The Joys of Travel and Life: Pull Off The Road

Hills around Ventura

blog by Ken McAlpine

Welcome to our weekly blog about the joys of travel and life. For the two are one. Travel, like life, is about making the most of our moments, for we only have so many. With that in mind, another moment together. Thank you for coming along for the ride…

Pull Off The Road

Fifty miles north of Santa Barbara, Jalama Road is a 14-mile ribbon of winding loveliness that makes its way through countryside California once knew well; rolling grassland studded with oak trees, cattle grazing on the hillsides, and weathered barns, cool and shadowy, where dust motes drift slowly in the sunlight pronging through the cracks. If you are inclined, you can pull off to the side of the road to watch the distant foothills — and soon enough, your immediate surroundings — slowly disappear in wool-thick fog. Or listen to the wind sing across the empty spaces until it moves inside your shirt. Or stand beneath a pot black sky in a rainstorm. Grass smells good in the rain.

The weather that beats across the Jalama Valley isn’t always soft and measured. Once, after 100 mile-an-hour winds tore through the valley, a local rancher stepped outside to find one of his barns gone. Not crumbled in a heap. Gone. Pronging out into the Pacific, Point Conception’s weather is a law unto itself.

Up here, there is power of the same kind in both the breezes and the blows. During either event, the sky is wide. It feels good.

Said another rancher, “We become rejuvenated by the land.”

Stop the car. Stand outside. Watch a deer pick its’ way, cautious as an evening shadow, almost to your hand.

Ken McAlpine has traveled the world as a writer, from the depths of Palau to the heights of the Andes, but no matter where he goes, he can’t wait to come home to Ventura. We hope his stories remind you of why you love the place you call home, and this gift called life. For more info, please go to www.kenmcalpine.com.

Top image by The Outbound Collective.

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