Let’s lay all the cards on the table. The stories from the West Coast are true! California is one muy expensivo place to live. As homeowners in Maine, Hannah and I couldn’t own a comparable home here in Carpinteria, let alone in upscale Montecito or Santa Barbara. The modest three bedroom ranch we rent in winter (their off-season) is valued at $1.3 million. Click here to check out our VRBO. Who else can’t afford to live in Carpinteria? Their teachers, fire fighters, and police! In their dreams.
Check out these gas prices in Carpinteria when gas is $2.65 in Maine. That said, California is a leader in reducing emissions and giving a sh** about the Climate Crises that has our lives staring down the gun barrel of trouble with a capital T.
Stepping down from soapbox, I present to you one of the jewels of the University of California system – The University of California, Santa Barbara.
Twenty-five minutes north along The 101 are the bluff trails of UCSB. Even for Californians, the total cost of one year at UCSB is $36K. Out-of-state students pay $64K for this selective state school (36% acceptance rate).
Parking at the Goleta Beach State Park on the first Tuesday in January, we walk a half mile along the coastline to the bluff trails to enter campus. Being low tide, we take the stairs down to the surfer’s beach to check out the cliffs above us. A year ago at high tide, we saw officers on a ski-do rescue a distressed surfer. Click here for that story and pictures.
Once on the north edge of campus, Hannah and I take another bluff trail facing the Pacific. Much of this Campus Point is covered with ice plant, an exotic invasive scourge that competes with native plants by forming thick mats that cover the landscape. It’s California’s bad brother to the South’s kudzu. Click here for the kudzu blog.
Easily descending on a trail to the beach, we see three coeds dive into shoreline surf of the 59F waters of the Pacific this first week of January. When we ask how it feels, one claims it’s amazing! But for us, we believe the math: 59F is 59F.
Over time, the bluffs they are acrumbling. Notice the vulnerability of the deck this winter of 2020.
After two hours of hiking/campus walking, we lunch at Pilgrim Terrace in Santa Barbara. PT is an affordable living complex of apartments whose director John believes that if his lower income residents have at least one nutritious meal per day in a social setting, their health will improve dramatically. To that end, the complex grows vegetables on site.
To raise funds, PT allows others to lunch for a mere $7. Check out the lo mien shrimp dish (count ‘em five shrimp) with roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts, a green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, cottage cheese, and, a personal favorite, croutons. In addition, the pea soup has kale for those of you who donate blood and need to raise your hemoglobin level.
Our treat next time you come to California’s Central Coast.