Sunday, September 12, 2010

Beach Bums, Bigtime.

I wonder how many days it would take before I tired of life on the beach....14? 60? 1, 324? I've never been there long enough to find out.
We had a great time at Carpinteria State Beach in California. The first part of the week we did not see the sun?! We wondered if we had accidentally driven to Canada.
Later in the week the sun came out. Blessed sun ! I have never been more excited to feel sunshine. I practically worshipped it all day in my beach chair.

Reading, chasing waves, boogie boarding. Does it get any better?
My book Entre Nous; a guide to finding your inner French girl, proved to be a perfect beach read: entertaining, educational, and fun. Merci Beaucoup! I would have liked to spread out a blanket and break out the bread and cheese. We had 'Uncrustables' and fruit snacks and that's pretty close.

We saw seals and a dolphin swimming out there. They like cold water better than we do.

Needless to say we ended up with a lot of soggy sandy clothes that would not dry!Add to that parfum de campfire and you have some pretty smelly beach bums.The campsite from both views. The camping part was definitely the low of the vacation. What kind of person PAYS to camp?...and right next to other people on both sides?? Only true beach bums like me. (Brandon is a good sport to indulge me)
I guess I forgot to zip the door one night, it was just velcroed shut--good 'nuff right?. Brandon saved us by waking up just in time to see a raccoon making it's way in. He jumped up in his sleeping bag and hurled himself caterpillar style to the door. Fortunately that scared the raccoon away before it could wreak havoc in our tent!
Luckily camped next to us were some fun new friends for us to meet. They were up visiting from L.A. and they knew fellow Mormons when they saw 'em. (Did our minivan, kids, and BYU paraphernalia give us away?) We joined campfires and shared s'mores and sang around the campfire with--get this-- a ukelele! Love that!

I spy a starfish...

We explored tide pools at low tide. There was even a marine biologist on hand to answer questions and help us identify anenomes, crabs, mussels, stars and other seaside creatures. She also made sure no one pried away any of the seastars or got too close to the sunbathing seals or squished the anenomes or bothered the crabs or ate kelp or whatever. Treasure trove of shells: A sign at the campsite said no shell collecting?! That obviously applied to CA residents only. What it really meant was: If you drove many hours to get here be very selective when choosing which shells you would like to keep as souvenirs.

One cloudy day, we walked around to see the little shops of Carpinteria. We ate fine chocolates at "Robitailles" (I'm so turning into my mom.) We went to the Carpinteria museum to find out why the town is called what it is (google it if you care.) We went to a cute little used book store and ate the 5-star tamales they advertised at "Reynaldos."
By the way--the only camping foods we ate were s'mores. Who wants to eat hot dogs when you're a stones throw from some really great restaurants?! Bon apetit

Our last day we packed up and drove a little North to the beautiful city of Santa Barbara: home of the shrimp and abalone industry and yachts, sailboats, and Mercedes.

We took a little boatride on a water taxi from the wharf to the harbor. The crew was very kid- friendly, even letting the kids steer the boat.

Where did I park my million dollar baby this time?

By the time we had explored the harbor everyone was starved. We went for the lunch special at this little cafe: teriyaki chicken , salad, and 10 California rolls. What could hit the spot better than hot buttery rolls and 10 of them, no less. Imagine our surprise when they brought us this...
SUSHI AKA rolls. They taste like they smell. I filled up on the lettuce. So we spent a bunch of money and still ended up hungry.

The plan on the way home was to swing by and visit my old BYU roomie in Riverside. However, we got off a little later than expected. I called her to explain and she shrieked, "You are heading from Cali to Vegas on a Friday afternoon???!!! in a tone that implied "What are you--ignorant tourists???" Then she put it this way, "You can either sit on the freeway with a car full of kids for 20 hours OR you can come to our house, eat our food, swim in our pool and sleep in our guest room. " She even added that we could do our laundry.
Tres Magnifique! did I even need to consult husband?! I did and we quickly took her up on her magnanimous offer.
Just a 3 hour stint of rotting in L.A. traffic and we were there. She cooked us a great meal and practically begged us to take showers. Le Bain--what is that? She had a little drawer of toiletries available that she'd collected from her world travels. Did you know they give you toothbrushes and razors in China?
What hospitality and it was so fun to stay up late and reminisce about college days when we were younger and smarter.

All in all it was a great journey. Fun was had, friendships were forged, and lessons were learned: Specifically...
  1. Don't travel from CA to NV on a Friday afternoon or vice versa on a Sunday afternoon.
  2. Don't order rolls from a Japanese restaurant.
  3. Zip the tent door SHUT!... actually...
  4. Stay in a hotel!

Ohhhh. I do love having a home again!

** Special thanks to cc for her indispensable phone. We are so getting one.

And the GPS?! Best investment of the whole trip. I feel like I could drive across the country now...from sea to shining sea :)


cold cocoa said...

Wow! Sounds very exciting. I don't know if I could do the camping part though. I love your beach passion!

I'm glad you guys had fun and no one got taken away by the waves while you were peacefully reading your French novel.

Sheree said...

Totally know what you mean about the stinky clothes! Our clothes got some kind of mildewy, yucky stink after a few days trying to dry.

What a great place to camp! I love that area. Santa Barbara is amazing.

T said...

I'm glad that raccoons are frightened of giant caterpillars!!!

and yeah, I'll be skippin' the sushi, so not my thing :)

Megz said...

Tell me more about the tantrums and losing Cannon and stuff so I don't feel so covetous of your fun beach vacations.
It would have been more appropo if it was a seal coming into the tent. You didn't have to drive to CA to see raccoons!

stephanie said...

reading on the beach sounds so lovely.
I am so jealous. It looks like so much fun. Except for the camping part.

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