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Arrive at Napa Valley

Short entry, travel day and setting up camp (RV style)

sunny 86 °F

Strange Day, Saturday. Mom wasn't feeling up to attending church so I decided to head north a day early. Probably would have been wiser to stay until Sunday afterall, but it's too late now (the 1000Trails had a laundry, I since spent 1/2 day and about $10 bucks to do the laundry!)

Anyway, I decided to take I880 up on the east side of the San Francisco Bay as it appeared to be less traffic and maybe a better road than Hwy 101 through the SF Bay area I grew up in. Maybe in a car it would have been OK, but I was driving an RV and towing a car, so east side we went.

The drive wasn't bad, road surface generally OK and not too much traffic. We made good time all day, and through Oakland had some views of the bay. I followed I80 east towards Sacramento, but planning to turn North once we'd passed San Pablo Bay. Before we crossed the Carquinez Bridge, I pulled over at a scenic overlook of both the bridge and Mare Island, which used to be a big naval base. We had lunch here and relaxed a bit before driving further north.

April_20_-..inez_Bridge.jpgApril_20_-_Mare_Island.jpg

The bridge toll was outrageous (by my standards), $20, CA must base tolls on number of axels, the RV has two and the tow behind car has two, so four axels = $20. Hmm, wonder if RV'ers are really welcome in CA? However we got across the bridge and headed north.

We stopped along the way for the manditory vineyard pic of course:

April_21_-_Napa_Vinyard.jpg

Anyway, the drive up through the Napa Valley was lovely, but very crowded. Don't know what was going on this weekend but it seems like a lot of people headed north for the weekend. I had decided to stay at the "Calistoga RV Park", which was really the Napa County Fairgrounds being used as an RV park during the non-fairgrounds times (a lot of fairgrounds do this now). The rates are quite reasonable and it seemed somewhat conveniently located to both the Napa and Sonoma Valleys that I wanted to visit. I had called ahead, which was good since there were only about two spots open when we got there. We set up camp and actually had a little shade in our spot. They have also planted roses along the fence line here, which Mom thought was really nice.

April_21_-_RV_Park_Roses.jpg

Saturday evening we took it easy. Then Sunday we drove down to St. Helena. Mom is NOT a wine drinker and get's kind of wierd about other people having fun (wine tasting) when she's around, so I stopped at a place that advertised olive oil tasteing (as well as wine tasting). It probably used to be just a farmstead, but I think every single corner of Napa Valley that can be turned into a vineyard or wine tasting spot that can be, has been, so now is also wine tasting. It did have a demo farm garden however, and the restaraunt sign said they used their own garden vegitables.

April_21_-..stead___Mom.jpgApril_21_-_Farmstead.jpg

They also have very beautiful roses here, as has everywhere we've been from Monterey north, the roses are just spectacular. Don't know if I can capture that with my poor camera skills, but will try to throw in an occasional rose pic.

April_21_-..tead__Roses.jpg

My Uncle Bob had been attending an alumni function at Pacific Union College in Anguin, which is not far from here. He lives in Michigan, so we don't get to see him very often. So after their activities were over, Uncle Bob and Aunt Madeline met us in St. Helena for lunch. We met at Pizzeria Tra Vigne and had a pretty good lunch and reconnected a bit.

April_21_-..a_Tra_Vigne.jpgApril_21_-..ia___Family.jpg

Uncle Bob recommended a trip up to PUC to see the Azela's in bloom (and I was curious since I'd heard about the campus many times growing up, but had never seen it.) So after we parted ways (Bob & Madeline were headed south to Pasadena to visit my cousin's family), Mom and I took a Sunday drive up to PUC (east of St. Helena, up a bit of a mountain).

April_21_-_PUC.jpgApril_21_-_PUC_Chappel.jpg

I was a bit too lazy to check the Visitors Center or get out of the car to walk around and find the Azela's (OK, it was quite hot and the car was air-conditioned), so after snooping around a bit, we headed back to the RV.

So all in all, not too much going on today on the trip.

Posted by jl98584 21:09 Archived in USA

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