Friday, March 7, 2014


Napa, CA

So, how do you top billion-year-old redwoods? You never saw two people get so silly excited about grapevines.

Heading south on the 101 from Ukiah, we entered wine country midmorning and started shooting horrible photos through the car window out of misguided excitement.

You get the idea ...
After two months in gray Vashon Island and last weekend in a snowy Vancouver, we blasted into spring busting out all over. Mustard grass in full yellow regalia, fruit trees in flower, California poppies a blur of Cheetos smudge along the highway.

We were almost weepy -- and look at those old vines!

This marked our first visit to wine country together. Chip has been here many times in his 30 years in the wine business. I came once while we had the wine shop -- while Chip kindly ran the store.

We passed the rock stars of the industry, the wines that sat on our own wine shop shelves.

And a few that contributed heavily to our sailing kitty. A grateful salute.

And because we dwell in our own snob-free world, we ended the day drinking beer a few blocks from the French Laundry.

Happy in the homeland. Elks and giant trees long forgotten.


  1. I can't believe you were on Vashon Island. Ever since reading Betty MacDonald's books (The Egg and I, etc...) which she wrote while living there, I always wanted to visit. Her old home is now a B&B, did you by any chance visit? Anyway, I know it was overcast but after living here in FL for over 2 years I LIVE for overcast days (sad, I know).

    1. Hi Laura!!! Always great to hear from you! Vashon Island seems to have some universal draw, although I'd never heard of it. I don't know that book, but I soon will! What's up with you? --t.

    2. Tammy, we're still live-aboards here in FL. We've been at the same marina now for over 2 years (Hans has a job here). Anyway, honestly you would love The Egg and I, it was #1 on the best sellers list back in the 40's, I kid you not. You can find the book on ebay or for a fairly cheap price since there were so many printed. You won't be disappointed. As a writer you will really appreciate her candor and technique.

  2. Love those happy pictures. =)

  3. Tammy, when we went through Yountville, I made Mr. Hawthorne drop me off at the French Laundry so I could walk around and shoot pictures and maybe snag a rezzie somehow. Didn't happen, of course. We traveled on to Fairfield for the night. Life can be so cruel sometimes. See here:

  4. Don't know which way you are headed, but after leaving this area, we went through Stanislaus National Park To Lake Mono Basin in Lee Vining, then Yosemite,(Glacier Point!), then the Underground Gardens of Baldassare Forestiere in Fresno. All well worth seeing.