OUR VERY FIRST RV TRIP – SOLVANG CA

We made it!

Here we are, parked in our very first RV camp, Flying Flags Resort in Solvang California.

Looks a bit like a parking lot but the sites were not quite as close as it seems. There was room for a picnic table on one side and hedges which separated the sites.

Check in was a breeze, the staff were super nice, the campground and facilities were very clean. They even had a Friday night barbecue and live entertainment. We were close to the office and could hear everything but it only went till 9PM.  

All in all, it was very quiet and pleasant.  A little too urban for our tastes but a good trial run.

We don’t like to sit still, so as soon as we got the RV hooked up, we jumped in the jeep to go exploring.

About a mile down the road from the park is Ostrichland USA.  Ostriches to feed?  You’d think we had enough of that at home.

NOPE!

There are ostriches roaming the fields by the road.

The fee is $4.00 per person plus $1.00 for a bowl of food. They gave us a food bowl which is attached to a dust pan with a handle and we were instructed to hold it with both hands as the ostriches are strong and will grab the bowl. 

The ostriches crowd each other and gobble the food quickly.

The emus are a little more polite.

The best part was being able to pet the teenagers and the babies. We have emus at home but not babies. They love to have their necks stroked and they love shiny things so watch your phone and jewelry. The birds were all very friendly and curious. They will peck at your fingers. Emu pecks do not hurt nor do baby ostriches, however adult ostriches are strong and it WILL hurt if they peck you.

After the ostrich ranch, It was getting late and time for dinner.

 A restaurant called AJ Spurs was right down the street, so we thought we’d give it a try.

Good decision!  

Walking in is a sensory overload with taxidermy animals and cowboy memorabilia. The food is served chuck wagon style. The first course is a pot of vegetable soup to which you add beefy beans and salsa. It was spicy and hearty and delicious! You can also get a salad. You have a choice for the main course. I chose a rib eye steak which comes with rice, a skillet of potatoes and cheesy garlic bread. I was stuffed, but the meal includes a root beer float and who can say no to that?

Eat here… it’s fantastic!

The next day it was out the door for more exploring. We spent some time in the Danish themed town of Solvang, browsing through stores, eating cinnamon rolls and admiring the rooftop architecture…

Solvang was having a scarecrow contest. 

This was my favorite!

After eating our fill of buttery goodness we headed for Figueroa Mountain Road. It’s a picturesque drive through a beautiful oak forest, past Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch, which by the way is for sale for a cool $100 million.

This is all you can see from the road. Not sure what these people were doing but I understand there are sightseers all the time. There are a lot of no trespassing signs around the property as well as some that warn about wild animals due to the zoo he used to have.  Fans have written messages on the glass of the driveway lamps…weird.

The road narrows the further you go and there are trees with moss, very pretty but so very dry from the drought. We managed to find one dirt road that led to a lookout at the top of the hill. Pretty tame for us but the view was nice.

On the way back down we drove through Los Olivos. It’s all about the wine and we are not wine drinkers but the town was really pretty. We also had a chance to visit with family and see their lovely home.

What a treat!

The next morning it was time to hit the road again. we planned our next stop for Lassen National Park.

In hindsight I learned a few things…

  • 1. RV travel is not as fast as car travel
  • 2. Never blindly trust the GPS directions.

When originally planning this route, I noted that one of the roads from Solvang to the 5 freeway was not recommended for RV’s.

Jeff wasn’t too worried about it.

As RV’s go we’re pretty small, only 29 feet not counting the jeep. So we decided to trust the GPS.  The first portion of the road had a big sign that said “not recommended for trailers”  but at least there were lines…the second half of the road…not so much…

The road was very pretty and “Jay” handled it just fine but it was slower and probably not so great on gas mileage!

…and if you wonder about the extent of  the drought, drive through the farmlands of Central California.  Some of the dryness was due to the time of year but we saw a lot of abandoned crop land and lots of dead and dying nut trees.

It ended up being an 11 hour drive to the Shingletown/Lassen KOA campground. We arrived around 11 pm, exhausted and wired and totally burned out. We drove up to the office and wondered how to check in after hours. Thankfully Jeff noticed a welcome letter and instructions for us taped to the door.  

Our site was right around the corner. We were concerned about disturbing the neighbors so we parked as quietly as we could,  though the Jeep gave us a little trouble disconnecting, which caused the neighbors dogs to start barking.

We got it free and parked out of the way, extended the bed slide, crawled into bed and crashed, without leveling.

When we woke up we got everything set up, met the neighbors who were very nice and said our late arrival hadn’t bothered them.

WHEW!

Even after all that we feel the need to go for a drive today…

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