After two days of overcast coolness, the sun popped up at 6:30 this morning. I'm not usually up at that hour, but Hobbes the cat starts meowing for his breakfast a 4 a.m., and I finally have to deliver it to him at dawn. What in the world makes him think of eating at 4, I have no idea.
This turn of meterological events was to be desired, because today's agenda featured a trip to the most wonderful beach at Carpenteria, one of the few which doesn't have a pay parking lot, and is so clean that Atlantic City should hang its head in shame. First we stopped at The Daily Grind on Mission St. in Santa Barbara for a cool drink and a giant zucchini muffin. Supposedly a hangout for celebrities, we have never seen anyone even a little out of the ordinary there. The place is always busy, everything is delicious, and it still, after years of visiting it, is in dire need of a pressure washer. Even George Clinton would say it's got the funk.
The beach was almost empty the last time we were here, but not today. Despite the heavy crowd, there was no litter or dumb behavior. There is, in fact, nothing not to like about Carpenteria at all. Nancy visited the Twice As Nice consignment shop, located in a sprawling Victorian house. You can imagine the quality and style of the clothing consigned by millionairesses -- there was a $12,000 purse (for $400)! Nancy said it was pretty ugly.
Then, up California Route 150 through the hills and mountains to the isolated town of Ojai. The backcountry of Carpenteria is agriculture-intensive; this is where the Hass avocado was developed, and you can see more avocado trees here than anywhere. Strangely, they end abruptly at the county line as you cross into Ventura County. Don't know why.
Ojai is about the size of New Cumberland but decidedly more upscale. Like Sedona, Arizona, it has mostly clothing boutiques and art emporia; two well-appointed gas stations and a dry cleaners were the only "normal" businesses there. I'm guessing that, in addition to the tourist trade, it's a retreat for wealthy Angelenos and landed squires.
Since route 192 is the only other road, it wasn't hard to find our way back to the 101 freeway and zip back to Santa Babs. Our final destination was Woody's Barbeque, located in a green and leafy compact shopping center, but looking both inside and out like it should be in a dusty Texas town (or on a touristy street in Austin). The clientele were distinctly non-Barbareno: quite overweight and clearly intending to stay for hours with their glistening pitchers of brew, discussing car parts in great detail. We had noticed some intriguing items on the menu the previous day, mainly, the rack of bison ribs. After thinking about it all day, I just had to go for it. We cracked up when we saw the plate -- it looked just like the tray of Brontosaurus ribs that Fred Flintstone always got at the Bedrock drive-in. So, a large chunk of dinosaur, a quart of Woody's Amber Ale, some taters and a little coleslaw later, I really felt like wearing a sabretooth tiger fur onesie.
And the day ends with Hobbes the cat, as it began: we have to give him his twice-weekly I.V. fluids with a needle that would make your eyes widen significantly if it were aiming at you. He's 19 years old (93 in human years) and it's a miracle his kidneys work at all, so we're glad to help him along. Come to think of it, he looks a little like a sabertooth tiger...