Saturday, January 21, 2017

California - to Sacramento and back

On November 29, 2016 we started our journey north to Sacramento. Most of the stops were just a night or two so they will all be covered in this one post. First up was TulareThe drive here took us across the Tejon Pass which is so pretty. As you leave the pass the valley spreads out before you.

We stayed at the Sun & Fun RV ParkThe site was a back in with full hook-ups.
It was just long enough for the RV and parking the car, with the tow-dolly pushed slightly under the RV. They are very narrow so you are quite close to neighbors. WiFi was spotty and our Verizon signal was good. Laundry and bathrooms were clean and the park is well kept. Not much place in the park to walk the dog, but there is a large field across the street where she could run off lead. We paid $25.00 a night with our Passport America discount. The mornings were a little foggy which Nancy loves. Not much in Tulare, unless you like outlet shopping.


December 2, 2016 was moving day, today's destination was the Kit Fox RV Park in Patterson, CA. It has about 150 sites with a mix of permanent and over-nighters. The park is clean, as are the bathrooms and laundry. The sites are plenty long enough but rather narrow. The expressway is just far enough that you can't hear the noise and you have a pretty view of the mountains. Patterson is a fairly good sized town. Wifi was okay, spotty at times, our Verizon signal was strong and we payed $26.00 a night with our Passport America Discount. Most of the time here was spent on Christmas projects.

We finally made it to the Sacramento area on December 5, 2016. We stayed north of town in Dunnigan at the Happy Times RV Park
We stayed at this park a year ago. The sites are long and very wide with a nice grassy area with shade trees and a picnic table. We paid $25.00 a night, no discounts are available. There is no WiFi but our Verizon Jet Pack worked well. We did a little Christmas decorating while we were here. Using 3M command hooks we strung lights across the windshield and our tiny tree and Santas fit perfectly on the dashboard. 

Nancy and Mielikki enjoyed the surrounding area for their morning walks and of course Nancy had to get pictures of the experience. 
We come to this area because our friends Jan and Dave live here. Nancy and Jan worked together in Michigan at the International Center for Reiki Training. It is always so wonderful to spend time with them. Lots of laughs, food and of course many games of Yahtzee, this time we also played Pig. We had so much fun. 
They have a new addition to their family. Sky is a beautiful Min Pin rescue. Her and Mielikki had a great time together. 
Jan and Dave took us to a rock shop, Consolidate Rock and Gems in Vacaville. What a cool place. Then they treated us to lunch at one of their favorite places Mary's Pizza Shack, very good food
We hated saying Good-bye at the end of our two weeks, but we will be back again. 

Napa Valley was first on our list as we didn't get there the last time we were here.  
When we left home it was raining but we caught up with the edge of the storm and had clear skies the rest of the day. 
The drive there was through beautiful scenic hills and past the Monticello Dam.
One of the subdivisions as you enter Napa went all out for the holidays, they even decorated their stop signs. 

A stop at the Visitor Center armed us with maps and information to fill the rest of our day. The map marks all of the wineries, dining and lodging along the 29-mile stretch through the valley.
It is a beautiful drive through acres and acres of vineyards where old buildings and homes sit with mountains as the backdrop. The vineyards were filled with beautiful yellow wildflowers. 
We didn't go to Hall Winery but we did get a picture of their famous Hare.  

First stop was at Raymond Vineyards. Founded in 1970, it is a certified Biodynamic® winery, everything they do is organic and earth-friendly. 

There is a spot for taking pictures. They have larger than life frames hung between poles and chairs and stools to sit on. Les and Mielikki posed for Nancy. 
They have a Theater of Nature that takes you through the whole process of a biodiverse winery. You learn about the soil, plants and animals that are involved in the process. It was very interesting. 

They have a variety of tasting rooms, some you need to reserve in advance, like the Red Room or the Barrel Room. There are two tasting rooms for walk-ins, one is nestled in with the vats and is quite fancy with large
crystal chandeliers, beautifully set tables and a manikin or two hanging from trapeze bars. The plan had been to do a little wine tasting, but at $30 a person we decided to pass.
We enjoyed a walk down the Sensory Hallway. There is a long bar on the wall covered in swatches of silk, velvet, leather and course fabrics for you to touch. Each one is used to simulate the taste and texture of wine. Next to this is a row of large ceramic hands holding misters that cover the different aromas of the wines. It was a great experience. 

