Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Santa Barbara; Paso Robles; Wine Tasting Part 1; San Jose Event; Blue Beacon; Allium; Petaluma


Tempus fugit... Latin for "time flies"... here we are in the middle of June, and I am posting this from Petaluma, California. We left Port Hueneme and headed up the beautiful Pacific coast to Santa Barbara, where we spent some time with Kim Cantin, a friend who had lost her husband and son in the Montecito mudslides in January 2018 when their home was destroyed by a 15 foot wall of mud moving at 20 mph. The devastation is still very obvious and sobering... houses, garages, and even the foundations of many homes were washed away, along with 23 people killed, two of whom are still missing, including Kim's son.







Suzanne and I went for a hike up in Los Padres National Forest, in the mountains above Santa Barbara, and the rainy winter had left the hills well-watered and covered with wildflowers. Rejuvenation of the foliage can't take away all the sadness, but people here are rebuilding their homes and lives and a sense of optimism is apparent. 











This unusual photo was taken after dinner one night with Kim and her daughter Lauren and friends.  Suzanne is holding an actual light saber from the filming of Star Wars, given to Kim and Lauren in honor of Kim's son and Lauren's brother, Jack, who was a huge Star War's fan... never make smart aleck remarks to a woman holding a light saber!!!














Next, on to Paso Robles, home of some of California's best Zinfandel vineyards... but first, we had to go to a tasting... "not wine, Ty... olive oil!" Really??? Actually it was a great stop; we tasted at least 10 different varieties, and I filled up on French bread dipped in olive oil and spices. 













We were headed up to our first wine tasting and saw this falling down barn, AKA as a fixer-upper; I had to stop for a photo, since it might not have survived until we were driving back an hour later...













Wine tasting in Paso is a delight. The weather was warm, and the sun a bit bright, but sitting outside and enjoying the magnificent views was unforgettable.












My Lovely Bride got quite artistic with her iPhone, catching a server pouring a tasting at an adjacent table... 

















This signboard gives turistas a quick primer in what to look for in a wine tasting experience...
























I can attest that this photo of Scooter Girl was taken BEFORE a wine tasting! Suzanne ordered the same model that Britta Grubin had recommended a week or so ago, and she loves it... and has named it Ananda (Sanskrit for Bliss) thanks to a recommendation from Barbara Kulle.

















On to San Jose and Suzanne's Serving Spirit Level 2 class, which was very well received by the participants... 










And on to Lodi, for a couple of great wine tastings, but more important, a bath for our coach... the guys at Blue Beacon Truck Wash also do RVs, and we had several thousand miles of dust to remove. They do a great job at a very reasonable price, and are open 24/7.










Lodi's only problem was the temperature... it's been a long time since we saw triple digits like this! Fortunately, the extra high temps, unusual for early June, only lasted a few days, or they would have burned the grape vines...





















Our PT in Lodi was a bit restrained because of the extreme heat - several long walks and a bike ride, but getting out on farm roads between vineyards and ranches was still quite enjoyable. The grapes are still tiny at this time of year, and we wish we could return when harvest time comes in September/October and the bunches of grapes are as big as softballs or even rugby balls.



Speaking of plants, thanks to Brad, Colette, Britta, Gayle, and any other contributors I may have missed who identified the wild onion (Allium aflatunense), "Purple Sensation",  a couple of posts back. Native to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, they are also found in the US as ornamental garden plants. I am often struck by the beauty of the natural world, and the complexity of life forms and varieties surrounding us. 















We have arrived in Petaluma and are staying near the river with this view from a city park with miles of trails for running, walking and biking. We are looking forward to wine tastings with our friends Jerry Facciani and Karen Barrett from Las Vegas, and Holly Berkley from Healdsburg. More about that in the next blog.










1 comment:

  1. Love all the photos, Ty and sharing these travels with you!

    ReplyDelete