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July 3rd, 2012 | California

Santa Barbara, California…

Spending time with Mikaela and Raphael in Santa Barbara, has allowed me to take a few deep breaths, and properly plan my rides up to Canada…

Not only have I managed to sort out a long list of unanswered emails, I have also had time to consider the fact that my long ride will be coming to and end within the next 8 weeks…!!

We stumble on yet another wedding…!! This time up on the trails that winds along the Santa Barbara coastline…

This little fact has had fretting anew about not only my own future, but that of Patricia’s as well… In ten weeks, we will tie the knot on the East Coast, and then a big new chapter in both our lives will begin…

Thoughts of my impending marriage have understandably been foremost on my mind, and I find it difficult to concentrate on the finer details of the last 15 000 km of my journey around the world…Weddings seem to crop up regularly in my blogs, as I have come across so many over the past few years, that I have lost count…!! And this trend has seen fit to continue…!!

On a recent walk, Mikaela and I cam across a couple and their two young children, either getting married or renewing their wedding vows…

And then a few days later, while riding into town, we came across another couple exiting a church, and being showered with confetti by their friends and family…!!

I think the fairy-tale end to my trip was written in the stars long before I even left home…!!

With Mikaela as guide, we also found time to visit a few of the historical sites within the city limits…

I took a quick peek inside the old church that was part of the Spanish Mission established here in the 1800’s..

It has been wonderful to bounce ideas and my current feelings off Mikaela, whom I not only consider to be a close friend, but will soon be even more closely tied to me, once Patricia and I are married…

I have not had many people over the past few months, with whom I could share my innermost thoughts with… And few of them would have wanted to enter into a discussion concerning marriage…!! In fact, most of them would have run a mile at the mere suggestion…!!

Mikaela and Raphael have plied me with fine wine and plenty of food during my stay, and we have sat up until very late on most evenings, watching an open fire die down, while we reminisced about Bali, and dissected the various options Patricia and I have open to us after September…

Mikaela has also ensured that I exercise…!! Must be something that runs in the family…!! We have taken a few long walks, and even hiked up the mountains that rear up behind Santa Barbara, to see the sun set…

Slogging up the Tunnel Trail in the mountains above Santa Barbara…

Raphael and Mikaela at the top of the Tunnel Trail…

I was surprised at how many people had made the trip up this steep path to either have a picnic, or just stand quietly to watch the sun sink below the horizon…

On Sunday, we were invited to go sailing with friends of Raphael’s and spent a glorious afternoon out in the bay, aboard a 44 foot yacht…

I met Tom Harris, a writer and director, who has published a number of books, and spent time chatting to him about my journal and the time it takes to keep it all up to date… I had a sympathetic ear, you see…!!

Here are a few photos of the day we spent sailing, and others of my time in Santa Barbara that made for an interesting and relaxing stop on my ride up the Californian coastline…

Raphael and I await our host at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club…

After a brief mutiny, the visitors took control of the boat…!!

Tom Harris and I relax on deck while a light wind pushes us across the bay…

“You see that barge over there, Raphael…?? The idea is not to collide with it…!!”

The Double Dolphin, a large charter, sails past as we head back towards the marina…

We got up close and personal with some Sea Lions who were basking on this buoy….

I often thought the dolphins would collide with the hull of our boat, but they were old hands at this, enjoying the ride that our bow wave was giving them…

A stream of air bubbles bursts from this dolphin’s blow-hole as it surfaces close to the boat…

We spotted a small pod of dolphins on our back, and Tom, our captain, took the boat in closer to them… Within a few minutes, the dolphins were riding our bow wave, close enough for us to feel as though we could reach out and touch them…!!

It was a very special moment for us… Mikaela and I were leaning over the bow rail, taking photos and filming these amazing mammals as they surfed alongside us…

I was told that in the channel between this particular coastline and the few islands that lay parallel to it, the world’s highest concentration of dolphins can be found…

Pods of up to a thousand animals was not uncommon…!! I tried to imagine what it must be like to be in the middle so many dolphins…

I recalled the few instances that I had dived with wild dolphins, and how curious they were of the group of divers I was part of… One of them had come close enough to remove a bandana I had been wearing…!!

They teased me with it for almost 15 minutes before finally dropping in front of me before disappearing into the deep… It was a moment I will never forget…

A small flotilla of local fishing craft had been out at sea to attend a funeral service for a local captain who had recently passed away…

Back at the Marina, after a lazy afternoon on the water… I felt far more relaxed than I had for a long while… Being out on the water will do that for you….

I’ve done this so often, I can now do it with my eyes closed…!!

Raphael has been making this guitar in his workshop… The attention to detail and the difficulty of the task he has set for himself gave me a new insight into the man who I had only briefly met in New York last November…

We enjoyed a light dinner at a local pub… My time spent with Raphael and Mikaela has been memorable…

With the 4th of July only a day away, even more flags were evident, if that is possible here in the States…!!

My stay here in Santa Barbara is almost at an end, but before I head north, there is one more visit that I must make… It involves a 640 km round trip to the coastal town of Encinitas in Southern California, to meet the man and very close friend, who to a large degree, was my inspiration for tackling this journey around the world in the first place…

I chose the 4th of July to make the ride that would re-unite me with Allan Karl…

 

5 comments to Santa Barbara, California…

  • Mark Behr

    Really good to see you spending time with great people. Exciting 8 weeks ahead. Look forward to hearing about them!

  • Charmz

    You are a lucky “bugger” meeting all these people who take you in and feed, house and play tour guide for you. Looked like you had a nice chilled time. Safe ride to see Worldrider…send him our regards.
    Love and miss you madly,
    Dad, Mom and me
    Xxx

  • Mikaela Mennen

    Ronnie – we loved having you as our guest and I am glad you felt relaxed (we could have made you do even more strenuous activity ; ). I had an excellent time showing my Bali buddy around SB, and I know you and Patti will let your BIG love and respect for each other guide your future together. I am seriously excited to witness the merging of 2 incredible people with amazing life experiences!

  • Hey Mikaela…!! Thank you so much for the great time I was able to spend in SB…!! Look forward to seeing you in NJ…!! R.

  • Hey Sis…!! Yeah, we would have got up to lots of mischief…!! Alaska would never have been the same…!! R.

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