The rain arrives in Santa Barbara

12/13/21

I am so grateful right now to be ensconced in this cozy house with my wonderful new hosts, who are friends of a longtime acquaintance and neighbor of mine in Portland. I can hear the rain drumming on the window. It’s forecast to continue raining steadily all night, and most of tomorrow.

This is good for southern California, of course. Really, most of the state has been parched for much of the year. Everyone here is happy for the arrival of this rain.

My feelings, as you might imagine, are mixed. I’m glad for the land. It’s good to have rain. At the same time, a big motivation for me to take this trip in the first place was to escape the cold and rain in Portland. (And to be fair, it’s 56 degrees here in Goleta at 11:30 pm, vs. 38 in Portland with mixed rain and snow falling.)

But, once again, I have been very fortunate today in terms of mostly avoiding the challenging weather while actually bicycling. Both last night’s host and tonight’s hosts (only about 12 miles apart) were very flexible as to when I could depart and arrive. So, I had a very leisurely morning and early afternoon inside, checking the weather app and waiting for the “right” time to leave.

I timed it quite well, in the late afternoon. For most of the ride, there was no rain. At times, I did get sprinkled on. And at times—especially near the beach—the wind was a bit worrying, as I saw some pieces of palm tree bark fall onto the path from high perches. I hoped none would land on me, and fortunately they didn’t.

But I was happy that the temperature wasn’t too cold, and grateful for all my synthetic clothing that keeps me warm when wet, and also dries quickly once the rain lets up.

The scenery from Santa Barbara to Goleta was pleasant, and I made a point to stop in Isla Vista so that I could visit the local co-op, founded the same year I was born. Outside while I ate my snacks, I encountered a local woman with panniers on her bike, loading up her groceries. She was interested in my trip, and enjoyed seeing me fold and unfold the Brompton.

Much of my route was on a car-free bike path. It led me partway along the shore, and also through the UC Santa Barbara campus, where I saw a multitude of bike racks (though not many bikes—I’m guessing the school is on winter break, since I also saw almost no people) as well as a tall carillon.

Dusk was just falling as I arrived at the house of my hosts for tonight, and the “real” rain started almost immediately afterward.

Yes. Good timing.

Tomorrow I’ll head back for one more night with my previous host, to make the next day’s haul to Ventura more manageable. Once again, I’m grateful for the scheduling flexibility of all parties involved, since this will help me do my best to dodge tomorrow’s raindrops.

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