Next stop was the Castle Winery, what an amazing place. The cost of $45 a person was a little more than we wanted to spend to get inside. But the outside with its moat, animals, grapevines and chapel were so beautiful we really don't feel like we missed anything. 
Dario Sattui researched and studied medieval castles throughout Europe for decades before starting this project in 1993. It is 136,000-sq feet and has 107 rooms, 8 levels, four of which are underground, dungeons and a working drawbridge. 

The chickens have free range of the place and we are pretty sure the rooster thinks he owns the place!

The goats and sheep looked pretty content here, the goat in the tree kept going from tree to tree - it was a hoot to watch. 
There is an adorable little chapel on site. The views through the windows and doorways were beautiful. They could find their way into a mural one day. 

From Napa Valley we headed west towards the coast. We picked up Hwy 101 and took it south to Petaluma
A stop at the Seed Bank was a must, a fully organic seed store. It is located inside of an old bank building. We picked up a few Christmas stocking stuffers. So many things to plant and use. Check out their website - you won't be disappointed.

We arrived in Sonoma a little late to really explore but we drove through the town and then headed for home watching the full moon come up over the vineyards.

Old Sacramento is a fun little area of town. We explored it a little last time, but this trip we left the dog at home. It is filled with historical buildings, a train museum, shops and restaurants. It was very entertaining wandering in and out of all of the stores.

Worked on a number of Christmas presents and cards and enjoyed a few days of rest on this stop.

Gustine/Santa Nella
Good-byes were said on December 19, 2016 as we hit the road to head back south. It was quite the morning. Les took off in the RV to what we thought was an oil change while Nancy headed to Jan and Dave's in the car to drop off and pick up forgotten items. Nancy's stop went smoothly but when Les got to the repair place they said we didn't have an appointment even though our name was on their jobs board. Plus, they told us we would need to leave the RV for a few days, no mention of this when we set up the appointment. Seeing we live in it, that is not an option and don't know why that would be needed for an oil change. Needless to say we did not get the oil changed!
 Also while driving there one of the cupboard doors opened up and plates shattered all over the floor. Scared Les and Mielikki half to death. Not a good start to a travel day. 

Luckily the rest of the trip went well and we arrived at the Santa Nella RV Park in Gustine, CA with plenty of time to spare.  Another repeat park. This one the sites are very short but they give you two sites to angle across, so we were able to leave the car attached as we only stayed one night. We paid $28.80 a night with our Good Sam Discount. WiFi was okay and Verizon signal was strong. 
We had a bit of a cold spell so it was a frosty morning for a dog walk before we headed out.

We stopped back in Tulare at the Sun and Fun RV Park for the night of the 20th.
This time we were able to get a pull through spot which was great seeing we only spent one night.

The drive to our last stop in California took us through more rolling hills. It was a little foggy but still beautiful. We arrived in Barstow, on December 21, 2016 for just one night as we explored the town while on Route 66. We stayed at the Shady Lane RV ParkVery small and has a run down feel to it. 
The site was just long enough to keep the car attached and pretty narrow. We paid $39.00 a night with our Good Sam discount, this included $4.00 for 50 amp service and WiFi cost extra as well.  A bit steep for what you get. 
While walking the dog Nancy found the Vehicles from Hell, turns out they are a Roadside Oddity but she didn't know it at the time! They were built by Greg and Ed Parker and have appeared in a few cheesy local films.

Next up - Lake Havasu, AZ. Home to the London Bridge. 

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way.
~~ Flat tires are never fun
Every now and then your tires need a little boost and keeping them at the right pressure helps with gas mileage. Putting air in your car tires at a gas station is rather simple, but not always easy for the RV. Plus if your tire is low you don't really want to drive on it. 
Our solution to this is a portable air compressor. We picked this one up at Harbor Freight for around $25.00. It's easy to use and compact for storing. You plug it into your charger in the car and the cord is 10-feet and the air tube is about 5-feet so plenty of length. When needed on the RV we move the car next to the tire and we are all set to go. 

No comments:

Post a Comment