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Muir Woods Day Trip

Posted by olemike on 07/24/2013

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We have been having some pretty hot weather here lately so Leona and I decided we needed to take a “Stay Cool” day trip – what better place for that than the California North Bay. We stayed at the home of Poor Mans Whiskey  (actually my son’s house in Santa Rosa) on a Saturday night and left early Sunday morning for Muir Woods.  We took a number of good pictures.  The one I like best is the cut-away that shows the age of the tree relative to many years ago.

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According to this picture, the tree would be about 1100 years old.  That’s hard to imagine.  It’s not every day that one touches something that old.

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I did think it was interesting that right in the middle of huge Redwood trees, there was giant boulder showing.
After leaving Muir Woods, we traveled on up the coast to Stinson Beach.  There were quite of few folks there picnicking and playing volleyball.

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After leaving Stinson Beach, we stopped in the little town of Olema for lunch.  We are at the Olema Farm House restaurant.  Leona ate Salmon and I had Fish and Chips.  They were both excellent.  We ate on the patio.  It was a gorgeous day.

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We finished the day with some ice cream in the little town of Tomales and then headed home to the heat of Roseville.  Our “Stay Cool” jaunt was over.

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Northern California Daytrip – Rio Vista

Posted by olemike on 02/04/2013

Road to Rio Vista

Road to Rio Vista

After my sister-in-law had read my last post about Granzella’s where they have many mounted heads on the wall, she told us about another restaurant/bar in Rio Vista that also has a similar theme.  So – we thought we should give it a look-see.

From the Sacramento area, we took highway 160 which basically follows the Sacramento river all the way down to Rio Vista.  We passed through many small  towns such as Freeport, Courtland, Walnut Grove, and Isleton.  Most of these places had seen better days but there was still some activity in numerous places.  In fact, Courtland is known for growing Bartlett pears in the area.  They have a pear festival each year in July.  We saw many boat docks, fields of pear trees, and passed over three or four drawbridges as Highway 160 meandered along alternatively on both sides of the river.  It was a beautiful drive.  Check out the pictures.

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After we reached Rio Vista, Fosters Bighorn restaurant was pretty easy to find – “especially when you have Google maps”.  They were fairly busy and just as we were leaving, a large contingent of bikers arrived and almost completely filled up the place.

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We just had sandwiches for lunch.

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They were pretty tasty although most likely not very healthy.

They had lots of animal heads on the walls.  There was a huge elephant head.  Check out the tusks on the wall.  It’s kind of sad to think about all of these animals being killed just for display.

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After lunch we headed home.  We took a few more pictures and got one of a new pear orchard being built.  It’s fairly interesting to see how they lay out the field.

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It was a nice drive.  We saw lots of pretty country that we had not traveled before.

If anyone has suggestions for day trips in California, I’d be glad to hear from you.

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Northern California Day Trip

Posted by olemike on 01/09/2013

Day Trip Route

The gloomy days got to us.  We had to get out of the house.  But – what to do?  We finally decided on an afternoon drive up to the little town of Williams, California and it’s great local dining hole – Granzella’s.  If you are going north on I-5, this is a “must stop”.Almond Trees

The weather was very gloomy but we did see numerous interesting things on the drive up.  There are lots of Almond  and Walnut orchards, Vineyard

New Planting

vineyards, and tons of rice fields.  These pictures are not very easy to see because it was a very gloomy, overcast day.

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We were amazed at how many rice fields there are in the northern central valley.  After we got home, I did a little research on growing rice.  Did you know that the fields are flooded to about 5 inches deep, then sowed by airplane, and remain with 5 inches of water in the fields until such time as the rice is ready to harvest.  The fields are then drained and dried out enough to enter with the harvesting equipment.  The rice is then processed and dried until ready for sale or shipment to end users.  Here is a grain processing plant at Sutton, CA.  These are some huge drying/storage bins.

Trinidad Denham Corp

This facility is operated by Trinidad Denham Corp whose headquarters are located in Denver, CO.  This company is the largest packer of beans, rice, and popcorn in the U.S.

Anyway, back to Granzella’s.  We have been stopping here off and on for about 10 years.  It has always been a good place to eat.  It recently burned down (2007), but was rebuilt and it is better than ever.  The food was always outstanding and now the new facility also looks really nice.  The clientele looks to be a mixture of locals and road traffic from I-5.  The restaurant is only about 200 yards from the freeway.

They have a very nice deli counter, lots of specialty items, a great selection of olives and wine, and two dining areas.  The first is the regular dining room and secondly, they serve food in the bar.  We like to eat there.  The bar area is lined with mounted heads of big game shot by the original owners.

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It was about a 5 hr. ride from start to finish.  We had a great lunch and saw lots of nice farm country.  It is always fun to drive through small farm towns to see what is unique about each one.

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Blueberry Farm Day Trip

Posted by olemike on 11/26/2012

This past Sunday we decided to take a short day trip up to Diamond Springs, CA to the Skyridge Blueberry Farm.  It is in the Sierra Nevada foothills close to Placerville, CA.

