Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thank you, Bent!

And so...that's our trip.  It doesn't begin to cover what we learned about the Missions, our tasting at Buena Vista Winery (the oldest in Sonoma), the folks we met from Atlanta, the fun I had cooking in our various little kitchens, our picnics amid the mountains and the vineyards, meeting Mr. Spann - the owner of Spann Wineries (Such an interesting guy...that may be a story that will still have to be told!), and so much more.  But, back we came...picking up Roo in Atlanta on Sat as we came in, so that she could have part of her fall break with us. Spent Sunday catching up and had a great day running errands and visiting with her here and in Atlanta on Monday.  Then, it was back to the world of work...and leaking gutters...and melanoma...and...life.

But everyday, I have the best guy, a wonderful friend, the love of my life to share it with.
I love you, Bent. - c

B's snake!!!



After noticing various warnings about the local rattlers B ran into one!!!  Literally.  While I was chill'n at our place on Friday morning, (10/16) Brent was off running on a trail some of the locals had told him about.  What should cross his path just before his little piggies landed on it?  Mr. Rattlesnake!!!  He warned a lady about it as she was coming up the path behind him.  She said, "Oh! Were you scared?"  I think she took one look at those big baby blues and already knew the answer!  He said, "Yeah!!!!"  My baby ain't no fool! - c

Roses and a farmer's market....





One thing that made the vineyards particularly beautiful were the roses (who apparently love the same weather and soil conditions as the grapes) that were blooming everywhere.  Most vineyards had planted roses at the end of every row of grapes. East of Eden indeed. - c 

Biking through beautiful Sonoma...





Beautiful views and vineyards loaded with grapes.  Apparently, for some this is not a good thing.  We were told that Sonoma had a long, cool, foggy summer.  This was good.  Then a week ago...they had a good deal of rain.  And while we were there, they were experiencing temps in the 80's and bright sunshine.  How could this be bad?  Well, after the cool summer...which grapes and vintners like...the grapes still needed the fall sunshine to fully ripen and their skins to thin. While waiting for this to happen the rain and heat came, causing many of the grapes still on the vines to mold.  Moldy grapes cannot be harvested and therefore whole lots are lost.  Here's hoping that things went well for most!!! c

More Mr. Fox





Bungalow 313 in Sonoma...





In the afternoon (Wed, 10/12) we finished up our Napa tour and headed a bit west to our place in Sonoma. It was really cute and nice with a great kitchen and our own private sitting area outside.  We settled in and took a walk around the Sonoma town square.  There, we stopped by the Roche winery tasting room.  About ten years ago, when we took the kids with us to San Francisco, Brent found a winery in Sonoma that offered horse rides through their vineyards.  That was just the thing for us since Rose and Fred were the proud owners and riders of our mulish horse, Cupid, at the time...and it was lovely.  Brent's horse wanted to stop and eat grapes constantly, but we expect things like that out of Brent's steeds.  We had a great time.  Afterwards, Brent and I tasted their wines and liked them so much that we joined their club and have been getting a couple of bottles delivered every 3 months ever since. Anyhow, since then, we get the wines along with their news letters.  They no longer ride horses in the vineyards.  Maybe the horses, with less attentive riders, ate too many grapes.  I knew they had opened the tasting room on the square, and had read about events they had for members, that given our life in TN, I never anticipated being able to attend.  But, there we were!!!  So, as members, we stopped by each evening around 5, for our "free" glass of wine in their courtyard!  Cool!

After a restful night in a comfy bed (have to say the bed in Trinidad had been a rather wiry, uncomfortable affair!!!) I look out the window onto the next rooftop...and there is Mr. Fox.  I tell Brent.  Mr. City Boy says, "No.  That's a cat!"  I reply, "Well, it's a Jewish one then..." as I head down the stairs to make coffee!!!  Needless to say....a few zillion pictures later....he agrees...it's a fox!!! - c

Leaving the coast.....




On Tuesday (10/11) we left our little house with the sound of the sea lions honking in the distance. (When we first got there, I told Brent, "Listen!! I hear sea lions!" First he told me that it was dogs barking and later tried to get me to believe [as he did!!!!] that it was a recording being played by the rental place next door!!!  It was sea lions!  That man is nutty!!!)  We headed back a little south, then east, on yet another winding road over the Shasta Mountains.  They reminded me of some of the mountains we drove through in Colorado.  We made our way to the Trinity River and down to the Sacramento Valley below. Once down, driving south was easy on the interstate, so we just drove on...having lunch in Redding and spending the night in Napa.  Wednesday morning we took a run through Napa and then began a drive north...exploring the little towns as we came to them. We walked around in Calistoga and stopped for lunch at Mustard's Grill in Yountville.  Really delicious!!! - c

Agate Beach....





We were a little hazy about what agates are....I had read that they were semi-precious stones (almost glass like) that had been washed smooth in the surf.  We hiked down to the beach and found some pretty rocks...but mostly we just had fun...together. - c

Patrick's Point Park....just across the street!!!





On a morning run, Brent discovered this park...just across the street from where we were staying.  How amazing is this scene?  - c

Lady Bird Johnson Grove...





...and a REALLY big tree.  No trick photography here!!! - c

Our only misty, moisty, day...





...which is actually the most common sort of day among the redwoods. Had to hold a big red umbrella so that my personal photog could snap pics of the elk.  Was hoping that it would not alarm them....and it didn't seem to!  We saw at least four different wild herds, though they are rather tame and unfazed by folks like us. - c

More hiking....





....in Fern Canyon.  It was like a fairy glade....for some pretty big fairies.  Brent says I like the moss and ferns more than the trees.  Is that bad? - c

A hike on a closed road...





...that the park ranger recommended.  Very pretty with tons of banana slugs, flowers and beautiful views.  Had a PB and J ready for my baby's picnic...he was a happy guy!!!

Driving towards the park...




Heading further north...





Saturday (10/8) we drove on up the coast.  Along the way we could see sea lions that had clambered up onto the rocks.  How they do that is beyond me!!  A lovely sunset just outside our little cabin in Trinidad...just outside the Redwood National Park. - c