Santa Barbara and San Diego

Well kids, this is our last stop, the culmination of nearly three weeks on the road. When I left you last we were eating pizza in Cayucos, contemplating small-town beach life. After pizza by the sea, we continued down the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to our next stop in Santa Barbara. Trev wanted to stop in Los Angeles, but I’ve been twice and I thought it would difficult to get around with the dogs, so we compromised on a stop in Santa Barbara and a drive-through of LA. We arrived in Santa Barbara in darkness and were pleasantly surprised by our accommodations. We stayed in a small private cottage with an insanely comfortable bed. Just to put some icing on the cake, Karen’s place was very pet-friendly, in fact she has several pets of her own. Hobbes was very unhappy to be taunted by her cat the next morning. It was a really cozy spot and I instantly wished we were spending more time there.

Unfortunately, Santa Barbara became a blip on the radar because of everything we had to accomplish before we left. Remember how the Jeep looked like this?


Well, we we had to clean it out completely before the car could be shipped. That meant a long-ass trip to everyone’s favorite timesuck: the United States Post Office. We were “helped” by a surly, Stanley-from-the-office, type attendant (because, of course). Trev was instantly enamored; I could have done with a bit less sass and a bit more get-me-the-hell-out-of -here. Luckily I was riding high off my fantastic bellini and breakfast burrito from Sambo’s on the Beach. We both had a delicious breakfast by the beach, which only made it more painful to leave in such a hurry.

We took a quick drive around town and had to head out on our way to San Diego. I was really disappointed we didn’t get to spend more time in Santa Barabara. I didn’t know much about it other than it was supposed to be nice and it was on the way from Big Sur to San Diego. After this too-short visit, I’m already planning my trip back.

As promised, we drove through LA on the way to San Diego, which was (predictably) a nightmare. We ended up driving through at rush hour (because, of course). In the meantime we  had a blast Google mapping stars homes in Malibu. Which, did you know you can do that? It seems like a seriously creepy invasion of privacy but also a right of passage for Trev’s first trip to LA. And let’s be honest, sometimes it’s fun to be a creep.

Finally, we arrived in San Diego just before sundown. We were staying in a great little apartment in Ocean Beach that was decorated almost too nicely to be pet-friendly. As a cute touch, our hosts left gourmet dog treats! Buffy and Hobbes rated this place 5-stars. We had a lot of errands to run in San Diego too but luckily they were less frustrating than Stanley at the Santa Barbara Post Office. We spent the majority of our night at the neighborhood laundromat, doing all the laundry we’d worn since Dallas. Spoiler alert: it was everything we owned.

The next day we decided we would fit in as much fun as we could before we had to drop off Trev’s car to be detailed and shipped and pick up our rental. Let’s stop for just a minute to think about that fact. We were dropping the Jeep off to be shipped. We were in San Diego. We had driven as far as that trusty car would take us on this continent. We had travelled 4,278 miles, stopping in 10 completely different locations across the country. We spent 19 days in the car with the two best furry copilots on the planet. We crossed the country in search of adventure and we found it, tenfold. This was the best vacation of my life, the best 19 days of my paltry existence. The next hop was more of a terrifying leap.

But for now, we beach.

Easily the most fun thing we did in San Diego was go to Dog Beach! This was the most fantastic off-leash dog beach I’ve ever seen. The water is shallow as far as the eye can see so you don’t have to worry about tossing a toy out too far or your best friend getting carried away in a rogue wave. Wait, is that just me? There were tons of dogs (and people) there and Buffy had a blast greeting each one individually while Hobbes focused in on setting the world fetch record with his favorite new toy. We debuted the water skimmer toy my mom gave us before we left and boy was it a hit. It’s his favorite toy to this day. We spent over an hour hanging out and playing at the beach until both pups were exhausted. Buffy even went into the water up to her knees willingly, which is pretty much a miracle.

After dropping off the car, we had dinner downtown because I needed my this-close-to-the-border Mexican fix. I chose carefully and we ended up at La Puerta in the Gaslamp district. I was not disappointed. We got excellent margaritas and I had some incredible tacos. Of course, because I was traveling with Trev, we had to stop at the Hard Rock Cafe. We capped the night off with some more drinks before turning in for the night.

The next morning was truly a whirlwind. We were flying out to Honolulu. I could hardly believe the day had actually arrived. Trev got up at 4:00 am to take Hobbes back to Dog Beach. We were worried about him in his crate on the plane and wanted to take every precaution that he would be tired and comfortable. When they returned, we set off to deliver the dogs to the airline. This was easily the scariest and most frustrating part of the trip. I was trying my very hardest not to lose my mind over my best buddies flying as cargo, but it was go-time and I was scared. To top it off, we drove around for 45 minutes trying to find the cargo drop-off section of the airport, which was down the street and disconnected from the airport. The dogs were actually far less stressed than we were. We said goodbye and frantically drove back to the apartment for our own things. In a few short hours we would all board a plane across the ocean to our new life.



2 thoughts on “Santa Barbara and San Diego

  1. Michelle (and Trev!), I have thoroughly enjoyed your trip posts. I think it’s a fabulous thing you’ve done here – both the travel, the uprooting and relocation, and the blog journal. One of the reasons I’ve been so drawn to it, is it brings me back to the year John and I set off on our own cross-country adventure, in a small vehicle, with a furry co-pilot of our own. We didn’t have a plan to actually put down roots in a new location, but were open to the possibility – in theory, at least. The car was a Vega station wagon, packed and set up for camping and sleeping in the way back (yeah, right – that lasted one night when Brandy stepped on the curtains I’d rigged up and broke the rods) but with suitcases of “good clothes” in the roof box for those job interviews when needed. We camped and spent the time sightseeing for 13 weeks, with visits to several friends who’d relocated from Mass. to other parts of the country. We fell in love with the Sierra Nevadas and the Pacific Northwest (at least west of the Cascades) and would have joined the National Park Service as rangers if we could have been guaranteed a mountain posting instead of the middle of the desert somewhere. See a few parallels here? The most telling one is that we kept a journal – each of us writing several pages when we could, to try and capture the experience. When all was said and done, we didn’t want to settle anywhere else – we just wanted to bring our nature- and history-enriched selves back home. But that’s just us – it’s not the same for everyone. When Devin and Anna decided they were ready to set off on their adventure, I think we surprised them by the level of our enthusiasm and encouragement. You two have taken it to a whole new level – and I for one am thrilled that you’re being so beautifully rewarded for it. I wish you all the happiness the four of you can hold – and know you are blessed in your new life and new home. With much love – Janee


    1. Janee, this is such a lovely and thoughtful post! I had no idea you and John took a trip like this. I wish we could have spent 13 weeks exploring! I hope we get to go on the road sometime again soon. I’m so happy you’ve enjoyed reading the blog and I hope you enjoy reading about our Hawaiian adventures as much as those in the road!


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