I spent January in Ojai, California where I found a little mid century bungalow fixer upper to buy as a winter home. I spent February in Ojai solidifying purchase of said bungalow, a hellish experience for sure as the sellers needed to sell, for financial reasons, but one of the sellers really didn’t want to sell her house. She raised the price, she put up road blocks (she kept “getting covid” so we couldn’t go inside the house), she refused to do any much-needed improvements and therefore, the bank did not appraise the house at the agreed upon price (meaning more cash up front from us). There were also county building violations on the property. The seller thought this would turn me away, but we all knew the house would go back on the market the following month at the higher price, regardless. So I stuck with it, violations and filthy house and all.
Because the sellers were hoarders, I was unable to actually see the level of filth and damage to the Ojai house I was purchasing. Likewise for the inspector. More of that in a later post. Why not just purchase a different house? you say? Well there is so little inventory in Ojai, that purchasing a different house simply wasn’t an option. At the time I was in Ojai, there were only maybe six houses on the market in my price range, and no other houses in the area I wanted. Why not just wait? you say? for a time when more houses are available? Well, Ojai is a small farm/vacation town north of Los Angeles. Houses don’t go for sale very often and when they do, they are expensive, and there are bidding wars, and prices are rising even as they drop across the rest of the country. I stuck with it. I am not unfamiliar with fixer uppers and figuring out ways to pay for overpriced houses. So far real estate has been a good investment for us. I believe Ojai will be the same.
The Peacemaker showed up early Friday morning February 25 to the Santa Barbara airport. I swooped him up, ankle brace and all, and we were off to one of our new favorite beach towns: Santa Cruz, CA. We stayed at a beautiful two bedroom airbnb (even better than pictured) a couple blocks from Pleasure Point Beach. At the house was a really great gift basket, which gave me the idea that my rentals need gift baskets too! 🙂
We enjoyed dinner at a fun Tapas restaurant in downtown, Barceloneta.
The next day, Saturday, we drove a bit south (out of our way) and went to the Monterey Aquarium. Wowza was that place crowded. There was a line all the way down the street and even though we had reserved tickets, we still had to stand in the line that was purely to check Covid vaccination cards. We started having second thoughts, but since we had driven there, it was a beautiful day, and everyone was required to wear a mask and they were limiting guests by requiring pre-purchased tickets, we decided to stick it out. What a wonderful aquarium. I mean I knew it was, it’s world famous, but I wasn’t prepared for how large and fun it was. I spent a good deal of my time watching the sea otters play.
We took a stroll around the Cannery Row area, of John Steinbeck fame, ate lunch and then headed to Carmel, the famous 17-mile drive. We watched the beginnings of the sunset at Carmel Beach, then headed to the Carmel Mission. We arrived just past sunset, and it was gorgeous anyway. It was a really fun day for both of us.
We left Santa Cruz on that Sunday and drove to a little town called Guerneville that was on The Peacemaker’s personal list of must-see small California towns. Guerneville is also relatively close to Point Reyes, which was his true road trip destination.
We drove out to the coast and down to Point Reyes National Seashore and Lighthouse. We think of California as sunshine, beaches with lots of people, Disneyland, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood movie stars, etc… Well Point Reyes is none of those things, except very sunny on the day we were there. It’s desolate and pristine and fairly uninhabited.
The stairs down to the lighthouse were closed off, however, we did a separate hike, not a difficult one as The Peacemaker’s ankle was still pretty messed up.
After Guerneville we headed back over to and up I-5 stopping at Mt. Shasta, and chasing that elusive perfect mountain sunset.
Our last night was spent at our favorite Oregon pitstop, Ashland. This trip I chose a really cool old mansion bed & breakfast: McCall House. We were the only guests and had the entire mansion to ourselves. Fun and a teeny bit creepy.
And then we were back home to Portland. We’re getting this Ojai to Portland to Ojai thing down!