Tag Archive | California

2011 Insomnia Cabernet Sauvignon

We can’t always drink expensive wine, so tonight we tried out a very affordable California Cabernet Sauvignon from Insomnia Wines in Buellton, California.  It was only $9 with the six bottle discount at Fred Meyer.

On the nose, there is lot of smoke and tobacco.  On the palate there are flavors of ripe figs, more smoke and tobacco, and vanilla on the finish.  As big as that sounds, this wine is very approachable, with enough fruit to make it an easy drinking wine.

I paired it with bratwurst baked in beer – an India Pale Ale, and vegetables baked in Greek dressing – red beets, carrots, red potatoes and cabbage.  It was delicious!

2011 Insomnia Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Insomnia Cabernet Sauvignon

And the extra bonus is the label – the label is actually a hologram, so when you look at it from different angles, the eyes change.  Too bad it doesn’t show in the photo…  Just proving that I am still a sucker for a good label.

California Marathon Road Trip: Gundlach Bundschu

Our second winery stop was at Gundlach Bundschu – good luck trying to pronounce that name!  It is the oldest continuously family-owned winery in California.  It was founded by Jacob Gundlach in 1858 as Rhinefarm, with Charles Bundschu joining the company in 1868 – originally the farm in Sonoma was about 400 acres.  It was renamed Gundlach Bundschu in 1894 and at the turn of the 20th century the company was producing about 250,000 cases of wine each year.

Up until that point the winery facility was located in San Francisco, but the production facilities and about a million gallons of wine were destroyed by the earthquake in 1906.  They moved the production facility to Sonoma after the quake and then Prohibition hit.

During prohibition the winery closed its doors, and all but 130 acres of the farm were sold – the family managed to make a living selling grapes for juice and raising cattle.  After prohibition, the farm began selling grapes to Inglenook, Almaden and then Louis Martini wineries, but didn’t reopen the winery until the 1970s.

The winery now produces about 25,000 cases total – I believe all their wines are estate grown.  They have a huge tasting room with a gorgeous outdoor patio area; seems that they do a lot of events.  Too bad it was too cold to sit outside and enjoy the view!

Gundlach Bundschu Patio

Gundlach Bundschu Patio

Gundlach Bundschu was a fun winery; our server was Columbian and he was super friendly.  We tried Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.  We both loved the Zin!  It was fruit forward and balanced, without losing structure.  There was a lot of pepper and spice on the Merlot, and the Chardonnay was a nice acidic wine with a light balanced oak on the back of the palate.  The only wine I didn’t really like was the Gewürztraminer.  I liked it at first taste – it was semi-sweet with citrus, but there was a floral finish on the back of the palate that didn’t appeal to me.

Gundlach Bundschu Tasting Room

Gundlach Bundschu Tasting Room

While we were there several other groups came in, and you can tell they have a loyal following.  Which isn’t surprising, given the quality of the wine.  What a fantastic visit!

California Marathon Road Trip: The California Delta

After our visit to the John Muir National Historic Site, we decided to take the scenic route back to Roseville.  We found CA Highway 160 and set off into the California Delta.  The reality is that much of the area just south and west of Sacramento is a delta; in its natural state the California Delta is a freshwater marsh with significant annual flooding, and a series of channels and sloughs with islands of peat.  The official name is the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta because it is located at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers.

Beginning in the mid 1800s enterprising Americans decided that seasonal floods didn’t really work for them, so they set out to control nature and remade the Delta into fertile farmland that now rarely floods.  The rivers are contained with high built up levees on either side, which happens to be perfect for a highway, right?  The delta also happens to deliver a significant amount of the water supply for the San Joaquin Valley and southern California through an elaborate pump system.

So you drive along an elevated road, with the slow moving river on one side and large farmhouses on the other, and you feel like you have been transported into the Louisiana bayou, only with less vegetation and no Spanish moss.  And no alligators.  I imagine that in the summer the heat is probably pretty similar to the south, but perhaps with less humidity.  But otherwise it is EXACTLY the same.  Really.  And there are probably just as many mosquitoes.

