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Ventura Freeway & Solvang Danish Village

Summer has arrived. We go RV'ing through LA Freeways (Ugh!), through mountain passes, and becoming a real Tourist!

sunny 76 °F

Anxious to get moving again, I hooked up the car to the RV and headed north in I5. After stop & go traffic for somewhere between 20 and 40 miles (OK, I lose track sometimes), we blew right past the exit to Hwy 101 and ended up driving around in a circle by Griffith Park to get back on the Ventura Freeway. (I was looking for a "Highway 101" sign, not realizing it was the same thing as "Ventura Freeway". Griffith Park looked like it would have been a nice place to spend some time, maybe have a picnic, but the parking was on the opposite side of the road so I kept going.

The first stretch of the freeway went through Hollywood. We drove right past a large "ABC" building, which looked a bit old to me. Many of the exits had very familiar names, probably from all the TV Shows and Movies filmed in this area. The road itself is dated, the lanes seemed narrow (by today's standards) and there were lots of bumps and dips. Most drivers would probably never notice them, but in the RV they made it feel like we were on pogo sticks. Given a choice between bad road surfaces (Stockton, Tejon Pass) and dips and bumps (Ventura Freeway), I think I'd prefer the former?

Fortunately (or not?), my new navigator doesn't like to handle a camera much either - so there aren't any pics of me trying to survive the freeway but I'm still here so we must have survived! Once we got past the cities, it seemed like we drove forever through coastal mountains. Finally we pulled over in Ventura and fixed ourselves some lunch and walked the dog.

Hwy 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara is all along the coast, so we did have beautiful views of the ocean, breakers, surfers, and ocean front homes. I figured we'd be coming back by car so didn't bother to pull the rig over for photo opps. In Santa Barbara, we turned inland again on Hwy 154 to get to the RV campground where I'd made reservations. On the map, it looked like a reasonable road.

Hwy 154, between Santa Barbara and Los Ollvos is also known as San Marcos pass. The road surface is good, but it is only two lanes and very steep. The east side of the pass had a sign showing a 7% grade and I doubt if the west side was much less then this. There were a lot of turnouts and also a lot of cars wanting to go over the pass much faster then I could, so I pulled over a LOT.


Of course, the flip side of this is that the views were pretty cool. The channel islands are just off the coast from Santa Barbara, both of which you can see clearly from the pass.


There are also a lot of lovely wild flowers in this section of the country, most of which I don't know the names of.


18 miles after leaving Hwy 101, we finally found the RV campground, Rancho Oso, in the Los Padres national Forest. It is billed as a "Guest Ranch & Stables" which I guess is true since they have a lot of horses. You can rent a small cabin or covered wagon to stay in, but since we were driving our own 'wagon' of course we just set it up in any empty space. My plan was to spend Wednesday in Solvang, take Thursday off, then Friday in Santa Barbara. (Mom gets too tired if I try to schedule activities every day.) Since we'll be spending time in the campground Thursday, I'll write more about it then. (btw - that is my rig just to the right of the little blue car - my Kia Rio).


So on Wednesday morning, off we went towards Solvang. On the way, we passed through the small town of Santa Ynez. It looks like this was a smaller old west town from the late 1880's that is now being updated with newer 'old west' style buildings. There were a couple of interesting looking museums and shops, but everything was still closed so we drove on to Solvang.


Solvang is also a very small town that was founded in 1911 by Danish settlers who were interested in preserving their way of life. It is now a very Danish themed small town that has lots of shops and places to eat - and mostly caters to tourists. It was a sunny day with bright blue skies, but started off reasonably cool (high 60's). At first there were very few tourists wandering the streets and there were plenty of parking places in the middle of town. This all changed as the day wore on, the temperature rose, the number of tourists increased and the number of parking places decreased (if indeed there were any). But we were set and headed for our first shop.


We have both Mom's wheel chair and her walker in the back of my Kia Rio (now that's a feat - fitting those in the back of such a small car). Mom has difficulty walking, so I was planning to use the wheel chair - but she decided to use the walker instead, probably because it made it easier to go through all the shops! We probably spent 30+ minutes in the first shop, a clock store (with lots of other stuff also of course). We also made our way through a toy store and another brick-a-brack shop when we decided to try a Danish Bakery. Mom ordered a cream puff and I got an eclair.


We spent quite a lot of time going through shops and not as much time taking pictures - but of course a couple of windmills needed to be captured!


It felt like we bought everything in town, but after we got back to the RV and sorted our loot, I hadn't spent as much as I'd feared. On the way out of town (Sunday?), I may go ahead and stop at a couple of places again to pick up a couple more things. Mom actually walked much farther than I expected or thought she could - a little over three blocks, both ways, plus a few million steps through several little shops! I offered to get the car and pick her up, but there were plenty of shops to see on the other side of the street also, so she elected to walk the whole way. (She was VERY tired by the time she got back to the car though).

After the Danish Pastry shop, neither of us felt very hungry, but there's no way I'd be this close to an Anderson Pea Soup restaraunt and NOT eat! So we drove another 3 miles to Buellton and located one of my favorite eateries.


I guess I'm not the only tourist fond of pea soup, the place rather caters to people like us (look closely at the faces!)


So we also had lunch, I had the Travellers Special (as much pea soup as you can eat), and Mom had Fettuchini Alfreado (she doesn't like pea soup). We both liked the gift shop however, and a few dollars poorer we headed back to camp. Mom took a nap, and I took advantage of the guest lounge wifi to finally upload my pictures from the San Diego Zoo last Sunday.

By this time it was quite warm (high 70's), still sunny, well fed, and with a fair share of souveniers from Solvang and Anderson Pea Soup - I really felt I'd been on Vacation!

Please don't worry if you can't get ahold of us, these "Thousand Trails" RV campgrounds seem to all be located off the beaten path and again we have no cell phone service. They have wifi in the guest lounges, but I can't access the internet from the RV so must find other ways to stay entertained. I brought about 50 DVD movies along (only picking out ones I thought Mom would also like, so no sci-fi or war movies). So far, we watched w "Roman Holiday". I forgot RummyCubes, so we are having to make do with Gin Rummy for now.

Tomorrow we'll 'do' Santa Barbara!

Posted by jl98584 16:45 Archived in USA Tagged solvang

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