A Travellerspoint blog

Settling In Day

sunny 65 °F

We're almost giddy with relief to be here - away from the snow, ice and miserable cold. It took us until about 10AM (when we finally lost the internet) to stop posting pics of the beautiful sunny scenery surrounding us. Since most of our friends and family are dealing with the last of winter; not sure they could fully appreciate our giddiness.

You can put a big X through the Carmel Resort Inn - not going back there. Not near downtown and old - musty smelling and damp. I tried to pretend it had some redeeming quaintness; but Philip wasn't buying that. Basically, it was a place to sleep and then get out of.

We packed up and headed into town for coffee and a sweet.
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We walked down Ocean Ave, admiring and laughing at some window displays. Oogled the ferris wheel in the toy store window. It's been there for years. Then we drove down to the beach - magnificent.

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Then we headed the car on south hiway 1 and went to Nepenthe. The weather was Top 10; ocean a brilliant azure blue. We set outside - enjoying a marvelous bottle of wine and then having an ambrosia burger. I've traveled to this mountaintop restaurant since 1968. Today was special, we watched 2 California condors sail overhead, a mother whale and her calf below us, a red hawk sailed by in front of us and a monarch butterfly was over our heads. If that didn't scream out "welcome back Frenchs" I don't know what did.

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Posted by ChinaBecky 18:13 Archived in USA Comments (0)

We're Back!

sunny 67 °F

Thoughts enroute to SFO- just in case you're saving hard earned miles/points for that much desired 1st class seat; don't bother - United's pretty much managed to mess up 1st class.

We're on a Boeing 777. The positive is ample leg room. The negatives are smaller seats; seats that didn't work; movies which can be viewed only on your own device (hopefully it can hold the charge for 4 hours) and only after the United app's loaded; very noisy - feels like the engines are affixed under your seat and of course the usual 'friendly skies' customer service.

Oh...you need to bring your own headphones or expect to share your music/movie with the rest of the plane.
Complaining aside, it is heavenly to be heading anywhere warm- away from the unexpected snow and record breaking below zero temps.

We're spending the night in Carmel - tomorrow we'll move to our VRBO rental in Monterey. Penelope will join us later in the week.

Driving a white jeep which drives like a truck - oh well.

Had a good lunch Village Corner - a favorite breakfast place going back to the '80's. Nice to sit out on the patio, watching the world go by. The miserable cold, black ice and snow of this morning is fading away.

Posted by ChinaBecky 17:15 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Heading Home

sunny 54 °F

We're at a Comfort Suites - apparently at the end of one of the San Francisco Airport runways. They appear to be taking off between the bed and the desk. But hey! We have about a 6 min journey to the rental car lot and the tram to the airport - I have no complaints.

It's another beautiful sunny day - few rain showers this morning in the Napa Valley - but otherwise gorgeous.

Leaving Ashland yesterday, we climbed over the Siskiyou Pass, crossed into California (still have fruit inspection stations) and headed down the Sacrament Valley. Philip was a surprised not to stop in Redding ... but I have my good memories of Mom's home and the high school Manatowa Gym - if they changed; I just don't want to know about it.

The Sacramento Valley is in glorious bloom - for a couple hundred miles - fruit and nut trees. Fortunately the spanish moss infection hasn't touched the hill sides of live oaks and they were leafing - dark green against the emerald green grass. We had a famous Bartel 'burger at Corning - still greasy and yummy as 10, 20, 30 years ago.

Evil Gretta got us right to the train museum in Old Town Sacramento before we headed back to the bay area for tomorrow's flight.

One thing about the past 2 weeks is Philip exclaiming "I can't believe the traffic" and "how can anyone afford to live here?" The 2 weeks of travel here is comparable to 2 weeks in europe. It's expensive and crowded. Still so glad we came and we're still thinking we might rent a place for a couple of weeks next year. This is a good break from the cold at home. It will still be cold in Kentucky tomorrow but the end of winter is in sight and we'll have more warm days than cold. I expect to be turning the the vegetable beds next week. I left home the forsythia, quince and pussy willow were about to pop into bloom.

This morning we went to Napa Valley - not so much to taste but specifically to see all the changes. There are no more open fields - it's vineyards as far as the eye can see. The live oak infestation is in this valley and the trees are dying. Then we crossed the straits and went to Martinez to see our old homestead.

So the journey ends.

Posted by ChinaBecky 15:51 Archived in USA Comments (0)

OK Ready To Go Home

sunny 47 °F

Still have 2 more days; but mentally ready to be home. Almost as soon as I go into a packing mode - I want the car running, the plane at the gate - I'm outta here. We said our goodbyes to Ben; We've had talks, laughs, long walks, good meals ... he's got a busy week ahead of him doing the tech production running Two Trains and that's where his attention will need to be focused. He's happy, appears to know everyone ranging from Ashland, Jacksonville & Medford. We didn't make a stop that someone wasn't hugging or talking to Neb.

It's almost scary to walk around Ashland - if it even looks remotely possible a pedestrian will cross the street (forget the walkways, they're for novices) all cars in every direction stop and they wait, and they wait, and they wait some more - eventually you feel compelled to cross and Cross to Somewhere. I took to hiding behind corners of buildings, hoping the drivers wouldn't notice me until I knew for certain exactly which way I wanted to go. Ben thought it was hysterical when he saw me lurking behind benches and flower pots.

Pelton House B&B was ideal and we're glad Ben suggested it. He lived around the corner (so to speak) and we were 2 blocks from downtown. Good Stop!

Posted by ChinaBecky 15:33 Comments (0)

Goin' to Jackson (ville)

sunny 63 °F

Another beautiful spring day - so boring, just no break in this glorious weather - snow flurrys in Kentucky. After coffee at the co-op we returned to the B&B for breakfast. Seated at the table was a young musician with his wife and baby. They were interesting to talk to. Mary served shirred eggs - something I haven't had since I was a girl and Mom fixed them.

Knowing this is Ben's rare morning to sleep in we walked to the park and then stopped at one of my favorite coffee houses - the barrista creates these elaborate designs in the cream.
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Finally about 11:30 Ben joined us and we headed to Jacksonville - a little historic town and on to a winery road. Lots of fun. The guys were a little amused because I found the walking tour map and buildings confusing and that sort of thing drives Ben crazy. He doesn't like dithering - turn the map the right way to match the coordinates and id the buildings. Oh yeah? Well it still didn't make much sense to me.

We went to a winery only to learn the winery didn't have any wine - how is that possible? Instead we got to taste wine from his friends vineyards - who don't have tasting rooms...kind of odd, but it somehow it worked. The vintner is from Ohio, manages his own vines, has chickens, sheep & geese and a delightful sense of humour.
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The chickens were in the flower pots and as soon as Philip tried to take a picture, the hopped out and he's trying to coax them back.
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Here's a close up of the live oaks that are dying - for hundreds of miles - because of this moss.
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Becky's Forced March stop at Harry & David's. Philip & Ben being good sports.
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Martinos, Philip's favorite bar - just about 10 steps from the Bowmar - a popular spot for the production crews.
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And so ends our visit in Ashland; my primary reason for the trip was to be with Ben. He's doing great, has a job he loves and I'm happy for him.

Posted by ChinaBecky 21:07 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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