Al, we decided to avoid Flagstaff since the weather forecast said snow showers. Uh...no...we don't do snow well. Even though hubby grew up in Pennsylvania (until he was 10), he doesn't like snow anymore. And, as a native Californian, I know next to nothing about snow! :-( So, he got us a room up in Buellton, which is near Solvang, which is near Santa Barbara, but inland. So, off we went yesterday morning at 8:00 a.m. The car was packed, the dogs were fed, the wind was BLOWING! That's another reason we headed north. Neither one of us wanted a pitted windshield driving through the California desert! As it was, I got jostled a couple of times heading toward Banning. And, we got RAIN! Frankly, the hills around here are plenty green. We got some really nice, steady rain yesterday on and off during our travels.
We ate a wonderful lunch in Solvang, went back to the hotel, and I took a nap for an hour. I'd driven 4 1/2 hours that day and I was exhausted. By 4:30, we headed out Highway 246, which dead ends at the Pacific Ocean, at Surf Beach. It's also right next to Vandenburg Air Force base, complete with a 6 foot nasty fence around it! We could see one of the launch platforms from the parking lot at the beach.
Of course, since a storm was heading inland, the waves were LOUD! Hubby had found a Santa Barbara county park a little bit inland, so we drove there first. There were TONS of birds! Swallows, red-winged blackbirds, ducks, mud hens...I was amazed at the number of birds! It was a sheltered inlet and very calm. HOWEVER, on the other side of a bridge, we could hear waves crashing. So, we headed back up the road to see them and arrived at Surf Beach. There is an AMTRAK stop there, but a ranger said the train only stops there twice a day, so we didn't see it.
The waves, indeed, were crashing up on the beach at Surf Beach! Man, they were loud! We were the only people on the beach and I could see raindrops in the sand. It was an easy walk down to the surf, but the return trip nearly did me in! After 4 bouts of pneumonia, my lungs are just shot and I was easily out of breath! I had to stop and rest three times! Hubby was just grinning and I could have strangled him! (He's only had pneumonia once...) But, it was well worth the hike!
Here are some of the photos from yesterday. Nature's Notes for March 27, 2014. To visit Nature Notes and read other entries, please be sure you go to: http://ramblingwoods.com/