Santa Barbara Stop-in

The quick-hit weekend up to Santa Barbara was a lot of fun (with one tragic exception that I didn't learn about til we returned).  It started off on Friday afternoon with a trip on the train from Solana Beach to Santa Barbara.  The train was crowded, but no more so than your typical Southwest Airlines flight.

I was unabashedly touristy as I rode up, snapping photos along the route.  As it rides through San Diego County, Camp Pendleton and southern Orange County, the train really hugs the coast.  We were practically right on the beach!  The shot below is as the train went through San Clemente.

From there the train turns due north and goes through Anaheim and skirts downtown LA on the NE side, eventually heading over towards Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.    This shot made me think of erin-dot-erin.

Finally, we turned west and went through Simi Valley on towards the coast and we were cruising along. Well until– until our train got in an accident.  Apparently, a homeless man was laying on the tracks and wouldn’t/couldn’t move out of the way and was killed (unclear whether he was out-of-it or committing suicide).  Oddly, we were told we were in an accident, but the Amtrak folks made it sound as if we’d struck a vehicle and that whether there were severe injuries was unclear (I didn't find out what'd happened until I'd gotten home and searched google-news).  We were delayed a couple of hours while the authorities tended to the scene.  Most folks on the train were pretty patient (with a couple of vocal exceptions).  We ended up getting into the station until nearly midnight.  Oof.

Saturday we got together with a bunch of people that The Beloved had known from her post-doc days which was really fun.  The science session was a bit disorganized, and finished up in the mid-afternoon, after which we had a picnic at a park next to the beach near UCSB … which was really beautiful.  The weather was warm, but not too hot and dolphins frolicked immediately offshore – even doing SeaWorld style flips and jumps.  Oh, the pictures of that?  I left the camera in the hotel room.  Yeah — nicely done.  In the evening, The Beloved and I peeled off and walked up State Street a bit to ogle the shops and went out onto the pier for a nightcap.  Fun!

On Sunday, we didn’t have a LOT of time (I had to be back here for a consultants’ meeting – blech), so we went up to the Mission Santa Barbara – I love the old California Missions – and then started the drive back down the 101 to I-405 to home.


I would love to go back and spend a few more days in Santa Barbara with a chance to look around some more and incorporate some of the suggestions I got from my last post.

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19 thoughts on “Santa Barbara Stop-in

  1. Sounds like a great weekend. The mission looks so beautiful. It's funny, I don't really think about the West Coast for old architecture. I love old buildings. It'd be so cool to go out there and see all the old buildings. The only time I've spent on the West Coast was a weekend in Alta Loma for my sister's wedding when I was in 8th grade. I think it's about time I went back.

  2. Beautiful pictures. Made me feel like I was right there. And wow about the accident. I mean wow in a tragic way, of course.
    The mission pictures are great, especially the one of the outside corridor/porch thingie. If you're ever in SA, we've got some missions, too. I think. I mean, that's what I hear. :) (Just kidding, I'm not that oblivious.)

  3. Steve you are an inspiration. How you make an hours long delay sound so nice is truly admirable…:)At first I thought the mission pictures were Mission San Juan Bautista from the film Vertigo but quickly realized they were not. That Santa Barbara mission looks very cool. I'd love to check it out some time.

  4. i'd like to go back to the mission sometime, it's very pretty up there isn't it? did you see the pier at all?
    and did the train go through Ventura by any chance? i know that there are tracks through town, but i'm not sure if they're all freight lines or if Amtrak uses them too. Ventura would've been pretty much the last big town/city you went through. (that's where my grandparents live!)
    sounds like a good time, overall.

  5. Wow. I'm from Simi Valley, and I can tell you, many, many people have met the same fate with that train. I'm not sure why — it's really hard to miss, so most of the deaths are either suicide (probably by those who want to be seen — because it runs right through the middle of town), or are so out of it they are oblivious to the world around them. Sorry to hear about the train.

  6. Janie — you know its funny…a lot of California (and southwestern) colonial history isn't taught in the East. I would get that not 1-in-100 Americans know that Santa Fe was settled by the Spanish at the same time as Jamestown was settled by the English.
    The missions are really gorgeous — sadly most of the original buildings along the El Camino Real have been destroyed by earthquakes — and many of the churches now are replacements.

