Bike ride to the Old Santa Barbara Mission

It’s still cloudy and foggy in the mornings, and sometimes in the afternoon. I think it’s because of where we’re living. It seems to always be a little chilly, cloudy. and foggy here but down by the wharf area, it’s clear and sunny (if a bit hazy). I’m still figuring things out, but when this stuff rolls in in the middle of the afternoon, I just want to clear out and run for the hills where it’s sunny.

June gloom my ass - it's July 23!

So, it was on our list to see the Old Santa Barbara Mission and we decided to bike over there – biking is a great way to get around Santa Barbara. It’s pretty safe because there are lots of bike lanes on the streets and bikes are everywhere, which means drivers are more aware of us. Plus, we avoid all the parking hassles.

According to Google maps, it looks like we biked a little over 10 miles round trip. On the way, however, we got a little off track and ended up in some beautiful areas with stone streets and gorgeous homes, so there was a bit more (and my thighs are feeling it!). Lots of hills, both up and down.

In front of the mission is a wide lawn surrounded by trees and rose beds. The eucalyptus and jasmine is amazing here. When you’re walking or biking or driving along and hit a patch of it, it’s intoxicating!

The eucalyptus trees are also massive by the mission. I put my bike by the biggest one for effect.

Look at the size of that tree!

We toured all around the outbuildings, which are ruins. We ran into a friendly guy – everyone is friendly here and wow are they laid back – who said he was sketching (he was) an amazing angle on the ruins of one of the buildings if I’d like to come see.

Interesting angle on a palm tree

I think he was right. I like this one too (from inside the ruins).

Palm tree behind ruins wall

This is the reservoir that used to be the only water source for the mission (see the mission in the background).

Old Santa Barbara mission reservoir

Next, we rode down to the mission, and I caught this angle of the side wall of the mission and a gate. I love this picture.

Old Santa Barbara Mission


It’s hard to get used to succulents that look like alien creatures – HUGE alien creatures.

Big succulents

They’re huge here folks – tree sized! bigger than you and all your friends. And they grow in all shapes and sizes.

We didn’t go in the mission or take the tour – we were sweaty from the ride and it would not be honorable. So, we’ll go back and tour the inside another time.

One thing on the outside – in front of the mission – gave me pause, however. It was this.

A lavanderia - a wash basin

Just the other day, I was cursing and stomping my way through another couple of loads of laundry. The quarters are actually from another country and not quarters at all but look just like quarters until you try to stick them into the washing machine which also regularly rejects perfectly good American quarters too. That, combined with carrying the damned laundry what seems like half a block (it’s not) Santa Clause-style by wrapping it all up in a sheet and throwing it over my shoulder because I don’t have or want to buy another laundry basket because I actually own several but they’re all in a truck in Colorado and I’m cranky and pissed.

However, after reading the sign above, I probably should quit complaining. At least I have a machine to actually DO the washing (when I can get the damn thing to work).

In case you’re curious, and I know you are, this is what a lavanderia looks like these days.

A lavanderia - a wash basin

The sloping sides are where the soap and pounding were applied, and then I guess everything was tossed into the center, which held water back then. Wow, it seems like a lot more work than all the cursing and stomping and carrying and folding we’re doing these days, but of course those Indian women (come on, be honest, we all know the guys weren’t helping with the laundry back then) could have been cursing and stomping, and they certainly were carrying and folding. They just also had to do that hard part that we have machines for now.

In front of the mission is a fountain and in the fountain were flowering water plants (notice the coins lying on the leaves).

Old Mission Santa Barbara

I have to say, I live this picture too.

Then, it was biking all the way back down to the beach. We stopped for a margarita and some guacamole at a nice restaurant that we’ll have to visit again soon when we’re not on our bikes – the food looked yummy.

Then, we rode out onto Stearn’s Wharf just to gawk at the views.

Steve on Stearn's Wharf

Again with the haze in the background. Must be all the moisture in the air? My hair is a complete frizz-bomb. I’m working on that and not showing you pictures until I figure that part out.

fourteenergirl Written by:

A mother, sister, wife, and daughter who writes, knits, hikes, and practices yoga on the west coast. Loves a zippy chardonnay or a tart margarita!

One Comment

  1. […] over the weekend, I volunteered to help prune roses at the Mission in Santa Barbara. The Mission has a long history of growing roses and they’re quite spectacular in the warm […]

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