Roads CA Side Roads CA 2

There seemed to be evidence of the drought which the local chap had spoken off on the flight over, on the map there was a lake, in reality there was a some water when viewed from a certain angle, it was off in the distance but what had clearly once been Cachuma lake (according to the maps) was now grassed over in away that suggested that water had not occupied that space for quite some time.

Cachuma Lake Santa Barbara CA-154Dried Out Water Free Cachuma Lake

Old Farming Equipment CaliforniaOld School Rusted Farming Equipment CaliforniaUPS Lorry Road trip California

Farming Fields CACalifornia Brown Dust Fields

Farming Dust BrownTrucks Trains Rural California Freight Train CaliforniaCalifornia Train Park Freight

At this point one thing was clear – no a few thing were and they related to the radio, the first was there was a whole lot of stations.. stations specialising in genres – Rock, Country, probably Jazz & Classical somewhere – stations dedicated to dedicated to various decades throughout the 19XXs’ .  There were also quite the assortment of more general radio stations, many of them specialising in very little DJ chatter, wall to wall music.  The none driver would take photos, operate the radio and generally look about a bit more than the driver, at this point in the day that was me, the more ardent and photo inclined passenger.

They had stations like this in Austria, where you could wait an hour and around would come a familiar set of tunes, only there weren’t so many to escape into and the music seemed to specialise much more on a particular decade – 80s anyone. We have them in the UK also to be fair only there are more adverts, the DJs alter the running order a bit but they go and talk and share all the interesting things.. given the scarcity of interesting things they could think about offering up less of them at any one time.

The second radio and music based point that was becoming clear was, that all the station jumping fine DJ work done by the co-pilot / person with no defined role at this time – but enjoying the chilling out – would eventually lead to one of a few places.  Lead among these few places, was one song that rose above all others, as it seemed evident that at any given time it would be enthusiastically lining itself up on one or more radio stations, to be next on the rolling play cycle..   The default theme song, popcorn chipper in the sunshine backing track to the road trip, the inescapable tune that would not be avoided.

At around about this point in the journey one thing else was about to become clear, there were a whole lot of people who were well into their flags around here.  One flag in particular, their seemed to be quite the group think going on with regard to this particular topic.

They have flags in Switzerland and some of them even fly from a flag pole, these are the two levels and they stand quite apart from each other, the person who feels the need to flag up and the person who is so taken with the notion that they go out and get themselves a flag pole erected somewhere on their territory.

In the UK there are some that do the former, as much as i’ve been able to tell they live in Runcorn – except during world cup times.. not that they leave the St George enthusiasts of Runcorn, but more that for this brief  juncture (and it is reliably brief) their numbers swell well beyond these boundaries … after the second group stage match when the denial of inevitable humiliation has ritually passed, those number swiftly deflate once more and shrink back to their dormant dwelling state.

Flag poles, excluding use of radio antenna during world cups, well they are taken to say something about a person.  Few are those who see themselves clear to that sort of thing, except for the government, they do go town with that, state occasional and the Mall in London – it does actually looks quite nice as a flurry of colours.. Guess we had to do something with all those flags once we done using them to go about the place claiming things.

Turkey State Flag Union Jack London Mall London Mall Flag Union Jack

Perhaps then these people were just being prepared, so people like me coming over here would think twice before undoing all that fine work in establishing an independent state by the means of planting one of those Union Jacks (or whatever the Swiss one is called – the inverted red cross) that we keep handy in our back pockets for just such occasions.

This part of the world it was prepared ..

USA Flag on a wall
Where are we … oh yes thanks ..
US Flag On A Pole
I’m where … o .. thats right, so forgetful – thanks.
Star Stripes Flag Town
So we are in the USA then.
Not Canda – you’re sure this isnt Canada?

Past Trips – California – Santa Barbara [9]

What you can’t know is how days will pan out, it’s probably just as well or I would live them out either in flight/hiding or in perpetual hope of living in them somehow longer than conventional understanding would allow.

As it is, they rather just sort of happen and then their done.  It’s that kind of news that blogs really help go get out there.  Disperse the wisdoms & daring new realisations – like linkedin – that bastion of proud current concenaus espousing thought, with a tip of the hat to self congratulation and a wink to peacocking .. Shareth the wise wise words upon your digital stone tablets of truth. Giveth unto all the days brain fart forTas been brewing too long.

Time then from most people standard perspective – kinda rolls one way – and today, It would transpire as it rolled, woukd end up a fine and interesting day, arguably the finest and most interesting day of the holiday.

The weather was unsurprisningly pleasant though the day did seem to start cooler and a little overcast. Mitch was off running about while I steadied myself for the trip to the breakfast dispensery.

