A day in the country

Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 06:12 PM

I am not on the payroll of the California Travel & Tourism Commission, I swear. But as if the weather in general were not splendidly un-wintery enough, here's some of what I encountered a couple of hours west and north of Los Angeles, by aiming for Santa Barbara and then more or less aimlessly wandering. My daughter Kate provivded a perfect iPod score, dominated by Four Tet and the soundtracks of Jungle Book and Carnivàle.

• Miles and miles of orange groves, with roadside stands where you could buy a big box (100 oranges?) for $10.

• Unwitting sculpture: four ten-foot boulders, apparently just pulled out of the ground, strapped onto the flatbed of an 18-wheeler.

• The brightest organge and yellow wildflowers I've ever seen, and fields in the Ojai Valley so intensely green -- chartreuse! -- that they looked like an image on which the color had been digitally tweaked. Ironically, this digital image understates the unnatural intensity. ojaivalley

• Friendly cattle cow and an unpeopled lake called Cachuma. lakecachuma

• The 200-year-old Spanish mission in Santa Barbara, where I had the sinful thoughts that it would make a fantastic hotel, sbarbaramission and that I'd really like to buy one of their doors.sbarbaramissiondoor

• The tourist-trappy town of Solvang, solvang which made me somewhat embarrassed about my Danish ancestry.

And then it was back down to Los Angeles via Malibu, and -- after getting pleasantly lost in South Central and East L.A. -- dinner in Chinatown, with a driving tour afterward of L.A.'s 'downtown' district, which seemed like a would-be SoHo/TriBeCa in, say, Cleveland.

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Comments [2]

jason

Kurt,
I think your blog is great and have been enjoying your take on travelling in California. Having been to Solvang, I am happy to see your take on the fudge capital of southern california.
Please get in touch with me to see about the possibilities of having your blog re-published for a website that is about to launch that can hopefully expand your readership.
Jason
Ourhistree
jasonvenzor@gmail.com

Apr. 06 2009 01:25 AM
Jane D

lovely! the canyons are also beautiful this time of year and the next few weekends will be full of wildflowers. check out solstice or temescal canyon hikes if you can.

Mar. 15 2009 01:47 AM

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