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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lopez Lake Epilogue-The Scenic Route isn't always so......

continued From....

Lopez Lake Day 3

We woke up in the AM and once again it seemed colder then the night was easy to take knowing we wouldnt have to do it again and besides-living in CA cold means anything below 55degrees. We packed up the family truckster, filled up the gas tank, stopped by Mcdonalds and away we went South on the 101 looking forward to stopping by the Santa Barbara pier for a chance to stretch the legs and grab a bite before making our way home.

Making the exit Tomoko mentioned she wanted to see the Santa Barbara Mission and on the way we also saw the Museum of Natural History in the area as well. Passing the Mission we both loved the dual spires but also thought it may not be as fun for the kids as the museum. Alex mentioned since we already went to the mission in San Juan Capistrano that he wanted to see the museum.

We parked, paid, and 3 hours later left with me looking at my watch thinking "we still need to go to the pier, eat, and then drive back....which means basically Id be getting home at 8pm instead of our 4-5 pm time. Oh well....nothing wrong with prolonging the vacation I suppose.

We stopped at the mission where I snapped some pics and left to find the pier. I always like Santa Barbara pier if not for the end section of the pier were the pier designers felt maybe it wasn't so important to have things like rails to separate people on the pier from falling into the ocean.  And now that I had kids made it clear and in no uncertain terms that no one was to run on the pier or even walk in front of us for that matter.

Driving through town It was a bit different then I last remembered with more homeless and panhandlers then I remembered. As a matter of fact I had to tip my cap to the creativity of some of them as they had a variety of crudely assembled carnival style games on the sand below the pier. There were target games with a bullseye with a piece of cardboard reading "Hit the Bullseye!" as well as a tripod made of sticks and an empty can with the same throw the coin type promotion. Alex couldnt take not playing one of the games so decided this was the opportunity to throw a japanese coin he had with him.  I've always said its never too late to give a homeless person a lesson in international currency. I considered trying to hit the bullseye and then demanding some type of stuffed animal or the contents of the cup that marked the bullseye.

Walking by the seafood restaurants and in particular the Fish n Chip stand almost turned my stomach given the previous days foray in the realm of ultra rich chowder and slightly reheated fish and chips later in the day. And once again no family walk would be complete without an inviting candy or ice cream shop to beckon them in. At the end of the pier we watched some of the fisherman and overhead some of them bemoaning the lack of fish on this day.

Leaving the pier we were lucky to stumble across a pizza place that was built from an old light house. From the outside you would have thought it a bit more upscale but looking at the menu found we still had 15  minutes left to order the salad, pizza, drink lunch special.  The kids were very and all you can drink soda. I was happy-I could get a nice salad(I always tend to yearn for roughage when camping) and a place to sit. Wont give a full on review but loved the interior of the place but could have done without the moss green littered filled drainage ditch that the patio offered some not so stunning views of.

Back on the 101South I decided it may be fun to take the scenic coastal route through Ventura expecting it be to similar to the drive from Seal Beach, through HB, through Newport and Laguna....truth be told the drive lacked scenery and large swaths of coast as well for that matter. Driving through Ventura I was shocked to see how shabby it was and not to mention the plethora of thrift and 2nd hand shops as well as homeless everywhere...I mean everywhere. It looked like at one time it was probably a cool little city but it clearly had seen better days-it was like Frisco only with better parking. My older brother lived in this city once upon a time and driving through imagined what life might have been like had I grew up here instead of Huntington.

We stayed on the coastal drive and finally started to see some coast but not before stopping by another mcdonalds for an iced coffee as the post lunch carb intake was dragging down my energy levels. Fueled by the coffee we continued our coastal jaunt and once again saw very little coast and I really began to question exactly what definition of "scenic" city planners had read when coming up with this little drive on Baltic and Mediterranean Avenue. Finally I had enough and lamented my decision and coming across a large street I  recognized from the map made a left and was treated to another wonderful, scenic trip through downtown Oxnard. Seeing the signs for Oxnard, Tomoko said "dont they have a famous college here?" I spent the next 10 or so minutes going some of the slight regional between Oxford and Oxnard. Later we both laughed when we actually did stumble across Oxnard College. I wondered if they had a rowing team.

We drove and drove and drove East hoping to find the onramp. After a while I began to wonder if something had gone horribly wrong and rolled the dice by asking the goth girl in the car next to us if I was on the right track....she put down the chicken wing she was eating and confirmed we were indeed on the right track but not before first spitting a bit of cartilage from the hot wing into her hand and washing it down with a Diet Soda. Nice Gal though....

Finally after our scenic trip through Hades....I mean Oxnard we found the highway again and I was never so proud to find it. Reminded me of the time as teenagers we drove to LA on a 1/4 tank of gas and on the return trip with the gas gauge on E and the light on-saw the sigh that read "Now Leaving Compton" as the engine continued to purr and take us back home.

And then as we entered LA were lucky enough to hit what remained of rush hour traffic-was a journey well planned and played immaculately. I began to feel the car seat actually conforming to the curve of my ass and though it wasnt hot-the lack of air circulation meant some parts of the anatomy about as steamy as a Florida
swamp. I couldnt wait to get home and have a bowl of cold cereal and a lukewarm shower-90 or so minutes later....I did just that.
The Wash Basin from Mission Santa Barbara...I figured in Black and White and a funky angle it might look cool...
the jury is still out.

Fountain.....yeah, just a fountain.

The Museum was having a special program about butterflys....this was the best of them.


Anonymous said...

Nice Pictures! Looks like a fun place to visit and love reading your blog!

family said...

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