Ah, Day 9. Day 9 held a special significance on this trip. As it signaled the trip was over halfway over. This was the first morning waking up where we had more days behind us than ahead of us.
This is what I do. I take what should be a happy day of vacation and I crap all over it with my “calendar math.”
Ah well…I still managed to have a good time. I’ve really learned to power through my neuroses.
We weren’t in any kind of major rush on Day 9, so we woke up at around 7:30 or so. And once again, we had a picnic basket waiting outside our room. I once again opted for the bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast burrito. And remember when we bought all that Bloody Mary stuff at the store the other day? Well, all that hard work finally paid off.
I woke both Matt and Tony up with Bloodys as well. I know, I am sort of the best friend ever.
Both the burrito and the Bloody were delicious.
After everyone finished their breakfast and showered and what not, we packed up the cars and hit the road. Our ultimate destination on Day 9 was Santa Barbara, but we had some stops planned.
Our first stop? It rocked.
Specifically, it Morro Rocked.
We visited Morro Rock.
Everyone says this is a big rock. And you know what? Thing lived up to the hype. It was, in fact, a big rock.
But I mean, life can’t be all big rocks and fog. Unfortunately. So we all got a look at the rock, talked about how big the rock was, posited what might be on the other side of said rock, considered driving out to the big rock, then reconsidered driving out to the big rock.
This all took about 4 ½ minutes. And we were back on the road.
Cars were split up by family for this drive. Goodys in the Mustang, the Nerneys in the Suburban, and the Falzones in their Camry. The drive to our next stop took about a half hour and even though it was cold, of course we had the top down. Look, I paid for this convertible. I am never NOT going to have the top down. Nice try, weather.
Our next stop was only another half hour away anyways, so the cold didn’t bother me anyways.
And the stop was in San Luis Obispo. Also, it was gross. Like, real gross.
We all parked in different 30-minute metered spots around San Luis and met on a corner on the way to our intended point of interest. Why did I mention we parked in different 30-minute metered spots? That’s called foreshadowing.
The reason we were in San Luis Obispo was this…
Big deal, right? I mean, it’s just an alley. Except it isn’t. Look harder at the picture above. Those walls are COVERED in ABC gum. You know, ABC. Already Been Chewed.
I know. Ew.
Yup, Bubblegum Alley. 65 feet of previously chewed bubblegum, strewn with abandon. It’s nasty. It’s unsanitary. But I don’t know. There’s something uniquely beautiful about the whole thing.
OK, maybe “uniquely beautiful” is a stretch. But still, as someone who chews a lot of gum this was sort of a must-stop. And of course I added my own Dentyne Ice to the mix.
While we were in San Luis Obispo, we all agreed we needed some coffee. So we walked a little ways down the road to the charming Linnea’s Café (https://www.linnaeas.com/).
Coffees, teas, sodas….all were ordered. Along with some cookies. Of course
I got myself a lovely Cortado. Man, I love me some Cortado.
San Luis Obispo is a really cool little town. While it was Bubblegum Alley that initially brought us to San Luis Obispo, we all ended up just really enjoying hanging out, having some coffee, and sharing some good conversation.
But as with all good things, this had to come to an end. Especially if you consider the whole foreshadowing thing I was talking about. As I mentioned, the meters we had were 30 minutes and we were for sure past that by the time we left Linnea’s outside patio.
When we got back to the Mustang, thankfully there was no ticket. However, as we found out on the road via text, both the Falzones and the Nerneys were handed $40 parking tickets. Womp.
San Luis, you are a beautiful town but you need to really up your meter time if you want people to visit.
And then it was back in the car. The next point of interest was about an hour or so away in Solvang, CA. Actually, the stop was Solvang, CA. We heard about Solvang when we started researching the trip. Located in the Santa Ynez valley, Solvang is the little Danish town, filled with Danish people, Danish architecture, and (I assume) Danishes.
Traffic getting into Solvang was a bit intense, as was parking. But we eventually found a spot and for real, this place was real cute.
On account of it being noon time, it was time for lunch. One of my top 5 meals of the day.
We decided to have lunch at Solvang Restaurant.
When in Solvang, right?
We had to split up tables – 6 at one, 5 at the other. And Mia wanted to sit with her parents. Which meant I was at the kids’ table.
It was an experience, man. I believe the phrase “poop socks” was uttered more than once. I believe this experience changed me. I walked away a different man.
To start with, we got two orders of abelskiver for the tale. Abelskiver are a Danish specialty. They’re like little pancake balls, basically. Like I said, we got two orders, one with raspberry jam on top and powdered sugar, the other with just powdered sugar (jam on the side).
They were pretty good. We were planning on getting them for dessert, but the waitress informed us most people eat them as an appetizer. Who am I to turn down dessert-like foods before a meal? No one. That’s who.
I didn’t get a picture of everyone’s meal, but Myles’ Chicken and Waffles were pretty incredible.
My meal came with a bowl of either chowder or split pea soup. I went with the chowder, even though every sign leading into Solvang told me to get split pea soup. I don’t know what I was thinking. I mean, the chowder was good and all, but I usually listen to road signs.
For my main, I got the Combination Plate (Danish Style Meatballs, Danish Sausage, Red Cabbage) and I got the mashed potatoes and mixed veg for my sides. It was REAL good. That sausage was bomb.
And while Mia did sit at the adult table for lunch, she did see how much fun we were having and made a quick visit to do this.
