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It’s August 2016. The hills surrounding our little valley town have been breathing flames, rolling like a crimson tide and reaching their apogee around 2 p.m. every day. It’s time to escape, time to find cooler roads, new mountains and fresh experiences.
Santa Barbara’s downtown was carefully constructed to pay homage to the town’s Spanish roots. Red-tile roofs and terra-cotta tiles bracket Saks Fifth Avenue and Apple stores—but shopping holds no sway for us today. It’s a different experience we want to consume as we roll down State Street. We head to the beach and Bud Bottoms’ famous Dolphin Family Fountain, which the sculptor says was deeply influenced by the local Chumash Indians. We stop by the massive bronze installation and pay our respects to one of Santa Barbara’s most popular meeting places. When riders tire of the big group rides that roll out from the Bath House to the south, more than a few text messages “bing” on Friday evening saying simply: “Dolphin Fountain 7 a.m.”