On the second day of the drive that my husband and I made along the California Pacific Coast road from San Diego to San Francisco, we left Santa Monica, where we stayed for the night, and began the day bright and early as we knew we'd have many miles to cover. At this point we are approaching Point Mugu in Ventura County.
Here we are about to pass by Mugu Rock, a distinctive feature of the coastal headway promontory that has been featured in hundreds of film shoots and television commercials. The Rock was formed when a path for the highway was cut through the mountain. It marks a western end of the Santa Monica Mountains. The Pacific Coast Highway leaves the coastline at this point and travels inland for a portion towards the city of Oxnard.
Oxnard, also known as the "Gateway to the Central Coast," is the lima bean and strawberry capital of California. We drove by many such farms before the highway returned to the coast.
As we approached Santa Barbara, beautiful beaches were on one side of the Pacific Coast Highway and....
...the beautiful Santa Ynez Mountains on the other side.
We knew we would only have time for a brief stop in Santa Barbara, so we had to chose a few sights to see. We decided to drive onto Stearns Wharf. Stearns Wharf was completed in 1872 and became the longest deep-water pier between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Named for its builder, local lumberman John P. Stearns, the wharf served the passenger and freight shipping needs of California's South Coast for over a quarter century.
Over the years Stearns Wharf served many other purposes and survived earthquakes and multiple fires. It now contains shops and restaurants and is visited by 5 million people a year, making it one of Santa Barbara's largest tourist attractions.
A look back from the end of the 1,950 long wharf to the coastline.
Although we couldn't see them, we could hear seals barking off shore at the end of the pier.
A view of the city of Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Mountains from Stearns Wharf.
The Channel Islands of Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara lie in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California, as you can see by the map above, and are part of the Channel Islands National Park.
The Ty Warner Sea Center (owned and operated by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History) is located on Stearns Wharf and fulfills the mission of the Museum to inspire a passion for the natural and marine world to its visitors.
There were quite a few pelicans resting on the wharf.
Another view of the wharf taken from the front of the Ty Warner Sea Center.
We had a shrimp tacos for lunch and enjoyed the view.
This fellow hoped I'd share my lunch with him...he was left very disappointed!
After we left Stearns Wharf we continued to our next stop: Old Mission Santa Barbara. More about this historical mission on my next blog post!
I'm adding this post to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday for the letter "C" -- California!