A Travellerspoint blog

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.

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.

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.

Here's a close up of the live oaks that are dying - for hundreds of miles - because of this moss.

Becky's Forced March stop at Harry & David's. Philip & Ben being good sports.

Martinos, Philip's favorite bar - just about 10 steps from the Bowmar - a popular spot for the production crews.

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)

Shakespeare and Philip, Who'd Have Thunk It!

semi-overcast 52 °F

Today was another long and eventful day. Our B&B doesn't serve coffee until 8:00 and breakfast at 9:00. Getting up at 6:30, by 6:35 we'd be raving lunatics without coffee ... so we head to the local co-op to by coffee, banana and paper and have a lovely morning.

Ben's crew was doing a Change Over from the Two Trains Running set to Taming of the Shrew. They start at 9AM and the set has to be secured and ready for the 1:30 showing. Due to a snafu at the B&B we were a little late getting to the theater but Ben's crew was still hard at work preparing down stage. Below are some pictures of how the set comes together - Ben is in the yellow shirt.


The stage is set and I assumed they're done. Nooooo, Ben tells us that where we are sitting is the vom and we'll need to move. We learned a vom is a pathway for actors to enter and leave stage. Two Trains didn't need a vom. The vom was covered and audience seats were bolted into place. Taming of the Shrew needed the vom - here's how it goes:

By the time the stage was set and the vom opened; Philip was agog that this coney island setting was for a Shakespeare play and was kicking himself for not getting a ticket. He decided he'd go and would buy a ticket but Ben was able to comp him a seat. Later he told Ben and I it was the most fun he'd ever had not always understanding the dialogue.


I went to see King Lear - done in the round - very intimate; only 6 rows of seats circling the stage. The staging was 2013. The props were primarily all kinds of lighting because in the play, sight is the ultimate metaphor.

I've been on the move since 6:30 and I'm beat. Good night.

Posted by ChinaBecky 21:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Nephew, Theatricals & Funk

overcast 58 °F

Not so many pictures yet - we're mostly walking, talking & laughing with Ben. It's 2 years since he's had the benefit of his aunt's recommendations & advise as to how to manage his life - so I have lots of ground to cover in 4 days! Fortunately Philip is here to provide a buffer for Ben. A job he does well. Yesterday they were walking down the street discussing movies - they were a block ahead of me before they noticed I wasn't with them.

Friday Ben took me to see "Taming of the Shrew" done Rocky-a-billy style - definitely a novelty! Later we went to a bar where the production staff hangs out. It was fun to see the actors come walking in and the energy of the room fantastic. This morning Philip and I got up early and went walking - found a co-op with great coffee and then walked some more. Ben met us about 12:00 and gave us an impromptu tour backstage. We learned more and more about what goes on behind the scenes and the work he does. We watched "Two Trains" and then talked about it to each other and everyone in range for the rest of the evening. We met up with a couple of Ben's friends for Mexican food before calling it a night. Tomorrow we watching a Change Over with Ben's boss and then I'm going to watch "King Lear."

Ben is showing us a series of pullys, some with weights others mechanical that are used to lift not only scenery but props - for instance during My Fair Lady 16 hats are lowered from the ceiling via the pullys and they needs to land on the actor's heads at the right time.

We're in one of the Elizabethan prop rooms

Ben and Philip in the Elizabethan Stage looking out on the outdoor seating - holds 900.

Ben and Me

Posted by ChinaBecky 21:39 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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