Saturday, June 25, 2011

Solvang California - Aebleskiver Saturday

This morning, we exercised some will power and only had our complimentary pastry and coffee at Olsen's Danish Bakery, although others did tempt us to have a full meal at Paula's. I was able to resist because I know it wouldn't be long before I have to face my digital scale at home and I have been eating pretty high on the hog on this trip. Mrs. Olsen turned out to be an Italian lady who had met Mr. Olsen years ago in Santa Barbara. They also own the Solvang Inn and Cottages where we were staying.

Today, a few of us decided to explore Stagecoach Road as recommended by our friendly motel manager. When we set out, the group included Sandy and I in the lead followed by Sherm, Teri, Slots, Lanny and Cranky. We took California 246 east to 154 and followed that southeast past Lake Cachuma. Along 246, we saw a series of vultures sitting on the power lines with their wings spread in the sun and several deer in a field. After one false stop at a closed Scenic View site (you think they would mark the closure on the highway signs), we found the open one and stopped for a photo opportunity.

Before we left the lot to continue, we encountered a situation that left Cranky speechless and the rest of us amused. There was a young fellow in the lot with a Yamaha sport bike who was trying to reach someone on his cell phone. It seems he was out of gas and Cranky, ever prepared, grabbed the spare fuel bottles he carries on his engine guards and took them over to the kid. In one of the dumber moves we have seen in recent times, to youngster refused the gas because it wasn't 91 octane even though 87 would not have harmed his engine provided he had taken it easy to the next gas station. We left him still trying to find cell service.

Crossing the large viaduct on 154, the GPS led me to make a right turn on Stagecoach Road and start a steep winding descent. We weren't in very far when we came to Cold Spring Tavern, located on a tight downhill curve. To say parking here was a challenge would be an understatement. I've been told that their parking area is reserved for motorcycles only on Sunday but we had to work around the cars today. Although the BBQ looked very good, it was a little early for us to eat so we took some pictures and then continued to follow the road downhill.

Stagecoach Road is quite technical in its descent. I led a spirited but careful ride with Sherm right on my tail on the red Mean Streak. After a bit, I let Sherm lead and chased him the rest of the way to where Stagecoach Road rejoined 154.  We stopped there to wait for the rest to catch up.

We followed 154 back to Los Olivos and then headed on to the Lavender Barn where Sandy bought some sachets. Slots left us here to go back and explore Los Olivos, an intriguing little town, while the rest of us went on to see the miniature horses at Quicksilver Ranch. The tiny equines and their offspring were out and we were able to get close to some of them. The young ones have the habit of lying down on their sides when not eating looking, to all intents and purposes, like they were dead. I still haven't figured out who is buying these little creatures or, more importantly, why.

We returned to Solvang by going back up to Los Olivos and taking Ballard Canyon Road. This is a winding stretch with some blind corners where I almost made my worst mistake of the trip. Not far in, we came up behind a small pickup truck. I was focused on him and didn't read how tight an uphill left turn was folding back on itself. As a result, I had to compensate by cutting inside only to find myself, leaned heavily into the turn, aimed between the headlights of an oncoming SUV. He slowed and I did some big move to straighten up and then cut back onto my own side. Disaster averted, we followed the winding road past farms and cattle/buffalo herds. The pickup soon turned off and we were able to crank the pace up a little.

In Solvang, the rest went back to the hotel while Lanny came with Sandy and I to Del Sol where we picked up a few gifts for the kids. We also scored another free carry bag. Back at the Inn, we started to move our gear into the motorhome, preparing for our morning departure. I spoke to an older gentleman in the lot who was cleaning his nice white BMW car. His name was Bruce and he retired as a homicide detective from NYPD 35 years ago. He lost his wife four years go and met his current lady friend on a cruise. They currently have residences in LA, Nashville and Florida. Here is a person who is living his retirement years to the max.

We jumped in Sherm's truck and went over to the Hans Christian Andersen Park for the BBQ and raffle. The BBQ was Santa Maria style, provided by a caterer. We served ourselves buffet style from a selection of Caesar salad, potato salad, beans, bread, chicken and tri-tip beef. There was plenty for everyone and the beef was particularly excellent. After the meal, they drew tickets for the raffle prizes and Phil won more than anyone else. We didn't make out badly, though, with a Kawasaki gym bag and blanket, several other items and a free Riders Of Kawasaki membership. Sandy's tickets won most of them. We also bought a painting, Mountain Mist, painted and donated by VROC member Hoser for the silent auction.

Fed and happy, we took our swag back to the hotel where we stashed it in the RV and I loaded the Wing in the trailer. We spent the evening mingling and saying goodbyes. This has been a very good gathering with its laid back atmosphere, great food and interesting roads and attractions. Seeing old friends and meeting new was special, as always. This is the furthest VROC rally from us on this continent but, if it is scheduled again for next year, we will seriously have to consider attending. Thanks to Jim and Cat for doing a wonderful job organizing it, to Howard, Linda and family for looking after the raffle and silent auction, to ROK for the prizes, to Solvang Inn and Cottages for being so welcoming and to Teri for being the face of Kawasaki with us (of course, by now, she really is one of us too).

Going to bed was sad because we knew that we would be homeward bound in the morning.

Today's Photos

Newbies Smitty, Lisa, Trouble and Knothead

Sherm and Teri riding 154

Lake Cachuma

Lake Cachuma from a distance

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Idiot of the month - out of gas and turned down Cranky's spare supply because it was only 87 octane

Stagecoach Road

Cold Spring Tavern - Stag coach Road

Taking a break at Cold Spring

Are these macho guys or what?

Sandy always finds flowers

The 154 bridge from Stagecoach Mountain Road

Chasing Sherm through the corners

Teri seems to be having fun

Lanny and Sherm at the Lavender Barn

I really liked the movie

They raise horses, don't they?

But not very big ones

The babies seem to just eat and sleep

This is what they look like when they are sleeping

And eating

We left with all our digits intact

Ballard Canyon Road

This truck is probably due for retirement

The buffalo is trying to mix in

More Ballard Canyon Road

Sherm and Cossack - two old Coasties reminiscing

Cat, Jim & VSP - New organizers and old

Casey the new guy fit right in

Einstein in all his colour-matched glory

VSP getting a shot of the food

Linda and Howard do a great job running the raffle

VSP getting mugged by the ladies

Today's Route (56 motorcycle miles):

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