Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and the Vineyards


27/12/2012, Thursday, Santa Barbara, CA

Last night L. woke up at 3 am with 38.5 degree fever. I was very worried that it was going to worsen. Thank God, her fever dropped and during the day her coughing reduced. But she still has a very runny nose and is sneezy. At least, her respiratory canals are open and she doesn’t have a headache.

After leaving Beverly Hills, we continued our journey towards Santa Barbara on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). The view was spectacular.

Malibu Pacific Highway

We passed by the blue and calm ocean and wide, clean, sandy beaches on our left and green hills and mountains with palm trees and cacti on our right.

Pacific Coast Highway Railway

We passed through Malibu. The houses here block the ocean view but this doesn’t last long. The nature and roads of this region made me forget completely that I am in America. In places, I felt like I was in Southern Turkey and in some in Southern France. I would have never guessed that there is such natural beauty in America.

We settled in room 6 at Blue Sands Motel for tonight. Thank God that F. seems to be getting better too. As our journey tomorrow will be long, we have decided to go to Neverland today. Since the age of 11-12, I used to study these regions, mountains and roads in the atlas and try to figure out where Neverland is. I have dreamt of and tried coming here for years. It was meant for today.

As we drove up the Santa Ynez Mountains, I was overcome by a variety of emotions in the face of incomparable beauty and peacefulness of the nature.

Santa Ynez Valley

As I was gob smacked by the natural beauty, I understood fully well why Michael chose to live here.

Santa Ynez Mountains

These heavenly mountains and valley are far away from all the bustling, ugliness and dirt. Besides peace, my heart was palpating and my mouth was dry as if I was going to Michael’s concert.

I knew that the private equity firm, which now controls Neverland didn’t leave anything here. Nevertheless, I would have regretted not coming and stepping my foot here. Of course, it is impossible to enter the ranch. Even though the land is very large, it is surrounded with wires. Actually, my plan was to jump over and go in but F. warned me that the security would arrest me.

Nothing is left from Michael’s days at Neverland’s main gate.

At Neverland Gate

There are curious cars and people coming to the gate. It is impossible to see the house from the entrance. Fans have written their names and thoughts on the rocks at the entrance and the gate. One sent a Christmas tree along with a Christmas card underneath. F. gave me a pen and so I wrote our three names, the date and that we always love him.There were a couple of cars on the other side of the gate. Suddenly a blond, ice blue eyed man appeared and told me off to not park our car on the grass.

Our car at Neverland

He definitely did not look like security. I guess that he was an employee of the private equity firm. He had no resemblance to Tarek with whom I met at Encino. Nevertheless, in order to avoid regret, I asked if it is possible to go in. He bluntly answered: “This is a private property.” Without a choice, we headed back. In the meantime, we saw a wild cat sitting peacefully in the ranch. Once he saw us, he ran away jumping. Then he stopped and started watching us.

Cat at Neverland

This is really a peace of heaven. I am not surprised at all that Michael chose this place for peace and happiness. But neither Michael deserves to be lying inside that cold marble in Forest Lawn nor Neverland deserves to be ripped off of its old days and separated from Michael’s fans.

On our way to our next stop Solvang, we passed through the town of Los Olivos of which Neverland is a part.

Los Olivos

I haven’t seen a single African American here or in all of Santa Barbara. There are Hispanics but especially in the Santa Ynez Valley and Los Olivos, there are only whites and even Red Necks in some places. No wonder Michael faced difficulties here in the last years.

In this beautiful valley, there are vineyards and wineries. As I saw the settlements in this area, I became very jealous of the inhabitants-Michael’s neighbors. Whoever wanted could have easily seen and met with Michael.

Solvang is a very cute and pretty Danish town.

Danish Building in Solvang

The settlers have really created a very nice and cute Denmark here.

Solvang

Solvang

Solvang

Solvang

I kept on thinking that Michael also came here, passed through these roads (close to his home) so many times. Then I started crying again. First, they were tears of happiness. God granted me the opportunity to come and see here. I am incredibly happy, very lucky. Then a little bit of tears of sadness. If I weren’t so late in coming here…

We had our dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Los Agavos in Santa Barbara. Finally, we have found a Mexican restaurant just as we wanted with a very delicious menu!

28/12/2012, Friday

My dear L. cried almost the entire night. Of course, we don’t know what was bothering her but I think she had gas. My poor baby couldn’t get enough rest. I wish she would get well fully…

It is possible to see hawks in Santa Ynez and over the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).

With my daughter on Santa Barbara Beach

After a short walk in the morning on the beach and by the ocean, we had a splendid breakfast at Joe’s Café on State Street (Santa Barbara).

State Street Santa Barbara

I can easily say that I had never had such quality “American” breakfast before in the US. After going around a little in this beautiful town, we started our journey towards Northern California on the PCH surrounded by views of the ocean and green mountains and fields. I really liked Santa Barbara, especially the Santa Ynez Mountains and Valley. I easily understand why people choose to retire here and why Michael chose here to find peace and happiness.

But this place gave Michael both happiness and loneliness as well as big pain towards the end. The redneck prosecutor of the time was obsessed with him. He didn’t have a place here as an African American. On the other hand, a jury consisting of Caucasians exonerated him. But it was too late. Big wounds were carved in his soul. This fairy town and nature staged a big tragedy.

It was as if I had already seen and known these roads, mountains and nature in Santa Ynez. I never felt like a newcomer. Very strange. I keep on thinking that I wish I could have come when he was alive. I feel regret. But when I was broke, internet and transport were not as developed, it was more difficult. I am constantly trying to bring him back. I need to stop this. The past is in the past. I need to accept that. Now, he is with the Creator, safe and resting. God willing, he is in peace. But I am infinitely grateful to the Creator. Now, I have accomplished all I wanted in life. Now my life is completely and solely dedicated to L. and F. I pray for the same for everyone else.

There is only one more thing I am going to add about this topic. There is absolutely not an iota of thing in the memory of Michael Jackson in Santa Barbara even though it was the place where this important and famous person lived. His name is not written anywhere. I haven’t seen his picture anywhere. His trace is erased even from Neverland. The superficial success of racism and jealousy. It is impossible to erase love and the truth from hearts and mind.

The Pismo Beach was our next stop.

Pismo Beach

It is mainly a camper’s beach. Nevertheless, the beach’s width, sand and water are amazing. The waves are ideal for surfers.

In fact, PCH is not that different than Aegean roads. But nature here is unspoilt.

Sea Lions

Lighthouse on Pacific Coast Highway

Pumpkins by the Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway Bridge

As the dark settled, we just arrived at Butterfly Grove Inn in Pacific Grove. We settled in room 12. As Pacific Grove is a very small town, the restaurant options are very limited. Wherever we tried was packed full. We chose the restaurant with the shortest waiting time of 20 minutes…

#PacificCoastHighway #Neverland #MichaelJackson