Solvang > Santa Barbara (64 miles)

8:00 wake up. I had a lovely sleep in my Dutch modern room at the little Hamlet Inn, a bike friendly hotel. After I packed and took in a bit of the Today Show with my cereal, I departed.

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I started off on Alisal road, a peaceful country route that meanders through an idyllic little valley. After about 10 miles, I joined Highway 101. This portion of the trip was my least favorite because of the traffic, but there's a generous shoulder and it offers views of the ocean.

I stayed on 101 until just north of the UCSB campus. I enjoyed weaving my way through the campus and surrounding neighborhoods on my way to one of the school's plant strong restaurants. Wondering why I wasn't fighting huge lunchtime crowds, I realized the students were on spring break. Restaurant closed, I pedaled another 10 miles south to Santa Barbara.

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The Natural Cafe provided a very satisfying lunch (we used to have one in Ashland where Pasta Piatti now sits). I then explored the beach and boardwalk area before picking my way back through town to my hotel.

The Santa Barbara beach is really nothing to write home about. For me, I think the turn-off is the large black pipe that sits above ground and runs the length of the beach. It’s ugly, and sounds like it has sewage running through it–at least that's the first thing that comes to mind. I think it actually has something to do with dredging and beach restoration. In any event, I decided to take a picture of the Santa Barbara mission instead.

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After a long week of pedaling, I enjoyed relaxing in the hotel room. I did zip into town again to enjoy a simple dinner at an outdoor table on State Street while the sun went down.