Heading to California!

On April 30th, I headed for an adventure in California which included a gathering of friends for three nights at Westport, CA.; then a journey to Folsom, CA. and Yosemite National Park.

May 1:  I met up with the Fosters at the Oakland airport on May 1 and, after getting rental car, we headed toward Westport.  We stopped at Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa for some libations.  Met up with the Nelsons at North Coast Brewing Co. in Fort Bragg for dinner.  After checking into the Howard Creek B&B, we proceeded to the Knapps  for a few delightful hours of conversation.

 

Oh what a pretty parrot

Oh what a pretty parrot

 

May 2:  After exploring the B&B area and breakfast, we went to Knapps where they gave us an excellent tour of their house and gardens.  Then we decided to visit Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens located at Fort Bragg on 47 acres.  Along with seeing wonderful displays, we enjoyed a great walk on a beautiful day.

Beautiful landscape at the gardens

Beautiful landscape at the gardens

 

There is something in there

There is something in there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had lunch at Silver’s at the Wharf in Ft. Bragg.  We then headed to displays of furniture made by the students of the College of Redwoods Fine Woodmaking, a nine month program of cabinetry and furniture making located in Ft. Bragg.  I wasn’t real sure if it would be interesting but I found the furniture displayed of very fine quality and enthusiasm of the students great of see/hear.  The evening was highlighted watching the sunset from the Knapps yard.

Sunset at the Knapps

Sunset at the Knapps

May 3:  This morning we decided to split up with Bill, Tom, Larry, and Mary going to the redwoods while Sarah, Barb, and I shopped.  Our first stop was  at the gift shop which Barb manages at the hospital.  And then we hit the shops of Ft. Bragg.  The “Redwood” party met up with us for lunch at Laurel Deli and Dessert.  The men went back to Knapps while the women remained in the town for some wine tasting which was helpful for me in selecting a bottle to give Jeannette, my daughter-in-law, for her birthday this coming week end.  We had an enjoyable evening with a fondue dinner at the Knapps; it was the perfect end of another fun day.

May 4:  This morning we checked out of the B&B and headed to Folsom, CA. to visit son and daughter-in-law, Allan and Jeannette.    I thought I would show a picture of the B&B before detailing the rest of today; if you ever want a place to stay outside Westport, CA. this B&B was delightful.

Howard Creek Ranch B&B

Howard Creek Ranch B&B

The journey to Folsom was uneventful but we did get to see some of the countryside; I did not realize rice was produced in CA. until I saw the rice fields on our way south.  We drove to Old Sacramento where we did some shopping and walking; we arrived in Folsom around 5:30.  The guest apartment had been rented so the Nelsons/Knapps stayed there while Fosters/myself stayed in Allan and Jeannette’s apartment; they stayed with some friends in the same complex.  After an evening of drinking and eating pizza, everyone headed to bed; Yosemite is on the schedule for tomorrow.

May 5:   Today we gathered in the guest apartment for coffee; after some discussion, it was determined we would drive to Placerville and Mel’s Diner for breakfast.  After that, everyone was on their own with all of us meeting up at Tenaya Lodge later in the day.  On the way to the lodge, we stopped @ Angel Camp which claims to be the leaping frog capital of the world; since I have a brother nicknamed Frog, I wanted to purchase some unusual frog item for him.  Fosters and Knapps also stopped so we have some libations and looked in a few of the stores.

A neat place!

A neat place!

On our way again, we kept going until we arrived at Tenaya Lodge around 4:00 pm.  While the three couples had rooms at the lodge Allan, Jeannette, and I rented a cottage.   Everyone gathered at the cottage for drinks and we ate dinner at the lodge.   The three of us decided to get up early the next day for a good start into Yosemite and let the others be on their own.

May 6:  We were up and on the road by 7:00 a.m.  Our plan was to have breakfast at a lodge inside Yosemite but we were too early so we drove on.  Even though it was an overcast, misty day we still had some great views of waterfalls, rock structures, lakes, and streams.  The first awesome view was going thru the tunnel for the valley view of El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite Falls, and Vernal Falls.

Valley View

Valley View

We were able to walk close to Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite Falls, and Vernal Falls.  The day involved lots of walking with my meter saying we had hiked 8.5 miles by 3:00 p.m.

Bridalveil Falls

Bridalveil Falls

Jeannette and Allan

Jeannette and Allan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upper and lower Yosemite Falls

Upper and lower Yosemite Falls

Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls

 

 

 

 

Got any food?

Got any food?

