As the Crow Flies

You know it’s windy when beachgoers pitch tents on the sand instead of towels.

Super-sized Windbreaker

…and while that campground’s yet to be discovered, right from the word ‘go’ I know I’m in for a wind whipped bike ride along Santa Barbara’s beach boardwalk. My first clue was the drive over, buffeted on the high plains of highway as if Mustang Sally weighed closer to an equine Mustang than a car, and my second is the 25 mph blasts I’m stepping into now, complete with bracing 50 mph gusts as a to-my-bones extra…

This must be the way!

I’m calling the wind Mariah as a nod to both the song and the range of either entity’s pipes, knowing full well only half of her can be expected to turn tail, and that’s only if her WNW direction doesn’t change. Given her bellowing, diva-like presence and the bonus letter already in her description, though, I’m not calling it in the air, and I mentally prepare for a harder than anticipated ride as I manhandle my Schwinn from the trunk.

TG the sunshine is as strong as my get-up-and-go is, and after transferring every hair clip decorating my beach bag’s handle to my head to no effect, I saddle up, ready to push some pedals and kick start the old circulatory system, again. Who wouldn’t be? Take a peek at my backdrop!

Santa Barbara Beautiful. This is taken at the northern most corner of Shoreline Park…looking down.

Towering palms, stalwart oaks, and elegant eucalyptuses edge the shoreline park from whence I commence, all so huggably huge this blog could well lose its “B” and turn into an afternoon in the park about them, sans-sand, so I’ll just embrace the one for now, returning a passerby’s friendly observation about the gorgeous view as I drop into the nitty-gritty:

Arbor Amore!

…and I, I took the one last traveled by…Bike path proper

Hanging up 9-5, & Hanging 10.

–Surfers to the right of  me–

The Blackbird—and surfer,too–were only waiting for this moment to arise…

–Alma Mama on my left—

Hi Alma! Looking Good!

…At the hill’s bottom with who?

‘Guess no one needs a dose of beach today but me! Leadbetter’s parking lot.

Too much crap, it turns out, and little else. There’s plenty of room for cars in Leadbetter Beach’s deserted parking lot, but no room for anything beyond lint in my skinny jean pockets. My Ipod and next-to-nothings are falling from my rear-view, while hard candies, lipstick and emergency bucks push free from my change, proving once again, you can take the bag from the girl, but you better not take the girl too far from the bag. Or at the very least a fanny pack.

Is gale strong Mariah keeping the crowds away, I wonder, stuffing my bits & pieces into a semblance of control, or is it SB’s climbing bed tax? It’s hard to know for sure, but I do know me likee the tiny turnout of tourists for Memorial Day Weekend. This beach before SB Harbor is definitely a draw; the marina’s colorful if poorly planned incidence a magnet for local and import alike, but I’m still counting more crows today than speedos.

A gull is just out of camera range, and together, they duel beak banjos more determinedly than our gal Mariah. Gull and I are equally perplexed as to the turf interloper.

Google yearly dredging at SB Harbor if you’re interested in learning more fun facts about this geographical miscalculation aka engineering disaster.

 …and while this confounds the seagulls, it’s certainly never a bad thing. The lack of speedos and tourists to wear them, I mean, not the abundance of crows, and I decide the ravens are most likely attracted to aromas of calamari smacking us wind-driven in the face from the nearby patio restaurant. They better look out for the cats, though!


The crows don’t fear those little rippers, but they don’t pit their wing strength against the winds blowing off the Harbor’s Breakwater, either. There’s not much point—nudge, nudge—and besides. The cement barricade fairly trembles with crashing surf, misting me in micro beads that contain as much possibility as salt, as that old habit of beach bunnydom kicks a still-sleeping paw in dreamy memory.


The colorful flags that line the ¼ mile long sea wall aren’t just cracking in the wind, they’re saluting! Hanging on for dear life by traumatized cables, and snapping hella loud fingers to accompany Mariah’s now shrieking riff.

Snap, Crackle–and girl power!!

Ripping the hat from my friend Dave’s head (moments later)

Poor Dave—stuck with a caption instead of a cap. Doggy in arms is named: Cody, BTWs.

Better get a closer look at those boats!

and flat out turning me into a mermaid!

You can call me Sandy…FYI the sculptor who made this chose to remain anon.

I chat with Dave about the possibility of Jim & I coming down for a small get together my friend’s having at his boat for Independence Day. We did last year, and the firework extravaganza launched from the neighboring pier had been spectacular–you couldn’t find a more front row seat for such festivities, and so it’s with sparklers in my eyes that I assure him we’ll be in touch soon. Or, in beach speak: See you on then!

It’s only Dry Dock-n-Roll, but I like it!

A medley of German and French-speaking tourists blends with local Spanish and English, while the banging of hulls add a background metallic tattoo like amplified wind chimes…..

It feels good to ride, by Gum. The easy spin of sprockets and shifting gears beneath me seems almost autonomous, but it’s Mariah who bumps up my mph with gratuitous gusts. Almost as well as an actual tandem partner would, and our whizzing return to the boardwalk is backgrounded by the ripping whine of testosterone-fueled rice burners competing with the low growl of HOGs. The stretch between Sea Landing & pier is again an increment of a ¼ mile–mas o menos–and also includes the campsite of the alluded-to coastal camper:

As well as my turnaround point.

Looking toward Stearn’s Wharf.

I want to go farther—I actually did go farther—but the wind blew the 2nd part of that post clean off this page. I’ll have to grab a Dust Buster and recreate it on another day!

Toward Cabrillo Bathhouse…to be continued!

The wind’s strengthened to the point these 50 foot palm trees are bent flat as grass blades, and I’m no fifty foot monocot! I have an official lens of sand on both eyes, too, so lest I go spontaneously narcoleptic, it’s best I turn it around before Sleepy joins Sandman in my corneas.

Only a few determined visitors are left now…

Even the sidewalks are pretty in SB!

Still more crows! I’m beginning to sense a (mosaic) pattern here!

Schwinn to Win…

That includes me…Ciao! Or, as our black-feathered eye-in-the-sky friend might say: Caw!

 For those of you with energy to spare, join me on the golf course. Read Duffer’s Day on the Green, found under the sub-category of SB Beautiful: Weekend Warrior, right here at CHARRON’s CHATTER!

©Karen Robiscoe

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