First Stop On Our Road Trip Across the US Is Solvang, California

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We planned our long road trip across the US many months ahead of time. We started preparing in late summer of 2018 and worked all through the fall and beginning of winter into 2019. Finally, through a lot of hard work and fatigue and, yes, some aggravation sprinkled in, we were ready to lock everything up on March 2nd and get on our road trip.

We had no idea how hard that process was going to be to prepare for this trip which meant we had to get rid of everything that we owned – everything that we had accumulated to that point, and even things that we still had from his mom and dad. It was a hard endeavor and took way longer than we thought it would. I wrote a separate article on what this process looked like in more detail. Be sure to read “How to Get Rid of Everything and Drive Away – Stuff Be Gone!”

We Are Finally Getting Going On Our Road Trip Across the US

But the day finally arrived. We locked up the storage unit that was filled to every last inch. And our car was loaded up to every little space – we were ready to go. There was barely room for me in the passenger seat as every little area was occupied with the vital things that we just could not leave home without.

Did we need all of that stuff? We didn’t know, but they were things that we just couldn’t part with or things that Kevin, in all his brilliant foresight, would think of bringing in the event of any emergency or any breakdown or any situation where he needed tools or equipment. We were prepared. And mind you, I don’t say that sarcastically at all. He is always right about things like this. (Oh, he will love to see that I actually put that in writing for all the world to see!)

I had visions of starting this day and just thought we were going to be jubilantly happy to see our neighborhood in the rearview mirror as we headed out. But we were so exhausted that when we finally did get going, which was in the evening of that day, we were so tired that we barely spoke with one another. We got out of town around 6 PM and drove for as long as we could keep awake. It wasn’t until the next day when we were more refreshed that we began to come to life again and realize that we’re actually doing it – we were on the road – we were heading out to adventures that were yet to happen. And we were excited.

Our First Stop Is Solvang, California

Our first leg of the trip was to visit a friend in Solvang, California. Solvang is a wonderful, unique community that was founded in 1911 by people from Denmark who were relocating away from the Midwestern states’ long, hard winters. The valley that they discovered fit their traditional lifestyles more perfectly, and they carried on the tradition of their heritage. They built windmills and houses in the typical Danish architecture; opened restaurants and bakeries where they cooked the food and pastries of their homeland.

Solvang is located just inland a little bit from Santa Barbara where the climate is just beautiful. The land is great there for raising livestock and for farming. And I believe now there are even some wineries which are scattered all throughout California.

We actually woke up that first morning to the sound of the clip-clop of horses pulling a streetcar of tourists who were being taken for a guided tour of the little town. Each wagon had two draft horses that were just beautiful.

What a pleasant way to begin the whole flavor of the town for us. We were anxious to get out and find a neat breakfast place to have crepes or whatever was the traditional order on the menu and to explore the town.

We Couldn’t Get Enough of the Draft Horses in Solvang

We were going to meet a friend in the Elverhøj Museum of History & Art, which we did, and had a tour of the museum. That was so interesting. We learned a lot about the Danish heritage – a lot of information we had never been exposed to before. Our Personal Tour Guide enlightened us on a lot of information about the Danish culture that we didn’t know, for instance….

The Viking Alphabet

Be Prepared For the Unexpected When You Travel

We found this to be the case in every place we had been where we had more time to soak in the information about the local environment. So many times when we had been on road trips in the past, we were breezing through areas because we were anxious to get to our destination quickly and did not pay attention to all the good stuff we were driving through or past.

This trip was different, and we were wanting to take more time and really enjoy the different places that we were going to experience. We only had two days in Solvang and would have wanted to stay a little more. But our first unexpected event just took place!

A Cracked Tooth – Needed To Find A Dentist Fast

I developed a cracked tooth that I needed to get tended to right away. So that cut our trip short as we were focused on finding a dentist in the area who could see me on such short notice and actually one that would fall under our dental plan. So instead of enjoying our time as a tourist in this great town with our friend, our attention was diverted to calling the dental care carrier and finding a dentist that was under their plan and who would have time to see me.

We were given the name of one dentist which turned out to be a dead end. We wound up having to go to La Quinta, California, which is south and east of Los Angeles on Highway 10. This was in the direction of the continuation of our journey across the US anyway, so going there was okay. And actually, it was even more than just okay because the dentist did see me, did a quick repair that got me on the road – and it was not very expensive at all. Whew! We didn’t know what to expect as far as how much money that would cost, but we took a big sigh of relief and continued our journey eastbound on Highway 10.

Problems Pop Up When You Travel – Be Prepared

This brings up an important point to mention which is that circumstances pop up along your journey that you never would have anticipated. So the big lesson here is needing to be flexible, needing to take things in stride and not get all panicked about an unforeseen medical situation or mechanical situation or car repair.

So far, in the four months that we’ve been on this road trip across the US, we have endured all of those things, which I will talk about in future stories. So be ready for practically anything and everything. You don’t want to be living under the rule of Murphy’s Law and be negative or anticipate bad things, but just know that they can pop up and when they do, it’s Okay, everything is fixable.

Stay tuned for our next stop across the US.

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