Our first glimpse of the Pacific came when we hit Pismo Beach on Saturday (Oct. 3) afternoon, a little over an hour’s drive north of Santa Barbara on US 101. The drive to get there from Yosemite took us along numerous state highways as we zigged and zagged our way through farmland lined with endless almond and pistachio trees. The air had a heavy haze and the thermometer was flirting with 100F. My only concern was our little Crosstrek; poor girl had been huffing and puffing over 5500 miles as she carried us and our worldly belongings to Santa Barbara. Easy does it with the gas, Bij. Climb the hills slow, steady, I told myself.
Our place in SB wouldn’t be “our place” until Monday, so we found a micro room at Motel 6 in Santa Barbara for a couple nights. Our friends and fellow travel RN couple, Jesse and Maribel, whom we met during our time in Seattle, were wrapping up contracts in Santa Barbara as we got into town. In fact, I’m not so sure we’d have landed the contracts if it wasn’t for them helping us get our foot in the door.
We met up with them on Saturday, glad to see familiar faces after 3+ weeks on the road. Showing us around town, we caught up and they gave us the skinny on the city and the hospital. We grabbed Super Ricas tacos (a Julia Child favorite) and headed down to East Beach to enjoy our food and a pleasant evening by the water.
The following day, we finished up some laundry and grabbed breakfast at the Sunshine Cafe across the street from our Motel 6. Finally slowing down our pace as we reached our destination, we slept in a bit and spent part of the morning driving around to get our bearings. We met up with Jesse and Maribel in the afternoon down at East Beach again, and I got my first Pacific experience since Seattle as Jesse and I bodysurfed for a bit. Time slipped away from us and before long it was time for dinner. Finney’s on lower State St. served up some excellent coconut shrimp, burgers and sandwiches, and Jesse and I had a couple more drinks to add to our tally from the beach.
Having “locals” show us around certainly enriched our first few days. It’s always a nice adventure to figure out a new area and neighborhood when arriving at a new assignment, but having folks with good recommendations and advice is always a benefit.
Unfortunately, our friends were leaving town the next morning. We enjoyed breakfast at The Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach (the dog beach destination), and said our “see you laters” to Jesse and Maribel.
Now it was just us again. Much like when we arrived in Seattle last year. Other side of the country from family and friends. Time to settle in and see about Santa Barbara.
We walked Hendry’s Beach with Charley, and she whined why she couldn’t be off leash like all the other pups. Because you lost your off-leash privileges years ago.
Kicking around town for the next few hours while we waited until 3pm to move in, we stopped at Scarlett Begonia cafe in the downtown area for a cup of coffee and a Food Network-famous cinnamon bun.
We walked around our soon-to-be neighborhood until 3p and arrived at our tiny house for a brief introduction with the property managers, going over the basics of the place. As I unpacked the car onto our yard, I was shocked at just how much we fit in there. It was a clown-car of stuff, and after each load taken off, the car seemed to breathe a bit easier. Making lists for Target and the grocery, our place started to take shape, and Jamie and I decided we’d made the right choice of living. Simple with all the necessities, and centrally located only a handful of blocks from the center of downtown Santa Barbara.
For our first meal in our new temporary accessible dwelling unit (ADU), we ordered Persian food off of door dash.
The next day was spent running errands, completing our Target and grocery runs, and walking the neighborhood to get our orientation. I know it isn’t a novel idea, but walking is by far the best way to take in the most detail about your surroundings. If not walking, biking. Speaking of walking, we had to look into a dog walker for our Charley, so we browsed Rover and local dog-care places, found someone with good reviews and affordable, and got it booked for Charley for the coming weeks while we work.
Santa Barbara actually faces south, and not west, and therefore a lot of the city doesn’t give you the sought-after ocean sunset you’d expect on the west coast. Hendry’s Beach (aka Dog Beach) does face west and we made our way down there for our first beach sunset on Tuesday evening.
And while we’re on “firsts,” our first homemade dinner that evening: Baked Tortellini. Yum!