Sometimes, when I drive north, I like to take the inland route along the 154 up over the mountains into the Santa Ynez Valley. It’s beautiful scenery, and I love the view as I go up over the mountains and come back down again. Solvang is always a good stop if I need some pastries.
But the real draw, for me, is kind of a weird spot. It’s called OstrichlandUSA. It’s a farm that raises, you guessed it, ostriches and emus and other birds. The gift shop is full of weird ostrich things. You can buy eggs and feathers and pictures and all sorts of stuff.
For a few bucks, you can also feed the birds, and that’s where things get really wonderfully weird. You get a dustpan with a dog food bowl bolted to it, and then they put some kibble into the bowl. Go outside to the pens and hold out your pan full of kibble. The birds will come along and positively crash their beaks into the pan in an attempt to gobble up the most food.
They’re aggressive birds, and the whole thing feels violent and primal and a little scary. It’s also totally fun and worth the money every time.