California/Oregon Trail

Just a bit of exploring

At first glance, our campsite seemed like one of the nicest we’ve been to. Gorgeous location, a swimming pool (that was, of course, closed), nice bathrooms. And above all it was blessedly warm out! But that appearance was quickly betrayed by the numerous cockroaches running around. At least, we think they were cockroaches. We are not really certain. It’s slightly possible, Lord willing, that they were just beetles. I’m trying not to think too deeply about it. Also, the flies! Oh my gosh. They were as bad as mosquitoes in refusing to leave us alone. We were glad to see the last of it.

We headed straight back to the coast to see the San Luis Obispo Mission, which I had never heard of, but was one of Daniel’s biggest goals. One of the prettiest missions in the state, it’s also one of the oldest. Established in 1772 as one of the 21 original missions, it was certainly worth seeing. Unfortunately, the museum was still closed due to COVID, and a service was in progress, so we only got to take a turn about the grounds and take a couple of pictures.

We drove around and admired the adorable town before moving on.

So, during our research, we stumbled upon a recommendation to go to Solvang, a city known for Danish architecture and wineries. It looked adorable, so I promptly added it to the list, and did not regret it! It was seriously one of the cutest towns I’ve ever been to, tourist trap or not. We walked around to see the adorable buildings, and purchased Danish pastries from a couple shops – by the way, I never understood why Danish pastries were such a big deal. I never thought they tasted that great. Now I realize I have never had a real one before. They were exceptional.

We explored shops that offered traditional cuckoo clocks, with little Danish figurines, took pictures of the buildings with windmills, gaped at the massive amount of cheese at one of the shops – definitely one of my favorites – and got candy from barrels in one of the biggest candy stores I’ve seen in these little tourist towns.

And then we finished up by doing a wine tasting, paired with olives!, which was actually really good, and getting Daniel a stein of beer, just for the experience.

Our final stop for the day was Santa Barbara – a must-stop, as big Psych fans (yes, I know it wasn’t actually filmed there, but still!) Besides, we were told the seafood there was magnificent. Unfortunately, we didn’t entirely bargain for the fact that it was a Saturday night in a tourist town, on the beach. And we weren’t willing to wait an hour and a half to experience that seafood. But we did go for a nice stroll along the beach, and drove around the super cute town, and took a picture of the police station, which looks absolutely nothing like is displayed in the movies (shocking, right?). And I got a mango on a stick! Why is this not a thing in more places? It was the most delicious piece of fruit I’ve ever had.

From there, we overnighted in Oxnard, another affordable area on the way to LA. We got a hotel for the night, since there wasn’t affordable camping nearby, and decided to order pizza for dinner and pick up something to sip on to celebrate a nice, easy evening, a hotel, and sleeping in tomorrow for the first time in weeks. Since we had been counting on having seafood in Santa Barbara, we had had an early lunch, not much food in Solvang, and were pretty starving by the time we hit the hotel. As in, apathetic, a little cranky kind of starving.

Domino’s was right across the street, so we ran over and ordered pizza from them. My eyes fell in the specialty pizzas, and I immediately began salivating over the California chicken bacon ranch pizza and the buffalo chicken pizza, so informed Daniel that I wanted those. Whereupon, he ordered the buffalo chicken pizza and the taco chicken pizza. While I realized he had probably just misheard me, part of me thought perhaps he really, really wanted that chicken taco pizza, and the rest of me was just too hungry and apathetic to bother to correct him. They informed us it would be 20 minutes, so we left to find the something to sip on. A run to the CVS across the street informed us that they did not have a wine, but the very nice clerk told us there was a liquor store a short ways away.

Once there, we had a very nice chat with one of the employees, Joe, who was laughing and joking with us over many things. One of those things included how, if you buy five bottles of the very expensive blade and bow bourbon, collecting a different number on each key, they will make you a glass with your name on it. Joe scoffed, and informed us that if we purchased $10 worth of things he’d happily write a name on a glass for us.

Sure enough, when we grabbed a bottle of bourbon and brought it up to the counter, he told us to wait a moment, ran to the shelf, grabbed a couple of glasses, and, with permanent marker, inscribed our names. We laughed so hard we almost cried.

We finally left, grabbed our delicious smelling pizzas, and headed back to the hotel to settle in. As soon as the door was closed, I left at the top on one of the pizzas, ready to dig in, and stopped. All I could see spread over the entire thing, were onions. Okay, there were some peppers and chicken mixed in. But it was mostly onions. Apparently when they say taco seasoning, they don’t actually mean taco meat. They means onions with some peppers, a smattering of chicken, and crust. I peaked underneath in the second box and was relieved to see a normal looking buffalo chicken pizza. At least that, I could eat.

I let Daniel know the other pizza was his, pulled out the buffalo chicken, settled myself on the bed with the entire thing in front of me, opened it, picked up a piece, began to lift it to my mouth, and stopped. Were those…? Yes. Yes, yes they were. Stuffed completely to the brim with onions. Now, I’m okay with picking onions off my food. I do it all the time. I just pull them out and set them to the side, and eat whatever I want. But these were so ingrained into the pizza, that it was as though they were part of the crust itself. Once again, it appears they make most of their money by making the pizza toppings mostly onions, and not much else.

Also, who on earth puts onions in their buffalo chicken pizza? I mean, maybe I’m just spoiled with the pizza place across our house, but seriously. Wouldn’t you warn people if you were putting onions on literally everything? Starving, exhausted, frustrated, I pulled off a piece of crust and began chewing it while I cried, staring longingly down at my deceitfully delicious looking pizza. Poor Daniel was beside himself trying to figure out how to comfort me. He told me he would buy me new pizzas. I told him I didn’t want new pizzas. That we had spent $40 on these stupid specialty pizzas, and I would just eat the crust. Also, if I tore off small pieces of a slice and tore it into pieces, I could usually get the onions out and eat it in… Well… smashed pieces.

Whereupon, Daniel ordered me another pizza anyway without consulting me anymore. From a different place. One that Joe had highly recommended. He left me with some cheese and crackers in my lap, a bag of candy, and went to get the pizza.

10 minutes later I get a text.

Yup. They’d forgotten to take the onions off, despite the special request. So now we are sitting here with four full-sized pizzas, three of which I refuse to touch. I don’t think Daniel will be hungry for a few days.

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