One of the many bridges spanning the river

One of the many bridges spanning the river

Along the way, we stopped in a couple of small towns that modern life seems to have largely passed by.  Isleton (population 804) announced that it had a historic point of interest, so we set off to find out what is was.  It wasn’t clearly marked, so I’m not exactly sure what we were looking for or if we found it, but what we did find was a small town with several turn of the last century buildings in various states of disrepair.

The second story of an abandoned building in Isleton – its Chinese immigrant past still visible.

The second story of an abandoned building in Isleton – its Chinese immigrant past still visible.

And we found a woman who seemed to be on drugs, who proceeded to follow us around and stop where we stopped, and continue when we did, peeking into cars along the way.  So, due to the fact that this woman was creeping Jon out, we didn’t hang around long in Isleton.  Note: there were an awful lot of cars parked along the main street for as dead as the town appeared to be.  We could only find a handful of businesses that were actually open (or in business for that matter); certainly not enough to justify the number of cars that were parked.  We also found that stereotypical car covered with cats – so we took a photo of that too.

A couple of the more maintained buildings in downtown Isleton, California

A couple of the more maintained buildings in downtown Isleton, California

Cats on Cars

Cats on Cars

Our next stop on the Delta was in the historic town of Locke.  Locke was founded in 1915 by Chinese immigrants who were prevented from living in the nearby communities with whites.  This was once a thriving town with a Chinese school, traditional Chinese doctors, and restaurants and shops catering to the Chinese population.  You can see what it once was by the Chinese writing remaining on some of the buildings.  Technically, Locke isn’t a town, but an unincorporated area, but the historic buildings and its connection as a Chinese immigrant community earned it a designation as a National Historic Landmark District.

A row of historic buildings in Locke, California

A row of historic buildings in Locke, California

Someone (I cannot remember who) had told me that Locke was a quaint little historic town with art galleries and shops.  What we found wasn’t quite what I would describe as quaint – although it was certainly trying.  There were only a few shops open – a couple of art galleries and a consignment shop.  And a tiny little museum on the history of the Chinese in the area.  And wow, historic is an understatement!

Locke has as many abandoned buildings as it does occupied ones – and some of them seem dangerously close to falling down.  I would not want to be in Locke when the next earthquake hits California!  The upside was that there weren’t any tweakers in Locke, and it did give me the opportunity to take some interesting photos of the old, run-down buildings.  Other than that though, it wasn’t much of a destination – I was glad we had just chanced upon it rather than heading out there with a plan to spend awhile…

One of the not so well maintained buildings in Locke

One of the not so well maintained buildings in Locke

Our cruise of the California Delta was certainly interesting and beautiful, giving me an opportunity to see something new in California.  Jon lived in Sacramento for a few years and never knew this was right outside of the city!  This is definitely not a world of strip malls and pavement.  And at the end of our delta tour we happened upon a converted beet sugar mill – I will post about that next!

Have you ever visited the California Delta?  What did you think?

California Marathon Road Trip: Martinez Adobe at John Muir NHS

In my last post, I gave you a glimpse into our visit to the John Muir National Historic Site, and the house that John Muir owned and lived in during his later years.  Also on the property is an 1849 adobe home, called the Martinez Adobe, located on a section of the Juan de Bautista de Anza historic trail.

The land that the adobe is located on is the Rancho El Pinole, a Mexican land grant of 17,761 acres that was given to Ygnacio Martinez in 1842.  To fulfill the terms of the land grant Martinez built an adobe house, but that’s not the one that is standing today.  The current adobe house was built in 1849 by his son, Vicente Martinez, a year after Ygnacio’s death.  The property was divided up over the years, and the adobe and the land nearby was purchased by John Strentzel (John Muir’s father in law) in 1875.

