It began with warm, Southern California sunshine, smoothly moving freeways and hopes of a day spent soaking up healing rays, listening to the soothing sounds of waves lapping the beach and strolling through a little bit of Old Scandinavia just a few hours up the coast. That's not quite the way it played out.
First, we got started a bit later than planned. Normally, I try not to let this worry me, but I also misjudged the amount of time it would take to drive from Long Beach to Solvang. All was good, though, as the freeways were moving and we didn't have to sit in traffic. Still, by the time we got to Ventura, we were starving. Promenade Park looked like a nice place to stop for lunch on the beach. With the lunch-hour surfers competing for parking space, it became a matter of 'wait for someone to pull out and grab their spot quick'. This accomplished, I made sandwiches for the boy and his grandpa (and his mom) and we proceeded to enjoy watching the waves and sunning ourselves. A seagull, perched on a nearby rock, sensed an audience and spread his wings to demonstrate his take-off. Duly appreciated.
Refreshed, we turned inland for Solvang. Second mistake. The once quaint Danish Village of Solvang, is now just another shopping mall. At least in the winter. The worst part was that I had a nagging suspicion that I should have remembered this from another, similar trip two years ago, with my daughter. Note to self: begin a small trip log, noting places not to revisit, and destinations to return to. I probably would have done better to update my pictures and info on Santa Ines and La Purissima Missions instead, but the day was fading. After stretching our legs from one end of Solvang to the other and back again, we decided there was enough time left to visit the Ostrich Farm on the way back to the coast road.
Save! Our misadventures in Solvang were soon forgotten in the quirkiness of feeding the ostriches and emus at the Ostrich Farm. Watching their comical bird faces and gangly legs running around their pens provided us with some much needed belly laughs, though our stop there was less than an hour.
Our final destination before heading home had to be Anderson's Split Pea Soup Restaurant in Buellton. Not disappointing. Sure I could make a vat of split pea soup with ham bones and carrots and potatoes at home for about a buck, but the satisfaction of hearing my oldest son, when he called in the middle of our dinner, gasping "Anderson's Split Pea Soup in the bread bowl?! That is sooooo aaawesooome!!" was priceless. Day salvaged.
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