Yep, I am home from the Cal central coast area.
I really liked it there!
I have never liked LA and southern cal very much. It always seems like a much larger version of Albuquerque -- like Albuquerque with added stress, crowds and even worse traffic. Not that there is anything wrong with Alb, but when I leave I like to visit somewhere that is more different.
Ventura and that area was very laid back. The traffic wasn't at all bad and the people were super nice. The mountains and beaches were also beautiful and uncrowded. I liked it so much that I am hoping to make it back to the Santa Barbara area sometime during the winter. Not to worry about me moving -- I'm pretty sure that I couldn't afford land and a house near Santa Barbara and I am too spoiled to live in a crowded neighborhood.
One thing I don't get about Cal -- why does their Mexican food suck? They have lots of Mexicans there, but the Mexican food is horrible. The stuff they say is chili doesn't even have as much flavor as a bell pepper. If I ever lived there I would have to have tons of NM chili shipped in.