Friday, August 1, 2014

A Working Vacation...

At the beginning of July I decided to take the rest of the month off from any costumed events; after the big 4th of July Parade celebration of course.  The date to look forward to was August 9th, which will be the Annual Cortha Summer Feast!  (This will be my third year attending!)  So far, I have successfully gone the whole month without a costumed event.  I thought maybe there would be something that would pop up that I'd just have to go to, but I was strong, and stayed home from the Comic Con's Steampunk Costume Contest (off-site, free event).  It was sad not to go.  The other thing I missed that will have to be visited next year was the "Hat Day" at the Del Mar Races.

But not all was lost in the land of non-costuming.  There arose the perfect job to entice us to consider me going out of town.  This takes a bit of work, me going away for any length of time.  There's a yard to water, the house to look after, things to be done in the office, and for the first time, we would need to find someone to watch our new dogs.  This year my mom & stepdad moved in with us to help with the house & yard part.  They did a fabulous job rising the occasion.  Then the owner of Sophie, our foster girl dog, was able to stay over and give the dogs their own sort of mini-vacation.  They all did wonderful while we were away.

The trip was to Lompoc.  Hubby & I both agreed their city slogan should be "No, we're not a disease!"  But in all seriousness, the town wasn't half bad.  Not super clean, but nice and quiet.  The jobsite was fairly quiet, which is always a bonus.  When you do construction site work a lot, in the middle of Los Angeles, a quiet little gym floor job, in a quiet little town, isn't half bad.

Our two days of work were half days, split overnight, for drying times.  We arrived in the morning on the first day, got breakfast and headed to the job.  The first phase went quickly enough and then we were able to rest.  After a 5 hour drive & working on your hands & knees for 4 hours, a break sounded really good.

We had a light snack to hold us over until we could have a nice lunch & went to check into our hotel. After resting for a couple hours and freshening up, we were ready to hit the nearby tourist attraction, Solvang, CA.  A small Danish town, nestled in the mountains, about thirty minutes from Lompoc.  This was a favorite stop, for any coastal drive that my family took when I was growing up and I wanted to share it with Thom a little bit while we were nearby.

We parked the car, which you can see on the far left in this photo, then started to wander around.  We could tell the town was starting to close up for the night since we didn't arrive until around 5:30 after our nap & drive time.  Which led to our decision to find a few shops to check out before dinner.  Besides we also determined that a walk around the town would be a great way to stretch our sore working legs.

We found this cute little craft store that was both a supply shop as well as a ceramic cafe & creation zone.  Their merchandise was all very cute and exclusive feeling, like everything was from a limited supply, or uniquely made.  Like hand dye yarns, these cute stamped ribbons, unique feeling fabrics, etc.

 Oh and please don't forget these ribbons of awesomeness!  Pom Pom Trim!!!!  In awesome colors!!!!!!!!  I guess you get the idea!!!!!!......

We looked around for a while and both of us found one item each to purchase.  Hubby got a book of techniques for mixed media artwork.  He's excited to work with his Mom on some new pieces for her growing art gallery, located in her room.  :)

There were some fun clocks in this town!

Grape vines, trellised in the middle of the lawn at the hotel near the town's entrance.  I guess, why not?

Local plant/hardware store, sold these awesome metal plants that were impossible to kill.  I told hubby we should get one and he reminded me that we don't have black thumbs anymore.  Pretty cool & colorful though!

So then we had worked up an appetite and nothing else that was open looked appealing.  We walked back towards the restaurant I'd scoped out online.  Succulent Cafe.  I was hoping that the name would speak of it's atmosphere.  Their outdoor patio was nice, as was the weather.  However, we found their succulent selection lacked variety & the overall health of their plants wasn't that great.  It just struck us that a place boasting in it's name that it has a great this or that, should have the goods to back it up.

 We both enjoyed their signs. Being that we are old school sign painters, we are always noticing the signs and in artsy towns, there is always a few choice pieces to check out. The other thing we enjoyed were their potting methods.  The wood planks with metal bar & bolts...simple.

 The food was amazing!  So that made up for it.  Hubby got adventurous and got the meatloaf.  Luckily the restaurant made it naturally without onions and we didn't have to worry about it.  Their cute little mini biscuits were only awesome because of their sauce; a blood orange marmalade. 

Their homemade mustard was wonderful & it offset the fried chicken & southern greens just right.  Then there was the mac'n'cheese dish.  Real ooey gooey cheese! Yum!

We got our fill, walked around a bit more & drove back towards Lompoc.  On our way, as the sun was setting, we thought that a trip to check out the beach would be a nice ending to our first day.  There wasn't much to the drive, and after crawling along on the man-made, single lane, completely surrounded by marsh, access road, we parked to go walked to the beach.

This was only a dream, a fantasy, never to be realized.  As we found out later from the rest of the gym crew, the beach was closed for bird mating season.  So it was a good reason to get out of the sudden gusty, chilly wind and drive back to our hotel.

Day 2:

Second phase on the gym, only slightly delayed by paint yet to finish drying.  We finish in decent time & started our journey home.

Hubby surprised me by saying he wanted to go back to Solvang for lunch on our way.  This I know was just for me.  He knows how much I love the place and said that we only come up here once in a great long while, so we might as well get our fill before we go.

 We walked around for a long time and nothing seemed to call to me.

Several, generally the same, restaurants later and this one stuck out.  Authentic Danish food.

Hubs approved of the menu & agreed that it made sense to eat authentic since we are here for the experience.

I had a special sausage with mashed potatoes.  Hubby had a Monte Cristo, which was, in my opinion, the best food we'd experienced all weekend.  It was ham & turkey, with cheese on French Toast, Deep Fried!  They included a raspberry dipping sauce and the combination of those things together was A-Ma-Zing!!!

Our journey home continued through rush hour traffic in Los Angeles, to Long Beach.  We stopped there to see Hubby's brother & help them with a sticky glue residue issue.  Then on the road again to complete our trip home.  The five hour journey took us nine hours.  Oh how soft & comfortable our bed felt.

Thanks for taking the tour with me, see you next time!

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