A Travellerspoint blog

Sonora - Monterey

sunny 19 °C

Biggest bit of news ..... New baby boy in the family - Cooper Nikau Rivers born 7lbs 6oz 17th May. Congratulations Ange and Des, and now Jackson is a big brother!

Well not much to recommend about Sonora. Nothing outstanding and nothing we haven't seen before so won't be recommending this spot. The countryside in getting here is lovely. Meadows with different colored heather, you could almost imagine living the Little House on the Praire life.
Drove through Jamestown and again, looked very similar to Jackson. So we've done inland, it's time to get back to the sea and coast again.
Monterey and finally the sea. It looks very wild and freezing cold, the temperature dropped 10 degrees due to a delta wind apparently. So out of shorts and back in jeans.
Took a walk along Cannery Row where they used to can the sardines from the harbor. There is a large deep canyon out in the harbor which is why there were so many sardines there.
Visited the shops on the way to dinner. Went in to the pet store to have a nosy. You can purchase a baby python snake for only $75.00 or a rose haired tarantula for only $17.99. When is your birthday Brittany? They even have a scorpion for sale as a pet, go figure. Check out the lizard shot smiler filmed, not quite sure what they were up to.

Posted by smilers2 07:45 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Vacaville to Placerville to Sutter Creek

sunny 27 °C

Not sure what happened with the photos all doubling up but the technical director has fixed it, phew.
A leisurely start to the day. We don't have far to travel and we can't check in till 3pm.
First stop petrol (or should we say "gas"). Prices vary by as much as 30 cents a gallon. Thank goodness for google. We got it at $4.15 a gallon but saw it for $4.45 on our travels. Costco had it for $4.09 but we weren't anywhere near one.
Checked out Placerville (or Hangtown as it used to be known as).
Passed through Drytown - check out the photo.
Passed through Amador City (don't be fooled by the name, it's a one horse town, population 137).
Then on to our bed for the night at Sutter Creek. Real pretty town population 2000 odd.
Really pretty meadows and rolling hills on our drive from Vacaville.
Dinner in Sutter Creek was going to be at Susan's Place, but like half the shops here they are closed mon, tues and weds. So we had Italian pasta. We are still pizza'd out from New York.
Lovely hotel where we could here the dulcet tones of croaking frogs (bet they are hiding out in case they get taken to Frogtown for the jumping competition tomorrow).

This morning another leisurely start to the day. I drove to Jackson. Had to stop here cos Jackson is our grandson. And no news on grandchild number two yet (hang in there Ange, due tomorrow, or the next day...)

Then remaining on Highway 49 went through to Angel's Camp (affectionately known as Frogtown). I think frog jumping is the only thing that happens there. Oh and the frogs inspired Mark Twain to write a story. Stopped for lunch and Smiler spotted a couple of cowboys but I wouldn't let him take a photo.

Finally reached our destination Sonora. Population 4900. Momentarily lost due to a detour as the cycle race was due in town at the same time.

Posted by smilers2 15:49 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Napa Valley - Yountville -Vacaville

sunny 25 °C

Oxbow Market was a good place to head for a nice coffee at Ritual Coffee Roasters (and found French crepe for early morning tea). The market is like an indoor type market with individual shops around the edge including seafood, fresh veges, cupcakes, oysters, olives etc.
Napa Valley area has 13 Michelin star restaurants. French Laundry is one of those restaurants and we checked out the location. Lovely spot even if the name doesn't sound like it should be - Yountville. Thomas Keller owner and head chef also runs Bouchon and the Bouchon Bakery and it was a surprise to see him sitting outside chatting a few meters away, check out the surreptitious photo taken without looking like we were taking it.
Our picks around the wine areas would be Sonoma and Yountville - quite picturesque. Took the road up to Helena and there are some serious looking ornate out of this wold wineries along the way. The wine industry must be doing all right. Came back along the Silverado Trail to check out less busy highway.
Vacaville - stayed here as it meant we werent driving all day. If Wells Fargo pony express can stop here on the way to San Francisco so can we. Had lovely meal at a Mediterranean place Gourmet Exprezz. Divine. Polished off bottle number two Domaine Carneros which was even nicer than the first one we tried.
Gorgeous weather.

Posted by smilers2 09:19 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Vallejo - Sonoma Valley -Napa Valley

sunny 25 °C

Oh the joy of having clean clothes. A big coin operated laundromat in Richmond was the highlight of Saturday. An elderly Chinese lady (she really did run it) helped get us sorted and it was therapeutic to watch the grime and our smalls going round and round. Simon wasn't sure if we would have to wait for one to come free but there were plenty and it was clean. We had booked a room at a place in Vallejo so we wouldn't have to go far. Not sure why this place exists there can't be that many people doing laundry. Can't think of any other reason to stay in Vallejo.
Sunday and on to Sonoma and Napa wine country. Very pretty in old Sonoma. Visited the cheese factory. Being Mom's day here there were a lot of people around, at the park, in restaurants etc.
Visited 3 wineries Artesan, Domaine Carneros and Bouchaine. Wine tasting costs between $16 and $35 plus tax per person. Since Simon was driving we figured just visit the wineries and buy a bottle we can both enjoy. So dinner was a lovely bottle of Pinot noir, cheese from Sonoma valley and fresh Napa valley bread mmmmmmmm.
Staying at our first no breaky included so we've pulled out the weetbix.
It's lovely to slow the pace country style and no more early shift starts.
Happy birthday Aunty Fi for 13th xx

Posted by smilers2 07:55 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Bye Bye Brooklyn

sunny 22 °C

Gorgeous day to be in New York. Shorts and t-shirt weather finally.
Last morning at hotel for breaky. Been spoiled with choices, usually have frosties, bagel and apple juice. Simon goes for frosties, and waffles (that he makes with the waffle iron machine, his best was yesterday but still good to practice). All complimentary.
Walked Brooklyn Bridge and subway to DUMBO (stands for Down under Manhattan bridge overpass) an area in Brooklyn. Home to Grimaldi's pizza place which was well worth the wait. Leisurely stoll around the river promenade (Brooklyn bridge park), little snooze and read in the sun - just like being on holiday. We've done so much sightseeing and walking it was lovely to bask in the sunshine. Finished off at a bar for a Manhattan and struck it lucky with Happy Hour!
Early shift in the morning so setting alarm for 4.40am (what is that about on holiday). Note to self: think about get up time when booking plane tickets. Back to San Fran tomorrow for a spot of laundry, yippee.

Posted by smilers2 18:41 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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