The Southern California roads lay before me. Palm tree lined and sea salt swept the journey into SoCal has been beautiful and has offered me a different “flavor” than any other portion of this trip so far. Being criss-crossed with freeways that function like arteries feeding the beating heart of the cities, I have found that traversing the small side streets gives me a different exposure to the Southland culture.

Thankfully I’ve been able to meet some wonderful people here. Chief among them were Wyatt, Ike, and Sandy. I met them camping over Thanksgiving weekend at Lake Cachuma. There I saw their fire and asked if I may cook some veggies over the fire. To my delight, they invited me to spend the evening around the fire. In addition, they invited me to stay with them once I made Santa Barbara. Last night, at their home, I felt I had come over to a “best friend’s” house. We sat around the back yard Chimnea drinking beer and eating grilled cheese and tomato soup. Can life get any better?

Ike is an German ex-patriot who runs a roofing company and also brings German tourists who want to ride America on a Harley-Davidson to get that truly “Authentic” open road experience. Sandy is an E.R. nurse by training and now teaches CPR courses so that she doesn’t have to miss out on any of her son’s life. Both of these people were exceptionally kind in every way, and consider myself extremely lucky to have made their acquaintance.

Running out of SB this morning, I met Laura. She is a therapist by trade, and we discussed the nature of loving those in need. She said that it is compassion that motivates her day in and day out. I was honored to run with her as well as give her this painting of Lake Cachuma.