Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bucolic Buellton

We are parked on the street in Buellton, California (map), directly across the street from the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott. This spot was listed in our Days End directory, and it was unexpectedly beautiful, with a lovely view of the green hills across an open field to our right.

We needed water when we arrived, and the Arco at the end of the block let me put some in when I bought $20 worth of diesel (less than five gallons, I'm afraid). We also needed wine, and CVS next door to the Albertson's, both a short walk away, had it on sale. And while we already had a nice flank steak cooking in the crock pot when we arrived, there are a half dozen restaurants a short walk from here, most of which we passed on a big walking loop across the freeway and back via the Avenue of the Flags.

Among those is Pea Soup Andersen's, of self-manufactured fame, which also sports a gift shop and motel. We stopped in to browse, although we'd eaten there in the past and thought "meh." There are also a restaurant and cocktail lounge in the Marriott, with all the charm you'd imagine for such a venue, at hotel prices. The best bet of the lot is likely the Tap Room of Firestone-Walker Brewery, just a block north of us -- the brewery is in San Luise Obispo, but the restaurant is here. Google (and Yelp) also said there was a Mexican restaurant called Federico's next door to the Marriott, but it's been gone at least six years, the building now housing the Employee Resources department for the Chumash Tribe.

In addition to the nearby restaurants, there is also a multiplex theater across the street, and both a Carquest and a Napa store in walking distance across the freeway, both of which normally stock many of our heavy-duty fuel, air, and oil filters as well as 40-weight oil. Sort of a one-stop shopping boondocking location, which we have added to our list of primo stops (meaning I have documented it right here, in this post). There is a reason Buellton was once named "Service Town, USA."

I've learned they have started fueling the Delta-IV rocket for today's classified rocket launch from Vandenberg, scheduled for around 4:15. While the best viewing spot is probably Jalama County Park south of the base, which has oceanfront camping, we feel the need to keep moving north. I've found a spot in Shell Beach where we can probably get a distant view of the launch from Space Launch Complex 6 some 40 miles to the south. There's no overnight parking there, but if the launch happens within the first hour or so, then we should make San Luis Obispo in the daylight, where there is an Elks lodge.
Shell Beach is only an hour or so north, so we're having a leisurely day here in Buellton. I've finally caught up on my email backlog (or so I think -- if you are waiting for something from me, poke me again), and I can now turn my attention to travel planning for the weeks between now and Trawler Fest in Anacortes mid-May. We have some bus work to get done in the bay area, and possibly in the Eugene, Oregon area as well, plus I am still trying to find window glass and gas lift struts for the engine door. As this may well be our last pass through the bay area in the bus, I am also committed to trying to see as many folks as we can -- we seem to keep missing a number of our friends for one reason or another whenever we come through.

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