I am faced with two daunting tasks; one, trying to encapsulate all the events of the last six days into a blog that won't take up seven pages and two, coming up with some other adjectives to describe the beauty we are constantly experiencing on a daily basis. I will try, though, as it is all the more special to share with all of you.
Lake Tahoe is spectacular. It is the world's third deepest Lake (over 1,600 feet) and the water is crystal clear, warmer than the Pacific and almost as blue as the waters in the Bahamas. We had an amazing time with our dear friend, Michael, aka "Sunny" and I will say that his was the best "RV Park" yet! :o) We have missed him since he moved from Islamorada, so it was really a special time catching up and creating new memories.
Napa Valley. Ah, Napa Valley. Yes, the "roughing" it of the parks is great and I really love it, but every once in a while, I do love the finer touches of places like Napa Valley. The park, Skyline Wilderness Park, was perfect and only 3 miles from downtown Napa, and only a mile from the "loop" of the Valley. The loop consists of Hwy 29 and Hwy 112; they loop around, a total of 50+ miles and encircles some of the most beautiful vineyards I have ever seen...well, these were my first, but I bet money they are better than any other in this country! Our first Winery was "Franciscan" and boy oh boy, I love wine tasting! We sampled four wines and one port. We bought two bottles of wine and one of the port! Great people, amazing grounds and delicious wine. A treasured memory for my first Winery. After that we hit the most "tourist" spot in Napa called "Castello di Amorosa." It isn't an ancient castle in that construction began in 1993 and finished in 2007, however, every single brick and stone used to build the castle are all from Italy, Austria, etc. and are at least 300 years old. It is pretty amazing, as the photos will show. The Castle is even complete with a Torture Chamber! I actually saw a real Iron Maiden! Yikes! The wine...well, it is just so-so. But, the tour and the castle were worth it all.
Those were the only two vineyards we visited our first day; mind you, we tasted over 20 wines, so there isn't a lot of hoping from vineyard to vineyard for us! That night we really had an amazing time...we went downtown Napa and saw "Taming of the Shrew" put on by the local College at an outdoor park. We took a picnic of wine (Franciscan bought that day), cheese, apples and bread. What a great thing to do! And let me tell you what, I will not be the least bit surprised to see any of these young actors on the big screen some day soon...they were very talented and the play was hysterical! It was cold, though. That was the only downer.
Saturday, we went to another vineyard that boasted of an art gallery, called Mumm Vineyards. They specialize in sparkling wines, so we did a bit of tasting, but not a lot. We then went to the art gallery and enjoyed some wonderful photography and sculptures. Not wanting to spend the day wine tasting again, we decided to hit the road and drive to Sonoma. As far as the towns themselves, I far prefer Sonoma with its quaint square, wonderful park, outdoor music and incredible shops! Napa is more like a city...but, very nice, I just like Sonoma better. We did not visit any of the vineyards in Sonoma, but plan on doing so when we visit this part of the country again. I did all the driving Saturday so that James could enjoy the view and I could enjoy the winding mountain roads. What fun!! James laughs because when I'm driving those roads, I'm sitting straight up in the sit, both hands on the wheel, intensely watching the road, driving at speeds around 25 mph! Hey, those roads are steep and curvy...but, oh so fun!
The plan (hahahaha) was to stay in Napa for one more day and leave Monday morning, however, this morning we decided to head to Bodega Bay. This is where I'm truly at a loss for words. I know I have said that at least six other times before, but really, I'm speechless. On one side of the road you have soft, slopping, rolling hills spotted with cows, horses, sheep and marvelous farms, and right across the street you have the Pacific Ocean's raging waves, sandy beaches and jagged rocks jutting from the water like giants. Then to top it all off, you have amazing wild flowers...like I have never seen...painting both sides of the roads. It is truly like something out of a fairy tale.
We had dinner at Nick's Cove, known for their oysters, and well, "when in Rome..." we had oysters. Neither one of us are big fans, but they were pretty good. I honestly don't think we will order them A LOT while we are here, but they were good and we are glad we tried them. The ambiance was amazing (we ate outside on the dock) and got to see the sun set over the water and then the moon rise over the hills. Wow. Just keeps getting better and better.
We are here until Tuesday...then we are hitting the "primitive" park of our journey where we will be staying along the coast...NOT in RV parks. We have about three days worth of water/fuel/tank storage before having to refill/refuel, so we plan on using every bit of it. Parks are great and offer wonderful amenities, but we are truly looking forward to being "disconnected" and living off the beaten path. Not sure when/if we will have cell phones or internet, so if you don't hear from us for a bit, you will know why.
Oh yeah, yesterday marked 2 months (eight weeks or 56 days) on the road. Half way. Time flies and homesickness lingers. Tomorrow is Pop's birthday (James' father...he will be turning 82) and we are sad that we aren't there to celebrate with him. It is times like this we both miss being home. I truly love getting texts, emails and phone messages from my family and friends...it warms my heart and often makes me cry; not of sadness so much, but of appreciation for such wonderful people in my life. Thank you all!!!
Peanut continues to enjoy life on the road. He is such a good travel dog and we are so blessed he hasn't gotten sick, bitten or worse. That holds true for James and I as well. We are in good health and I have bitten James in weeks!. Hahahahaha!!!
We love you all! May God bless you all!