California Day Three: Carpinteria by Bill Pike

Somehow, I persuaded our youngest daughter, Elizabeth, to go for a morning run today. Might have been just before 7 that we started out for a slow jog. Carpinteria was waking up. The sun had already crept over the mountain tops, and some commuters were heading out just like us.

We went straight up Walnut, made a left on Carpinteria Way, and followed this down to the Best Western. There we turned around, came back up Carpinteria, and made a right on Linden Avenue into the main part of town.

Housing, store fronts, murals on the sides of buildings, and a variety of landscape plantings greeted us on our route.

Once back at the house, we regrouped for breakfast.

We decided to alter our trek through the neighborhood as we headed for the Lucky Llama Coffee House. Espresso, tea, and a variety of breakfast bowls were their specialties. A friendly staff who knew how to handle first time tourists helped us with our choices. A compact building, every inch of space had been thoughtfully put to use including an outside deck. When our orders arrived, we enjoyed every sip and bite.

In the vacant lot beside the Lucky Llama is the Wardholme Torrey Pine. This Torrey pine is thought to be the largest in the world. Stopping to take in the tree and snapping a photograph is worth the effort. The tree dates back to 1888, and it clearly is a tribute to the tree’s toughness— surviving in a California environment that is notorious for making life challenging at times.

After breakfast, we transitioned for the walk to the beach. A week-long camp for junior lifeguards was taking place, and we took note of the flurry of activity around these school aged boys and girls.

But, we had a much larger surprise awaiting us this morning near the entrance of the beachfront. It was hard to miss the deceased California sea lion that the Pacific had washed ashore during the night.

Lifeguards had used bright orange traffic cones to four corner the massive sea lion from all us gawkers. The animal’s girth was enormous, and just like my deodorant sometimes fails me, our once active friend’s decomposing aroma wasn’t too pleasant.

It appeared that a shark had taken a huge bite out from the back side of the sea lion’s neck.

Other than that, our group enjoyed a long day at the beach. It was broken up with walks to the inlet, dips in the ocean, breaks back at the houses, and a walk back to The Spot for another lunch sampling.

As the afternoon progressed, we slowly made our ways back to the houses for cleaning ourselves up for dinner. Sometimes that clean up meant removing tar from our feet. Four oil rigs sit offshore perched in front of the Channel Islands. I’m assuming those rigs have something to do with our feet unknowingly attracting the tar as we walked through the surf.

Anyway, the locals have a remedy for removal— baby oil and a paper towel. This combination immediately removes the tar.

After cleaning up, some of us found our way back to the Island Brewery Company. An easy walk between our two rental houses, we once again enjoy their beer and the hospitality of their open air tasting room.

Abby has ordered Chinese take out for dinner tonight, and this spread did not disappoint.

A planned walk down to the beach for sunset didn’t happen. Late in the afternoon, a gray fog had pushed in from the Pacific. Saying goodbye to the sun for another fine day of work wasn’t going to happen.

With my body still linked to an internal East Coast time zone, I was ready for sleep. So, I started my walk back to our other house on Walnut.

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