2003-02-13 6:46 p.m.
So, our trip to LA was over just as quickly as it started. We woke up, got a juice on Melrose, then hit the road. Destination: Coastal route!
Our first real stop was Solvang, a tiny tourist town between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. Solvang is supposed to be a Dutch colony. But, it looks more like a awkward mutt of shops based on every possible Northern European country. You can buy clogs, cardamom bread, Danish pork steak, and Norwegian flags.
Through the streets, shops, and restaurants, there exists this strange hint of Minnesota in the air. Let me explain.
The Scandinavian presence throughout Solvang is not a direct translation from the original. Instead it is a very specific caricature of Scandinavia—a caricature that exists only in Minnesota. This time–worn image is a complex structure built from the eroded—and sometimes absurd or flat out false—memories of third or fourth–generation Swedish and Norwegian immigrants. But, the thing is that this only really makes sense if you have visited both rural Minnesota and Scandinavia. I realized that Solvang was the third point of the Minnesota–Scandinavia–Solvang Triangle of Mystery. I definitely need to write more about this Triangle of Mystery—as soon as I understand it.
We couldnt linger as much as I wanted to in Tourist Land. We had a long drive ahead of us. So, we hopped back into the X1/9 and headed north again. Of course, we stopped occasionally to enjoy a local beach or take a few pictures.
In Atascadero I visited my uncle Jerry and his wife Mary. I had not seen Jerry in almost 15 years, and I would not have recognized him if I was alone with him in a room and he had a sign above his head that said "UNCLE JERRY". He turned out to be much cooler than I ever remembered him.
By this time it was dark, so I stopped taking pictures. But, the great moments kept coming one after another. It was a great spur of the moment weekend spent with the most wonderful person on Earth.
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