Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Santa Barbara

Even though we knew there was little chance of flying at Santa Barbara due to the torrential rainfall, we really like the area and the people we've met so decided to stop in for the long weekend.

In addition to visiting some of our paragliding friends, we went to some of our favourite places and some new places that will be added to our favourites!

The Santa Barbara Roasting Company is a great local coffee spot and always filled with local, colourful characters. The staff (and presumably owners/managers) appear to be friendly to the homeless -- of which there is a large population here. It's great to see. (The friendliness, not the homelessness.)

But what first caught our attention when we visited here for the first time many years ago, is their logo. What's more funky and cool than a coffee bean in board shorts, sipping a coffee and soaking up the sun while sitting in a beach chair?  :-)

Favourite eating places we made return trips to are The Lark and Mesa Verde.

Those who follow Andrew's or my blog know that we never pass up an opportunity to go to a zoo or aquarium. Santa Barbara has one of the best small zoos and getting a membership not only supports the zoo and the animals but also means that you can get in an hour earlier than the general public. We wandered in peace and quiet and spoke to a couple of the zoo keepers while seeing only one other member. It was great!! I took a bit of video and Andrew of course took lots of photos. (Will put link to his post when done.)

We had never been to the Botanic Garden (surprisingly!) and it is a very nice one! Andrew got some great photos. Only part of the Garden was open due to the rainstorm the day before. One of the staff members stated the stream running through the property had not had that much water in over seven years! The storm brought a lot of debris and wiped out part of a bridge railing.
A battered fence and trying to clear some of the storm debris.
More water than this stream has seen in a long, long time!

Beautiful old tree.
The top of this cactus looks like a person with arms outspread and one leg in the air. 

We searched Google for "things to do on a rainy day in Santa Barbara" and the #1 thing was to tour the courthouse. Really??? But we stopped by and the architecture is fabulous! And the view from the top of the tower was spectacular.

We happened to stop by a soaring site we've flown before called Bates near Carpenteria and, while there were gliders in the air when we arrived, it wasn't really "on." A few of the experienced locals were staying up for a bit and able to come back and top land but most people were essentially taking sled rides to the beach and walking back up or had someone to drive around to the beach parking lot to pick them up. Andrew and I got our wings out but, by the time we did, it was almost too light to even kite, let along get a decent flight. Plus, the rain quickly coming in from the north discouraged us.

Pilots getting some height when we first arrived . . . 
Rain in the distance soon after.
 Can't wait to get back here when the weather is better!

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