Martinez Adobe, built 1849 – Adobe Construction

Martinez Adobe, built 1849 – Adobe Construction

The adobe is interesting for what it is, but not completely authentic (a wood section has been added on to the home).  However, the home is set up with an exhibit on the Juan Bautista de Anza historic trail, which follows the route of the 1775-1776 expedition by the Mexicans from Tubac Presidio in Southern Arizona, up through California.  Although the mission was funded and organized by Mexico, the colonists that traveled with Anza were from several areas around the world, including Spain, Basque, Mexico, other parts of Europe and Africa.

An outdoor oven at the Martinez Adobe

An outdoor oven at the Martinez Adobe

We had visited the Presidio State Historic Park in Tubac, Arizona, where the mission departed from, and had seen the signs of the route, but had never stopped at any of the historic sites.  So it was interesting to learn a bit about the end point of the expedition.

The exhibit included some of the history of the Oohlone tribe, who were decimated by disease when the colonists arrived.  It was a good reminder of the not so nice parts of the history of this nation.  The exhibit also documented information about area citizens who belong to the Oohlone tribe, as well as citizens descended from the settlers from the Anza expedition.

The adobe doesn’t take much time to tour, and it provided some great information on a piece of our history that I didn’t know much about.  It was well worth the time.

California Marathon Road Trip: John Muir National Historic Site

The day before Jon’s race, we decided we would head over to the John Muir Mansion in Martinez, CA.  John Muir is considered the father of the National Park Service, and I bet many of you didn’t know he lived in a 10,000 square foot mansion at the end of his life!  He was born in Scotland in 1838 (shout out to my Scottish roots!) and the family immigrated to Wisconsin in 1849 when Muir was 11 years old.  He had a tough childhood, with a father who did not appreciate John’s desire for education.  He had to get up in the middle of the night after his father went to bed, in order to read and study.

He and his brother both went to Canada during the Civil War to avoid the draft.  Then, after the war, as a young man, John was working in a factory making wagon wheels, where his intelligence led to several inventions that would make production more efficient.  Until one day, an industrial accident left him with a cornea that had been pierced by a tool he had been using.  John was instructed by his doctor to leave his eyes bandaged and to sit in a darkened room for six weeks.  SIX WEEKS!  Just sitting there in the dark!

Poor John was about to go insane; the only thing that kept him on this side of sanity was imagining his walks in the countryside.  He imagined and remembered an entire childhood of walks in the country alone and with his family, and was able to make it through the completely incapacitated month and a half.  His cornea healed.

His six weeks with no vision led to a turning point for John; he decided that he couldn’t continue with the life that he had been living; he wanted to do something that would make a difference.  He started down a path of wilderness exploration, and attempting to preserve that wilderness for future generations.  He set out on a trek around the United States, first heading south to the southern states, to Cuba, to New York, then making his way out west and stopping Yosemite, where he was so enthralled that he spent the next four years.

Eventually he began to crave human company again, and ended up in the small agricultural town of Martinez, California, where he met his future wife Louisa Strentzel (she was Polish, so shout out to my Polish roots too!), and began working for her family’s fruit farm.  He made a fortune growing fruit  – apples, pears, figs, quince, wine grapes (Flame Tokay, Muscat of Alexandria and Zinfandel).  There were once 2,600 acres on the fruit farm, but that is down to 325 acres now.

The Italianate Mansion John Muir lived in during his later years

The Italianate Mansion John Muir lived in during his later years

John and Louisa married in 1880 and had two daughters together, who he raised to love and appreciate nature.  When his father-in-law passed away, he and his wife inherited the 10,000 square foot mansion on the hill.  They moved into the mansion in 1890; the house was built in 1883.  However, after years living on the farm, Muir began going a bit stir-crazy so his wife offered to take over the daily operations of the farm so Muir could go back to doing what he loved – traipsing through the wilderness and working towards conservation of the nation’s wild areas.

The house is amazing, and has been restored to what it looked like in Muir’s time.  It is 14 rooms, with a bell tower above the attic that gives a 360 degree view of what was once the estate.  After the earthquake in 1906 damaged the fireplace in the living room, Muir had a gigantic man-fireplace built.   It looked a bit out of place in a refined Victorian mansion – it seemed like it belonged more in a mountain lodge.  We got to check out the scribble den, which is what Muir called his study, and where many of his preservation writings originated.  The self-guided tour also included the bell tower at the top of the house, and the attic space – they had a lot of storage up there!