I had time to burn and so, knowing that my memory couldn’t be relied on to keep an althougher detailed record of our stop off location I headed out for breakfast and photos.
Sandman inn California Santa Barbara

Sandman inn California Santa Barbara

The room that housed the food and drink for the morning was small and square, styled in the vein of a 50s cafe or burger bar, I don’t what they are, I know they had one or so of them in grease. Probably an underrated movie but also possibly to blame for perpetuating the notion that musicals are things that can be tolerably watched, exceptions should not give rise to any unnecessary perpetuation of this genre.

There were colourful puffy couch seats and stuff in bright red tonesthete was also a re-emergence of the disposable crockery pic nic style. Perhaps then this was really a thing over here, knives readily defeated by hardened toast adversary.  The cereal, either I was acclimatising to the fair scent of cinemon spiced silicon coated cardboard treats or it had gotten a bit better .

Disposable crockery orange juice California

Past Trips – California – Santa Barbara [8]

Jeep Sat Nav

Exiting the sort of motorway-esk road there was a mini queue as the traffic looked to enter the smaller side road..Off went the Jeep after a mini flurry of conversation, the conclusion having been that hopefully with a ‘turn it off and on again’ approach, then off would also go the techtronic gears..

The queue dissolved a bit and i rushed the procedure for the ‘on again’ bit, forgetting the stop go simplicity of the vehicle’s controls and inadvertently stamping once more (with that now involving itself again left foot) upon the break..

Quite lucky that we were barely on the way to getting moving and the car behind was also still in semi stationary mode.
That was the thing though, it was clear that default behavioral reflexes were still loitering in the background every ready for their big moment to shine once more and test those seat belts and when conscious thought moved elsewhere they would seize the moment.  We were however now back in big standard automatic mode, so that was good.

We kept moving, drifting through side streets in intended obedience to the instructions of the Sat-Nav.

We drove up to the front to check in, it was one of those motel style places. It struck me, having checked in and gotten our room key, the abundance of land.. All those rooms spread out like this with car parking, only two stories high, quite the space intensive way of housing the migratory massives ..

Jeep Grand Cherokee Paked Up
Quite Like This Vehicle – Though I Know I Shouldn’t

There were outdoor swimming pools at the motel, a slightly unexpected spot of luxury most welcome what with it being really rather warm out, after some unloading and settling in, of which i have no real recollection, we headed out to locate these pools. We came upon one, it was not so large, a large, algae free, deepish pond as much as a pool, not that it wasn’t an enticing and welcoming bit of water in the warm but it was surprisingly well frequented already. A whole troop of an extended family pod, probably multiple family pods – this was not a large pool, not a lot of space less in the vicinity for any further visitors, so we headed through an on, there was a second one around here, perhaps that one might be less well populated.

ali mitgutsch schwimmbad
Swimming Pool Populous
Swimming Pool Sandman Inn
Unpopulated Second Pool

There wasn’t really the room to be swimming, more an exercise in wallowing with brief interspersions of movement, a paddle thorough its center. It was however deep allowing for jumping, bombing and other swimming alternatives that can pass the time.
I remembered a holiday in Turkey some years ago, a much larger pool was on offer at that hotel but really very well populated for much of the time, so rather than swim or bomb we’d come up with an alternative thing.. the backward departure, it had even semi-aught on around the place, with others (admittedly the few, in no way the many) taking to attempting it, not as easy as it sounds.

The idea is that instead of pulling yourself out of the pool head up and stomach to the wall you do it head down with your back to the pool side. You hoist your legs over the side and then attempt to get the rest of your person to follow, there is a knack to it, one which between Turkey and now seemed to have been forgotten, which was probably as well, so that all those failed attempts could fill up the time. Noses, they are such an enticement to water.

Late Afternoon – Early Evening:

Realising we were not quite in central down town Santa Barbara

Sherlock Holmes - Jeremy Brett - No Shit

we headed back to the reception to see what they might be able to tell us about distances and transportation options. They gave us a map, it had a cartoon like inspired quality and the helpful reception people drew on it to show both our location and the central part of the town.

Santa Barbara Local Map

There were apparently buses, the Inn being on what seemed quite the main road they ran along that in handy close proximity. Though having approached the first of the stops we then went on, i can only presume this was due to the timings of the next expected arrival or just some general confusion over what we were being told … again the details of all such matters are all quite lost on me, i do know we ended up walking and that it was not the briefest of trundles.

Sandman Inn Santa Barbara Map

California Santa Barbara
Reaching The Town Center Area

Santa Barbara was not like the USA, in that it was unlike any part of the USA we’d seen up until now; the buildings had a solid permanent look about them with warm & colourful shades,the pavements clean and with spirit level reliable flatness.. it had all the pleasantness, order and solidity hallmarks of a German town.

