Santa Barbara: An electric vehicle driver’s paradise
Even on a sunny, beach day in a holiday weekend as the parking lot filled up, drivers left the EV parking spot next to ours vacant. The parking attendant gave us a flyer about the charger as we pulled in to the lot. This Level 2 charger is a little tricky to find. Take the Bath Street exit, follow to Shoreline, turn right on Shoreline and then left on Harbor Way and left into the lot. Get ticket at first gate, drive to second gate and look for chargers on the left near the Los Banos Pool.
The Nissan Leaf GPS works as well for navigation as the Plugshare app. I typically search for the charger on the app and then use those directions or type the address into the Leaf GPS. The later works better if you do not want to keep checking your smart phone or you are in the car solo.
There is a public bathroom (closed for cleaning 8:45 am to 10 am) nearby which is a great place to change if you decide to rent bikes like we did. You can rent a kayak, a SUP, surf boards, you name it. There is a skateboard park, sand volleyball, a zoo and Santa Barbara beach all within walking distance.
We drove 79 miles from Topanga, arriving here at 8:30 am. I was tired and discouraged when my husband checked the Nissan Leaf app and found that we would have to spend six hours charging. The low battery warning beeped when we arrived. Keeping the windows open with no air conditioning to save on juice is getting a little annoying too.
We stopped at State Street Coffee and after some caffeine and a snack, I felt better and we mapped out a plan. We rented cruiser bikes at Wheel Fun Rentals and headed down the waterfront bike path, stopped at a memorial on the beach for fallen soldiers and headed toward a bird sanctuary. I do not recommend walking through the later as we did. It appeared to be a haven for homeless people as much as birds .
The palm- tree lined bike path is great, if crowded, and artists sell their wares along its path. We meandered along the path, then jumped into the ocean for a swim. After going back to the car to change at the restroom, we returned the bikes and walked downtown. After a little shopping (there are stores and cafes galore) and lunch, we hopped on the city’s all- electric shuttle bus for a ride back to the wharf, just a short walk from the car, which was fully charged and waiting.
Santa Barbara has a peaceful botanic garden and there is a charging station there. The mission is one of the best in California and well worth a visit too so check for chargers near there. Also, I highly recommend bringing bikes on an EV Roadtrip if you can. We paid $54 for two bicycles. Ouch!