Posts Tagged ‘Napa Valley’


(If any of you have been following along on this journey, I apologize that it has been such a long time between episodes.  Life gets in the way sometimes and prevents us from completing some projects in a timely manner.  I have moved to a new home and that took some time and I misplaced my notes from this odyssey and am having to reach back into my memories to finish the story.  The faster the years pass, the more I am forgetting, so I must continue on with this story before it disappears.  That would be a disservice to David.)

We were already about two weeks into our journey – and although I really never expected it to last a week, we kept coming up with more places we wanted to explore.

The scenery changed quite a bit as we headed inland toward wine country.  Our tape of Pachelbel’s Canon that we had purchased in Old Sacramento played along with us as we maneuvered the winding roads.  I drove and David manned the video camera to capture the beautiful scenery and rolling hills. He was finally deciding that my driving was okay after all!

When we drove through the Napa Valley, we saw lovely vineyards growing on one side of the road and familiar names on the other – Gallo, Sutter Home, Beringer, etc. – on buildings and shops.  We took a few tours, photographed the beautiful buildings and browsed the gift shops (oh, and sampled a little wine along the way but not enough to get tipsy! We had more driving to do.)


The Beringer Home

The Beringer home was a beautiful old stone building that had been brought over from Germany stone-by-stone and rebuilt on site in California.


Where the wine was made.

My oil painted impression of the winery.

We also were compelled to search for the house which was used as the home of the old “Falcon Crest” TV show about a family in the wine (and hanky panky) business.  When we finally found it, we could barely make out the roof of it as it was behind a column of trees.  David was satisfied anyway.  (We would make several searches like this for specific places and things he wanted to see as we traveled along, but it was fun and it made him happy).

Gorgeous trees on the Avenue of the Giants

Heading north, we traveled through a gorgeous area known as the Avenue of the Giants – an amazing stretch of land with giant sequoia trees lining either side of the road.  Naturally we stopped and took more photos and video.  At one point, David observed that these trees were so old that they had been here longer “than before he had been a gleam in his daddy’s eye.  In fact, they were here long before Sandy had been a gleam in HER daddy’s eye – AND THAT WAS REALLY OLD.”   Ha ha.

We had hoped to see a tree that was pictured on postcards we saw with 1940’s era cars driving through its trunk, but it turns out that vehicles are no longer allowed to do that as it was polluting the air and hurting the tree.  Sad.

Alas, it was nearing dark anyway, so we ventured into Crescent City, California, a city that had been underwater back around 1964 from a tsunami resulting from an earthquake in Alaska.  David said when was a child, he and his family had been living in Anchorage at the time of the quake and remembered running out into the snow in his pajamas when the quake occurred. We all have our history.

To be continued…(I promise)


We left Grandma Green’s townhouse early in the morning after a light breakfast and after reading the daily “earthquake report” (!!) in the morning paper.  We drove east towards Sacramento and spent several hours in its Old Town section.  Lots of neat old buildings, a fun restaurant for lunch and lots of new age-y shops.  David bought me a beautiful fluorite stone and for the car he bought a cassette tape of Pachelbel’s Canon in D.  It became our theme song for the rest of our journey.  The music seemed to fit every mood and every bit of scenery and weather that we encountered.

We arrived at Placerville and stayed with some friends we had done theater with in Cocoa Beach and they invited us to stay with them.  They were doing a production of “Once Upon a Mattress”, so we attended and it was a good time.  They had been dating when we all had worked together in Florida, we attended their lovely wedding a few months before, and now they were living out here.

On the way to Yosemite

The next two days were spent touring Yosemite National Park and the Lake Tahoe area with our friends.  Such beautiful scenery and so diverse.  Mountains, rivers, lakes, waterfalls and casinos!  What more could you ask for?!

David at Lake Tahoe

After returning to San Francisco, we did a thorough tour of the Bay Area and surrounds.  One day we drove up Mount Tamalpais and looked back to the view of the city.

Entering Sausalito

We drove into Sausalito and walked around its unique shops, art galleries, and an interesting little place called “Wet Dreams” (don’t ask) with bubbles floating out through its open door.

We spent some time in downtown San Francisco, climbing up Coit Tower, browsing on Pier 39, laughing at the sea lions near the docks, driving down Lombard Street, “the crookedest street in America”, walking around the Japanese Gardens and other areas of Golden Gate Park. I stuck my hand in the freezing Pacific Ocean, and capped off the day admiring the Palace of Fine Arts left over from a world’s fair of 1915.

Some stranger in front of Palace of Fine Arts

A visit to John Muir Woods was especially significant to David.  He told me that when he had been diagnosed with his illness, he had been out here visiting and came to Muir Woods. He sat on a bench for hours and said that after that time he felt at peace with the surroundings and his eventuality.  I can understand why the huge trees and ferns and beautiful pathways would make anyone realize how everything in our universe has a reason for being and there is a time to live and a time to die.  We don’t decide; a Higher Power has the ultimate decision.  He said his time in these woods gave him the courage to keep living every day and appreciate all that he has.  Profound.

Gorgeous Muir Woods

Back at Grandma’s for our last night in San Francisco, we had brought a cake and some champagne and celebrated her 88th birthday.  What a sweet lady and how much she loves her grandson.  We showed her videos of our trip so far and talked and laughed a lot.

My impression of a sunny Golden Gate

It was a bittersweet parting the next morning, as David and I both knew it was probably his last visit out here, although his grandmother didn’t.  As we crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge for the final time, we once again climbed to the top of the hill over looking the Bay.  Unlike the previous day, the whole bridge and city were covered in a thick fog…gray and misty, sort of like our moods.

At least we were on our way to Napa Valley and some wine-tasting adventures to cheer ourselves up!

To be continued…

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