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Returning to the city, we followed Sycamore Canyon-rightly named, indeed, for throughout its length is a multitude of giant sycamores, gnarled and twisted into a thousand fantastic shapes like trees of Dante's Inferno. Scattered among them were a few majestic live-oaks, which gradually increased in numbers as we came into the beautiful suburb of Montecito, with its handsome residences and flower-spangled lawns. Our driver enlightened us on the value of some of the places offered for sale, also of numerous vacant lots just on the edge of the town. Three to five thousand per acre seemed to be the average sum that a millionaire was asked to invest should he desire to establish an "estate" here-prices quite as high as was then demanded for similar property in the neighborhood of Los Angeles. And it is not likely that values will cease to advance.

The completion of the new highway has put Santa Barbara into easy touch with the metropolis by motor car, adding still farther to its desirability as a residence town for people with leisure and money. The distance, just one hundred miles, is an easy three-hours' drive and a very popular Sunday jaunt from Los Angeles and frequent motor busses make the trip daily. All of which serve to make Santa Barbara a long-distance suburb of the Queen City to a far greater extent than it was in the days of rough roads and the "dreadful Casitas Pass," as I heard it styled more than once.

But here I am going on as if the automobile were the prime factor in making a town prosperous-and, truly, it is hard for one who has never visited California to understand what a tremendous utility the motor car has become in the life of the people. And, besides, this is a motor-travel book by an admitted automobile crank and perhaps a little exaggeration of the importance of the wind-shod steed is permissible under such circumstances.

But, all levity aside, Santa Barbara, with her unrivaled attractions, her sheltered sea, her delightful environment of mountain and forest, her matchless climate, her palms, her roses, her historic associations and-not least in our estimation-the rapidly increasing mileage of fine roads about her, is bound to receive continual additions from the ranks of the discriminating to her cultured and prosperous citizenship.

Leaving Santa Barbara for the north, we turned aside a little way out of the town into the entrance of Hope Ranch, a beautiful park which was then being exploited as a residence section. Here are several hundred acres of rolling hills studded with some of the finest oaks we had seen and commanding glorious views of the ocean and distant mountains. Splendid boulevards wind through every part of the tract. A fine road runs around a little blue lake and leads up to the country club house which stands on a hill overlooking the valley. Passing through the tract, we soon came to the ocean and, following Cliff Drive, which leads along the shore for a few miles, we found ourselves in the grounds of the Potter Hotel. The drive is an enchanting one, with views of rugged coast and still, shining sea stretching away to the dim outlines of the channel islands.

On our first trip we chose the coast road and followed a fine new boulevard for a dozen miles out of Santa Barbara-but beyond this it was a different story. Not so bad as the Los Olivos garage man declared-"the worst in California"-but a choppy trail with short, steep hills and stretches of adobe about as rough as could be from recent rains. At the little village of Gaviota this road swings inland over Gaviota Pass, though there is a shorter and more direct route to Santa Ynez, the next mission. This branches from the main road about four miles north of Santa Barbara and cuts directly across the mountains through San Marcos Pass. Probably this was the original Camino Real, since it is several miles shorter than the coast road and would present little difficulty to the man on foot or horseback, as people traveled in the brave old mission days.

On one occasion we varied matters by taking this route despite the dubious language of the road-book and the rather forbidding appearance of the mountain range that blocked our way. We found the road quite as steep and rough as represented-very heavy going over grades up to twenty-five per cent, with a multitude of dangerous corners-but we felt ourselves more than repaid for our trouble by the magnificence of the scenery and the glorious, far-reaching panoramas that greeted us during the ascent. It was something of an effort to turn from a broad, smooth boulevard into a dusty trail which was lost to view in the giant hills, though we solaced ourselves with the reflection that the boulevard continued but a few miles farther. Fording a little river-the great flood a few weeks before had swept away every vestige of the bridge-we ran for a short distance over a tree-fringed road through the valley and then began the six-mile climb to the summit of the range. Much of the way trees and shrubbery bordered the road, but at frequent intervals we came into open spaces on the mountain side which afforded some of the finest views we saw in California. The day was unusually clear and the landscape beneath us was wonderfully distinct in the morning sun. A long reach of wooded hills, dotted here and there with cultivated fields and orchards surrounding red-roofed ranch-houses, stretched down to the narrow plain along the sea. Upon this to the southward lay the town of Santa Barbara as an indistinct blur and beyond it the still shining waters of the channel running out to the island chain which cuts off the great waste of the Pacific. During our ascent we paused many times to cool our steaming motor and saw the same glorious scene from different viewpoints, each showing some new and delightful variation.

Strenuous as was the climb, it was almost with regret that we crossed the hills which finally shut the panorama of mountain and sea from our sight. The descent was even steeper than the climb, but there were frequent grassy dales starred with wild flowers which broke the sharp pitches, and many views of magnificently wild scenery down the Santa Ynez Canyon. At the foot of the grade we came to the river-a clear, shallow stream dashing over a wide boulder-strewn "wash." We followed the river valley for some miles through velvety, oak-studded meadows whose green luxuriance was dashed here and there with blue lupines or golden poppies. Coming out of the valley and winding for some distance among low, rolling hills we reached the lonely town of Santa Ynez, which we missed when going by the Gaviota Pass road. It is an ancient-looking little place, innocent of railroad trains and some four miles distant from the mission which gives it the name.

 
 
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