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.