We didn’t know quite what to expect since this is the off-season for blueberries.  However, we wanted to get out of the house for a while so off we went.  As you can see by this  picture we didn’t get to see much at the farm.

However, we did have a beautiful drive.

The weather was perfect for a late November day.  We also stopped at a flea market in Diamond Springs.

My favorite picture is the one with the dog and his cap.  His owner put the cap on him, told him not to move, then left him there.  The dog didn’t move an inch.

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North Coast Adventure 2012

Posted by olemike on 10/24/2012

My sister, Phyllis, from San Antonio, Texas, recently came for a visit.  She, Leona, and I took a small road trip over to Santa Rosa and then up the north coast of California to Ft.Bragg.

We hit a number of local sights and entertaining stops along the way.  They were:

  • Putah Creek Cafe in Winters, CA   We started our small vacation by having lunch here.  Trust me,  the food is just as good as they say it is.  Even on a Monday, they were very busy for lunch.
  • Sonoma’s Best Cafe in Sonoma, CA.  We have been to this little store previously but it is always a “must stop” when we are in this neck of the woods.  It has a great little patio out back for having coffee and conversation.
  • Healdsburg, CA. town square  Healdsburg has a great little town square with lots of quaint shops and restaurants.  We weren’t here too long.  We had a cup of coffee at Starbucks and walked the square.  However, we were there a little early and some of the shops were not yet open.  So, on to Boonville.
  • Boonville, CA.  Boonville is a small town of about 1400 in the Anderson valley..  They have a thriving wine community.  The coastal weather is favorable for growing certain types of grapes here.  See the web site for more info.  I am definitely not a wine connoisseur.  I know what I like and that’s about it.
  • Mendocino, CA.  This is a quaint little town formerly known for being the setting for the “Murder She Wrote” TV show.  (I may be showing my age here).  However, people of all ages will enjoy walking around this place.  Lots of nice shops and restaurants with a heavy focus on what I call Artsy-Fartsy.  This is a favorite destination of artists.
  • Ft. Bragg, CA. We spent two nights in Ft. Bragg.  Our main focus here was to take the Skunk Train ride.  We had dinner one night at the wharf.  Had some good seafood and got a terrific picture of the sunset.  I have pictures of both.
  • Skunk train in Ft. Bragg, CA.  This was an interesting experience.  I had never before rode a train.  We traveled two hours up through the redwood forest toward Willits, CA.  We stopped about halfway there, had snacks at a lunch stop, and then returned to Ft. Bragg.  It was much more fun riding outside on the return trip.  It was a bit chilly but a lot of scenic views to see.  There was an entertainer on the train who was very good on the guitar and regaled us with lots of train songs.
  • Jimtown Store in the Alexander Valley This little store is a favorite stop for bicyclists and folks out for a Sunday drive through the beautiful Alexander Valley wine country.  It is always a favorite stop for us when we are in the area.  I especially like the grapes hanging on the back picnic patio.  Check out their “About” page on the web site for detailed information about the store.
  • Taylors Drive In in St. Helena, CA.  No trip through the Napa valley would be complete without stopping for a burger at Taylors (now names Gotts).  It was recently featured on “Diners, Dives, and Drive-in”.  ‘Nuff said!
  • Dean and DeLuca store in St. Helena, CA.  And last but not least, we always enjoy stopping here.  This is a neat store in the Napa Valley with lots of wine and wine accessories – like cheese, crackers, etc.  Actually, they have a lot more than that.  That’s just what I like.

We saw some beautiful country and many intriguing little places.  The drive from Healdsburg to Ft. Bragg is blessed with natural beauty like giant redwoods or the ocean view from the Mendocino coast.  And the ride on the Skunk Train was spectacular.   We saw one redwood tree that was about 300 ft. tall and we also saw what is called a springboard.  This is where lumberjacks used to stand while cutting giant redwoods.  I have one picture of it.  I had to take it as the train went by.

I have added links to almost every place we went.  Please read those for more detailed info about our stops.  My gallery pictures are not in exactly the order in which we experienced the trip but I think you will be able to tell where they were taken.  Enjoy!

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San Francisco Day Trip

Posted by olemike on 10/01/2012

What a day this was!  For some time, we had been planning on taking Kaitlyn and Zackary for a trip to San Francisco for a cable car ride.  We went via a Ferry Boat  from the Vallejo ferry terminal.

It takes just about an hour to get to Pier 41 which is almost right at Fisherman’s Wharf.  Some of the more picturesque sights we saw along the way were the Richmond bridge,  the Golden Gate bridge, and Alcatraz.   It is a beautiful ride.

We couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather than we experienced.  It was a perfect fall day.

Even though I have ridden the cable cars many times, I always still enjoy it.  We also had a good time talking to others waiting in line (about an hour).  We met some folks from Illinois, Connecticut, and Kansas.

We also happened to be in the wharf area when a cruise ship came steaming into the SF bay.  The thing was huge.  Take a look.

