Posts Tagged With: calistoga

BY WAY OF WINE COUNTRY

Oh, blimey, I’ve been home for five days and in my blog I’m still on the road. My brain has this need for chronological order, which Jim would refute. But, travelers, even if you don’t stop and sip, you can’t help but love wine country. The vines change character depending on the time of year. In places they undulate across the hilltops in beautiful patterns. We traveled twisty, quirky highway 128 until it ran out. Switched to 29, then 12.  The back roads whenever possible.

At a pull-out we stopped and grabbed a couple of pictures of plump grapes waiting for their transformation to wine.There are now hundreds of wineries to choose from.  Move in for a year or two and try them all.

At the main intersection in Calistoga, Busters Smoked Ribs and Chicken is some of the best barbecue you’ll taste West of  Kansas. No fat on these ribs, no steam cooking, simple wood smoke does the entire job. At this point, we could have driven the Silverado Trail, which parallels 29, a gorgeous scenic drive. It bypasses the small towns, Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, and others. We chose to wend our way through the  colorful towns,  both have something to offer.

A friend once complained the drive on highway 12 through the Delta is boring. Not to me. Rough and too many potholes is a fact. Jim has to cover his head when I open the cupboards for fear a can will drop on his head after a road like this. A wind farm popped into view,  new since I’d driven it.

Small sloughs,  fishing and boating defines much of life here and gives you a feel for the place even without stopping.

The  island ferrys are gone.  The time will come when  drawbridges will be obsolete. Even now,  the amount of traffic on the road that stops for a single small boat whizzing under seems ludicrous. River traffic isn’t what it used to be. Paying a bridge tender is costly. The only constant is change, so enjoy them now, they are an endangered species.

We arrived in Stockton on October 9th, missed the Derby, and missed a train museum on Highway 12. I promise myself every time I drive that road to stop at the train museum.  There are no warning signs. Suddenly, the driveway appears and you are past it before you can say:  the space between the words Pig and And, and And and Whistle is uneven.”  You won’t find a place to turn around on Highway 12  until you are several miles past.   “Such is life,” says Jim.

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California Wine Country…

Yesterday we traveled the about 135 miles from Cloverdale to Stockton, California. Along the way…we wandered through the heart of California Wine Country…transiting Calistoga and Napa. We saw miles and miles of grape vines.

Here are some photos…which if you click on you will get to see in an enlarged view…

Usually every day we work to bring you neat photos to enjoy. Sometimes they require a real effort to obtain. For instance…here’s Mary getting one for her Blog…

We arrived at American Legion Post #16 in Stockton where we were to spend the night.

Upon arrival we were met by Rick Caccam…Second Vice-Commander. Rick proved to be a very friendly and amiable fellow. He opened the bar just for us and we enjoyed a very pleasant 1.5 hours chatting with him. All the cars in the parking lot were for a family gathering in a rented hall.

In addition to once being in the U.S. Air Force…he’s a retired law enforcement officer.  He has also been involved in his local Drum and Bugle Corps for 32 years and travels all over the United States participating in Drum and Bugle competitions. He also serves as the Honor Guard Bugler for American Legion Post #16 in Stockton. With a little encouragement…just like Charles Kurault used to do…we got him to give us a little demonstration with his small emergency “Pocket Trumpet” which he keeps in his truck for emergencies such as this.

Here’s a short video of Rick doing his thing…

If the video does not work…click this link…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8R59Bgjm_Gw

Here’s a link to Rick’s musical enrichment group…

http://someinc.com/

Finally…here is a never-before-seen happening. I seldom drink beer anymore…but when I do it’s usually Miller Lite…which Mary affectionately calls horse-piss. Mary really enjoys crafts beers…the darker the better. Well…yesterday…in the bar with Rick…the darkest beer that they had in the house was regular draft  Budweiser…which in my three years of knowing Mary…I have never seen her drink. Well…I caught the event on camera and here it is…Mary drinking horse-piss! A memorable moment…

So yesterday was our last full day on the road for the summer season. Today we’ll retreat to Mary’s home about 65 miles from here and for the next few weeks the motorhome and Bronco will get a thorough cleaning in preparation more travels on the road again!

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

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