Monday, May 23, 2011

Santa Barbara.

A few weeks ago Brandon left to run a 100 mile race in Santa Barbara. A race that he has been waiting three years to run, but due to forest fires, and other complications, the race has been postponed each year. Finally, this years race was on schedule. The plan was that he would leave before me for the pre-race meeting, begin the race early Friday morning, and I would leave Saturday to watch him finish that afternoon. Neither of us had any idea that this race would be one of his most successful, and result in a [cash award winning!] 3rd place finish. He actually finished the race 15 minutes before I ever stepped on the plane, with a finish time of 23 hours 45 minutes.

Although I was bummed to miss him crossing the finish line, it meant that we had more time to spend exploring the Santa Barbara area. Our favorite parts of Santa Barbara were the hills he raced in. The beautiful vistas, and gorgeous wildflowers we discovered while driving through the winding canyons were definitely the highlight.

I forgot my camera, and had to rely on my iPhone camera. [Boo!]
Left to right, starting at the top:

+ my early morning flight to California included a little stop over in Seattle. On the flight over, we had gorgeous views of Mt. Rainier, as well as Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood. I'll never forget seeing all those mountain tops.
+ we drove up and down the Pacific Coast Highway, stopping along the way to walk on the beach and take pictures of playful dolphins.
+ Hey California, you look beautiful in the Spring!
+ one evening, we drove up into the Santa Barbara hills to eat at one of the most interesting and unforgettable restaurants we've ever seen. The Cold Springs Tavern is an old stagecoach stop and features rustic, lamp-lit dining. The food was delicious and the setting was beautiful and cozy.
+ one of the gorgeous vistas on the way back down into Santa Barbara.
+ the breathtaking bridge we had to stop and take a picture of.
+ we pretty much fell in love with Pinkberry while there. Can you guess whose dish is whose?
+ the reason he runs. This is his favorite belt buckle to date.
+ we walked up and down main street in Santa Barbara trying to decide where to eat our first night there. When we travel, eating is one of the highlights and we wanted to make sure we made the best decision. We decided on Blush, and both agree it was the best meal we've ever had. He ordered the grilled Filet Mignon, and raved over it. I ordered the special for the evening; an oven baked Sea Bass with wild mushroom risotto on a bed of butternut squash puree. It. Was. To. Die. For.
+ our cozy lamp-lit table at Cold Springs Tavern.

It was a short little three day trip, but we had fun just relaxing and taking in the beauty of the Santa Barbara area.