How a man on the Spectrum learns to live

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.


Comments on: "Journal of an Aspie: 7/16/2011" (6)

  1. Brigette Benavidez said:

    Tony, I am really enjoying your blog! I am not a blog person, but this is very interesting. I will have to tell you my Carpenteria story one day.
    Also, if ever you want to do another road trip, head straight up the 101 North and you are welcomed to our home anytime. Here in Willits, CA that is. It’s so amazingly beautiful!
    Stevie also loves trains (although not like you did) and we have the famous Skunk Train (look it up) We would love to take you on it!

    Have fun in all your life’s adventures. I’m on one of my own now living here and it’s fabulous.
    Keep in touch and remember our door is always opened for you.


    • Hey Brigette!
      That sounds like a good idea, maybe someday I’ll take you up on that offer, all I need are directions. Thank You for your interest, I hope you enjoy what’s coming soon.


  2. Tony, it sounds like you’ve had a fabulous time, it was so easy to visualize your trip and all the fun things you saw along the way by the way you write. I’ve never been to the Salton Sea and it’s so close, althougth I have been to a couple of the other places you mentioned, Solvang and Carpenteria, your writing made me feel like I was there, and it was an enjoyalble way to end a ho hum day. Thank you…I’m waiting to hear about the second day of the the French Festival 🙂

  3. Michelle La Scala said:

    How fun, Tony! I love road trip stories. You hit the nail on the head when you stated in an earlier post that it was important to NOT do too much research beforehand – that’s the joy of it, right? The wonder and discovery of new things, as well as the nostalgia of the old. Your trip has brought back so many memories for me of, really, what I consider the best time of my life. When we were little, my mom and dad used to take Joe and I all over the place on weekend trips, including to all the places you’ve mentioned. We would sing in the car (you know how my mom and your mom are!), and it was so much fun!! I love Solvang and that part of California. It’s truly beautiful. Enjoy this time and keep writing – I can’t wait to hear what happens next!

    • Thank You, Teecy. I loved Solvang, I found a peaceful place to rest under a tree while a collected my thoughts and wrote them down. It is very peaceful there, and I found out that wherever you go, there is always something charming and special to make you smile. Hopw your days have lots of smiles in them!


  4. Teresa Garcia said:

    I love Solvang and it reminds me of your grandma. She sure loved the danish there!!!

    And as you know, I have my Garcia family plaque hanging in the house. Awesome gift by the way!

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