Yesterday, I had a beautiful but uneventful drive from Cambria to Santa Barbara. Sometimes I need to remind myself that travel is mostly not about events. It’s a lot of feeling the moment and the place, which can mean inspiration, wonder, disgust, reverence, fear or omg even boredom. And, like the rest life, travel is trying things that don’t always work out.
For example, when I arrived in Santa Barbara yesterday, I went to see the Mural Room in the Santa Barbara Court House. and found it has been closed because of the pandemic. I feel a connection to that room because I once had the great privilege to conduct a hearing there when I was an administrative law judge. The hearing involved a residential customer’s allegation that a utility had overcharged him by $15,000. We learned in the Mural Room that, in fact, he’d been overcharged and also that he was wrong about the amount. Luckily for him (in more ways than one), I knew more than he did about utility regulation, so my decision gave him almost twice what he’d asked for. Ha ha!
Having missed out on seeing the Mural Room, I thought I’d check out the murals in Santa Barbara that aren’t closed because they are outside. The one I wanted to see most was painted in a cave about 1,000 years ago by the Chumash Indians. The Chumash considered the cave a doorway to another realm. Perfect. I headed north out of town on the San Marcos Pass, which should have been my first clue, and turned on to Painted Cave Road. After less than half a mile, the road became the poster child for my fear of narrow mountain roads hanging over steep cliffs. I am mostly not a fearful person but I was shaking when I started backing down that road to find a way to turn around. I considered abandoning the car and finding someone else to drive it down, but I did it! After congratulating myself for my courage, I thought about how my lack of courage would keep me from standing at the door way to another realm. Please pretend I took these photos of the cave walls.
Today, I looked for murals in Santa Barbara’s “Funk Zone,” which actually has almost no funk — mostly places to drink and eat in billion dollar buildings.
I gave up on murals and I went for a wonderful hike…in the lowlands.
I kayaked in the Santa Barbara Harbor…my first solo paddle!