About two months ago, my dear friend Robbie and I made plans to travel to Solvang and finally made it happen a few weeks ago. We had an agenda: Aebleskivers, ostrich farms, sitting in giant shoes, more aebleskivers, waving at miniature ponies.
Robbie was my best friend growing up and thinking back through junior high and high school, there are few memories that don’t involve him, with his bright yellow shirts, playing marimba or trying to explain something car-related to me. There were a few years we stopped being friends, for one angry high schooler reason or another, but I can whole hardheartedly say it’s a pleasure to have seen him grow into the warm, caring person he is today. I always feel like I get to appreciate it in a different way than others, having experienced all the ups and downs we went through to become the friends we are today.
Wait, wait, perk up, the tangent is over! Yes, I know, I tell stories like my grandma, can’t ever get from point A to point B. Speaking of points, so I was walking down the street the other day — just kidding. My dad will get a kick out of that one. Back to real story.
Being the unique person he is, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Robbie owns a VW bus. A bus whose engine he entirely rebuilt himself, a bus he lives in 91 percent of the time, and travels up and down the coast with. So add in the magic of the bus and the joy of having no schedule to stick to, Robbie, Buddy, and I decided to take the back roads to Solvang, enjoying the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere without another person in sight. We visited Los Olivos, took a detour to Neverland Ranch, sat under giant oak trees because we could, sang songs together as Robbie played the ukelele.
With Robbie, the beauty of our friendship is just being able to be together. And out of the goodness of his heart, Robbie took me to an ostrich farm because who doesn’t want to go to a giant bird farm?! Well, turns out I don’t because they’re horrifying and have beady, crazy eyes that just look into your soul as they attack the food in their hand. I don’t remember much from the experience except yelling over and over again, I’ve made a horrible mistake! This is not magical!
Just before we headed home, Robbie taught me how to drive stick, therefore knocking another item off my bucket list. We didn’t go far or anywhere fast, but I take pride that I didn’t stall, run over a cow, destroy the bus, or give Robbie a panic attack. I’ve already almost killed him once by cooking food in peanut oil — BY ACCIDENT! — so I guess a minor car incident pales in comparison.
It was the perfect day of finding joy off the beaten path. It’s corny, I know, but I can’t deny the magic of sitting in the middle of a meadow, simply listening to the wind in the trees. It’s easy to get caught up in the stresses of life and sometimes, you just need to jump into a VW bus, roll down the windows and let the wind mess up every hair on your head. It will do you good, I promise.