I’m glad that the bed was new in my room, because I really needed the sleep! I woke up easily, made breakfast, and got the clothes I wanted from my bag before I hit the shower. As soon as I was packed, I headed north on the 101 freeway.
As I drove, my mind travelled back to 2002 when Mom took me to the town of Solvang in the Santa Ines Valley. I remember that it was built in the Old-World Danish style and we bought a handful of souvenirs that we still have today. Being only 30 miles from Santa Barbara, it was wasy for me to drive north. You drive past several family-owned farms and vineyards whose products are shipped all over the country. I had forgotten how green the area was, and the warm contrast of the vegetation with the clear blue sky and sunlight made for a beautiful day.
After parking, I took a nice stroll down the main throroughfare. At the end of the downtown portion, I turned into the entrance of the adobe wall that marked the location of Mission Santa Ines. One of the 21 Catholic Church missions established during the Spanish Colonial days, today it is one of the many historical landmarks that provides a window into the rich history and traditions of California and my ancestors.
I lingered for a while under the shade of a tree and listened to the sounds of the breeze and of people passing by. After jotting down my thoughts I continued my stoll through the Mission and the town. I stopped to buy a pressed penny and even a new ornament for my Christmas tree. I stopped into a fudge shop on a whim; something about the classic taste of vintage fudge gave me an idea for buying a couple of gifts.
When my purchase was complete, I walked out of the shop and continued until I reached a familiar store called Family Coats of Arms. Back in 2002, Mom and I bought a few plaques that had the history of my family names from this very store. At Family Coats of Arms, people can look up their last names, find the origin, discover what their crest looks like, and purchase any number of memorabilia to preserve their history.
I talked briefly with the woman who owned the shop, Donna, I think her name was. I told her how much my family loved their plaques and that I was grateful to her for helping us find part of our history. She told me that I was the 5th person to give her such a compliment and that my kind words were just the icing on the cake to an already beautiful day.
After thanking her for her kind words, I walked back to my car to head down to Carpinteria: a beach town about 10 miles south of Santa Barbara. I was able to get to the nearest motel easily and confirm that I would be staying until Monday morning. When I finally settled in, I drove to the main streets of town, parked, and went for a jog through the neighborhoods. As the sun was setting, I jogged along the beach and back to my truck after pausing to watch a train pass by.
I had just enough time for a swim in the pool before I went back to my room, rinsed off, and ate a quick dinner. Tomorrow is Day 2 of the Santa Barbara French Festival, and I am eager to use it to end my trip on a high note. Sleep comes easy after a quick shower, and I definitely will sleep well tonight.