10 Sep 2020

Napa and South Lake Tahoe

Yesterday I wrote about getting stuck in the wild fire area far Northern California and was thrilled to get to Napa for an evening of fun with our friends. We thought the fires were behind us, but look at the soot that we found on our car from that night. All of a sudden Napa was darkish and ugly sky also. So it was time to move on to South Tahoe.
The drive up through the Sierra Nevada Mountains was lovely and after we climbed to about 3,000 feet we saw blue sky for the first time in many hours of driving. Our first glimpse of Lake Tahoe was particularly thrilling as you can imagine.
We are staying at Edgewood Tahoe a new, extremely deluxe, hotel on the lake just inside Nevada. It has no casino.
On the second day here, the residual fire smoke caught up and even way up here we had to deal with it. It did make for an interesting photo though.
Dinner day one was with good cruise friends. Day two dinner was at the hotel and was the most elegant meal of the trip. Allyn had elk, which was a first for both of us. It is extremely low in fat and cholesterol, yet high in protein It had no gamey taste. Home run.

09 Sep 2020

Forest Fire

Some days just don't work out as planned. Today we were planning on a leisurely drive from far north California through the redwoods ending up in Napa Valley for a relaxing afternoon and dinner.
Not so fast. A new fire started and grew to the point of widespread evacuation at Willits on US 101. The problem was that was our route and there were virtually no alternatives including skipping Napa and just going east.
I found the one road that left 101 to the coast (Fort Bragg) and back to 101 on the other side Willits. It not only cost us two hours but it was the windiest steepest road either of us had travelled. It was 60 miles of torture.
Later on I read that the evacuation route was exactly what I charted out.
Early on, we did have one fun photo op at the one- log house.
At 1:30 it was dark out and smelled like a camp fire.
Finally we reached Sonoma County and then Napa where the sky was lighter although still clouded up. Grape vines stretched mile after mile. I wonder if the 2020 vintage will be terrible because of the smoke. Did you know that 2017 had serious fires locally and much of the wine juice had to be tossed because it smelled like cigarettes?
The latest rage in opening champagne is with a saber. Allyn did it her first time out.
While here we had dinner with our friends Dorrie and Dan. They were kind enough to bring us a bottle of his private stock that he produces with friends.

08 Sep 2020

Goodbye Oregon; Hello California

We spent six nights on the Oregon Coast and loved every minute of them.
Driving down the far southern coast of Oregon is the 12 mile Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. It is breathtaking and received our vote for the prettiest views along the Oregon and Washington coast. It is thickly forested along steep and rugged coastline with a few small sand beaches.
Then we crossed into California and in no time we were off the beach and in the beautiful Redwood Forest.
Did I tell you that these trees are BIG?

06 Sep 2020

Gold Beach, OR 2020

On the way to our final Oregon Coast stop we spent time in Florence to ride a Dune buggy and eat outside overlooking the water. How much fun is that? (The dune buggy part.) I was so glad that we decided to rent from James at ATV Rentals. The prices were competitive and on the sand we had both the best equipment and James personally showing us the ropes which made a big difference.
Our last two nights on the Oregon Coast were at Tu Tu Tun in Gold Beach, located on the bank of the Rogue River. It was our best hotel yet and best dinner of the trip yet by far. It is a destination place for ultimate chill.
They even had a miniature three hole pitch and putt "course" in front. The deer was so at home that I had to ask it to move when he blocked my short chip.
The highlight of this stop was the 64 mile round trip on the gorgeous Rogue River. We traveled with Jerry's Rogue Jets. To this day they still deliver the US Mail 32 miles upstream (where we visited) via boat up the river on this very boat.
We even saw a bald eagle. I still can't get over the camera quality of my iphone. The bird was so far away I couldn't hardly see it, yet here it is after significant enlargement.
Every so often the driver would purposely get all of us drenched. Absolutely everybody thought it was a hoot.... except me 

05 Sep 2020

Depoe Bay, OR 2020

We spent two days in Depoe Bay at The Whale Cove Inn. What a view from our room and, yet again, from our dinner table.
This quaint seaside beach town happens to be the world's smallest navigable harbor. More importantly, for its tourist business, is that it is the whale watching capital of Oregon. Plus it is lovely.
A professional photographer said "Thors Well, located on the Central Oregon Coast, is the most dramatic, awe-inspiring seascape to photograph on the entire West Coast." We visited it today and it was quite a sight indeed. Many folks (wrongly) think it is a sink hole that is draining the ocean.
Close by our hotel is Devil's Punchbowl, thought to have been formed when two caves collapsed. Try to visit during high tide; even better is during a storm.