The front sitting room at the John Muir Mansion – with one of the original marble fireplaces

The front sitting room at the John Muir Mansion – with one of the original marble fireplaces

The fireplace John Muir built after the 1906 earthquake – this one is much more robust

The fireplace John Muir built after the 1906 earthquake – this one is much more robust

John Muir had some major successes – Yosemite was designated the first National Park in California in 1890, protected for the ages from development.  He played a major role in the establishment of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State.

The Scribble Den – John Muir wrote at the table by the window

The Scribble Den – John Muir wrote at the table by the window

He also had some failures – the Tuolumne River was dammed in 1923, flooding the spectacular Hetch Hetchy Valley.  Muir had fought the project to build a dam that would provide water to the San Francisco Bay area, but despite his efforts, legislation was passed in 1913 by Woodrow Wilson to move forward with the dam.  The defeat was devastating to Muir.

John Muir brought this Sequoia to the property as a seedling from Yosemite

John Muir brought this Sequoia to the property as a seedling from Yosemite

In the end, although he didn’t live to see the fruition of a lot of his life’s dreams, he was instrumental in protection of the Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon National Parks in Arizona, Glacier National Park in Alaska, Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in California, and in my own backyard, Mount Rainier in Washington.  In addition, Muir began a national debate about the importance of preservation, and not allowing the need for resources to blind us to the need to have wild areas preserved for future generations.

The debate continues today, and because of that, when John Muir died on Christmas Eve in 1914, he died a very rich man.

California Marathon Road Trip: Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

In an attempt to get me to California again after I told Jon that our next trip would not be in Cali, he signed up to run his first ever full marathon on December 8th.  The California International Marathon.  In California.  But with those sweet puppy dog eyes and his desire to do the run where the weather was warmer, and where he lived for a few years, how could I say no?  Yes, I’m a sucker…

So off we went.  As is usual on our road trips, we headed out directly after work the first evening to get a jump on the drive.  The first night’s drive was to Eugene, and there was a risk of snow.  Luckily, it held off, and we spent the night in Eugene under cloudy, 17 degree skies.  We got up early – before 6!, after arriving just before midnight and getting only about 5 hours sleep.  Next up, the drive from Eugene to Sacramento.  We got on the road just after 7 – after scraping all the windows and spending several minutes warming up the car.  The Siskyous awaited.  Of mountain passes, the Siskyous can be treacherous in snow, with the highest elevation at 4610 feet!  Fortunately, we passed through bare and mostly dry roads, with only a light dusting of snow on the ground at the edge of the road.  We heard that Eugene got 7 inches of snow later that day – so we certainly lucked out…

Not much snow on Mount Shasta, December 5, 2013

Not much snow on Mount Shasta, December 5, 2013

The rest of the drive was uneventful, with us enjoying a few of the vantage points along the way, and a quick stop for a lunch at Subway.  Then we made our way to just outside of Willows, California.  Willows is home to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge.  I had read about it on the internet, and saw that December and January are the peak season for the refuge, when it has the highest numbers of migrating birds for the winter.  Jon wasn’t as excited about the refuge, mostly because it is about 75 miles north of Sacramento, and he was envisioning driving all the way back to the refuge after we had already arrived in Sacramento.  When I told him we could stop on the way down (assuming the drive didn’t take too long), he checked out their website and got a bit more intrigued.

For a little history, the area where the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge sits was once known as the Colusa Plains, a windswept plain with short grasses and shrubs.  However, much of the area in Sacramento and immediately surrounding it was a wetland delta.  It would flood in the winter, and dry out in the summer.  That makes for extremely fertile soil, with all the nutrients which are deposited there during the seasonal floods.   Before the turn of the last century, settlers began damming the creeks and rivers to prevent the delta from flooding.  By the 1930s, the landscape had been dramatically altered.

