Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A {Central} California Adventure: Part 2

After a fabulous first two days of reconnecting and adventuring with Cari & Betsy, you would think it could not get any better.
But you would think wrong.

On our third day together, we woke up early, got ready and headed into a funny little area of SLO, a bit off the beaten path, to Sally Loo's Wholesome Cafe. Thanks to Lisa's fun blog post about local hot spots, we knew it had to be a great find.

A sweet space full of personal touches, awesome hand lettering, and fantastically delicious coffee.

I enjoyed the most fabulous pourover.
It was so. freaking. good.

And ate the Hippy Breakfast.
Cute name.
Delicious bagel.

And got one more cup of coffee for the road.
The cutest little cup.
With a drawing of the cutest little pup, Sally Loo herself.

And as we headed to the car, we soaked in our surroundings for a moment, and realized we were right on the tracks.
Green mountains in the background.
Perfect photo shoot op.

We took a few snaps and hit the road.
Night Nurse Betsy took a nap in the backseat while Cari and I caught up during the hour drive to the little Danish town of Solvang.

Before we knew it we were getting off 101, and before our eyes was none other than

You read that right.

For just a couple bucks you could have your own ostrich experience, including feeding them.
I had driven by Ostrich Land many times as a kid, and was always curious, but never thought of stopping.
But now I'm a grown up. And I was driving. So I steered my little car into the gravel parking lot, and we woke up Betsy. We were going to feed Ostriches.
(She was thrilled.)

I mean, who wouldn't jump at the chance to feed the world's largest bird.

We were greeted by these lovelies.

Regal, but pesky, for sure.

These ladies (and gents) have some fabulous lashes.

And then we got to feeding.
Which is an extreme sport in itself.
You want to keep an eye on your fingers.
These guys are intense when it comes to feeding time. 

Arms extended, fingers protected.

Cautious smiles.

Ostrich Land also has emus. 
Yes, emus. 

They have bright orange eyes.

Me and this guy had quite a staredown.

While Betsy fed these guys a snack.
Slightly more gentle than their ostrich friends.

Check out how huge these ostriches are next to Cari.

Their feet were something else.

 And welp, when we ran out of food, we were done with the ostriches as much as they were done with us.

After the insanity that was Ostrich Land, we continued on our crazy day towards Solvang, to rent a quintessential Surrey.

There is just something about that red and white canopy lined with fringe that stirs my heart.

You can't help but smile as you ride around town waving at other surreys and apologizing to the traffic going around you.

We all took turns driving.
And yes, we were this squished on that contraption.
Whoever was on the passenger side was holding on for dear life, especially during left and u-turns.
It was more terrifying than the ostrich feeding.

To get an idea of how ridiculously hilarious the whole experience is, Betsy recorded us coming up one of the streets.  I can't stop laughing everytime I see this video.

And this one - where I don't stop talking and I'm super excited about the wind in my hair.
(I apologize).

After our hour was up and we circled the town three or four times, we happily returned our Surrey, and continued on foot.

Cari looked on Yelp for our lunch options, and suggested the Succulent Cafe.
And my, oh my, this was the best find all week.
Not what I was expecting to eat while in Danish Solvang, but so, so, so good.
Like to-die-for good.

I started with a Prickly Pear Lemonade.
In front of a windmill.

And then had BBQ Pork Tacos.
Blogging about food can be risky, but I can't not share these tacos.

I ate every bite.

And after we were done, we did a little more window shopping.

I mean, Solvang is just so stinking adorable.
I love this friendly little town.

By this time, we were exhausted, and hitting an afternoon slump.
So we packed up and headed back towards SLO.
But Cari and her Yelp app had another great idea, how about finding a place to go wine tasting.

We did a u-turn on 101 (also, SCARY) and ended up in the cutest town of Los Olivos.

The tiniest town, with one street, lined with tasting rooms.
All different, with their own style and vibe.

Most of them had adirondack chairs, picnic benches, and firepits out front or back, allowing for leisurely tastings.

We ended up at the first room at one end of town, Saarloos, where I surprised myself with a random photobooth.

And made Cari join me for the retake.

They were advertising cupcakes. But sold their very last one as we walked in.

Cari and I had a quick tasting across the street at a Yelp 5 Star tasting room, Carhart Vineyards, and after that then explored the rest of the town.

Total Main St, USA.

And then it was time to head back to SLO.
We had a nice dinner, and headed back to the Inn.
I wanted to pick up a few souvenirs, and they actually offer their own wines.
So the three of us split a tasting. It wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst.
Kind of a fun little experience.

The next morning, we woke up and wanted to cram in a few last ideas.
Breakfast at the Madonna Inn's Copper Cafe.

And down the road for a hike.

The hills were smattered with gorgeous purple flowers.

Everything was green, and lush, and there were cows mooing in the distance, bees buzzing in the trees.

Our short little hike even crossed the tiniest little creek.

It was a quick little jaunt in the hills just south of the Madonna Inn.

After we squeezed in our last adventure together, we headed back to check out.
And grab some Pink Champagne Cake to take home.

And our time together was complete.

Until next time.
10 years behind us, as friends, to celebrate and cherish, and Lord willing, many, many more.


  1. Your adventures are the best! One of these days I'm going to adventure myself down to Cali and make you take me on one! You know how I love a good adventure!

  2. Why can't I see the picture of Sally Loo? I mean I can see it, but I can't make out the puppy, it's like an optical allusion or something! Also, boy did little Betsy Still grow up into a gorgeous young woman!

  3. Fun! I am from SLO and live just 10 minutes north of there. SLO is such a gorgeous little town. Lovely photos and isn't Sally Loo the best? I absolutely love that little coffee shop and have made so many amazing friends from there.

    Chevron Stitches

  4. I really want to move to SLO now. But let's talk about the ostriches... They are probably my most loathed animal. ever. I went to one of those drive thru zoos when I was a kid, the kind you can throw out food pellets to feed the different animals. An ostrich stuck his head in my window trying to get my food. I was screaming, dodging ostrich, trying to save my food {'cause that's important}, and trying to roll up the window {not power windows}. Can't handle ostriches. Nope. You all were brave. I would have cried. ha.

  5. I live in Washington state and every time I see the amazing light in your photos I wonder why I don't live in California. Also educational - had to look up "pourover" and learned something new!

  6. I love it all!
    I keep telling my mil I'm going to take her to the central coast for wine tasting. It has t happened yet. I think it's high time. It's my very favorite. Next time you go make sure you look up the graveyard vineyard. They have a chocolate Syrah that will make you cry.

  7. i want to eat that bagel. YUM. i also want to take a trip with you, you're obviously a load of fun, who delights in the adventure.

  8. KIM.
    beautiful. friendship and trip.
    i am obsessed with the surrey and the cafe. obsessed.

  9. so, so awesome. I love every picture and every story.
    Thank you!

  10. Such gorgeous photos of places I know very, very well!! We'll have to meet up when you're in my neck of the woods again someday! I love Sally Loo's and I don't like emus... that is my rhyme for the day! :)