Since we’d been to Santa Barbara, Los Olivos, Solvang, and Buellton before, we decided to try another route and head east, to end up in Ojai. However, if you haven’t traveled that section of the PCH/101, we strongly recommend it. There is a lot to see and do, and there are many great scenic vistas to be had along that stretch. For this trip we headed east on the 166 through a winding road for quite a while, then on to a straight stretch with views for miles around. At the intersection with the 33, we headed south to Ojai. This route was another unexpected treat. a very quiet road (during the week), it wound through the Los Padres National Forest, up into the trees. As a geologist, it has some damn cool rock outcrops too. What a great road though, and so unexpected! These days are what road trips are all about, just seeing a road on a map and deciding to go, not knowing what to expect; maybe that’s just it, maybe that’s the secret…no expectations.
The 33 parallels the North Fork Matilija Creek, and that is no easy task. That creek (and thus the road winds all over the place, at times you wonder if you’ll ever reach Ojai, but then again you really don’t care as the ride is stunning. Ojai is a cool little town, with enough to do, eat, and drink for a few days at least.
We’re quickly approaching the end of our road trip, though riding the PCH along the Malibu coastline is a great finale. You just can’t help but feel you’re smack dab in the middle of the Southern California lifestyle with expensive homes, fast cars, overindulged teenagers, and beautiful people. It’s hard not to get envious, but then again, I know I’ve just had an experience many will never be able to match. Though it’s not about that, but it is about experiences. It’s about going and seeing and doing and experiencing and meeting and just being in all of the great places we have, whether it’s the California Coast, some European country, or the bush of Africa. We just have to get out of our comfort zone and enjoy what the world has to offer.