Heading North on the Pacific Coast Highway
The next day we got up early and left our Airbnb. The weather was gorgeous and we knew we were going to have another full day so we headed to the IHOP for breakfast. I had wanted to check out Warner Studios so I could see the TV set of Gilmore Girls. The thing about California though is that the weather is SO beautiful I just couldn’t bring myself to spend any time indoors so we decided to skip it and hit the iconic Pacific Coast Highway.
Our first stop was in Malibu. We walked the pier and saw those famous homes built out over the sand with rolling blue waves crashing up underneath them. It was stunning and I was awestruck by the scenery.
We kept strolling along the PCH and stopped wherever it took our fancy. Our next stop was at a beautiful beach in Ventura. We suited up and jumped into the insane waves. Both of us are decent swimmers and we took a beating in these waters but it was so fun. Next, we made our way further north and stopped into the city of Santa Barbara. We parked and did a little window shopping. I bought a hat and we stopped in at Chipotle for lunch. We wanted to try all the restaurants we always hear about but don’t have in Canada.
Helicopters in the Distance
Helicopter off to fight the fires. California during the summer is fire season, and it felt like we were always a day or so behind the flames as we headed North. We could see the scorched mountain range and the red colouring of the fire retardant that was sprayed. We kept a close eye on it to make sure we were always safe. As we wound our way up through the Santa Barbara mountains we pulled over at a rest stop where we saw fire marshals parked. We could see helicopters carrying fire retardant and water up the mountains. We spoke with one fire marshal who had come up to help from New Mexico. She let us know where to go to keep safe and stay out of the way of fire crews.
Severe Drought throughout California
California Drought at Lake Cachuma The scenery changed rapidly the further north we drove. We stopped in at Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County to take a quick break from driving. We had the roof down and it was so hot I felt like I was getting heat exhaustion so I had a cold drink and explored the lake area. The people we spoke to there said that the lake used to be very high and was a popular spot for boaters and campers to spend their summers. Now it looked barren, the lake was nearly dry and you could see vultures trying to find their next meal. The boat launch area was blocked off because there was no water to drop your boat into. Another shock for me was the sign advising not to hike alone due to mountain lions—not on the East Coast anymore! ha!
Checking in to our little cottage
We kept winding our way up through the hills (not for the faint of heart—it was quite an adventurous drive!) and soon approached a town called Solvang. We booked an Airbnb in the area and were really excited. Solvang was founded and built by Dutch settlers and the architecture is reminiscent of our Honeymoon in Amsterdam. Our Airbnb was super easy to check in to and the place was absolutely incredible. It was a little cottage with plenty of outdoor space and had great little touches throughout. We fell in love with it. You can see a quick walk through Devon recorded below. Sorry about the quality, we were trying out Facebook Live at the time. -Dayna