We met up with the others at Curry Village; Jeannette and Allan decided to go on a Bear Walk while the rest of us warmed up in front of the lodge fireplace with drinks.  That evening it rain quite hard but it did not matter; we all gathered in one of the lodge rooms and had dinner in the dining room.  This would be our last evening together with the three couples heading out in the morning going to their respective destinations.

Hail, hail the gang's all here...except Allan

Hail, hail the gang’s all here…except Allan

May 7:  We got up good time this morning; once we checked out, we headed to Oakhurst for gas and breakfast.  Our plans were to travel Glacier Point Road but it was closed due to snow the night before so we kept to the low road.  The first stop was a visit to Mariposa Grove which has giant sequoias; we had a delightful walk through the grove.

Am I big?

Am I big?

Look at those roots!

Look at those roots!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took a different route  out of the park than when we came in; this route also had many waterfalls and we did get to see a bear!

How did I got by the highway?

How did I got by the highway?

Beautiful scenery

Beautiful scenery

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once out of the park, we ate lunch at the Willow Steak House in Jamestown, CA.  We arrived in Folsom around 4:0o pm.  It was a quiet evening with my settling into the guest apartment, having dinner at Jeannette’s and Allan’s,  and returning to the apartment around 9:30.  Tomorrow we plan on some wine tasting.

May 8:  Got up good time this morning and took a walk on the bike/walk path that runs by the apartment complex; a very good, scenic path.

Bridge crossing creek on walking trail

Bridge crossing creek on walking trail

Jeannette woke up with some back problems so our wine tour was delayed until later in the morning.    After packing some food for a picnic, we were on the road heading to the wineries in the Apple Hill region; they have around 12 wineries along the road that we were traveling so we did not have any shortage of stops.  First stop was Boeger Winery where I ordered a bottle to be sent to my friend in Florida, Mike.  Next we went to Lava Cap; we had a picnic and I ordered a couple bottles to be taken home.

Wine tasting with a couple of my favorite people

Wine tasting with a couple of my favorite people

After 2 wineries, we decided we had enough  and drove back to Flossom where I took a nap.  That evening we had dinner at Fat’s Asia Bistro which had very good Chinese food.  After dinner, we went to See’s Candies so I could purchase chocolates for my house sitter and her family.  Another good day and evening; it has been  so much fun to have time with Allan and Jeannette who have done a great job of showing me the local sights.

May 9:  This morning we went to the Negro Bar Recreation Area located in Folsom.  The area has a very nice bike trail with Lake Natoma surrounding it.

Rock climbing at Negro Bar

Rock climbing at Negro Bar

Quiet, peaceful setting

Quiet, peaceful setting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After leaving the recreation area, we visited historic downtown Folsom where there was a park which displayed old time relics and it was interesting to read and see how folks lived in the much distant past.  The area also had some great shops where I was able to pick up a new wallet plus a hat for one of my friends.  We ate lunch at Samuel Hornes Tavern.   After lunch, we went to the Gekkeikan Sake House where we went on a self tour and participated in a sake tasting.  Since this was the first time I had tasted sake, it was an experience but not sure one I would try again.

Koi in the pond at sake house

Koi in the pond at sake house

Area outside of Gekkeikan Sake House

Area outside of Gekkeikan Sake House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That evening we had dinner at a local mexican restaurant.  Allan and Jeannette joined me for a night cap on the patio of the guest apartment.

May 10:   This morning we took a very pleasant country drive to Amador Flower Farm and Nursery located at Plymouth, CA.  The farm covers over 14 acres with 4 acres designed to showcase their award winning daylilies of which there are over 1000 variations.

One of many fields of plants

One of many fields of plants

Colorful lily

Colorful lily

 

 

 

 

The farm had flowers besides daylilies

The farm had more than lilies

Nice and bright yellow

Nice and bright yellow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a nice picnic area on the farm so, since we had packed our lunch, we had a delightful meal under a big shade tree along a stream.  When we departed the flower farm, we came upon Bray Winery on our way back to Folsom so we HAD to stop for some wine tasting; I purchased a couple bottles of  wine to be sent to  friends.

A neat sign!

A neat sign!

In the  evening I fixed beef roast, carrots, onions, and dumplings for Jeannette and Allan.  While the meal cooked, I completed my packing for tomorrow’s departure to home.

May 11:  Up very early for ride to the airport; it was a very uneventful journey home and it was good to see my friends, Mary and Joe, at the airport to greet me.

This was a very wonderful vacation with great interaction with friends and family.  The time passed quite quickly because there always was something to do.  But, like all time away, it is always good to get back home to Beauty, Cutie, and normal routine.

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