San Simeon – California

This was an easy day for us because we acted like tourists. I guess by definition, we are, but because we hang out here so often, it seems like the place belongs to us. Even with all the traffic we saw today, by California standards, the place was deserted. If you want real California traffic, go to Disneyland.

The day started off with a long hot shower. If you don’t RV, you’re probably not aware that campsites provide showers for their guests. If you have one of those battleships on wheels, this isn’t a problem. Your shower is as big as the one at home. If you have a little trailer like ours, you need to use the one provided by the camp.

Ocean View Garage
I love old neon signs, so when I saw this, I ran across the street to shoot it. It turns out the garage restores vintage cars . . . and signs.

The parks we’ve stayed in lately have quarter showers. You put a quarter in and you get three to five minutes of spray. It takes a minute for the hot water to get there, then another minute to fiddle with the knob. Today, the showers were free, so I could stand under the nozzle until my skin turned pink and my fingers wrinkled. I’m sure that Queen Anne shaved her legs, because I could clearly hear her swearing back at the trailer.

Anne Checks out the New Movies
It’s been three months since Anne’s been able to see her movies, so checking out the new films at the local theater was a must.

Being tourists for us means walking around the towns and checking out the shops, galleries and restaurants. It’s been three months since Anne has had access to her movies, so checking out the new movie posters at the local theater was a must stop for her. In Morro Bay, there’s an outstanding store that sells sea shells (that’s even hard to type). Anne wanted to buy some to use as decorations in our house and she went nuts. It was like the comedy bit in the movie The Jerk. “All I need is this one. That’s all. And maybe this one, just these two. I probably need to have this also . . . ” She has three credit card transactions from that store.

Elephant Seals at War
This is what Elephant Seals do in between naps.

After that, we drove north past Hearst Castle to visit the Elephant Seals. It’s a stop we always make when we’re here. Normally they’re trying to sleep in the sand and the only movement you see is an occasional sand toss. I’ve photographed them several times, but it always looks like a bunch of dead bodies on the beach. Blah! Today, one of the big males must have stepped on the others flipper, and that started a big testosterone contest. They snorted and barked at each other for a couple of minutes, then flopped over and fell asleep again.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in Cambria, a small town south of San Simeon “where the pines meet the sea.” It was a tiny village when I first visited in 1968, and now it’s a large village. Fortunately, the cottages and summer homes are hidden among the trees. We walked the streets until the shops closed, then headed back to The Ritz where The Queen fixed me a gourmet meal of canned tamales. Someday, I’ll need to show her how to turn the stove on.

Harmony Creamery
Thew Creamery Coop in Harmony.

Tomorrow we will be heading over the hill for our last day of vineyard hopping (don’t worry Jane, there’s plenty left for you). We scoped out a couple of new labels to try, and there are some old favorites that keep us returning. After a day of that, we’re having dinner in a Cambria restaurant that we discovered today. After a day of wine tasting, maybe I’ll work up the nerve to drive Fritz down the hill on the old back road. Just for old time’s sake.

jw

Morro Bay – California

So I lied about today’s destination. This morning when we planned out our day, someone on this bus whined about staying at the beach. We checked our RV Park resource guide and the cost was less here than in Paso Robles. Besides, as we drove down the 101, the temperature there was over a hundred. It was thirty degrees cooler when we arrived at the beach.

I didn’t get to play Steve McQueen in downtown San Francisco, but I do think I launched the truck and trailer a couple of times today. To bypass bay area traffic, we took the I 680 along the east side of town. Boy, does that road need some repair. The truck traffic has crushed the pavement in the right lane, and in California, the law restricts trucks and cars pulling trailers to the slow lanes. We hit some bumps so bad that Anne woke up and asked if we were back in Alaska. It wasn’t till we made it past San José that the road improved.

We were in Salinas by lunchtime, so we stopped at the Costco for a hot dog lunch. While we were there I picked up another bag-o-socks so Queen Anne won’t have to do laundry till we get home. There’s enough of everything else in the closet to get us through to the weekend.

Morro Rock
Morro Rock is the icon that marks the southern terminus of the central California coast.

