Roadtrip to Las Vegas – Day 2

I am doing NaBloPoMo this month. 30 blog posts in 30 days. You can read more about it on San’s blog the in between is mine. #nablopomo2022

I have to say I did not plan well in advance this time around other than booking the hotels we were going to stay at. We had to cancel a trip short notice the presidents’ day week (my son started to have covid symptoms the day we were supposed to leave and sure enough he tested positive), so I am a little reluctant now to make plans.

We have been in the area before so we had one spot I wanted to try again. In December 2019 we did a road trip that also took us to Pismo Beach. We visited the Monarch Butterfly Grove back then which had about 3000 monarchs visiting over the winter at the time. Since then the monarch population recovered somewhat and this year there were close to 24,000 in that specific location.

Monarch Butterfly Grove

It’s a little hard to tell from the picture above but they hang high up in the trees in huge clusters. Those little specs in the sky – butterflies, too. They were everywhere. The picture below shows the view through a binocular that was set up by the volunteers.

Through the binoculars

What I did not realize last time was that the beach is fairly close, too. So that was our next stop. There were some concerns that we were on the way to make the outing a hike but as soon as the water was spotted all was good again.

through the dunes to the beach
through the dunes to the beach
dipping our toes in the pacific

Next stop on the map was Ostrichland near Solvang. I saw Instagramfriends post about it and it looked very entertaining. You have to pay an entrance fee and get to have a look at some ostriches and emus that roam around behind fences. If you are brave enough you can also feed them. You get a kind of dust pan that holds the feeding bowl and if you watch how they pick at the food it’s probably a good idea to be able to hold it as far away as possible (my feeling about it). But it was fun, too and everyone agreed that it was worth it.

Ostrichland
Seems to taste good

For lunch we stopped right next door at Hitching Post II. They had tables set up outside in the shade and the pulled pork tacos I had were very yummy. In the distance you got another view of the ostriches.

Lunch with a view
Tacos, yummy

I always wanted to visit Solvang. It’s a small town that is known for it’s Danish-style architecture and bakeries. It always looked very quaint to me when I saw it in pictures but it did not match the vision I had in my head. Maybe I had an off day? It felt just very touristy and busy to me and did not live up to my expectations. So the only picture I am willing to share is of one of the arches at the mission Santa Ines in Solvang. There was a private event at the time and we just walked in the garden for a couple of minutes before driving on.

Did that ever happen to you that you thought something would be great and then you were just left wondering what all the fuss is about? Maybe we should have stopped at one of the bakeries and it would have become clear but I also wanted to get to the beach before dark because I promised.

Old arch at the mission Santa Ines in Solvang

Last sight seeing stop of the day was at the beach in Santa Barbara. We already went here a couple of times and we knew it would not disappoint especially at sunset.

Walk on the beach

I always find it fascinating that a walk on the beach is just fine but as soon if we hit a trail there is always complaining from one family member 😉 We do it anyway from time to time and most of the time it will stop after 30 minutes.

Sunset in Santa Barbara

We headed to our hotel in Camarillo shortly before the sun was completely gone. For dinner we just picked something up at Trader Joes and called it a day.

setting sun along 101

Stops today:
Paso Robles – Pismo Beach – ~45 miles – ~45 minutes drive
Pismo Beach – Ostrichland – ~50 miles – ~45 minutes drive
Ostrichland – Solvang – ~4 miles – ~5 minutes drive
Solvang – Santa Barbara – ~33 miles – ~40 minutes drive
Santa Barbara – Camarillo – ~44 miles – ~45 minutes drive

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17 thoughts on “Roadtrip to Las Vegas – Day 2”

  1. The beach and hike look lovely – and the ostrich land very interesting – but let’s stop and talk about those butterflies! How cool is that?! When I was an undergrad I did intertidal research, specifically with shorebirds. Seeing them in groups of 100,000-200,000 was just incredible. And this reminds me of that; it’s like a blanket of monarchs covering those tree branches. How cool!! I’ve always wanted to visit a butterfly grove (they have a huge one in Niagara Falls, Canada), and this is definitely making me more and more convinced that I’d enjoy it…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For a non-planned day, it sounds like a lot got done! Looks like fun and I’m quite envious of dipping your toes into the water when it’s 20 and snowing here, but it felt like I had a brief warm interlude while I looked at the photos.

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  3. I was so relieved to hear how well the butterflies have bounced back. My cousin lives in Santa Maria and works in Solvang, but I’ve never been to that part of California. It looks beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fun day- I love the ostriches and yes- I can see how you wouldn’t want them pecking right out of your hand. The beach at Santa Barbara looks gorgeous! I’m looking forward to the next day of this trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, you’re really taking quite the detour to Las Vegas going all the way down the coast…but hey, you can’t really go wrong with stops at the beach IMHO 🙂
    Can you believe I have also never been to Solvang. Jon is from Ventura, not too far of a drive from there, but we’ve never made it over there. I wonder if I’d be disappointed, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, I do really love the way you split up this road trip and were able to do some fun things along the way. That’s the kind of road trip I would enjoy! Feeding ostriches sounds like such an adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

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