There was a man, he was shadow boxing a tree – clearly it had been up to no good, poor chap. It might be entertaining, these things are, they shouldn’t be but this chap was living inside that.

We wondered most of the length of the town stopping on route as Mitch was summoned toward one of the bar on route. Trying to work out where that was, all i can recollect was that it was full of TV screens with repetitious sporting activities being shown and waiting staff in a referees uniform of sorts.

Having done a spot of retropective research it was a place called Killer B’s –

Killer B's Santa Barbara street
Killer B's Santa Barbara inside

We didn’t make it down to the sea front, the walk had taken longer than expected, hunger and a drive to find dinner saw us turn around before we got that far. Having turned around it was time to settle on a place for dinner, i know we had Thai because i have recollections that the first few bites were surprisingly spicy but which of the two restaurants .. well the memory is such a powerful finely honed thing.. almost weapons grade thinking powers contained in there – it was probably the Zen Yai Thai Restaurant if what passes for vague recollections and ‘Do No Evil’s’ (alrighty then) street maps are too be believed. It was quite alright this dinner –

Santa Barbara Cinema Evening

It was Sunday night, there was not much in the way of night life. Mitch had received something in the way of information on places to go back at the earlier sports bar.

Sand Bar Santa Barbara

The bar was kind of the opposite to what i later encountered in Mayrhofen – a lot of style with the outdoor fire pits to sit around.. a good place to chill out if you were in a large group, sit around the fire, sup, chat and chill. What it didn’t have was any real sense of life or energy, it wall all cosmetic pleasantness .. maybe it all spun round later in the evening .. inspiration from an 80s bond villain’s lair and all this sedate pleasantness rotated into the ground while from below the lively times took their place.

To be fair if this was in London and i could come here with a large group to sit quietly in the early hours of an evening out then this would be a place of choice for such things.

We stayed for an hour or so before heading on, finding nothing much to head on to and instead went to find those buses to take us back home.

Bus Time Table
Evening Time – No More Buses

No idea what time it was by now – but what buses there were about were not the ones that went our way, the last bus our way it transpired had left some time ago. That walk down that had seemed to go on for far longer than expected now had a return leg, while i realised i really could have done with relieving myself of some of those internally swishing about liquids before attempting such a walk. It did not add to the comfort factor or the extent to which this lack of buses was a welcome turn of events.

Sandman Inn Santa Barbara CA nighttime
Back at the Sandman Inn

Town View Santa Barbara View

Past Trips – California – Driving To Santa Barbara [7]

Leaving Santa Monica I forwarded myself into the driving seat, the mornings test run having shown positive if statistically questionable signs, it seemed like now was the time to make that jump. Early afternoon and before any unnecessary doubt started wrangling it’s way back in, after all the route home in some days time almost demanded two drivers, best not to wait overly long.

It was quite the big old thing, the Jeep, i’d noticed this before but it remained true.
Today was to be the least distance of all the driving days, yet it took us a little by surprise again on the distances & time. The speed limits are not that high and being not from around these parts there was ever the more onus toward obeying them. Beside many of the other drivers seemed similarly inclined to stick to the limited speeds being demanded by the signs. It was not slow, it just wasn’t fast made more noticeable by the broadly straight, open and not so congested nature of the road expanse.

The jeep was proving itself most comfortable as a mode of transport. It was not a good thing, how much I enjoyed tootling about in this vehicle, this can only have been a most poor choice for anyone concerned with environmental matters, there is, was and remains no excuse for the unnecessary bulk of this thing, but I did like it already. A very comfy, relaxing space to be occupying.

I’d held of my inquisitive thoughts about the button paddles around the steering wheel for quite some time. The moment was always going to come when that restrained came to its end. So as we plowed along one of the wide multi-lane roads it occurred to me that the radio could be a bit louder, why reach out or ask your fellow travels to make an adjustment when you have paddles that may or may not have something to do with that sort of thing.

They did not have anything to do with any matters radio or sound system in orientation.
They were the other thing, techtronic gear paddle shifts and once engaged no manner of watering and other button pushing wax about to persuade it that its services were actually neither required or desired. Nope for now I would be left to find out quite how many gears this thing had (it wasn’t 5 or 6) & re-quaint myself with the idea that perhaps there are times when fiddling with unknown buttons/paddles and generally making discovery’s are not necessarily the optimal idea.  Mitch was even requested to seek out answers among the jeep documentation available in all good glove compartments, it mentioned many things including the techtronic gears, now discovered, they had their own bit, it was a bit that didn’t abide with the idea that they might be something in need of switching off… nope the guide held no truck with such notions and did so by avoiding the topic entirely.