My husband and I still own a house in Santa Barbara even though we have moved to Washington—on the left side of the country. We had to evacuate during the Painted Cave fire and the residents of our house in Santa Barbara had to evacuate for the Gap fire. They have now been allowed to return home.
Readers can look at the map of the Gap fire perimeter and see all the residential streets north of Cathedral Oaks Road. Most of these homes did not exist forty years ago when our house was built in Ranch del Ciervo. It is located just south of the SE perimeter of the fire between Fairview and Patterson Avenues.
People live in these areas because they are not in the gang-infested city of Santa Barbara. Folks there can still take a walk at night and not worry about getting mugged. The schools are great. The views are lovely as is the privacy. Santa Barbara used to be that way. Now, the city is overrun with poor people, mostly Hispanics. The schools are terrible and the crowds are fierce.
I used to think that folks who lived along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and in high hurricane and tornado areas should get the heck out of Dodge. But where can people go now that is not full to the brim with other folks? There are many places such as: the Dakotas, Death Valley. . .but not many want to live there.
My husband and I used to think that we might move back to Santa Barbara if the weather in Washington got to us. The weather is sort of annoying but the benefits of living in a less densely populated area are huge.
Our grandchildren, six and nine, just visited from California. They commented that everyone was so friendly. "Why are they smiling and waving? Do you know them?" People here are just friendly. That happens in small towns. They live in Sacramento and their next-door neighbors who are Pakistanis do not wave or speak to them. The immigrants across the street don't speak either. Their names? Quien sabe.
When the real estate market returns to normal, my husband and I will probably be selling our house in Santa Barbara. The Gap fire convinced us to get out of Dodge. And where exactly do we live now? NONE of your business.