Fox

Fox

On our way to Santa Barbara we spent Saturday night in Palm Desert. Although we faced less traffic on Sunday, we were slowed down because of heavy winds and rain. When we arrived on the California coast, however, the sun greeted us. We discovered that our site in the Ocean Mesa Campground is near where the Juan Bautista expedition camped on February 26, 1776. This spot is now part of El Capitan State Beach. On our initial walk to the state beach we encountered a small fox crossing the road. It immediately retreated to a grassy opening in front of some woods and kept its eyes on us while posing for a picture. The trail along the coast passed a pond where a frog chorus serenaded us. It was interesting to observe the surfers take advantage of the best cobblestone point breaks in California that produces hollow waves according to a sign in the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

Monday morning we finally connected with Winegard customer service who helped us successfully connect our dish receiver. We then visited the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum to avoid the intermittent rain. It was interesting to learn about the Chumash people who were referred to as “bead makers” or “seashell people.” The story of the Rainbow Bridge explained how the Chumash people traveled from the Channel Islands to the mainland. Some people who became dizzy when looking down and fell into the water became dolphins. Another display outlined the devastating January 28, 1969 oil spill. For lunch we celebrated our seventh anniversary at the Harbor Restaurant. This classy restaurant sits on a wooden wharf that we could drive on and park for free for ninety minutes.

Monday afternoon we found a couple of places with short trails. Near the Bacara Resort known as “He’lapunitse” which means “place of the shovelnose guitarfish” we stopped at “Beach House” at Haskell’s Beach. While viewing the ocean next to a warning fence, part of the cliff, including one of the fence posts, dropped ten feet with a thud. Scary! A sign on the trail memorialized a Japanese I-17 submarine shelling at 7 p.m. on February 23, 1942 of what was then a Richfield Oil Field with 25 5-inch rounds. We took another walk at Ellwood Mesa to the Goleta Butterfly Grove. We missed the monarch butterflies who visit between November through February. We turned around at the Western Snowy Plover Habitat Area. The only downside of our exploration was muddy shoes.

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