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Santa Barbara Evacuation

Santa Barbara Evacuation

Like so many folks in Santa Barbara, I’m a Thomas Fire refugee  – today’s Day 9.

Packing out with 2 cats and a suitcase, it was like living aboard a submarine – I’d been stuck indoors for 5 days breathing increasingly stale air. I was jolted into leaving when the power went out and so did the air purifiers. (If you’ve stayed behind and need an air purifier, read my reviews here.)

Many went north, but persistent rumors of compromised air quality sent me south, back to Newport Beach where I lived for 20 years.

Lots of time for reading

Because it’s year-end all the Top 10 book reviews are circulating, so I have several books to while away the hours, some can really distract.

And I’ve been riding my bike. Long-term followers know I worked on the Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan then moved to Portland before settling in Santa Barbara. After a year on the Central Coast I have a new appreciation for Newport’s bike infrastructure. City streets are like freeways, but I can ride the beach boardwalk for miles, where shops and restaurants abound. So I’m not suffering.

Culture shock

It’s hard to go back. It’s a totally different society here. Newport Beach is affluent and hanging out at Fashion Island really underscores the point. We see many flashy characters and lots of fancy cars. Because it’s the holidays everyone is dressed up, everyone except us – we’re in between trips to the laundromat.

Improving conditions

News this morning is promising – could we be looking at the end of this enormous fire?

Maybe just in time for the holidays. As everyone returns to Santa Barbara I can picture New Years’ celebrations like none other.

Nice views from the Balboa pier
Evacuation map
Riding great bicycle infrastructure along the Back Bay
Ride the Balboa Island ferry to the peninsula where the beach boardwalk extends for miles...

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