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Red Tailed Hawk Checking Us Out

The Emergency Conservation Fund Act of 1933 was tasked with providing habitat and breeding areas for migratory birds, because so much of the original wetland areas had been lost to agriculture.  Bring in the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, who set to work creating this area of now federally protected land, using bulldozers and shovels to artificially create a delta.  The flooding is mechanically induced each season, with a series of pipes and valves releasing water from the river into the delta.

Out for an afternoon stroll

Ring Necked Pheasant – Out for an afternoon stroll

The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge is part of a complex of five different refuges, and three Wildlife Management Areas that are administered together by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Admission is $6 to the refuge for the day, or an annual pass is a steal at $12 – the other refuges in the complex have no admission fees.

Butts Up Everybody!

Butts Up Everybody!

The birds don’t care whether the flooding is natural or man-made.  They have flocked back to the area over the years, with MILLIONS of ducks and geese, songbirds and hawks overwintering here.  There is a 2 mile walking tour, where the birds were not hanging out the day of our visit; but we did see muskrats (or otters, not sure which), some mallards, deer, and Jon saw a jackrabbit.    There is also a 6 mile driving tour, which you can do at your own pace.  The day we were there, there were only three other cars, so we mostly felt that we were entirely alone.  They will even loan you binoculars at the visitor’s center (we brought our own).

Red Winged Blackbird

Red Winged Blackbird

In a word, we were awestruck – the sheer numbers of birds on the marsh, feeding, sleeping, preening and occasionally taking flight, was spectacular.  We saw hawks watching birds, and even saw a hawk with a kill (he was a bit too far away to see what he had though).  We saw great egrets hunting, deer wading in the water for better feeding grounds, and we even saw two ring necked pheasants.  This is easily a few of the best hours I have spent in my life.

Great Egret

Great Egret

Getting in a Scratch While Crossing the Delta

Getting in a Scratch While Crossing the Delta

We watched one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen, and then continued on our way to Sacramento.   And almost a month later, Jon is still saying this is one of the best experiences he has ever had, so if you can, GO.

The Sunset at the Refuge was Fantastic

The Sunset at the Refuge was Fantastic

Farewell from the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Farewell from the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Farewell to Another Year – See you later 2013!

And just like that, another year has flown by and it is time for another annual recap.  The top 10 for another (mostly) great year in chronological order, rather than order of importance, are:

1. Jon and I took our first trip to Walla Walla wine country, after Jon ran his 3rd half marathon in Richland, WA.  He placed 3rd in his age division and 11th overall!  We had some great food, great wine, and visited the Whitman Mission National Historic Site.

2.  My dear sweet bitchy kitty Martini went home to the angels after losing her battle with lymphoma on March 1.  I’ll never know how old she was, but I will always remember the nine years I got to spend with her.  And unless you are Oliver, to know her was to love her…

3.  Jon and I took a fantastic road trip to California, down the coast through the Redwoods, the Anderson Valley wine country, San Francisco, Monterey and finally Sacramento.  We saw huge trees, big elk, lighthouses, one of the world’s most awesome paintings, and we ate great food, tasted great wine, and saw great views.  And I puked.  Several times.  Ten days and almost 2,500 miles later, we came home exhausted and thoroughly spent, but happy and with memories to last a lifetime.

4.  On April 20, this sucker for a cute baby brought home sweet Coraline, a six month old kitten who was brought to my vet’s office after being dumped on a farm.  She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, but she does love her kibble.

5.  I got to indulge my inner nerd in June with a trip to Antiques Roadshow in Boise!  We didn’t make it on the show, but if you are interested in watching other people from the Northwest, the 3 hours are airing on January 6, January 13, and January 20 (who knows, maybe the back of my head will be on!).  Although we can’t fund our retirement by selling our treasures, we had a blast, and had a great time seeing the Old Idaho Penitentiary and the World Center for Birds of Prey.

6.  I completed my fourth (on September 1 in wine country!) and fifth (on October 5 at home for a great cause!) half marathons.  Next year, I will have several friends testing their resolve with me!

