Sunday, February 23, 2014


With the dawning of Thursday we were promised a pretty busy day. We were headed to Solvang, California. As mentioned last post - this Danish town wasn't even part of the plan. Our original thought was to tie into the #1 west of Bakersfield. 

There was NO WAY were were going to get all caught up in the LA and surrounding LA busyness. 

Until Chip our friend from the Barrio Brewery in Tucson mentioned Solvang. Solvang - hmmm. Once we convinced ourselves that we should go - after all they DO have a craft brewery - we had to figure out how we were going to get there. Alas, that is why we tied in at Ventura and made our way up. So glad we did - after all we found Carpinteria that way - right?!

So - Solvang here we come.

But first - we had to go up! UP! Yes, we could have stayed on the busy 101 (which also may have been up - not sure) but no - we took the less travelled route (????) of 154. Up and over.

This was after we made it through the busy stretch around Santa Barbara. Boy do they move fast down here in Southern California! Anyway, with all the up we were rewarded with a view. We saw it better than you do here - hard to take view pictures when it's on Derek's side.

Poor little Hraefn - we sure are asking a lot of him with all these hills along the coast. Who knew it was so hilly. Well, ok - it isssssssss the coast - I get that - but we haven't been here before - ok!

Where is the top?!

For all the gas we lost on the climb up, hopefully we got some back on the ride down.

Along the way there was a pullout to walk a short trail to a look out. Here's, the view. Not as all encompassing as we had thought but better than from the windshield - you can just see Lake Cachuma on the left.

Truly amazing to have gone from the humid beach to the dry hills in a mere half hour or so.

From the 154 we took a left onto the 246 - taking us to three closely spaced towns - Santa Ynez, Solvang and Buellton - all part of the Santa Ynez Valley.

We parked and walked around the small town of Santa Ynez first. A western/farming village + wine tasting. And interesting mix. We found two main streets and walked them both. 

We're not really birders although we do appreciate all the other 'snow birds' down here in the USA. Derek took this really nice shot. Problem is we rarely know the kind of bird we are looking at - anyone?

A few short miles from Santa Ynez and we were in Solvang. If you come from the east side pay attention. Just at the outskirts of town you'll see an RV Parking sign - turn in! All day RV parking for free and one block from the downtown. Priceless! LOVE these no fee parking towns. What a welcome. This gave us a chance to come back and forth throughout the day. And shade for Rufus to boot!

Have I ever mentioned that poppies are my favourite flower?

Bakeries everywhere in Solvang! We stopped at the first one we came to - Birkholm's Bakery & Cafe.

It was a tough decision but we shared a HUGE cream puff - the one you see top center here. It was gone before I thought to get a picture!

Many shops with European imports.

We might be in a Danish town but we found a little bit of Irish for Derek's ancestry.

Ha! I took this for Derek - I'm not even going to say more about that! 

After a considerable tour of the town we spent a few hours back at the van - it was a pretty warm day. On our way back out we stopped and talked to a few Greyhound owners. Solvang was hosting a Greyhound Fest - for the 10th year, that weekend.

A visit to the Solvang Brewing Co. was up next.

Derek was not going to miss a place that has a craft beer called 'Odin Stout'!

Which we quite enjoyed as we did the Raspberry Wheat.

Since it was still fairly early and we had heard many rave about Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. in Buellton, we headed over there to finish off the day.

We are certainly loving all these breweries that locate themselves in the industrial sections of towns. Not only are they easy to find and park at but they make for very good overnight locations.

So many beers on tap it was hard to choose.

Can't exactly remember now what we tried but they were good. Derek splurged on a very unique looking growler filled with an Irish Stout. Sorry - don't have a picture of it now.

We spent most of the night - well until 9:00pm anyway, when they closed, by the fire - so nice. Cassia looks lonely, however the two chairs to her left were filled by first, a nice local couple, and then second by a couple of guys - we had a nice visit with both.

Cassia had to be carried home however. Can't blame her - it WAS a busy day.

It was a fun day. 

Lots of sun, lots of walking, lots to see. All that and two craft breweries!

A very beautiful area filled with neat places to see and visit. I bet it is over the top beautiful in the spring! We barely scratched the surface - but it was time to move on.

Next up, we headed over to Lompoc Friday morning - continuing our trip up the coast. 


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  1. Other than fuel, are you finding things any more expensive in California? And boondocking still seems to be found with not much problem?

    1. Hey Kevin! Nope - not really - the gas is the main thing - although the beer is a tad bit more but not much.

      Boondocking here along the coastal towns is much more difficult. Many towns have large signs warning against parking overnight on the streets - so far we have only found Carpinteria and Morro Bay as boondocking friendly. Since there aren't as many Walmarts and Home Depots it makes it more challenging and takes a little more guts to risk being asked to leave. Fingers crossed for tonight here in Cambria!


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