And a day in San Francisco must include some ice cream at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory.  It’s always a great way to end the visit.

Needless to say, we were all exhausted (well,  at least Leona and I were).  I did fall asleep on the return Ferry ride.  We certainly slept good last night.

I am now waiting for some of my Missouri friends and relatives to come out and take this trip with us.  Yes, you know who you are.  You won’t regret it.

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Boonville, MO Day Trip

Posted by olemike on 08/19/2012

While I was in Missouri for my high school reunion, we (sister Phyllis w/husband Charles, cousin Linda and her husband Wendell)

took a day trip to Boonville, MO from Clinton, MO.

Clinton is located in central Missouri pretty close to Truman Lake.  I was raised in Osceola, MO and have numerous relatives who still live in the area.  We drove to Boonville to learn about some of our ancestors – primarily a woman named Hannah Cole.  Her granddaughter was my great-grandmother.  Hannah was one of the first white women to cross the Mississippi river heading west.  She was born in 1754  and died in 1843.  She is one of the more notable historical figures around the Boonville area in the early 1800’s.

Besides checking out the statue of Hannah Cole in the downtown area,

we drove by numerous old houses in town and took a few pictures of the Missouri river as well.  We also stopped by the graveyard where Hannah Cole is buried.

Boonville, Mo. is a beautiful old town with lots of historical significance.  It was a key trading area for people moving west.

During our drive through Central Missouri, we saw some beautiful country – fields of crops common to that area.  How about these “amber waves of grain”?

One thing that I was on the lookout for was an old decaying barn that hadn’t been used in years.  They have always intrigued me.  It was ironic that the best one we saw to take a picture of formerly belonged to my uncle who lived just up the road from us.

Another item of interest that I have a picture of is a “Quilt Barn“.  There are a number of these in the central Missouri area.  Check out this link for additional info.

One of the highlights of my Missouri trip was a tour of the Clinton Museum.  Wendell works as a docent there and he gave us a great tour.  Although we were not supposed to take pictures, I admit I did sneak a few.  Here is one that I couldn’t resist.  Have you ever heard the term “Going to hell in a handbasket?”  This is a handbasket used for just that purpose.  The basket was used to move bodies many years ago.

I was also impressed with the murals being painted on the walls on the Clinton square  Here are two pictures.  This guy is really good.

We also stopped by an Amish Grocery store.  While there, I took this picture of what I call the “Amish Motor Pool”.

Lastly, I would urge anyone interested in  things to see in  Missouri to check out the Katy Trail.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any good pictures to show.

Missouri is a beautiful state. If you are traveling across the country, you should check it out.  I’m proud to say I’m from the “Show Me” state.  And by the way, it is pronounced Missour-ah, not Missour-ee.  Well, some of us say it that way.

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Jimtown Store – Northern California Day Trip

Posted by olemike on 05/03/2012

A day trip in the Alexander Valley – what could be better? Recently, my honey and I did just that. We had been in Santa Rosa, CA visiting relatives (Jason, Janaize, Georgia, and Caroline)

and decided to take a short trip to the Jimtown Store just northeast of Healdsburg.

It is a fantastic little place that is great for stopping when you are on a Sunday drive or a weekend wine tour.

It is a good place to have lunch when driving through the area. The thing I like most is the little picnic area in back. There are grape vines covering the patio and in the fall, clumps of grapes hang from the ceiling.

They have a nice lunch counter and various items for sale. In addition, they have antiques in the back of the store. The food is good and the service is great. If you are in the area, I highly recommend a stop at the Jimtown Store.

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Sonoma’s Best – Northern California Day Trip

Posted by olemike on 02/13/2012

On a recent trip to the Sonoma valley, we stopped at “Sonoma’s Best” store and deli.

We were very pleased at what we found.  Not only do they have a deli,

a wine store,

a coffee bar,

an outside seating area,

and a raised bed garden,

they also have adjoining cottages, Les Petites Maisons, which are perfect for a romantic getaway.  The owners, Tom and Gayle Jenkins, have renovated the property and have created a very attractive place to visit – whether for just a cup of the Blue Bottle coffee or to spend the weekend.

Please don’t visit Sonoma without a stop at Sonoma’s Best.

You’ll be glad you did.

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Texas Golf Wrap-Up

Posted by olemike on 11/17/2011

All good things must end.  We had a wonderful time in San Antonio – not only because of the golf but also because of the other things we were able to do.  Plus, lots of great family interaction and conversation.  Sunday and Monday was spent taking people to the airport – Jason’s family on Sunday and Eric on Monday.  Early Tuesday morning, Phyllis, Leona and I headed back to California by way of El Paso, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon south rim, Las Vegas and finally home.  It was a long drive.  We spent two nights in Las Vegas.  We went to the Rio Seafood buffet the 2nd evening.  Unfortunately, it was not near as good as I remember it being at previous times.  They no longer have the Rock Lobster that was so good.

I am posting a few pictures that we took on the way home.  If you haven’t been to the Grand Canyon, you should go.  It is amazing.

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