MONDAY, APRIL 25th, 2017
5.08 am. I was already awake when the train rolled through with a very loud whistle. I would not have thought anyone would still be asleep after that, but Gregg still is so there is hope for others.
We left The Indigo Hotel in Santa Barbara at 7.50 a.m., and the odometer reading is 52438. Trains and whistle or no, I would stay here again. You can't beat its location and I enjoyed the hotel.
We drove our car onto the pier - actually called Stearns Wharf. You can read its history here. It was built in 1872 and is still made predominantly of wood. In the information board below you can just make out its timeline at the bottom.
Even enlarged it may be difficult to read so I am adding the snippets of history below.
USA Independence July 4th, 1776
Santa Barbara Royal Presido Founded April 21st, 1782
Worst earthquake in California history destroys missions at Lumpoc, Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez. Tidal wave at Refugio Canyon December 1811
Richard Henry Dana visits Santa Barbara and writes about pueblo in "Two Years Before the Mast" January 14th, 1835
Santa Barbara incorporated as a United States city, 1850
Wharf built and Santa Barbara Yacht Club founded 1875
Southern Pacific Railroad attaches to Wharf at Wye August 1888
Arrival of the Great White Fleet, 16 Battleships and 30 other escort vessels drop anchor, April 25th, 1908
6.8 earthquake rocks Santa Barbara. 12 die, over 600 buildings damaged or destroyed, July 29th, 1925 at 6.23 a.m.
Actor James Cagney and Partners purchase the Wharf for $200,000, October 1945
Harbor Restaurant Fire closes Wharf for nearly 9 years, April 24th, 1973
Fire at Sea Center and Nature Conservancy, 1986
Fire destroys Moby Dick Restaurant, Santa Barbara Shellfish Company and Mike's Bait Shop, including 20% of surrounding Wharf, November 18th, 1998
Nature Conservancy Fire, April 2002
We parked outside the Moby Dick restaurant and had another wonderful breakfast.
As we were early we got a table by the window. Lovely looking at the ocean and there was lots of activity out there.
Dozens of Pelicans landed while we ate, but just a bit too far out for a decent photo. This is one of those memory photos. It's a memory.
Gregg had the Eggs Benedict with sauteed, thinly sliced potatoes....
I had the French Toast.
We ate half and then swapped our plates. The Eggs Benedict was excellent and we enjoyed the French Toast also. My personal favorite as they came with cooked bananas and it was like eating a Bananas Foster topping. Yum! (Updated note 5-14-17: unbelievably after this holiday I lost several pounds. This after a month of eating wonderful meals. I think the exercise helped more than anything. We must have walked lots of extra miles and miles).
We liked the large Whale on the outside of the building.
If you look closely you can see that Captain Ahab's whaling ship, Pequod has been painted in the eye of the white whale, Moby Dick.
Its artist is Beth Amine. There was an interesting explanation near the Whale. Enlarge if you need to read it, any of the photos in fact.
I also noticed a small wooden whale under the tail of the much larger one, with a commemorative plaque.
I was curious who Karl R. Henry might be, and found information online here. It read:
In 1975, after working for B. F. Goodrich Co. building aircraft de-icers and fuel-cells for 35 years, Karl Henry retired and moved to Santa Barbara from Stow, Ohio. He loved woodcutting on his bandsaw, and cut animals as gifts for friends and family members. For fun he cut 30 wooden whales each week to be given to children as gifts here at the Moby Dick Restaurant. And for that generosity he will always be remembered as "The Whale Man".
A lovely story, a lovely man and a sweet tribute to his kindness and generosity of spirit.
If you find yourself in Santa Barbara and from our own experience, I can highly recommend the Moby Dick Restaurant on Stearns Wharf.
9.28 a.m. and Gregg just noticed I put my top on inside out. Went to breakfast with the label and the seams showing. Walked out of the hotel, walked along the street. Good grief, it's come to that has it?
Driving on 101 North. Plush green hills on my right and gorgeous ocean views on our left. Passed hopefully a field of sure-footed cows, the hillside is so steep.
10.19 a.m. passing vineyards, one saying student vineyard, Hancock College. Now another huge field full of vines, going on for what seems like forever.
11.43 a.m. We just passed a sign for the California Men's Colony, which is a state prison. We aren't too far from San Luis Obispo.
At 12.40 p.m. we leave Morrow Bay. It is very windy but we had a very enjoyable time watching sea otters lying on their backs feeding, also at least one seal and lots of gulls and cormorants. (I took a lot of photos but had a problem with the memory card and haven't been able to get those photos back. It is corrupted. We were using a new card converter and I refused to use it again. We bought a new one. Gregg thought it was just time for the card to pack in. We have had it for a long time and that may be true, but I didn't want to take any chances with my precious photos. Thankfully I download my photos each night and only lost one day, but they were of those darling sea otters and one came in so close. What's most important is that I had the joy of seeing them with my own eyes. Really must remember that. Ah well, things happen. This was when using the camera card for our larger camera with the zoom lens).
We came across the Fishermen's Family Sculpture, 'dedicated to those who wait the families of all mariners', and created by artist Elizabeth MacQueen.
We drove over to that rather large mound known as Morrow Rock. The inscription reads:
"Morro Rock, an important mariner's navigational landfall for over 300 years, chronicled in the diaries of Portola Fr. Crespi and Costanso in 1769, when they camped near this area on their trek to find Monterey, sometimes called the "Gibralter of the Pacific". It is the last in the famous chain of nine peaks, which start in the city of San Luis Obispo."
1.06 p.m. I saw a sign for Nitwitt Ridge in Cambria. That night I looked it up and found that it was a house built by artist/recluse Arthur "Art" Harold Beal, who bought the hillside in 1928. He spent the next 50 years using only a pick and a shovel, and as the website says, built his own castle on a hill, referring to Hearst Castle not so far away.
1.16 p.m., 30 to 40 knot winds Gregg says. We stopped at a parking area overlooking the ocean. The waves are whipping up and it is decidedly chilly.
I have a lot more to say about this day but I think I should leave that until the next post.