Road Trip, Part One!

(Originally, I was going to make a single post about my roadtrip, but it’s so long! I’ll split it up so it’s not so daunting. So this section is Part One: LA to Santa Cruz.)

So far since I’ve graduated college, I’ve set out fulfilling every post-grad stereotype out there: toyed with the idea of going to graduate school, gone on a backpacking trip through Europe (although it wasn’t too successful), and gone on a road trip (which was more successful). Usually it’s a cross-country road trip, but I just went through California and frankly, I think that’s enough! Here are some pictures and summary:

The goal of this trip was for my niece, Brittani, who is applying as an undergraduate this fall and for me, applying as a graduate, to check out different colleges throughout California and see how we like them.

We left on Wednesday, July 18, and our first stop was California State University, Northridge, a mere 76.3 mi – about 1 hour 28 mins from home. For those not familiar with the area, it’s in the San Fernando Valley right outside of Los Angeles. First though, we stopped at a supermarket and grabbed groceries. We decided to make our breakfasts and lunches in favor of saving some dough, and eating out for dinners. Once we got there, we caught a walking tour as it sauntered by and learned about the campus. Brittani is very interested in taking language classes and majoring in Deaf Studies, and Northridge has excellent programs for both. California State Universities only offer Master’s Programs, and I’m more interested in Ph.D. programs, so I didn’t get much out of it, but the campus is very nice. We forgot to take pictures (boo!) but here are some from their website:

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After that we headed up to Santa Barbara, California to see University of California, Santa Barbara, which is 89.6 mi – about 1 hour 37 mins from Northridge. I didn’t realize what a small town Santa Barbara is! I was hoping to be able to hit up a mall and get sunglasses, since mine were all scratched up and driving me insane, but there wasn’t one. I thought for sure there would be! Oh well, less temptation to spend money I don’t have! 🙂 We took the 101 North there, which is actually a pretty beautiful drive, I highly recommend it. We parked and found the visitor’s center, and then went on a tour of the campus. I didn’t realize how incredibly close to the beach UCSB is; it’s a really gorgeous campus. I also learned that the neighboring community, Isla Vista, is one of the most densely populated areas in the world (although I can’t find anything on the internet confirming that!) They have really good language studies programs, and are the center of the UC system’s study abroad program, so that was appealing for Brittani. And they have a decent Graduate English program, so it was useful for me. We also forgot to take pictures here, so here are more website pictures:

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After our campus tour, we headed over to my old Colorguard coach’s apartment in Isla Vista to spend the night. She was at work when we got there, so we decided to head down to the beach. There was beach access right at the end of her street, but unfortunately it was high tide and there was seaweed everywhere! Undeterred, we went down to enjoy the cold water after a day of walking in the hot sun. Once we got off the beach, we realized that there was tar at the beach, which got all over our feet. We decided to head over to a Rite-Aid and get some rubbing alcohol to get it off, and also to grab some dinner. next we headed to a Borders to continue to wait for my friend to get off of work, and I caught up on some KareKano. After a day of sun and driving we were pretty exhausted, so once my friend got off of work we headed over to her apartment, showered, and crashed in front of the TV until it was time for bed (like 10 PM! Sad!). She was so nice, she let us have her bed and her roommate was gone, so we ended up having a room to ourselves!

The next day, Thursday, we woke up really early and got a head start to University of California, Santa Cruz. This was a much longer trek than our previous ones: 267 mi – about 4 hours 32 mins from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz. Again, we took the 101 most of the way, which was not as pretty as before, since it cut inland after a while and all I saw was farmland. I was also really really tired, so the boring drive did not help me stay awake! Eventually we stopped at a Starbucks for some help staying awake, haha. We also passed several Missions on this drive, I was kind of disappointed we couldn’t stop and take a look. However, Mission San Juan Capistrano is right near where I live, and I’ve been there before, and I think it’s the best preserved one out of all of them, so I don’t think I missed too much!

Finally we arrived around 11:30 AM, which was about an hour and a half early. Since we were so early, we tried (in vain) to find the bookstore, but ended up getting lost. The campus is HUGE, by the way. Our other campus tours were walking, this one was in a bus and we got off to walk around sometimes. But it was LONG. Brit and I didn’t each lunch beforehand, and after the tour we found the bookstore (Brittani got a sweatshirt), so we ended up not eating until around 3PM! Kill me, haha, I was starving!! Brittani took tons of pictures, I didn’t. Oops! The campus is not very far from the beach; in fact, you can see the ocean from several spots on campus. And the place is covered in trees! Redwoods, pine, etc. It’s a completely gorgeous campus, and I think that’s why Brittani ended up liking it the best. Anyway, here are some pictures of Santa Cruz (from their website):

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We saw some deer on campus while walking back to our car from the bookstore!

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I’ll post more in the next installment!

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