We left Solvang and decided to forego Highway 101 which we had traveled several times and head down Highway 154 AKA San Marcos Pass which would take us into Santa Barbara. Highway 154 runs through the Santa Ynez Mountains and it is a beautiful drive with unexpected surprises along the way.
Easy to miss is the Old Stage Coach road that cuts off the highway right before you get to the Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge. The road is marked with an old and worn sign and the entrance to the road didn’t really look much better. With the heart of a true explorer Bill headed down the road which I hoped wasn’t as old or as worn as the sign.
The road proved to be “just” okay, and the views were breathtaking so the scenery alone made it a worthwhile little side trip. We met no cars or motorcycles on the road which was a little surprising. Then as we came around a curve we encountered civilization. There in the middle of the mountain sat the original Stagecoach Station and there were people there!
The interior was welcoming and it was a wonderful place to stop and have a cool drink!
The out buildings included the Stagecoach Drivers Bunkhouse and a dance hall – I think. If it wasn’t a dance hall in the late 1800s, it is now!
And if you happen to get there on the weekends there is live entertainment.
Stopping at Ye Old Tavern was a an unexpected surprise. It was terrific.
The Old Stage Coast Route was used for all traffic until 1963 when the Cold Spring Arch Bridge was completed.
The bridge won awards for engineering, design and beauty. And it is the 5th longest span arch bridge of this type in the World. Unfortunately some of the beauty was lost in the dozens of people who jumped off the bridge to their death.
This concerned everyone and as a result barriers of grid mesh were built. 54 people committed suicide between 1964 and 2012 when the barrier was finished.
Some residents think this was a good thing and others are disappointed because it spoils the view of the valley.
The quaintness of the Stagecoach Station and the awesome span of the Cold Spring Arch Bridge cannot be described adequately, so you’ll just have to take that little side trip and see it for yourself. Happy Tripping.