Our week started with the rather dreary prospect of the massive Mobil Rincon Oil Facility and therefore we closed our eyes and thought of ... the Rincon valley. To be more precise, we thought of the 93001 Zip Code area (which is more or less the Rincon valley). The amount of detailed information which is available on relatively small areas such as Zip Code areas is astonishing. According to those nice people at city-data.com, 32,898 people live in the Zip Code area in 13,703 houses. 24,545 are white, 444 black, 627 Asian and 513 are native American. The average citizen is just over 35 years old, they live in a 3 bedroom house built in the 1960s which is now worth about $325,000. They own about two and a half vehicles and spend about 25 minutes travelling to work. Of the people living hereabout, some 2,613 classified their ancestries as being English, 531 French, 101 Hungarian, 19 Australian, and 8 Icelandic (there were a lot of others too boring to report).
With my head full of statistics and Amy's tummy full of chicken nuggets, we walked westwards until we reached the City of Carpinteria. "Carpinteria is a coastal community with small town charm valued by visitors and residents alike. Beautiful beaches, breathtaking mountain views, and a diverse economy make Carpinteria a wonderful place to live, work, and play!". So says the City website anyway. I was intrigued by the idea of Carpinteria being a city and tried to find a meaningful definition of city status. I did discover that the city had been incorporated in 1965 and that its claim to fame is that it has "the world's safest beach". This claim has obviously been around for some time as we found a postcard dating back to 1947 which included the phrase.
After Carpinteria if was a pleasant seaside walk through the small towns of Summerland, Sandyland and Montecito towards Santa Barbara. Santa B was an important staging post for a number of reasons. It is the last major town (city) I would be passing through for some time and therefore a chance to stock up on those things that only towns and cities can provide. Also it marked the point at which I would say farewell to the beach and the sea for a good few weeks as I would now head north up Highway 154. It was goodbye also to the spectacular views of the Channel Islands (San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz) which I had been enjoying for the last week or so.
Whilst in Santa Barbara I took a tour of the harbour with Captain Jack in a kayak, took a ride along the sea front in the new electric tram service and had a splendid dinner at the Endless Summer Bar & Cafe. Amy and I also visited the excellent Santa Barbara Museum of Art which has got an exhibition of the work of Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo at the moment. Well worth a look. Dogs are not allowed in the Museum and therefore she had to wait outside but she managed to amuse herself by reading the Santa Barbara Independent. This magazine has a section - The Angry Poodle Blog - which Amy found very amusing but which, I must confess, I had some difficulty understanding. It would seem to be a series of regular features commenting on topical local stories written by dogs. The articles are flanked by adverts for dog obedience classes and firms which guarantee to treat "dog whining" quickly, cheaply and effectively! Amy decided it was time to leave town and head for the hills. I agreed.