Give them a break.

It’s a fine balance staying with family. You like to be helpful but essentially you are getting in the way of a routine they have in place. So we thought before we came here to California: “Give them a break!”

We booked to go North in a hire car to Santa Barbara and to stay slightly inland at Ojai. For the uninitiated that’s pronounced  Oh Hi! I’d also planned a trip to the coast to have a guided bird watch trip with Jenny, both the accommodation and the outing were booked through Air bandb and both very much lived up to expectations. They don’t much have to factor in bad weather in these parts and this was no exception.

The place we stayed in Ojai was right here: Ojai BandB, and the birding trip with Jenny right here: Birding.

The drive north was a revelation with five lanes of traffic going both ways, ten lanes in all!! Like a moving sea of metal. That’s about as poetic as this gets. Once off Highway 101 we had a pleasant drive up to Ojai up what was quite a normal road for us, and our next day was the birding foray, plus a trip to Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens. I relied on a woman telling me where to go from my dashboard, she had a habit of saying that there was light traffic on our route and sullenly staying quiet when there was not.

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After our great bird watching experience it was a walk along the beach, before a short drive into the hills for our trip to the Botanical gardens. Apart from driving into someone’s driveway in a sat nav glitch, we got there fine and what a lovely place. They are bound to have a cafe with the usual giant snacks? No! They don’t and for lunch we had a thing called a lunchpot from a vending machine, it was truly plastic in every way, but oddly, enough for us on what was a very hot day.

There’s a reason they don’t do catering at the site and it’s all down to fire. This area suffered very badly quite recently from what’s called the Thomas Fire. We saw blackened trees in the area where the leaves were regenerating on some, but not all. It laid large areas to waste. What’s this got to do with lunch? Well the City Council does not want huge numbers going to the gardens ‘for lunch’ as there’s one route in and one out. So in the event of fire there would be a problem. So here’s an attraction that discourages visitors who only want to eat. Neat!

The place is not huge and there are walkways everywhere, with some stunning plants and trees. Here’s a view and here’s more: The Gardens

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