2014 Santa Barbara Coast Rally Recap

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2014 Santa Barbara Coast Rally Recap

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                                                                                           2014 Santa Barbara Coast Rally

                                                                                                       October 1-5, 2014

Sixteen coaches with thirty-one Leap'n Lions and guests camped on a mesa overlooking the Pacific Ocean for five days of camaraderie and activities October 1-5, 2014, hosted by South West Regional Vice President Phyllis Howard and husband Jim. Ocean Mesa above El Capitan State Beach on the Gaviota Coast of California provided comfortable sites, a spacious yurt for our gatherings and a pool and spa for the unseasonably hot fall weather. Frequent South West rally attendees renewed friendships and welcomed new friends Bob and Bonnie Gregson of Spokane WA, Miles Quade and Karrie Frantz of Madison WI and Bob and Linda Heinritz of Highland IL. The many traveling Born Free pets enjoyed a happy tail wagging reunion. Thank you to Phil and Deb Van Veldhuizen who hosted the daily impromptu gatherings in their most-shaded campsite.

Wednesday night's hearty potluck appetizers were abundant and "camp counselor" Ken Giannotti led us all in a get acquainted game resulting in lots of laughter. Phyllis shared Gaviota Coast facts and activity schedules and we wrapped up the evening with song and cake to celebrate VP Phyllis' birthday as the sun set over the Pacific.

Thursday morning sixteen hearty folks headed to the busy Santa Barbara marina to set sail on the 41 foot yacht Sunset Kidd for a two-hour cruise. Light winds took us into the Santa Barbara Channel where we were soon surrounded by seabirds, sea lions and hundreds of dolphins feeding on abundant squid. Skipper Dennis correctly assumed a humpback whale wouldn't be far away and we were rewarded with a close encounter as it surfaced and dove off our bow. That afternoon many enjoyed a one-hour docent led tour of Santa Barbara's Reagan Ranch Center and its multiple galleries and historical artifacts from Ronald Reagan's nearby Rancho del Cielo and his presidency. Born Free treated us to a tasty "barbecue in a bag" dinner that evening complete with firewood, burgers, buns, beans, salads and s'mores. Groups of four gathered at various campsites to cook over the fires as the sun set and the day cooled.

Friday was a free day to visit Santa Barbara, walk the local state beaches, enjoy the nearby Danish community of Solvang or the many wineries around little Los Olivos. That evening we car pooled north to the Circle Bar B Guest Ranch where we were treated to the Brown family's expansive barbecue buffet on a shady terrace under huge oaks and sycamores. After dinner we walked down to the little theater in the "barn" where we enjoyed a humorous 1960's French farce, Boeing Boeing. This was a bittersweet evening for the cast and crew as it was the last production of the last season of dinner theater in the little red barn after 43 years.

Saturday morning a group headed north to the Arroyo Hondo Preserve, an old 782 acre ranch now managed by the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. Planned docent led hikes were available, but the unseasonable heat led the group to opt for a docent led shady stroll to learn the historic and natural features of the preserve. That evening we gathered in our yurt for pizza and salad, Ken's "camp counselor" game, prizes donated by Bill and Barb Cope and the latest news on upcoming rallies and Born Free happenings.

Sunday we wished each other safe travels, waved each other away and headed off for home or other Born Free adventures.
We are all grateful to Phyllis and Jim Howard. Their meticulous planning and negotiations enabled us to enjoy this rally with its many varied activities and the opportunity to explore the Gaviota Coast of California, which Sunset magazine has called "the last best stretch of the Southern California coast."

Written by Sue Wolfe

NOTE: This topic posted by Website Administrator (bfadmin-2
Group Photo in Yurt.jpg
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Sailing along the Coast.JPG
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Arroyo Hondo Preserve walk.JPG
Arroyo Hondo Preserve walk.JPG (53.94 KiB) Viewed 7426 times
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