Beached

Monday 10th June 2013

Monday morning saw the return of the sun, much to our relief, we did’t come here for cloud we could get that back at home. We had a leisurely morning before having a drink at McNear’s. We decided to return to our room for a picnic of cheese, meat and crackers.  We had been to the local Safeway store enough times that the staff were beginning to remember us. After lunch we decided to drive to the beach that Missy M had taken us to a week earlier.

Driving along with the roof down we once again congratulated ourselves on upgrading to a mustang convertible.  It was mid-afternoon when we parked up, the sun was warm, we were happy. To our dismay we discovered that the tide was in making the beach inaccessible from the road way. I was quite happy taking endless photos and even a video of the water lapping at the rocks.

IMG_0874  IMG_0873

I was watching the water and some surfers over to my right whilst Owl spoke to surfer who had just arrived. He told Owl that we could reach the main beach by going back up the road and through the village and following the road round. I thought this house looked very quaint with its rocking chair on the front porch.IMG_0885 rounding the corner we found the centre of the village. Owl went in search of a restroom while I sat in the community garden waitingIMG_0886 and waiting. IMG_0887 Then I saw Owl walking across the street a little way off so I moved along to wait for him near to the establishment he had entered. IMG_0892 Still I waited, I watched the locals from a distance feeling that it would be best if I didn’t go too near.(Owl later told me that it was not the kind of place women should enter)”You wouldn’t have liked it. It was a real hicksville bar full of men with long beards and brown dungarees cussin” I crossed the street again to the local gallery. These tiles on the doorstep intrigued me. IMG_0890IMG_0889 back across the street so that Owl would see me when he finally emerged I took this view down the street we had yet to investigate.IMG_0893 After what felt like an age Owl emerged and walked across the street to where he had earlier left me. I scuttled back there to grab his arm and lead him back in the direction we were supposed to be going. Rounding the bend we were met with this vista, the entrance to Bolinas Lagoon.IMG_0894 IMG_0895 we both found this house fascinating. I am sure it would make a good setting for one of those find the object games. IMG_0898 Across the street we found this unexpected gem.IMG_0897 I loved this place, what lucky people to live here with views across the lagoon entranceIMG_0899  towards the hills behind Stinson beach. IMG_0900IMG_0901 A moment later we were back at the ocean. You can see quite clearly where the lagoon meets the open sea.IMG_0902 It was lovely to feel the warm sand under my bare feet and the water was very refreshing too.IMG_0615 Missy M had told us that she loves the graffiti that is found at Bolinas Beach and I can see why. Every piece of concrete lining the base of the cliff behind the beach is cover in wonderful and varied colours and intricate designs.IMG_0912  IMG_0913 this was my favouriteIMG_0914 we also saw a couple of signs that we have never seen anywhere before and probably won’t again.IMG_0612 andIMG_0915 By the time we reached the place where we had started the tide had gone out far enough for us to safely reach the slipway without getting wet feet.IMG_0920 We had spent a lovely afternoon in the sun looking out at the pacific ocean from what we had been told was the 2nd best beach in the area. Now it was time to drive back to base and walk over to the diner for our evening meal and the pleasant company of the staff who we were now getting to know quite well.

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Peggy Sue Adventure

 

Sunday 9th June 2013

After our adventures of the previous day we had a pretty quiet Saturday morning. Missy M had called the night before to tell us that the annual art and music festival would be in Novato and we should go. We visited our favourite diner Pepper’s for a late brunch of omelette for me and waffles for Owl.IMG_0757

Wandered back to our room and waited for the call to go and meet Missy M.

By the time we arrived at the festival the temperature was a massive 100 degrees, which is not good for walking about. We were all melting, I am sure we all shrank a few inches during the afternoon. There were lots of interesting stalls to look at. Missy M bought herself a dress and some earrings.  We all found this stand very intriguing.

IMG_0760 my favourites wereIMG_0759 Owl likedIMG_0463and thisIMG_0465

We walked from one end of the street to the other where we left Owl to listen to a live band playing while we went in search of ice cream from Missy M’s favourite ice cream store.  It was a blessed relief going into this air conditioned store full of every kind of sweet you could ever imagine and the sweet scent lingering in the atmosphere was hypnotic.  Missy M chose her tub of two kinds of ice cream and I had two kinds of sorbet which I felt would be more refreshing. Grabbing a bottle of water for Owl we headed back along the hot road to find my husband enjoying the music.

Cold desserts (rapidly melting) in our hands we meandered along back in the direction of the mustang. We had seen everything we could muster up the enthusiasm to see, it was just too hot to do much else. Even just walking at a slow pace felt like wading through treacle.

Once back at the car we decided it was time to collect Mr T which we duly did. I wouldn’t recommend travelling with father and daughter when the daughter knows her way around and the father doesn’t. Giving vague directions and not paying full attention to directions can lead to an interesting situation. With help from Mr T we finally found our way to a part of town we hadn’t seen before and a retail park that included several eateries.  We found ourselves at Pasta Pomoro one of Missy M’s favourites. Both teenagers chose a pasta dish whilst Owl and I both had a soft drink only as we were not hungry. It was nice to sit in partial shade just relaxing and chatting.

