Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

The Wind Beneath My Wings

The steady winds on the Santa Barbara pier all day today were 30-50 mph. More on that later.

Slept well, must replace my elderly feather pillows at home with whatever they have here. The label says polyester fiber with 100% cotton cover. Made in China, assembled in USA. Indiana. Made by Westpoint Stevens.

Their continental breakfast was a wide selection of bread-like objects - scones, danish, croissants, banana bread, etc., cold cereals, coffee, tea and something which looked like orange juice but was orange-grapefruit.

It was a bit chilly, so I wore my windbreaker, grabbed the camera, and walked to the pier. I thought about taking the electric bus, but a cruise ship had landed and people were lined up for miles at the bus stop. I was mistaken for a cruise passenger several times, must be my hairdo. Or hair-don't.

Found the place by the pier where the LandShark amphibious tour loads, they don't start till noon. It was about 10. So I walked down the pier and checked out the shops, and looked for shelter because the wind was about 30 mph. There is a display near the sea life center of the major flags California has been under, and all the flags were straight out, flapping loudly. Made for good photos, though. Managed to waste an hour and a half and got back to the tour stop at 11:30, just as the "captain" was putting up the "do not board" sign. They start boarding at 11:50, leave at noon. So I got in line and hung out with a hodge podge of cruise passengers, mother's day tourists and a couple of locals who were also waiting. This is in front of the Art Walk, which is in front of the bike/jogging path, which is in front of the beach, so there was a lot to entertain me.

The tour was the usual good news/neutral news/bad news. Mostly good. The driver is very skilled with the monster vehicle. The tour guide is a super-cute coed who not only knew the spiel and delivered it seamlessly with lots of personality, but when we had to take a detour to avoid a train blocking the road, she was able to ad lib about the places not usually on the tour. The neutral is the land part of the tour only covered about half the area which the trolley tour covered last time I was here, the bad is Santa Barbara roads are very bumpy and the vehicle seems to have no shocks. I could not take pictures while we were moving on the roads. Also bad is the LandShark is extremely noisy in the water, and the wind had whipped up the water enough to get us sprayed a bit several times. And I became a bit nervous when we got sideways to 4' waves. So did the tour guide. But it was good that the beast went out into the open ocean, and did not just paddle around the harbor. Got some great shots of seals on a buoy.

Time for lunch. I wanted to go to the crab shack at the end of the pier, but the line was way too long, so I went to the next to last restaurant on the pier, Moby Dick. I figured it had to be good if it was out so far and still in business. I was wrong. Service was glacial. After 5 minutes bread and butter was delivered by a gofer. There was no knife on the table. 5 minutes more and a waiter appeared. I asked for a knife, he said he would bring one. He dropped off my drink and disappeared. The knife appeared after the main course was delivered, well past when I'd needed it for the butter. The clam chowder was passable, but too many potatoes. Lobster is not supposed to be chewy. Rice pilaf is not supposed to be green and taste like lemons. It is traditional to provide a shell cracker if the shell has not been completely cracked by the kitchen. Seasonal vegetables ought to be something better than three tree-like sections of barely cooked broccoli and three semi-cooked carrot quarters. Waiter never checked on  me till 5 minutes after I was done eating.

Stopped in at an ice cream stand for dessert. $6.50 for two scoops of generic ice cream? Welcome to SB. Started walking back to the street, but the wind was now about 50mph, and it was literally melting the ice cream. I found a nook somewhat out of the wind, and finished it.

Got to the end of the pier, and took the electric bus to the end of the line downtown. Found an opulent Catholic church with rose windows on all sides, a huge building which looks like a Spanish Crusaders' fort. Took lots of pix. A block away was an equally fortress-like Episcopal church, done in Gothic.

Walked a bit, took photos, and at about 5 hopped the bus back to the pier and walked back to the motel for a nap.

At about 6:30 I walked the opposite direction from the pier, to the harbor, and checked out the dinner possibilities. The one I liked best is called the Breakwater, but they close at 7 on Sundays and I was not hungry yet. Took some pix along the marina path, and was thinking of going in for dinner at one of the places in the Maritime Museum building when I saw something very unusual, a great blue heron landed on the deck of one of the boats. I positioned myself to get a photo, and after I got it, the heron starts nonchalantly walking across the boat, to the wharf. Great blues are usually very shy and avoid humans. More than most of the heron family.

So, dinner was at Chuck's which is the new name of the Waterfront Grill. Chuck let his ego get in the way of a better name. Service started off great, but when I wasn't ready to order when the waitress came around, she disappeared for 20 minutes. But this time I had bread and a knife and a diet Coke, and it was bright enough to read the Kindle. Ordered the sirloin & lobster tail, the latter mostly as a reality check on lunch. It came with clam chowder too.

The soup was about the same as at Moby Dick. Last night's chowder at Enterprise has them beat by a mile. The lobster was wonderful. Sirloin was good, the cut was a bit more than I'm used to, but that's fine. Good mix of veggies, with a minimum of broccoli. The rice pilaf was good too. Had the locally grown coffee ice cream, which was a bit icy, but that's not such a bad thing. Tasted great. The bad was they seated me near the bar, because most of the place was taken up with a wedding dinner. The wedding party became tipsy and loud, and the bar filled with cave men who were bonding loudly and on their way to tipsy and louder.

Walked back along the marina to the motel, the wind had died down to maybe 5 mph, clear starry night.

Plans for tomorrow:
Breakfast by 9
10 am train to SLO
12:50 bus to SJC
Home by 5:30.
Tags: food, travel

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