Lunch was great, but everyone was itching to get to our final destination for the day. Which was weird. On account of there were wine tastings all over the place in Solvang. But I guess it was crowded and what not. So off we went.
Well, actually, Nickie, Myles, Owen, and I made a quick stop at the Hawaiian Ice place before walking to our car. Because while passing up wine tastings may be ok for some people, passing up Hawaiian Ice is not ok for me.
And soon enough, we were off. To a stop I was reallllly looking forward to – Santa Barbara!
Nickie and I were especially excited about Santa Barbara. Because on our honeymoon cross-country trip, Santa Barbara was one of our favorite stops. We drove directly to our hotel – The Lavender Inn By the Sea.
For some weird reason, I only have one picture of the hotel. And it’s not a great one.
But trust me,. it was a really pretty hotel and I am SURE I took more pictures but I can’t seem to find any. So weird. Oh well, there are pictures on their website I guess.
Also, they give you little satchels of lavender, which ended up in my running shoes. Nickie put them in there. For some reason.
Once we arrived at the hotel, I had the idea that I wanted to go for a run so I enlisted Matt to join me in the insanity. The boys wanted to hang back at the hotel and watch a little more Stranger Things 3. Nickie, Laura, Larissa, Tony, and Mia walked downtown to do some shopping.
Our run was beautiful. The hotel was a walk from the beach so we ran down to the beach and hit the path for a few miles. It was hot for sure. But it was nice. I mean, as nice as a run where I have to actually talk to someone can be. I also had to stop a couple times because it was hot as…like, a really hot day.
When we got back to the hotel, we joined up with the boys and went for a quick dip in the pool while we waited for the shoppers to come back. While we were in the pool, Nickie and Laura pulled up in an Uber. The Falzones wanted to walk back. It seemed the shopping trip wasn’t the best. The shopping area of Santa Barbara isn’t the most beautiful part of the town, it seems. But they came back with new hats at least. For them and for us. And who doesn’t love a new hat?
Maybe the Headless Horseman? I dunno.
We all spent some time in the pool, had a couple drinks, and soon enough it was time to get ready for our night of amazing.
After everyone was ready, we all walked down to the harbor.
We, surprisingly, didn’t have dinner planned for the night. We knew we had to eat before our nighttime activity, we didn’t have a TON of time, and we knew we wanted to eat somewhere down on the harbor, but we weren’t 100% on where.
After checking the waits and menus at a few different places, we landed on the Endless Summer Bar-Café, which turned out to be an excellent choice. As soon as we walked up the stairs, we were greeted with live music and vintage surf boards everywhere.
Also, popcorn. Free popcorn. Legit the BEST kind of popcorn.
The place was pretty much empty so we were seated quickly. We put our orders in and the boys made their way over to the pool table for a quick game while we waited for our food to arrive.
While pool is fun and everything, I prefer a Mai Tai to help pass the time.
As for the food? We ended up doing a table-share app-extravaganza kind of thing. And ordered…
Buffalo Tenders, Spicy Poke, Killer Nachos…
…and Cheeseburger Sliders (and Tony and I split Mia’s grilled cheese she didn’t end up wanting in the back there).
Tony, Matt, and I also split a steak sandwich.
We also ordered some oysters, of course. Which ended up coming near the end of the meal. Which was weird. We ended up asking a few times when they were coming. And with each ask, it became less important they actually arrive. On account of all the eating. But come they did.
This was A LOT of food. For real. Also, I ended up finishing off the rest of Will’s Buffalo Wings. Yeah, there was other food ordered, but honestly this was all such a blur. I feel like if I ever end up wondering how I gained 14 pounds on this trip, this may be a good place to start my detective work.
I do remember one thing though. As we were shoveling food into our face-holes, Mia was coloring a picture. At the end of the meal, she walked up to the guy playing guitar in the restaurant and gave it to him. So sweet. And the guitar player loved it.
Man oh man, we were stuffed though. We left the restaurant, walked down the stairs, and ran into these two.
Meet Honey Girl…
I guess their owners are regulars here so you can often find these two hanging outside. Ugh. So Kewt. Doggy dogs.
After dinner was over, we walked out onto the dock and gathered for our next activity. We had a private chartered sunset sail for the 11 of us booked through Sunset Kidd. Aw yeah. This was our boat.
It was a beautiful night. Out on the water it was a little chilly, so we all bundled up a bit.
See our new hats? Well, except Owen. He cares a lot about his hair. I mean, Myles does too. But he really liked his hat.
Seriously, this was such a good decision. Booking this thing.
The boat also had a full bar. So we ordered up a bottle of champagne. Well, actually, I believe we ordered up two bottles of champagne. And a couple beers.
As we were out sailing, we came up on this anchored boat. Our captain said this boat has been out there a while. And it seems to be under new ownership. Thing was overrun with sea lions.
While the whole sail was beautiful, when the sun started to go down, it was pretty magnificent.
Unfortunately, the sail had to end at some point. Our boat found its way back into the harbor.
It was an incredible night. And remember when I mentioned we just seemed to keep missing the quakes and aftershocks from the series of earthquakes in Southern California? This was one of those times. While we were out on the water, an even bigger earthquake hit Southern CA. And we felt none of it. When we were back on shore, everyone was talking about it. But we felt none of it. Weird.
And that was Day 9. Pretty great, huh? Well, I mean. Day 10? It ends at Disneyland. So. Get ready.