7.  Jon and I enjoyed a weekend trip to Olympic National Park, where we hiked in the Hoh Rain Forest and listened to the crashing waves of Rialto Beach.  Although Hurricane Ridge gave us the finger with a huge downpour, we’ll be back to see those views.

8.  I had a scare with my horse Biz, who had a scary bout with colic after his most recent dental x-rays.  At 26 years old, I am aware that my remaining time with him… well… you know…

9.  Jon and I welcomed our newest nephew on November 13 (that makes two nieces and two nephews now!).  He is sweet and perfect and cuddly.  His parents love him dearly (at least until he starts talking back).

10.  Jon finished his first full marathon on December 8, in Sacramento, California.  I got a trip to California out of the deal (no more trips to California Jon!), where I got to visit the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, the Governor’s Mansion, and the John Muir National Historic Site.  Posts on the trip coming soon, I swear!

This annual recap reminds me of how truly blessed we are to live the life we do.  We are surrounded by awesome friends and family, loving animals, and we are lucky to have the freedom to enjoy our travels to wonderful places.  Although there are always the highs and lows, I am thankful that there are many more highs…  I hope you have all been blessed by 2013, and that all your dreams come true in 2014.  So bye, bye 2013 – you have been good to me!

Sacramento Wildlife Refuge Preview

Jon and I got home last night from a trip to California.  I’ll be posting about it soon, and posting the rest of my trip to Olympic National Park, but in the meantime, I thought I would share this photo from the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge.  Enjoy!

Sunset at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Sunset at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

The Rest of the Way to Boise!

After a relaxing sleep in Pendleton, Oregon, Jon and I got up so we could continue on our way to Boise.  Our hotel for the night, the Red Lion, didn’t include breakfast, so we headed downtown to find some quick and easy breakfast before getting on our way again.  But quick and easy it was not.  First of all, it was about 9:40 am when we got downtown, and we could only find one place open!  The coffee shop/cafe didn’t open until 10.  What?!  So we settled on the only open restaurant we could find – which seemed to have not seen a tourist since last year’s Pendleton Roundup.

The View Behind our Hotel in Pendleton, Oregon

The View Behind our Hotel in Pendleton, Oregon

We ordered breakfast – the 2 egg breakfast for Jon and a ham and egg bagel breakfast sandwich for me, and then we waited while they hatched the chickens to lay the eggs to collect the eggs to scramble them up.  It was the longest short-order cooking I have ever experienced!  And no, they weren’t busy.  There were a couple other tables in the place that already had their food, and while we were waiting one elderly lady came in to order her daily cup of tea…

After making our way ALL the way through the Pendleton Real Estate listing magazine (I swear – 10 more minutes and I might have made an offer on a second home just out of sheer boredom!), we finally got our breakfast, scarfed it down and got on the road.  Our route took us through miles of fairly desolate grazing lands filled with scrub brush and tumbleweeds.  Then we headed up into the Blue Mountains.

An Interesting Hotel in Pendleton, Oregon!

An Interesting Hotel in Pendleton, Oregon!

The Blue Mountains were the last large mountain range that the pioneers had to traverse before reaching their final destinations near what is now Walla Walla, Washington or the Willamette Valley, Oregon.  For many pioneers, who had been on the trail for months, reaching the west side of the pass was a welcome sight.  I-84 in many places follows the same route as US Route 30 and US Route 30S, which largely were built on the Oregon Trail.  The highest point on the highway is 4,193 feet, reminding us that this could be a completely different drive in the winter!

It was neat to see the beautiful mountains approaching in the distance; they really do look blue!  I know it has something to do with the atmosphere scattering blue light, but we still enjoyed pondering whether it was the type of trees or grasses on the mountains.

