Bernie: Saw the most fantastic star scape – only a couple of shooting stars but a beautiful beautiful sky. Set the alarm for 1am but still no meteor action so soon back to bed.
David: The night was not great because of my back muscles but the morning was better. Gradually I got feeling back and we awoke in the lovely hillside around Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.
We brewed up and then left for Sonoma. This town is known to all around as “Napa’s little sister” except, perhaps, to those who live in Sonama. It has the largest town plaza in Northern California (which may of course tell you far more about the town plaza’s at other towns as opposedto being something distinctive about Sonoma). However it was lovely but full of over priced “gifty” shops and almost devoid of places for breakfast. But we found one and had coffee and croissants.
Bernie: Well, we could not resist – and we hired some slightly dodgy bicyles for the rest of the day. Mildy undulating hills along back roads through vines, vines, vines. Warm and sunny. no paniers. It was strange riding rental bikes and David missed his Brooks saddle (just a littel i did!) but it was a great way to spend our last day. I felt freed from our metal box with an engine and enjoyed peddaling a leisurely 30 mile round trip.
We took a route from Sonoma towards the Napa valley. As we crossed into Napa county the bumpy road surface immediately improved to smooth tarmac – we could see who has the money!! We stopped for a pricy sandwich near Napa but baulked at paying 15 dollars for a glass of wine! We met a nice US couple who had been about to depart for Europe for the first time but she had broken her foot and the trip was delayed. They were out for lunch to commiserate with each other, and hence meeting a couple from Europe may not have been the best thing.
As we headed back into Sonoma again we detoured to the Gundlach Bundschu winery- one of the oldest wineries in the valley founded by a Bavarian immigrant in 1858. The staff were very proud of the fact that the winery had been in the same family since 1858 (well in the same half of the family since one of the original partners gave up wine making and went off to be a doctor in th early years). But what is so great about a business staying in the same family in the first place. Wine-making talent does not, as far as I am aware, pass down as a genetic trait. We do not have hereditory football teams and have only just got rid of heriditary lawmakers in the UK. Maybe wine is different.
We shared a tasting of 6 wines – with only a small taste of each wine. Mostly they were pleasant rather than outstanding. The reds were much tastier than the whites but the star of the show was a drop dead wonderful Zinfandel. At 45 dollars a bottle it didn’t seem a bottle to take back camping but the taste lingered and remembered.
Back at out lovely campground we sorted our packing, had a last meal and when dark lay on our backs in the field area at the centre of the campsite to feast on the stars again. The ground was still warm from the day, the air around cool. A last memory of a truly memorable trip.
Well almost a last memory. As we drove to the airport this morning I saw a bumper sticker which summed up California “I have no problem with people who are straight – provided they can behave gay in public”.