Blue sky and sunshine

Trip Start May 31, 2009
Trip End Jul 01, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, June 27, 2009

We left San Luis Obispo at about 9.00 am this morning - much more civilised hour - given we only had a couple of hours to travel to get to Santa Barbara.

Fancy us being in "Michael Jackson country" when he died. Michael lived in the greater Santa Barbara area for many years, and was actually tried at the Santa Maria court on "those" charges. As you will all be able to imagine, we can't get away from it here - Michael Jackson on the radio and tv almost non-stop.

Anyway, the trip here was uneventful, on the 101 - two lane highway all the way through. We started off in foggy conditions - the sea fog comes in about 4 pm and takes half the day to burn off in many areas. However, by the time we got to Santa Barbara the fog had well and truly gone. The temperatures got as high as 78 today, but tended to sit between 68 and 72 for much of it.

Santa Barbara is a real holiday area, and so we had some difficulty in getting a hotel that was up to standard and yet still a reasonable price. Those that we had sussed out on the net/coupon book the day before were full, and a couple of others were just dives. However, after spending about an hour driving around, I suddenly drove into this one (Sandpiper Inn) as there were two side by side. Thought it would be too expensive for us, but at least we had the one next door to go to which we knew would be cheaper. However Malc turned on the charm, and his kiwi accent. The guy on the front desk spent his school years in the North Island of NZ, and so took pity on us. The normal cost is $154 plus taxes for a room here, but he agreed to reduce it to $135 plus tax initially, and then when confirmed we were kiwis, dropped it to $125 plus tax. The dearest we have had to pay anywhere, but as it is for just one night, who cares. The room is nice, and the pool actually took five strokes to get from one end to the other!!!! Many of the pools here have been the size of a hot tub really - wouldn't be able to swim in them, and so I haven't.

Anyway, once we were booked in, we had a break from the car before we spent the afternoon looking around local malls, and also State Street, which is the main/historic area of the town. It was surprisingly long - several miles - with the end we are at being the historic/art/museum end, and the lower end at the beach being the boutiquey end. It was lovely to get down and have a paddle along the beach - which once again was a well used area by all kinds of recreationalists. Although there was a breeze down at the beach, it was pleasant, and kept the heat out of the sun.

The beggers were back today, but they tended to be silent - just with signs saying they needed food - no personal approaches. What a life! I'd slit my throat if that was all there was to life - sitting there all day, and then they seem to sleep around the local baseball diamond - we saw them on the way back to our unit tonight.

A quiet chinese takeaway back at the unit, and reasonably early night (10.00 pm) for us.  We are once again feasting on strawberries.  We have been able to buy them for about $1.50 per lb - which is heaps cheaper than at home in the summer time, as for a pound you probably get the equivalent of two punnets worth.  And they are huge.  And they are delicious!  We buy a couple of pounds at a time and eat them over two days - they can be our morninig tea snack in the car!  Boy are we rich eating food of kings like that!

Another thing we have noticed and commented on throughout our trip, is that the US has tended to keep its old picture theatres (on the outside), although they have turned them into multi-plexes on the inside.  They are lovely, with the cashier sitting out in her cubicle in the front.  It is not cheap to go to the movies here at night.  About $12 NZ per person if you go before 6.00 pm and $20 per person if you go after 6.00 pm.  Was surprised at that.  But people must go, as it is not uncommon to see 5-6 movie theatres in the towns, and they each have 3-6 theatres in them.

Tomorrow we will head into greater LA for the remainder of our trip. The weather is looking to get even warmer over the weekend. The inland areas are prediciting tempeatures into the 100s and are warning people to drink heaps and use sunscreen. Should be cooler on the coast, but still in the 80s, so maybe looking for another pool tomorrow.

Must say, was nice to get back into the water again and do a few lengths!!!! Hah, ha. Has been 3 years since I did any kind of swimming. The pool was salt water and heated - like getting into a cool bath - lovely!

Sorry - no pics today, as the internet isn't sufficiently fast enough to allow them to be loaded up.
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