We made a pit-stop in Baker City, Oregon, a town of just under 10,000 residents located in the mountains.  It is named for Edward D. Baker, the only U.S. Senator killed in military combat.  He died leading a charge of U.S. Army soldiers in the battle of Ball’s Bluff, Virginia, during the Civil War.  We only stopped long enough to get gas and some snacks, but I would have loved to have more time there.  Baker City has a historic downtown with several historic buildings, many of them built between the late 1880’s and 1915.  It is also home to the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, a museum of sorts offering exhibits, living history demonstrations, and four miles of interpretive trails.  There are still visible wagon ruts from the Oregon Trail on the site.  That will have to wait for another trip though…

We continued on our way and we stopped briefly at the Upper Perry Arch Bridge.  The bridge was designed by Conde B. McCullough, the first State Bridge Engineer for the State of Oregon.  The bridge was built in 1924, and restored in 2008.  It is located off the interstate, on the old U.S. 30, and crosses over the Grande Ronde River and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.  This section of U.S. 30 was bypassed in the 1960s when I-84 was constructed, but up until that time it was heavily used.  The bridge was constructed from concrete, with a total length of 312 feet and a main span of 134 feet.

The Upper Perry Arch Bridge - Built 1924 - Arch Bridge with Reinforced Concrete Deck Arch

The Upper Perry Arch Bridge – Built 1924 – Arch Bridge with Reinforced Concrete Deck Arch

It’s pretty amazing to think that this concrete bridge has been standing for 89 years, and even more amazing when you realize that this bridge now leads to a dead end.  That’s right, after the bypass, crossing over the bridge takes you to a dead end – transportation experts estimate that 10 cars per day use the bridge.  It’s a good thing that they completed the restoration by the time the economy collapsed – I’m not sure the State of Oregon could afford this kind of project now for such a little used bridge.  I found this bridge fascinating – we are capable of so many great things that we take for granted.

After a bit more time on the road, through largely agricultural areas, we finally made it to Boise and got checked into our hotel, a Residence Inn.  We had a room with a living room, separate bedroom and a kitchenette.  They even stock the room with complimentary popcorn (it doesn’t take much to make me happy)!  We were hungry, so we decided to get some sushi – considering the hot day we thought that would really hit the spot.  We hadn’t done any research, so we looked online and found Sushi Joy near downtown Boise.  Jon decided to try some low carb sushi rolls, rolled in cucumber instead of rice; he thought they were delicious (although they did seem a bit difficult to eat with chopsticks).  My dragon roll was very good too.  The service was fast and friendly too; I would certainly visit again!

We finished off our night watching some TV, something I rarely have much time for at home.  I went to bed with anticipation, because the next morning was our visit to Antiques Roadshow!

California Road Trip: The Long Road Home

Sadly, any good vacation must come to an end, and we were at the end of our California Road Trip.  We loved the scenery, we loved the things we saw and experienced, and I think we managed to pack a lot into it!  The summary of what we did:

Other notable stats include:

  • seven different hotels
  • 2,492 miles driven
  • two times driving around the same blocks in San Francisco while trying to find the parking garage
  • one fight about the San Francisco traffic
  • one killer bike fell off a car in front of us on the freeway
  • ten bottles of wine made it home with us (I thought that showed a lot of restraint!)
  • 2,476,983 bugs lost their lives on our windshield, grille and mirrors
  • Six – the number of times I vomited, in two different towns
Mount Shasta From the Car Window

Mount Shasta From the Car Window

Jon and I had a fabulous time, and we managed to make the long, boring drive home from Sacramento in one long, boring, exhausting, marathon of a day.  The drive without any stops is about 11 hours – we only stopped for gas, food and bathroom breaks.  We did run into heavy traffic in all the usual places – Tacoma, Seattle and Everett (a complete stop in Everett due to a car accident) – but otherwise it was smooth sailing the whole way.  We made it in about 13 hours.  The non-stop drive made for some sore, stiff bodies the next day, but thankfully we had a day to do some laundry and get some rest before we had to go back to work!  And Oliver and Oscar were so happy to see us!

I Don't Condone This - But This Guy Did Look Like He Was Enjoying Himself!

I Don’t Condone This – But This Guy Did Look Like He Was Enjoying Himself!

If you want to go back and read from the beginning of the trip – of course you do!  I can’t wait for the next trip – for now we are saving and planning until we can make it happen!