I’ve driven much of this route before, but not in this direction and it has been a handful of years, so it feels almost as new to me as anything else I’ve encountered lately.
Heading north from Santa Barbara along U.S. Route 101 the earth has a green-yellow tint, sometimes more yellow and sometimes more green depending on the water supply and I’m sure other factors the scientist in me knows nothing about. No matter, even when yellow it is much more alive here than the drive I’ve just completed through inland central California.
Santa Barbara’s location is a strip of land that, at one end, borders the Pacific Ocean; on the other, it climbs into the sudden, steep Santa Ynez Mountains. These two regions are differentiated not only by topography but also by the north-south running U.S. Route 101, the only freeway in the vicinity, but an important one that brings life to the area as it makes its way from north Los Angeles to Washington state’s blustery Olympic Peninsula.
Driving the backroads of Carpinteria, California
Carpinteria is not Santa Barbara. Some might call it a suburb, and from the single freeway running through it, which connects Ventura to Santa Barbara, it goes fairly unnoticed. I like it this way: subtle. And so I’ve returned, this being my second time.