When I talked the other day about Mendocino being our favorite place north of San Francisco, this stretch of coast is my absolute favorite. Maybe that’s why I’ve returned so often over the past fifty years. I think this is where the Pacific Coast Highway is at it’s best, and I believe that William Randolph Hearst, Ansel Adams, and Edward Weston would agree with me (were they alive to do so). They all had homes here.

The Dunes at Morro Bay
Wind patterns in the Morro Bay Sand Dunes.

PCH turns west at San Louis Obispo and picks up the coast here at Morro Bay. It provides some of the most beautiful coastal scenery as it passes through, Cambria, San Simeon, Big Sur before it reaches Carmel. It’s 120 miles of breathtaking scenery without a stop light. You should experience the drive once in your life, and drive it in a convertible, not your fifty foot motor-home.

Mom Wants Yet Another Picture.
While out for a beach walk, a young mother tries to get her kids to pose in front of Morro Rock.

We’re going to avoid going home for a couple of days. We have a couple of nostalgic restaurants we want to visit again. I never grow tired of photographing this place and I never seem to do a good enough job at it. Then of course, there’s the central coast wineries that we love so much. We’re not in a rush and we’ll be home soon enough.

jw

Calistoga – California

We arrived at Calistoga, a town at the head of the Napa Valley, just after lunch. When we normally look for our RV park, it’s conveniently on the highway and usually there are ample signs directing us to it. Not this time, because it’s at the county fairgrounds and everybody knows where it is . . . except us. We had to use the GPS and our tablet to track it down.

We finally found it, but no one was in the office to check us in. We weren’t the only ones either. The sign on the door said the office was only open from 10 am to 4 pm, with a smaller clock thingy that said somebody would be back at noon. It was already 1:05. Fortunately, one of the other guests used her cell to get a responsible person knew about reservations. After passing the phone around, we got our assigned camping spot. It’s right next to the half-mile dirt track, outside turn four. They’re hosting non-winged sprint cars and modifieds running over Labor Day weekend. I asked Anne if we could stay, but she only communicates with eye-rolls lately.

Hawkes Vinyards
Hawkes Vineyards in Anderson Valley was a pleasant discovery for us today.

As you would expect for wine country, Calistoga is a cool little town. I only associated the name with the mineral water bottled here, but this area is like a little Yellowstone. There are hot springs, mineral and mud baths and even a fake geyser . . . in fact, Geyserville is the next town up the road. The town was a tourists attraction well before Charles Krug planted his first grape-vine.

Duckhorn Vineyards Tasting Room
We picked up a nice bottle of Chardonnay at Duckhorn Vineyards.

We made a point to stop in Napa Valley because it’s the Mecca of California wines, but it’s not the only wine growing region north of San Francisco. Today, for example, we drove through Anderson Valley, Alexander Valley, but not Sonoma Valley which is behind us over the ridge. Even within Napa there are several wine districts, like St. Helena, Rutherford, Oak Knoll and Napa. They have slightly different soils and micro climates that affect the grape’s taste.

Silver Oak Wine Fridge
At that moment, Anne turned to me and said, “You have a table saw, you could make this..”

Now for the bad news. I think that Napa vineyards have become primadonnas. We’ve stopped at vineyards in Washington, Oregon and this morning, Anderson Valley. The day’s of free tasting are gone. Washington wineries will charge you a fee from 5 to 15 dollars to sample their wines. If you choose to buy a bottle, they waive the fee. Oregon’s sampling cost is more, but they still don’t charge if you buy something. Napa valley is absurd. Here the fees are 25 to 35 dollars for the tasting and that is independent of your purchase.

Beaulieu Vinyards Tasting Room
How could you possibly be allowed to park a dirty Porsche out side of a tasting room?

So are the wines that much better? Well, . . . they are that much more expensive. In Washington and Oregon, expensive reds were 40-50 dollars a bottle. Here, a bottle of reserve can easily cost over $100.00. That’s way out of our price range, and since we had to pay-to-taste, we didn’t feel guilty about not buying any.

Here comes the million dollar question; Don’t wines that cost more taste better? To my palate, the simple answer is no. The stop we made in Anderson Valley was a small vineyard and they don’t bottle enough to distribute in stores. I preferred their forty dollar bottle over one we tasted costing twice the price.

