Monday, March 14, 2011

Chillin' in Relative Luxury Tonight

Friendly Horse at Rancho Oso, Santa Barbara, California

Monday, March 14, 2011--San Bernardino, California

After spending two nights at an RV park/horse ranch near Pismo Beach, I booked another two nights at an RV park/horse ranch near Santa Barbara. The first place was near the beach, and somehow I had it in my mind that the second place would be, too. However, when I started following the directions, they took me way up into the Santa Ynez Mountains. I got exposed to a whole different side of Santa Barbara that I didn't know existed. There are lots and lots of horse people in that area.

Rancho Oso is a very pleasant 1000 Trails campground, included in one of my campground memberships for $10 per night. What a steal! I swam in a nice warm outdoor pool, sat in the hot tub, and saw deer and quail and woodpeckers and ground squirrels and all sorts of fun stuff, in a beautiful mountain setting. I could get internet at the lodge, but my phone didn't work very well up there. Since I was there for two nights, I was able to get some eBay stuff done. I took lots of photos of scarves on the picnic table in my campsite. I love being able to use natural outdoor light--it usually means a lot fewer color and light corrections on PhotoShop.

On my drive down to Rancho Oso from the previous night's stay at Oceano, I stopped in Solvang, the Danish Capital of the United States. It was a cute place, like Poulsbo or Leavenworth in Washington State, but I wasn't in the mood to spend money. Fortunately I quickly located what I dubbed Underground Solvang, or the thrift shop district, which was a block or so off the usual tourist streets. I bought fabric for The Guppy's curtains for $4, found a few scarves and Danish imports for resale on eBay, and had a $3 lunch. My kind of shoppin'. I also bought a loaf of cinnamon bread from the Solvang Bakery, which has cakes as creative as those that can be found at Sweet Life Patisserie in Eugene, Oregon (although the execution is much better at Sweet Life).

I could easily have stayed longer at Rancho Oso because it was so pleasant, but I wanted to get going towards Palm Springs today. I have discovered that neither the Guppy nor I like to drive more than about 100 miles in a day. This may change when we get to some flat lands, but so far every one of my driving days has involved large inclines that must be taken slowly, with my eye turned more to the engine temperature gauge than the speedometer. I'm babying this new engine and keeping it running nice and cool all the time. Who needs to go faster than 55 mph on a straightaway or 35 mph up a mountain?

Today I really didn't intend to drive any mountains besides the ones I needed to descend to get back on Highway 101 from Rancho Oso. However, I started looking for a place to stay around Azusa, just off Highway 210, about halfway from Santa Barbara to Palm Springs. I figured I'd find an RV park there somewhere in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. So I headed up that way...and headed up and up and up, into some gorgeous country, and finally found an RV park that wanted $60 per night for not much of a spot. So I turned around, went back down the mountains, got back on the freeway, and ended up at a Motel 6 just outside of San Bernardino. It cost less than the RV park, I have Internet, and it's pet friendly, so Sonja is enjoying lounging on a big bed. I'll get to watch "Harry's Law" tonight! I'm going to stay until checkout time tomorrow and get a bunch of eBay stuff done. It's not very much of a drive to where I'm booked for tomorrow night in Desert Hot Springs.

Today I seem to have escaped having a disaster of the day. Wow! Yesterday's disaster was that the bottom step leading into the house portion of my motorhome broke off. Yes. It just completely broke off when I stepped on it, leaving a hole that my cat could escape from. I took the step and jammed it in the hole for the time being. It completely covers the hole, and I can get in and out from the motorhome with a bit more difficulty than before, because now it's the equivalent of stepping up about three steps, in one big step. It makes it really challenging to get me and my gear in and out of the vehicle. I'm sure I can find somebody in Desert Hot Springs to help me with this and the twisted ladder and bumper. Poor Guppy!


  1. Trees , cant live with them, cant live without them. hehehehe