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.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Ukiah, CA

A drenching rain fell on Seaside, Oregon, as we pulled out this morning onto Highway 101. Despite the deluge, the vistas were still awe-inspiring, with a roiling sea churned up by 24 hours of high winds, tall bluffs in the distance and a winding highway.

Oregon's coast is rugged and undeveloped. The 101 skirts along it, goes inland behind enormous, pine-tree shrouded mountains, then pops out on the water again.

We rolled into California, and the rain eased. Then we entered the Redwood National Park, which should be called Lucky Charms, because it's magically delicious.

On the Avenue of the Giants, shockingly enormous redwoods almost disappear overhead, brilliant shamrocks and ferns coat the floor beneath. The whole place looks like a billion dollar landscape project. Crazy.

For scale. That's a single tree beside the car.

As we pulled over a small hill, a herd of freakin' elks (or is 'elk' plural?) appeared, right on the road. I stood up through the sunroof and tried to take photos. I'm the worst wildlife photographer. I'm too excited. The whole time I was saying TheresAnElk, TheresAnElk, TheresAnElk, OMG TheresAnElk!!!

After nine hours on the magical road, we rest in Ukiah. How do you top a day of Giants and elk? Working on that one...