We had a busy day today. We took a partial backroad trip southeast out of Santa Maria. We went all the way down to Santa Barbara, and then back up to Pismo Beach, getting back just at 6:00 pm. I'm going to divide our trip journal into segments, as it will be easier for me, and a whole lot shorter that way.
We put our picnic lunch, Annie and the camera into the car and drove over to McDonald's for "Muffin Wednesday" breakfast. While we were there, I phoned our son, Dennis, in Tumwater to wish him a Happy Birthday. He turned 38 years old today. I hate to not be with our family for all of their birthdays, but if we stayed for every one of them, we'd never get out to travel.
After breakfast, we drove south to Santa Maria, about 20 miles from here. We took the exit for Betteravia Street and went east on that. It took us past a lot of wineries and some cows grazing in the lush green pastures. Annie loves cows, so we stopped at the side of the small road to let her see this fine guy. (as always click on photo for larger view)
The drive through this area was beautiful and peaceful. Lots of strawberry and lettuce fields, too. Betteravia soon turns into Foxen Canyon Road and we followed that for a long while. We passed the turn off for Solvang, but weren't interested in going there today. Just at the turnoff to the town of Los Olivos (Spanish for "the olive trees") we intersected with Highway 154. We turned toward Santa Barbara, knowing this would take us past Lake Cachuma. We'd been driving quite a while, so we planned a picnic stop at the lake.
Lake Cachuma is in the Santa Ynez Valley and is not a natural lake. It is a reservoir created by the construction of Bradbury Dam in 1953. The dam is an earthfill structure built by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the lake has a surface area of 3,100 acres. Cachuma is a Barbareno Chumash Indian word for aqitsu'm which means "sign". Sign meaning what??? I couldn't determine.
Traveling down Hwy. 154 we saw a sign marking a VISTA POINT with picnicing. OK, sounded good to us and we made the left turn into the area. Well, there was one picnic table and it was already taken. No problem for us as we always keep 2 folding lawn chairs and a table in the back of our Explorer. We are prepared! We set up our own little picnic area overlooking the beautiful blue Lake Cachuma. It was the best spot. We enjoyed our lunch and the fantastic view. As a bonus....we were the only ones in this part of the Vista Point picnic area. Made it even better.
This was our view while we ate our lunch.
Lake Cachuma does have a full service campground on the south shore of the lake. It is operated by the Santa Barbara County Parks Dept. There are 550 campsites and 90 have FHU for RV's. It will accomodate any size RV.
The lake is fed by the Santa Ynez River and is a well stocked lake with good fishing. It is also popular for boating enthusiasts. The campground and marina are open year round.
We finished our lunch, stowed everything back into the Explorer and continued on our way toward Santa Barbara. More on that tomorrow.
Until next time.....so long for now!
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