The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels

California Dreamin Part 4 of ? – Not knowing Grapes about Wine and Winery ettiquette. Then, the sea! The sea! The sea!

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Seems a little silly, adding posts from a trip I took WAY back in October.  I have a goal, it’s to get the rest of that trip posted in the next two days.  So much has happened since. So much to share. 

I’m in CA now, Stockton, I start work this Tuesday.

More on that later, here’s more travel tidbits…

This is October, mind ye.  I left Yosemite in a funk, feeling awful, I’d read countless magazine articles on climbing there. Heard others’ tales.  Have always fantasized about being planted in some secluded little part of Tuolome Meadow or staring up at some bullet-hard chunk of granite.  Making it there for the first time (mentioned in this post:…-where-are-youcalifornia-dreamin-part-3-of-trees-older-n-dirt-a-lake-saltier-than-the-sea-yosemite-where-are-you/

My hopes were dashed.  My brain was numbed from all the fog and throngs of tourists.  I couldn’t believe the number of tourists swarming Yosemite Valley!  I was cold and rainy!

“Another time.” I pined.

Pointed the rental car (Which I later realized I left a library CD in, $10 wasted) north and drove through the central valley (which, ironically, I now am making a temp home of) and bee-lined for wine country.


I headed to the nearest tourism center.  Made like a good little tourist and asked the volunteer, “Where may I find a behind-the-scenes tour of a winery?”  The lady behind the desk looked at me as if I’d asked for a key to the city.  “Well…dear…those require reservations.”  I had no idea.  In fact, I really know little about wines, just what I like the taste of when it hits my mouth and that sometimes, I buy wine by looking at the illustrations on the label. Come on, I’m not the only one, right?

She kindly gave me a map, showed me a drive that would be pretty, recommended several tasting rooms.  I didn’t really want to just sit somewhere and taste wine. I wanted to be in the working areas, learning about the vines, how they harvest and make the wine.  Another trip…I’ll schedule a tour…did drive past some beautiful sights. This was early fall there.  Leaves were changing.  Grape vines looked like this:

IMG_4156 by you.  Made me want to run down the rows like I did as a kid through the cornfields aplenty.  Hills rolled.  I could feel pretty safe and happy in a landscape like this.  Imagine the scenery on bike rides!

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Drove through the quaint little town of SONOMA, which I liked much better than Napa, wishing I had more time to explore the town. Wrote it into the to- do list for the next time.  Found camping at a lovely little CA state park called Sugarloaf.  How many Sugarloaf Mtn’s are out there?  Must be one in every state, except, maybe Nebraska or Florida?

CA has a HUGE number of state parks.  This one was quiet, clean, simple, just what I needed.  Picked up supper goods at the Sonoma Whole Paycheck (I mean, Whole Foods).

The view from the tent:

IMG_4162 by you.

Worked on Rachel’s B-Day socks.  Had a November deadline and I was going to make it! Wasn’t the first time I knit by headlamp.

PS:  I did finish them before her b-day but sadly the mailing was delayed due to poor planning on my part and the fact PO’s aren’topen when I’m done with work at 7:30 PM.  Sorry, Rachel!

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Drove through SANTA ROSA, a larger town north of Sonoma and on the way to the coast that I decided I REALLY wanted to work in.  Now, I’m in Stockton, NOT Santa Rosa…hmm…anyway, passed through beautiful, twisty roads lined with farms and nut trees and vineyards.  Reminded me a bit of Wisconsin, yep…I said Wisconsin, and it’s pastoral scenery, minus the nut trees.

But…fog…I was getting worried.

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Passed through several quaint, pretty little towns on the way to my next stop, POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE (Which I will from now on call P. Reyes, this is a long post, my fingers are cramping.)  ; )

Maritime climates are completely foreign to me.  I grew up in MN afterall.  I can’t find the name of the tiny town I spotted this old school. Wasn’t much of a town, just a few well preserved old bldgs (a mercantile, a church) and a trinket shop. All adorable.  The type of place that apears around a bend in the road and you hit the brakes in order to see it.  This gem of a bldg. was a school for K-8 that opened in 1873.  It is called the Potter School. A private party owns it.  They and their family restored the school from a condemmed condition.  It has ocassional open hrs to the public. Magnificent!  Of note, the school made an apearance in The Birds by Albert Hitchcock. (Must Netflix that movie.)

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Main street through TOMALES, I believe it was. Had a cup of coffee and chatted with two fellas out for a ride on their bicycles. From their descriptions, this area seems like a road-biking mecca of gentle, scenic routes.  Loved the simple houses, which my camera did not do justice, the looked after yard with tidy gardens.

IMG_4226  Antoher pretty home enroute.  See a trend in style?

IMG_4185 by you.

I would love to sit on that dock for hours. Looking quite different, a home on the edge of Tomales Bay, I believe it was. A few Oyster shacks popped up along the route.  Yeck!  Tried them.  No go.

Passed through Inverness and headed out the peninsula towards POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE.

Fog…why me?  Am I cursed?  Will I get to see the sea?  By this time, my palms were getting sweaty.  No tears, yet…

IMG_4192 by you.PR  P. Reyes is a park of rugged beauty. A lighthouse juts out into the sea.  Miles of rugged, windswept seashore offer homes to elephant seals and other critters.  It is notoriously cold, windy and, yes, foggy.  One drives out a peninsula a long ways. On it are numerous farms (operating) that seem an oddity there.  Hardy cows!  Stinky too.

Parked and walked the 1/2 mile up a road to the lighthouse.  Cliffs drop off on the ocean side and there was a hint of water lapping on the other side.  I couldn’t see for sure, (FOG, Yep…) but could tell the land dropped off to a beach of some sort.  By then I was worried.  Would I get to see the sea?  Would my first sighting of an actual sea be thwarted by Mother Nature?  Kept telling myself it was her way, so be it, another day but really, I was nervous.


Sure, I could only see a cople hundred yards up the coast and less out, but hey, I could smell it, hear it, see some, I was one happy chicky.  Giddy happy.  A little misty in the eyes happy.  I really could use a pair of binoculars, I decided at that moment. 

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The 200 some stairs down and up to the lighthouse were great physical therapy, I kept thinking.  I was two months out of knee surgery at that time.  Knee was still ouchy.  Sandy, my PT would have been proud of all the non-traditional excercises I put in during the trip. None involved gym equipment.  Hee Hee!  See the humidity induced frizz?

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I was in love.  The nostalgia, the senses, I knew I wanted more.  Inside the lightkeepers house, neat gadgets and thingys that once made the light spin.  Now, obsolete but of interest to me.

IMG_4208    IMG_4211    IMG_4213    IMG_4212   Generators, an old horn, a worn desk. What a hard job.  Can’t imagine. The weather!

IMG_4214 by you.

IMG_4225 by you.  Everything looks weathered and changed by the elements.

I’ll return in January. The Pacific Gray Whales migrate past in the winter. This will be my next big trip out of Stockton, hopefully with four or more days to go.  I must return…

One thought on “California Dreamin Part 4 of ? – Not knowing Grapes about Wine and Winery ettiquette. Then, the sea! The sea! The sea!

  1. Pingback: Water Wings and Rubber Duckies PART TWO: “Car Hiking,” More rain, Playing Ravens, Oysters, More Rain… « Hfrank007’s Weblog

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