Lighthouse at Crescent City, CA
The trip down the California coast was overshadowed with hurricane worries, but we were fortunate to escape the wrath of Irma. Just a few to-do’s to repair our little rental homes in St. Pete, not requiring a change in travel plans. No insurance claims to file, no homeless tenants. Whew. We know we were lucky. Others have lost so much and had their lives totally disrupted.
We intended to do a couple of redwood forest trips, but ended up limiting redwood sightseeing to the Jedediah Smith Redwoods Grove, which came highly recommended. The RV park where we camped nearby was nestled in a redwood forest, and parts of Hwy 101 also passed through redwood groves, so we decided we had our fill of redwoods for the time being.
Leaving Eureka, Hwy 101 departs the Pacific shoreline and we headed inland to the wine country. We have been to the Sonoma area several times and especially enjoy the town of Healdsburg in the Russian River Valley. We found a campground along the river with availability for 5 nights. Our longtime Florida friend Linda was spending a couple of months in Tahoe, about 4 hours away, and she drove over to join us for the weekend. She was also relieved and amazed that her home on Longboat Key had survived the storm and we were in a celebratory mood.
Linda’s a foodie and wine aficionado, and as a wine club member Linda got us into some special member-only events including a harvest party and private tasting. It was all we could do to keep up with Linda, who has been known to do up to 12 winery visits and tastings a day. One a day was enough for us! We absorbed more about different grapes, wines and wine making. I was particularly interested in how climate change is impacting wine making, and learned about the challenges this season in Sonoma, when a sudden heat wave forced an early harvest.
We enjoyed outstanding and creative food in several different restaurants. We still don’t understand why wine is so expensive in wine country, though. Fifteen bucks a glass for house wine in a restaurant is steep. Leave it to Linda, she managed to get us upgraded to an expensive reserve wine normally sold by the bottle only for that $15 bucks a glass! The only downer was that we all missed sharing the experience with Ted, Linda’s husband, who passed away last year. Ted was more of a beer kind of guy, very practical, with a dry sense of humor, and always fun to be around. An avid biker, he would tolerate the wine tasting trips for the opportunity to pedal around this gorgeous countryside. We spent time sharing memories, and making new ones.
The wine tasters in Napa and Sonoma seem younger than we remember from prior trips, and are apparently quite well off. The Silicon Valley crowd here for the weekend, perhaps? We felt a little old . . .
On Sunday morning we noticed our new Samsung refrigerator had died. So we decided to feast at the bus for dinner with steak and shrimp that would otherwise soon spoil. Even Rascal got a filet mignon, grilled and cut up for treats! It is aggravating. The fridge is a brand new appliance and warranty repairs are complicated. The first question they ask is “What’s the service address?” and the answer is “It’s complicated.” Looks like we won’t be able to hook up with a repair service at our stop in Napa, so will try to get it done when we’re in Tahoe.
Feeling solidarity with hurricane survivors who lost their power and fridge contents and are living out of coolers. It’s still luxury camping, though!
Hiking the redwood grove at Jedediah Smith State Park. The coast redwoods can grow to several hundred feet tall, and up to 20 feet in diameter. Some are over 2,000 years old.
Unbelievably, Highway 101 narrows for a section of redwood forest. Bob was cursing the “tree-huggers” when we drove the motorhome+car-in-tow through this section, but no boo-boos! He’s getting better.
There are numerous “Slide” signs in this part of the country, and a few places where the “Slide” apparently slid. Lots of road work taking place.
A few more peeks at the fog covered coastline before heading east.
Farewell, Pacific. Until the next trip West!
Vineyards and vineyards!
Wineries and wineries!
The beautiful grounds of Ferrari Carano, one of our favorite wineries and a stop for an afternoon tasting.
Linda wanted to do the private reserve downstairs tasting at Ferrari Carano. We non-wine experts were happy with the upstairs econo tasting room.
Harvest party at Gary Farrell winery, featuring Russian River Valley chardonnays and pinot noirs and delicious catered apps.
The Brass Rabbit – new place in Healdsburg. Complementary Tomato Water with app. Interesting.
Smoked lamb tartare & dungeness crab cake for Bob, Linda had a dual rabbit preparation pronounced to be superb.
My Ora King Salmon entree with hollandaise and tiny grilled veggies – delicious.
A peak of the Russian River from our campground
Private tasting at Merryvale in Napa, featuring the larger and more robust red wines that grow best in this valley.
Don’t tell Linda, but I’ve found a box wine in the supermarket that I find quite acceptable. Still, lots of fun tasting and learning.