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Lake Cowichan view from our dock.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Ventura and Santa Barbara California, March 3-6

On the road from Stoddard OHV by 7:30 a.m. A beautiful drive through the countyside to the Pacific. We took Hwy 18 off the the I-15 by Victorville and went straight west, the road is kind of rough for the first 10 miles.  The next portion was the Hwy 14 with smooth sailing and then onto the 101 to the beach. Ray and I managed to snag a campsite at the Emma Wood State Beach right on the Pacific Ocean. Good thing we arrived at noon as there were only about 1/2 doz sites that would fit us and most were taken. A beautiful afternoon sitting in the sun staring at the ocean followed.  I managed to see 2 whales, 2 dolphins and 5 surfers. You could even see all the Channel Islands out in the distance (which, according to a local, is rare). We're enjoying being on the coast seeing the ocean after months in the desert.  Ray didn't have enough time to take a picture, but a B-25 Mitchell WWII bomber flew some circles above us.  As you know Ray's Dad served on a bomber.

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Picture from Google

Although there are rail tracks, Hwy 1 and further up the hill Hwy 10, with the sound of the surf you can hardly hear the traffic. All along the coast of the Channel Islands there are several Oil rigs and also up towards Santa Barbara. You can see them all lit up at night.

That's us with the flag.

Channel Islands in the distance. I took the picture with Ray's phone. Finally he relaxes!

Lovely sunset

Goodnight to an awesome day.
Saturday we woke to fog in the distance but fairly calm. I saw another whale breach and tail smack first thing ... how cool. After a leisurely morning we decided to take a run up to Santa Barbara to visit the famous "Stern's Wharf" and the Mission Santa Barbara. What a beautiful drive.

Lots of people fishing on the peer.

Although there were three lovely seafood restaurants on the pier we ate lunch at the Char West Fast Food Restaurant so Freya could be with us. This guy was keeping an eye out on all of the people eating. Freya was keeping an eye on it as well.

Picture from Google

Huge pieces of fish, cooked beautifully at a reasonable price. Alas no beer though!

Next it was time to find the Old Santa Barbara Mission for some picture taking moments!  After winding our way through the old downtown we finally reached the top of the hill where the Mission is. Very impressive architecture. We opted to only view it from outside. $9/person for a self-guided tour seemed a bit much and a whole bus load of people had just disembarked!

In 1908 this was used to do the laundry.

After walking around for 1/2 an hour we decided to head back to camp and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Sitting in the front of the coach watching the ocean we saw a seal and a pod of dolphins go back and forth. There were also people casting into the surf, fishing and kids surfing. A beautiful afternoon.

I did notice this guy catch a small dogfish yesterday.
Another great day. Tomorow it is supposed to shower so we shall see whats on the agenda.

Last night's sunset spoke of stormy things to come!

Sunday morning we woke up to glimpses of sun but by 9 am the showers began. With the rain the park begins to empty out. It's been packed all weekend. By 11 the skies had cleared as forecasted and even though the wind increased to about 20 mph we decided to take a drive into Ventura and have a look around. First stop was the Ventura Pier and walk around. Not nearly as interesting as the one at Santa Barbara, but people were fishing at the end of this one too.

They have a Beach Fish House right on the pier so of course that is where we went for lunch and tried some local beer. Most of their food was in a taco form. Ray took some pics but the lighting was wrong and outside the windows was scaffolding so not very picture worthy. Lunch was good though.

They have a lovely pathway along the waterfront here. As we had a sticker on our window showing we paid for camping at Emma Wood State Beach it covered the $10 parking fee here. Bonus! There was a vendor in the parking lot setting up his rental bikes including the 4 seaters. My kids would have loved doing that when they were younger!

While I was taking Freya for a short walk in the parking lot Ray managed to get a picture of this little guy.

Back to the car and off we went to get a picture of the Old Mission San Buenaventura right on Main Street.

Since we have seen what we wanted to see we will depart tomorrow for Pismo Beach. The weather is supposed to be less windy but sunny. Forecast is 81 F. by Thursday. Yeah. We will keep out our shorts yet. Friends showed us a picture of unexpected snow in Gold Beach Oregon. Yikes. They went up Hwy 101 to miss the snow in Oregon!

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  1. Beautiful areas. Nothing like being on the ocean.

  2. We also stayed at Pismo Coast village! Nice eh? Are you stopping at hearst castle? Cant remember if its before or after Pismo. We stayed at muro dunes then drove up. Theyve had lots of snow in Vancouver this year.

    1. We were considering it but we could not stay at Mono dunes ... closed for storm damage. The state park here at Pismo was closed as well. Ray and I took a short drive to 2 more parks on the dunes and they were all closed with storm damage. The drive from Pismo to Hearst Castle would have meant a 4 hour day for Ray and his back was too sore this week.