  7. Jen — I would love to see the Missions in Texas. In a lot of ways, they're much more elaborate than the ones in California. California was essentially "the sticks", whereas Texas was much more permanently settled.
    Sdede2 — I would love to get up to Mission San Juan Bautista (I love "Vertigo") — the missions are so cool. b/c they're all so different.
    Liz — yes, the train did go through Ventura though it was pitch dark when we went through. Better though, we drove past Ventura on our way back and it looked great. We also were curious about Carpenteria. And yes, we got out on the pier Saturday night for a nightcap which was fun.

  8. Hapa — I have to say I thought Simi Valley was gorgeous — I tried to take a couple of pics of the setting sunlight catching the hillsides, but they didn't come out from the moving train.
    It sounds like there are a lot of homeless in that area around the tracks and what happened is all too common.

  9. Aw, my home away from home! And it still cracks me up that you think of me as Erin-dot-Erin. I've been wanting to ride the train either down to San Diego, or up to Santa Barbara. We were going to do it when Mason got a little older. Your trip sounds fun! I love the missions … we had a goal a long time ago to visit all 21 of them … since we do a lot of north/south roadtrips … I think at last count we were up to 15!Glad you had fun on your mini-vacation!

  10. Noelle— thanks! I had to wait several minutes for an elderly lady to move off the porch while there was a WHOLE BUS-LOAD of French Canadians bearing down on Mission! I was sure that I was never going to get it empty!

  11. You have to be persistent sometimes in photography! Steve had to wait 15 minutes last weekend to get a picture of the house that Lincoln died in. A family was just kinda playing on the stairs and talking. I just kept looking at him across the street waiting and laughing. He got the picture though!

  12. Yeah… it is pretty driving in. There's not really a big homeless problem in Simi Valley, but there have been a lot of suicides at the track, and I guess the homeless people that are there hang out at the track. Some useless Simi facts for you… Bonanza and Poltergeist were both filmed there, as well as some of Little House on the Prairie. :-)

  13. I happened on your post by accident, and had to comment, as I lived in Santa Barbara over 10 years, and now live in north county San Diego. I've taken Amtrak from SB to Oceanside, and I remember two things: how beautiful it was (with the tracks practically on the beach) and how long it took (though no one committed suicide delaying the train 2 hours, so I'm sure your ride was quite a bit longer). I sighed when I saw where you and your Beloved stayed, as my husband and I got married in SB, then stayed at Hotel Oceana on our wedding night. The Mission is a beauty, and probably the most spectacular of all the California Missions. I love Santa Barbara, and if it weren't so dang expensive, we would still live there!

  14. Janette — thank you so much for sharing that story — small world in so many ways. The pic with the palms & streetlight was taken right outside the Oceania and there was a wedding party and guests staying there that weekend (I think we only got the room b/c someone cancelled).
    I had never been to SB before, but I can see a lot of trips back!

  15. Now I have no choice but to visit California. Great pictures, especially the street light with the palm trees. Nice glow! The beach looks heavenly. I'm thrilled to hear that there's trains available. I love travelling by train.
    I would second your thought that California Hx is not taught in the East. Thus reading your blog is always facinating to me! ;)

  16. California–and most western U.S. history–is not taught until seventh or eight grade, usually; even then it's minimal. U.S. history always begins in the east (of course) and moves its way west. The most significant history is obviously the settling of the colonies which led to the RevWar, CivWar, etc. By the time teachers make it out west it's June. Eighth graders may make a model of a Cali mission (which can now be purchased prefab at any art supply store–art imitating life?), but then highschool dumps kids in world history, government (which traces them back to the east), economics, and things like "modern world studies". Besides (a teacher may say), a standardized test will only get as far as the Alamo. This is one teeny example of why we must teach our kids to love reading!!!

  17. Hapa — you have solved one of the great questions of my youth — I LOVED "Poltergeist" when it came out — and was always really curious as to where those developments were!

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