Sunday, December 31, 2023

Santa Barbara to Malibu to Los Angles for a beach driving vacation

Santa Barbara
The last day of our coastal car trip arrived and it literally turned into sunny Southern California for us. We woke up in beautiful Santa Barbara, with those rain showers of Northern California in our rear view, and took the 101 (there are very few slivers of the Pacific Coast Highway - aka Highway 1 - at this point) on our route through Malibu and into Santa Monica in Los Angeles.

It’s always kind of eye opening, like it was for us in Santa Barbara, when you arrive to a new place in the dark and wake to see part of what you missed upon arrival. It rained again through the night in Santa Barbara, but the sun peeked out as we began our morning walk from the Mason Beach Inn to get açaí bowls at Backyard Bowls. Jackson was happy that the skatepark dried before we left town, so we hung out there, alongside the bustling beach, played a bit in the surf, and did some window

From there, we weaved in and out, back and forth on both the 101 inland and roads along the coast - passing through byways in Ventura still suffering from the remnants of flooding that injured several people in recent days - on the way to Malibu. The highlight there was spur-of-the moment stop at the Malibu Bluffs Park, where there happened to be another skate park to keep Jackson happy and a beautiful short hike down through rattlesnake territory and brush-covered ocean overlooks. 

Jackson/Santa Barbara Skatepark

We then made a quick stop to check out the ritzy Malibu Country Market, where the guidebooks say makes for a good place to spot celebrities coming down from the hills. I pictured it as a kitschy convenience store, but it’s actually a bunch of high-end shops, so we got out of there quickly since it was less unique and interesting than we thought it would be.

It was on to our final destination of the trip. Upon arrival, our AirBnB about a mile from the beach in Santa Monica was still being cleaned. It smelled like beer, and when we returned after dinner hoping to give the cleaning crew enough time to scrub it clean, it reeked of cheap cleaning solution. Luckily, dinner at Cassia on 7th and Arizona was a Vietnamese taste treasure. It’s off the beaten path of the cheesy beach and upscale shopping areas. 

The stinky garden condo and the bad smells of what must have been a recent frat party remained. The owner’s initial communications were very kind, but he hadn’t yet returned our messages by the time we were exhausted from the day, and we were already falling asleep when he messaged us to say he would fully refund us. We’ll look for an acceptable place in the morning. Hopefully one with a pool where we can lounge and watch the fireworks for New Year’s Eve.

Zoey/Chasing Santa Barbara waves

Jackson/Malibu Skatepark

Me/Malibu Bluffs

Santa Monica sunset

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