Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mission Hills California to Solvang California

It was Sandy's Birthday today, once again in California. The sun rose on a cloudless morning in Mission Hills as we packed to leave. The breakfast area was crowded but we got some coffee and light food for the road. Sandy told me she had been stewing all night about the scratches in the trailer, as had I. Sherm suggested our friend Jack, who has a body shop in Holbrook, Arizona and does amazing work, might be able to offer advice on fixing the damage. Not five minutes later, I got an Email from Jack saying he had read the blog and the scratches should buff out with the correct procedure. We will be going through Holbrook next Monday on the way home and will stop and see him.

Trailer scratching trees

We hit the road about 8:00 AM, headed for Cat and Jim's for a serious biscuit breakfast. The traffic was quite busy as we got onto 118 West but thinned out after we had gone a ways. We planned to roll the dice and see if we had enough fuel to get us to Fillmore.

Los Angeles area morning traffic

Now I know where Simi Valley is

Modern chain gang

Pretty road

We left the 118 freeway at Moorpark and decided discretion was the better part of not getting stranded. We got fuel before heading north on SR 23. A little ways up, we saw a sign that said big trucks were not recommended for the next six miles. This stretch was the Grimes Canyon Road and was much more interesting than the map below suggests. The two dimension rendering doesn't do justice to the severe elevation changes or the sharp drop-offs. We made it to the summit, where I pulled over to let a few cars pass, and then coasted down the other side singing "30,000 Pounds Of Bananas". On the downgrade, we met some southbound aggregate trucks coming from the quarry on that side. It was an interesting drive.

Grimes Canyon Road

It was tighter and more up and down than it looks

Finally down

Reaching Fillmore, we saw a corner with a Chevron station on one side selling has for $4.29 and a USA station across the street advertising gas for $3.97. I have no idea how the Chevron does any business at all.

We couldn't pull into Jim and Cat's subdivision with the large trailer. First, I planned to park under the jacaranda trees on the main street, where a little dog seemed to control the turf. The trailer was a bit wide, so I turned around and parked on the dirt shoulder.

The pup didn't want me in his spot

So I parked across the street

Jim and Cat have a nice house backed by a large hill. Recently, a fire burned down the side of the hill right to their back deck. Fires on the hill are apparently a regular occurrence.

Walking to Jim and Cat's house

Jim greets Sherm

It was good to see Jim and Cat again. They have organized the Solvang Aebleskiver Rally for three years now. Jim commutes to work every week in the oil sands of Fort McMurray, Alberta, where he works on the largest haul trucks in the world. Unfortunately, he just found out he will be taking a disability layoff after his next sequence of shifts due to knee problems.

Cat had a breakfast prepared consisting of biscuits, sausages and sausage gravy, fruit and one scrambled ostrich egg. The single egg fed the five of us plus her son Charly, daughter-in-law Amy, two grandchildren and Amy's friend. And there was still some left over.

One big egg

Enough to feed ten and have leftovers

Mountain near Fillmore

Jim and Cat's neighborhood is where they filmed the exteriors for the TV series Big Love. I had to take a photo of the famous location.

Big Love - Bill got shot here

Well fed, we said goodbye to Jim and Cat, who would be up to Solvang a bit later in the day. We followed ST 126 to US 101 in Ventura.

'Cause the free wind is blowin' through your hair 
And the days surround your daylight there 

We stayed on US 101 as it ran up the Pacific Coast through Santa Barbara. The GPS had originally suggested we follow the San Marcos Pass Road but I made that mistake the last time. It is a great road but is a bit steep and winding for RV's or large trailers. Instead, we stayed on 101 to Buellton and then made the short hop into Solvang.


A real Hummer


Oleander medians

The Pacific

Tsunami zone

Lemon tree very pretty......

RV boondocking area

Oil drill rigs

Irrigated area

Tunnel on 101

Solvang, we are here

Solvang was busy, as usual. There were two cars parked in the long spot behind the Solvang Inn and Cottages where I parked the RV two years ago. By the time I maneuvered around, one had left. Then, after I got into part of the spot, the second left. I moved the truck and trailer into a spot where no one would be able to park behind us. As we unloaded the gear, I came to the conclusion that we have way too much gear. Then we unloaded the bikes and got them parked. Time for the fun to begin.

My parking spot in Solvang

Today's Route (136 Avalanche/trailer miles):

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