Friday, July 7, 2017

Meeting Murphy's Law in Solvang, California

It’s like something out of Tolkien. Shady, moss covered rocks protect a meandering stream. Large fonds of ferns fill in the empty spaces between the sycamores and oaks. A narrow canyon opens up into a sylvan glen. Sixty feet up, a stream of water cascades over a green, moss covered, mineral buildup that took millions of years to form.

Middle Earth? No, Central California.

This is the opening act to our weekend away. It’s our anniversary and we’ve just been able to find some help to take care of Tim so Letty and I can have an overnight respite. This year, we’re heading to Solvang, about 50 miles north of Santa Barbara.

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Hike with us to Nojoqui Falls!

It’s a little over two hours to get here on a Saturday morning with no traffic. Before we head into the town proper, we pull off to investigate a sign that has intrigued me every time I’ve taken the drive north on Highway 101…Nojoqui Falls Park.

Since we usually have a wheelchair with us, hiking up to see a waterfall is usually off-limits so I take the opportunity when I can. It’s just Letty and me this trip so off we go.

From the parking lot, it’s a 1/3 mile hike through the narrow canyon to the falls. If you’re an adventurous wheelchair user, you could get 2/3 of the way before you hit a set of stairs that would block further progress.

This waterfall is different in that it doesn’t erode the cliff. Instead, minerals in the water build up over time, pushing the water out from the hill instead of the water pushing in, resulting in a bulbous mound of rock, similar to a stalagmite in a cave.

A few minutes to admire the cascade, really a little more than a trickle this time of year, and then back down. Up and back in less than 30 minutes.

We continue on Alisal Road, which is a backroad way into Solvang. It’s narrow, the pavement’s worn, and our phones won’t work out here but the scenery is beautiful, serene with green rolling hills dotted with horses and cows.

The exclusive and expensive Alisal Ranch and golf course tells us we’re about to get into town. The chirp on my cell phone confirms it.

Danish style buildings, a windmill, and throngs of tourists clogging the street welcome us to the Danish capitol of California. Gingerly, I thread the car through to Mission Drive, the highway that runs through town, and turn left to find our hotel, the Royal Copenhagen Inn.

A full parking lot and packs of greyhounds greet us at the hotel. We go into the office and ask if we can park there until checkin time.

“What’s the last name?”


“Don’t see it.”
I pull out my e-mail confirmation and hand it to her.

“You have a reservation but it’s not for today, it’s for a month from today.”

Taking the printout back, I check it again. The date is March 23rd…not February 23rd as I had been absolutely sure it had said when I checked it twice.

What now?

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