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Old 11-16-2008, 05:15 PM   #11
Country Doc OP
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: somwhere north of Kingston, Ontario
Oddometer: 2,760

Early in the morning on day 4, we headed out from San Luis Obispo to Pt. Buchon and Montana de Oro State Park. This was our first view of the Pacific, which always gives me spine-tingling thrills, having grown up on Vancouver Island. Now I live many thousands of miles from the ocean in Eastern Ontario, and I miss it every day.

Lunch stop in Los Olivos, where we were looking for good wine and food.

We found some great wine and decent food at Patrick's Side Street Cafe in Los Olivos. They certainly weren't cutting us any deals on the pricing however. Wine culture seems to have definitely upped the cost of living in the Santa Ynez valley since the last time I was through here, more than 10 years ago. The downside (if there is one...) of fine wine.

We tried hard to make it up to West Camino Cielo, then along that road down into Santa Barbara, aiming to camp at Carpinteria State Beach, a place I know well from my yearly pilgrimage to Disneyland as a youth. Unfortunately, we ran out of light. This is heading up the mountain, almost at the Camino Cielo start, with the light obviously leaving us quickly. We made it to the road, and even took the first few miles of it, but it was frighteningly cold, windy, and foggy, and when it turned pitch black as well, we thought the better of ourselves and headed back down to the 101. Sigh.

Morning after a warm, temperate night in Carpinteria. You can see in this picture, two of the trip's essential items - wine and baby wipes. Is there ANYTHING that baby wipes CAN'T get clean??

Morning stroll down the Carpinteria beach to the tar deposits. Though the beach remains beautiful, like so many other experiences or places from my youth, my recollection of the campground was considerably more favourable than its reality. Either it has shrunk by 50% and gained 200% more RV traffic, or my mind's eye has been seeing it through the misty veil of my early adolescence. I think the latter is probably true.

Can't deny the beauty of the beach, however.

You can see the Santa Ynez mountain range off to the right - this is where we were headed, up to East Camino Cielo. Unfortunately, this whole hillside is, as I write this, up in flames.

I love these sand dune plants, though I still don't know what they are.

Last section, East Camino Cielo, comin' up.

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