We/I struggle with the new navigation system, so we take some detours today! But, eventually we find everything we actually want to see:
First we head out to the west of Bakersfield to the Carrizo Plain National Monument. We see huge fields of oil pumps on the way. Oil is actually the main industry of Bakersfield, besides oil companies and refineries there are hardly any other big companies here. Carrizo Plain is a large enclosed plain, approximately 50 miles (80 km) long and up to 15 miles (24 km) across, about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Los Angeles. It contains the 250,000 acres (1,012 km²; 101,215 ha) Carrizo Plain National Monument, and it is the largest single native grassland remaining in California. It is one of the easiest places to view the San Andreas Fault which cuts through the plain. Soda Lake, its centerpiece, is a glistening bed of white salt, set within a vast open grassland, rimmed by mountains. The plain is home to diverse communities of wildlife and plant species, and is an area culturally important to Native Americans. To me it seems like a little “Death Valley”. It must be beautiful in spring after some rain and when the birds are there. Right now it is all dried up and no animals are to be seen. Well, almost none, we saw a coyote on the way to the Carizzo Plain!
After this dry land we look forward to seeing the Pacific Ocean again. We take HWY 41 all the way to Morrow Beach – it’s foggy there! We follow HWY 1 and 101 south and pass through little towns more or less touristy. Pismo Beach is very nice. And, eventually we even find our way to the harbor promenade of Santa Barbara, which is packed with people and cars. No parking space and expensive hotels force us to pass on to Ventura, where we find a low rate hotel (which would definitely benefit from a renovation).
Before dinner we head down to the pier, where people are fishing.
Overnight Stay: Travelers Beach Inn, Ventura, CA
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