by YONA C. RIEL

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 9 - Upland CA to Santa Maria, via the coast highway and Ojai

     There is one cool coffee shop in the town where my mother lives.  It's called Boomers and has great 50s decor and run by some local babyboomers I think I should have been in High School with but wasn't...
     That's where I started my day.  I did not want to go anywhere near Los Angeles so I took highway 214 through Pasadena then I was able to pick up the Ventura Freeway which brought me to highway 101 around Santa Barbara.  I wanted to check out the little town of Ojai so I drove the 30 miles inland and got out of the truck for a little walk.  Spendy little town with a Nigerian necklace of silver selling for 165 dollars.  (Absurd.  Fortunately I was just looking.)  There was also this really cool chair made from beads...beautiful to look at and photograph but I didn't even bother to ask the price.
    I walked up the sidewalk and a young man who said he was a journalism student took my picture then wanted to get my name.  I told him about the road trip and that I was from Eugene.  His face lit up as he pointed to himself saying "11th and Polk."  I responded "17th and Polk".   It was a high five moment on 'High Five Day' (according to my friend JJ). 
    On the way in to Ojai I noticed two things (other than the traffic)  There was a place called the "Blue Iguana Inn" and another called the Psychic Boutique.  There's an older movie starring Daryl Hanna as a stripper called 'Night at the Blue Iguana' and I wondered if it was filmed there.  Sandra Oh was also in that movie but more about her later.  Here's the picture....
    Way to spendy for me, I could tell just looking at it.  But across the street hidden in the bushes was a small house had obviously been there before all the rich people and the vineyards came in 20 years ago....
      This is "California" for shack.  I bet it cost more than 500 grand too. 
     I left Ojai for the Pacific Ocean dreaming of a walk in the water.  The road was curvy, mountainous; a nice place for a Sunday drive.  About 30 minutes later I was headed north on 101 the ocean waves rhythmically curling into white foaming tops then flattening as they broke on the shore.  Surfers and bikinis laid about the beach.  I spent 6 yrs in southern California during high school and the only thing I miss is walking in warm ocean water.  Years ago we used to go camping at El Capitan Beach on a whim.  (My father was the impulsive type).  Now my friend Colleen, who lives in Solvang, informs me that you need reservations 9 months in advance.  It also costs 10 dollars just to take a walk on the beach.  Thankfully I asked if they gave discounts to disabled veterans and I got in for free.
    I was so happy to be on the beach walking in the water that I took about a hundred photos.  I will just post the ones I really like...

    And then I took a little self portrait in the water just for kicks...
    The water was cold but the salty smell of the ocean and the song of the waves moved through my spirit like the teenager I once was.
     Gaud I miss the ocean...
    I spent a few hours combing the beach for shells and rocks then I got back in the truck and continued north through the one long continuous vineyard from Buelleton to Santa Maria.  By this time it was 8pm and I needed to stop for the night.  I figured Santa Maria would be cheaper than the other options but I didn't realize it would also be loud and obnoxious.  At about 11pm I went to the front desk and complained about the noise.  The woman, thankfully, put me in another room.  I watched Bill Maher hoping television would put me to sleep.  It worked, but 8 o'clock this morning the family next door hollered me awake.  So I am starting the day off grumpy.
    Tonight I am headed to my old friends' Jennifer and Bertina's house in Colma just south of San Fransisco.  I haven't seen them since the film festival last year.  It will be nice to catch up...  yona c. riel

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