We were feeling tired and the teenagers had things to do so once the table had been cleared and left over pasta boxed up to take away we dropped them home and drove back to Petaluma and an early night. We were planning a busy day for Sunday.

Later we received a message that Missy M had left her makeup bag and car key in the mustang. She didn’t need them immediately but could we drop them off in the morning. Which of course we did even though Novato is in the opposite direction to Santa Rosa which was our chosen destination for that day. Whilst at the starlight the other evening we had picked up a free paper. Reading this we had discovered that Peggy Sue’s All American Cruise event was being held from Thursday to Sunday.

This morning the sky was looking a bit glum but we were confident that it would improve. Having completed our mercy mission we turned back north along Route 101 which didn’t actually take very long at all. Soon we were pulling into the designated car park. Already Owl was getting excited just seeing the cars parked around us, before we even got into the show itself.

There were mustangs, challengers, Bel airs, and corvettes every which way you looked. A slow walk through the car park to the field of cars, cars, cars and yet more cars. Owl was in his element. I won’t bore you with all the cars we saw, but here are a few.IMG_0764Since we arrived in California Owl kept talking about cars wearing a bra IMG_0787this was what he meant.IMG_0788IMG_0800bet you haven’t seen many cars that colour.IMG_0797and lastlyIMG_0803The weather never did improve, we were so glad we had our hoodies from the previous weekend. We didn’t see all the cars on display but after a couple of hours we decided that we had seen enough and besides which our feet were aching. Time to go back to Petaluma and call into Peppers for a drink and a slice of home made mandarin cream pie to share mmmmm.

mandarine cream pie

Running along

This will probably be of no interest to anyone but us but………

last night when I was watering our garden I found for the first time our first runner beans.

We have two tubs of runner beans growing, they are positioned next to each other against a west facing wall to get maximum sunlight. I am perplexed that whilst both groups of plants are thriving one seems to be covered in black fly whilst the other one has not one as far as I can see. The flyless one has now got several beans hanging from the higher part of the structure.

our first runner

I have never grown runner beans before (or at least not me personally, my parents did when I was a child). Is it possible for the fly infested plants to bear fruit (beans) once the flies have been dealt with?

I have used bug spray on them and my friend has recommended diluted washing up liquid.

Bowling along in Sonoma

Friday 7th June

After spending the day on Thursday at the new local Outlet stores, where we bought more t-shirts and new Levi  jeans for Owl. We had spent the evening ten pin bowling with Missy M and Mr T.(We played three games which were won in turn by Owl, myself and Missy M) then on to the diner where once again the portions were so huge that Missy M and Mr T took the remains of their meals home with them.

Friday was to be our second attempt to visit the vineyards. Out came the maps again. The plan this time was to drive north along the 101 to Windsor where we turned off west on to a side road. We followed a lane that headed back in a southerly direction before turning west, crossing the river. We were somewhat perplexed as to why a major river in the west of California would have the name ‘Russian River’. We had followed its course on and off during our day in the Redwood Valley.

Anyway once we had crossed the river our route began to take us back in a northerly direction again. With my copy of Wine Road northern Sonoma County map in hand. Each winery is listed along the road. We decided not to just stop at the first winery we came to. We would be selective. Driving along the lane to the left of the river under a canopy of trees with flashes of sun filtering through we were rather astonished to find a Ford Deuce Coupe coming in the opposite direction. No sooner had we commented on it than we saw a rather nice looking Chevrolet Corvette Coupe following in its wake. Soon we passing the first couple of wineries, the sun was high and hot, our stomachs were beginning to feel the effects of not having breakfast (I had had a cereal bar) so we pulled in to Thomas George Estate in the hope that not only would there be wine but also something to eat.

The sign said wine tasting in the tunnels. So we parked up ready to find out what it was all about. Just as we were walking away from the mustang (which we had been travelling in with the roof down (as you do on a hot sunny day in California). The Ford Deuce Coupe that we had passed going in the opposite direction pulled up next to us. IMG_0724 It was in great condition, Owl had a few words with the owners (as he does). The blow me down another car comes into the car park and guess what it was only the Corvette we had also seen earlier. IMG_0726 It seems that the two couples were travelling together.

We wandered inside the open door of the first tunnel, admired all the barrels and bottles. Strolling along one of the tunnels we were joined by one of the staff who talked to us about the estate and the wines they make there. He was a very interesting man to talk to. However now more than a month later I have forgotten most of what he told us. Next we took a stroll around the grounds close to the  main buildings.IMG_0727looking down from the car park.IMG_0729looking up towards a seating area.IMG_0731

Anyone for a game of petanque?IMG_0733

It was getting hotter by the minute almost so we set off in search of lunch. None of the other wineries on our route were showing any sign that there might be any food. I don’t understand why establishments asking you to try their wine, don’t also provide if required any food to soak up the alcohol. (even snacks or bread sticks??). I personally wouldn’t try any of the wine because of this. Even though I wasn’t driving I wouldn’t drink on an empty stomach.

