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Monday, July 10, 2017

Two sips vs. one sip

Sharing a wine tasting seemed like the sensible thing to do this morning. But four wineries and one lunch later? Not so sure.

A nap then seemed sensible back at our bed and breakfast in McMinnville.

We started off at Vista Hills winery with its amazing vista. Hence the name.

Our bed and breakfast host. Martha, gave us Grapepicking 101 before we enjoyed our first tasting of the day at 10 a.m.

Then off to the mega new "clubhouse" (not a tasting room) at Domaine Serene for another shared tasting.

Another tasting or two before lunch at a nearby bistro.

So many Oregon wineries . . . and so little time.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A visit to the King Estate Winery

Quite scenic. The lavender on all sides of this humongous winery and tasting room makes for lots of photos.

And their restaurant is quite popular too. It seemed to be "grandfathered" from Oregon's laws limiting restaurants in tasting rooms. Guess the local towns with numerous restaurants have good lobbyists.

A day on "The Five"

After an early breakfast at the original Black Bear Diner in Shasta City, we drove four hours on I-5 to our first stop, King Estate winery.

Saw a few signs in both California and Oregon by the freedom loving folks clamoring since 1941 for the independent State of Jefferson. Wonder who they voted for?

Scarcely settled country indeed until we passed by Medford.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A mountain top wedding

Mount Shasta, CA
The incentive for a Left Coast visit in July was the two-day wedding weekend of the son of dear friends on a mountain top near Mount Shasta. Its snow-capped view peered out at us whenever we turned a corner.

And who knew that the temperature in the valley could still approach 100 degrees?

Thankfully, higher elevations brought relief.

The drive up to the wedding weekend site, however, was unnerving with sheer dropoffs. Guardrails? What guardrails?

The wedding ceremony was as sublime as the view. The bride and groom's close friend who officiated the vows even looked the part!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Rehearsal night party for all

I don't know what I'm measuring here.

Granola days in Shasta

A breakfast of granola and yogurt set the tone yesterday. I needed some "nerve tonic" too as we drove through Lassen Volcanic National Park on our way to Mount Shasta. LOTS of sharp dropoffs.

Only 7 miles of the southern park roads were open due to uncleared snow drifts, some 20 feet high. And this is July!

And did you know there is a town in California called "Weed"?

The scenery was more than spectacular. Lots of wildflowers for the foreground of photos. No bears seen though.

Bumpass Hell Trail was closed too--where Mr. Bumpass (what a name) fell through the thin crust over a bubbling mudpot and was severely burned many years ago.

After leaving Lassen, while stopped in traffic for a road project (AKA a road realignment), we were approached by a 4th-generation suspender-wearing logger stopped behind us in his white pickup truck. Our rental car NEW YORK license plate had caught his interest. And ire!

"Always wanted to see what New Yorkers looked like," he said after he tapped on my window. "Are you Communists?" he continued. My answer didn't appease him. "Virginians? Just as bad. Are YOU Communists?"

A somewhat unsettling conversation ensued in which he told us how much he hated Governor Jerry Brown and what was happening to our country. Plus the fact that he was "packing" and never left home without his gun.

Avis should NEVER rent a car with New York plates in this area of California!

After breakfast today, we took a short walk (not a hike in 99 degrees) at the originating spring that turns into the Sacramento River. Folks were gathering the clear water in bottles where the water gushed out.

This spot is sacred to Native Americans. Having a spiritual side to it, musicians had set up in small groups here and there. Nothing like the sounds of violins and cellos to put you in a reflective mood.

We came upon a camper taking a quick bath farther down the stream (no photo of that). And later a woman contemplating life along the stream.

VERY California! But we sit by the James River at home and do the same thing. VERY Virginia!

Stopped at a botanical garden before lunch in nearby Dunsmuir to get some ideas. Nothing here would survive the deer, vols and Virginia weather. Oh well.

After lunch at world-famous Yaks, we met up with my first and second cousins, once removed, for a short visit as they charged their Tesla at our Best Western.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sacramento day

We got up at 4 a.m. for an early morning flight to Sacramento, by way of Dallas, for Jonathan and Emma's wedding weekend at Mount Shasta. The Sacramento airport obviously found an artist who had a creative use for lost luggage.

After finishing lunch in Old Town Sacramento, a real Wild West town, we cruised by the State Capital to see where Jerry Brown spends so much time.

Then off to Davis when we realized it was so close and one of my dozen cousins lives there. Gave them an hour's notice that we'd be stopping by!

Then a long drive through miles and miles of trees. The "land of fruits and nuts" is not a slur. We saw unending orchards of walnut trees, almond trees, peach trees, kiwi trees, plum trees, and a few mystery groves as well.

One section of the beautifully stark landscape had been adopted by the Atheists of Yuba County. Obviously a reference to "God-forsaken country."

And did I mention how hot it was today?