Floridale and Ocean Avenue Intersection to Mile Post 700 on Highway 1

August 21: Santa Barbara County Floridale and Ocean Avenue Intersection to Mile Post 700 on Highway 1. 14.6 miles

This was the first of two inland days as we were here forced to go around the Bixby and Hollister Ranch properties. Today was entirely road walking.
The first two or so miles took us to the downtown part of Lompoc, and there we spied the South Side Coffee Company. We all hauled in for a respite from the road and, one thing leading to another, a reporter and photographer from the Lompoc paper showed up for a session with us. As we left, owner Julie Biolley handed us a bag of fresh bagels for the road. When we first walked into the shop she saw that we were hikers and assumed we wanted “the book”, which turned out to be a notebook where local hikers sign in as they traverse the year-round, 10-K Residential Walk. It is sponsored by the Central Coast Peregrine Pathfinders. We told her we were a different group of hikers, hiking a longer distance. (Note from Linda:  if any Lompoc hikers happen to read this, Coastwalk would be very interested in finding hiking trails, paths, or quiet city streets which would provide an alternate CCT path around Vandenberg AFB, until we eventually get permission to hike on the base.)
Soon afterward, we were out of Lompoc and onto Highway One, our route for the rest of the day. All in all it was not too bad, or at least not as bad as we had expected. The traffic was fairly light, the shoulder area wide, and the truck drivers friendly: a chain pulling motion from us would elicit a good horn honk from them. It helped to make the miles pass by.
For much of the day, we had a high cloud cover to cool things down a bit and in the afternoon a cool up canyon breeze in our faces. All day we passed through dry, tired ranching country. The effects of centuries of cattle raising could be seen on the bare hillsides.
The soil here is light, sometimes white in color; the grass a golden gray. Blue-green chaparral mixes with dark-green live oaks. Occasionally the yellow green of sycamores or willows signal a spring. So, a day on the road had its pleasures, as we gazed out at the countryside. And what day could be bad when you follow creeks with names like El Jaro and Ytias and Salsipuedes. Finally, from two surfer brothers in a jeep setting out directional signs to a wedding, “God bless you guys!” (Jon Breyfogle; photos by Linda Hanes) Left: Camp at Gaviota State Beach and the train trestle. Right: Hiking the De Anza Trail outside Lompoc.