My parents and I got to have dinner at Macaroni and Grill thanks to a generous gift card, and I really enjoyed their mushroom ravioli. Everyone could tell, since my plate was nearly spotless when I finished!
On Tuesday, my mom and I headed south for Solvang and Santa Barbara in my parents' nice new Subaru. On the way down we stopped at Pismo Beach. Near the shoreline, on a bunch of eucalyptus trees, is a place where thousands (@20,000 when we were there) of monarch butterflies come from as far north as Canada to spend the winter. It was neat to get photos of the amazing sight as well as marvel over their ability to all find that place! Also neat that volunteers had some high-quality spotting scopes set up so that visitors could get a very clear look, as the butterflies weren't near the ground.
My mom and I had a fabulous time at Solvang (my third visit) and Santa Barbara (my second). I'm quite grateful to have a return to the lovely area of Santa Barbara WITHOUT getting vertigo, unlike what happened six years prior. And Solvang has only cemented its place as one of my very top favorite towns to visit. Love the shops and bakeries and beautiful surrounding countryside. At Santa Barbara our happy new discovery was the very well-done Reagan Ranch Center, as 'Rancho Del Cielo' is located nearly halfway between Santa Barbara and Solvang but quite inaccessible on dirt roads in those steep hills. Fell quite in love with the countryside on this visit, even if it is too warm for avarii. ;)
Also grateful for safe travel there and back during the around 6 hour drives between Sacramento and Solvang, and the great time we had together.