Eventually we found a store and cafe at the entrance to one of the winery estates. It absolutely packed, both inside and out. Owl bought some bottled water and some bread.

Now we thought we would (ok so I thought we would and Owl agreed) drive to lake Sonoma. Only we didn’t realise looking at the map that the road leading to the lake didn’t go downhill as we expected but up. It went up up and still up until eventually we came across a steep turning that immediately ran back down hill. It was a long way down and steep all the way. We had been going down hill quite fast with a 4 x 4 right behind us, when we came across a car park on our left. We continued down a little further (about 100m) where we came to a halt. It was a case of no entry past this point unless you had a permit. We swung around to go back up to the car park.

Here we got out and drank some of our water. It was about 104 degrees by this time. I took a few photos and walked part of the way down but didn’t go down to the water as I knew I would struggle to get back up again especially in this heat.IMG_0744 the water was very blue and looked so invitingIMG_0444Changing maps we decided to stay on the road leading to the lake and drive west towards the coast. From this map it was quite clear that we would be going over the mountains and the road would be as steep and twisting as the road 2 days earlier. But the saving grace this time was that the road was wider and in better condition. Ok so it was wider for a fair few miles. then it gradually got narrower and the edges became broken. I was onto the door handle trying not to look scared. I couldn’t decide if it was best to stay in the middle of te road and risk hitting anything that came around the many sharp bends or stick to the out side of the road and risk slipping off the edge to hurtle down the steep slopes. I kept telling myself  ‘trust him trust him’. That was such a nerve wracking drive I was so relieved when finally we came to the junction with highway 1. Now we were going to follow the coast road down to Bodega Bay before turning inland again.IMG_0448

After the earlier it it was disappointing that when we reached the coast road there was a thick sea mist. The temperature halved. I kept hoping that once we got around the next bend the mist would disappear. We still had the roof down and it was getting mighty cold. There was an odd smell in the air, Owl attributed it to lavender however to me it smelt more like cat pee. We had been driving in and out of this sea mist for miles when we were so cold that we pulled up at the side of the road (even though there were the usual ‘no parking at any time’ signs. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked down at the water crashing below whilst I retrieved my hoody from the trunk/boot of the car.IMG_0751miles of wood washed up on to the sand.

We continued our drive south still looking for somewhere to eat lunch. It was getting towards late afternoon by now but we didn’t want to just stop anywhere. We did see a few places where we could have stopped for a meal but these were all lapped by sea mist and we preferred to find somewhere that we could sit out in the sun.

We drove as far as Bodega Bay which Owl was excited about with it being the location for Alfred Hitchcock’s film ‘The Birds’.IMG_0451IMG_0449

Turned around to head towards Santa Rosa. The road here was fairly quiet but most importantly reasonably flat. We passed farmland and small villages until we reached a larger town Sebastopol just west of Santa Rosa. We found a restaurant that looked quite interesting from the outside.IMG_0453

It isn’t often that you see the back end of a train embedded in the wall of a building. Once inside the building we found a whole carriage which had been turned into a restaurant. The Starlight.IMG_0455It was early evening so there were not many other people there. When we had finished our meal we sat outside in the sun for a while, not wanting to get caught up in the evening rush hour traffic.

The table

I am spending  my sunny Saturday morning cleaning and writing.

Among the things I want to clean is the glass coffee table.

I have cleared everything from it, dusted it.

The furniture polish is upstairs, on my way upstairs I spot the dead flowers in a vase on the dining table.

Take vase to kitchen. Take dead flowers out to refuse bin in front garden by the hedge.

Pass hanging baskets looking a bit dreary.

Fill watering can from water butt hiding behind now wildly growing clematis.

Water 4 baskets, 2 of which contain nasturtians, these have become infested with black fly. Its a pity ladybugs are in short supply this year.

Pour remaining water into bird bath.

Go through to back garden to find appropriate fly spray in shed.

It isn’t there but whilst I’m in the back garden I will set up the garden chairs for later.

Check bird feeders

Notice that under the hedge there is something growing that I hadn’t expected to see.

We know we have a few strawberries growing, the rhubarb isn’t doing well at all and the cherries have been stripped bare by the starlings. But I had no idea that we had a raspberry bush growing. Shows how we have left that part of the garden alone this year but there are several ripe berries there now. I wonder who will get them first us or the birds?raspberry bush

Any way on my way back inside to look for the fly spray I have noticed my laptop open on the breakfast bar where I had earlier been writing a bit more about our trip to USA.

So now instead of cleaning the coffee table I am writing about not cleaning it. Time to go and find the polish so I can finish the task I had set out to do.