We’ve found that we like tasting in lesser known areas and growers. Sometimes you get swill, and then at least you know what you don’t like. Other times you find something that will make your socks roll up and down. and it’s a bargain. After all, that’s what you really want, value for your money.

Tomorrow, we’ll wait for morning rush to subside and head down to Paso Robles. That’s a place we’ve had great success in restocking our empty wine rack. Over dinner, I tried to convince Anne that we could take the 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge for a photo-op, then through downtown San Francisco and try to recreate scenes from the movie Bullet. Can you imagine the thrill of launching Fritz and The Ritz five feet into the air? She just rolled her eyes.

jw

Mendocino – California

Mendocino is probably our favorite town on the northern California Coast. I’m not sure why, because it doesn’t have fancy architecture we found in Eureka. Instead it’s loaded with white cottages and buildings with simple clapboard siding. It has more of a New England feel, which is why so many films and TV shows (Murder She Wrote) were shot here.

Mendocino From Across the Bay
Mendocino is probably the most New England town west of the Mississippi.

The town is on a coastal headlands above the Pacific. There isn’t a safe harbor so the local fishing fleet is in nearby Fort Bragg. There aren’t any wood mills or other heavy industry. The town seems more of an art  community. There are several galleries showing really nice local art, and the streets abound with posters for music and art gatherings.

Mendocino Volenteer Fire Department
What photographer in his right mind would pass up a red door on a white building?

Mendocino and the surrounding countryside offer plenty of inspiration. You can climb down the cliffs to the beaches on either side of the town and swim in the caves and grotto’s sculpted by the ocean. If you’re not into aquatics, you can just make space among the driftwood and listen to the waves breaking on the rocks while enjoying a bottle of Cabernet.

Church Back
A local church from the alley.

I could easily live here . . . but I’d need to pick better Power Ball numbers. As you can imagine, living in paradise isn’t cheap. Land sells for a premium and most of the buildings have historical significance. If you were able to find a place in town, there is an extra problem. As you walk through town, you’ll notice these odd-shaped towers. In Alaska, they could be bear proof food storage, but here, they supply your water pressure. Even in paradise, you gotta flush.

Garden Bench
A thoughtful gardener has provided a place to stop and smell the flowers.

Tomorrow we move on to Calistoga, located at the head of Napa Valley. It’s only three hours from here, but we want to get an early start. There’s wine to taste, and this is serious business.

jw

Fort Bragg – California

I feel like Mario Andretti after the roads we were on today, and I never went over the speed limit. I’ve been known to hustle a car down a back road or two, and even Fritz can outrun some of the so-called boy racers, but not with three thousand pounds of dead weight hanging off of the tailgate.

You probably have seen those yellow advisory signs that suggest the safe cornering speeds so trucks won’t shift their load and fall over. I’ve never seen one before today that had 10 mph signs. On the Pacific Coast Highway (Cal 1), there were at lest a half-dozen curves like that and a matching number of 15 mph. I had the cruise control set for 30, and even that was too fast at times.

The day started off normal when we left Eureka on the 101, which is a freeway sometimes and a two lane road when it’s not. Thirty-five miles out, we got off the freeway to take the Avenue of the Giants, a side road that goes through the groves of large redwood trees in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. It’s a twenty-eight mile road that weaves it way through the large trees, and it feels like they didn’t remove any to pave the road.

Avenue of the Giants
The Avenue of the Giants is a side road that weaves its way through groves of old growth redwoods. The road is intimidating because the huge trees are at the edge of the road.

The monster trees stand at the roads edge, and in a couple of places, the roots lift the pavement. The road’s posted speed limit is 55, but even at 40, it feels like you’re driving down the Le Mans’ Mulsanne Straight at 235 mph (I honestly don’t know what that feels like either). The trees are so close that they pass by as flickers and the dappled light coming in through the crown exaggerates the sensation. It’s a good thing that you have to stop and take pictures every so often.

Anne Lost in the Redwoods
Anne takes in the grandeur of the ancient trees. Some of the larger specimens life span exceeds a millennia. Contrary to what’s Anne’s baby sister’s birthday card said, Anne did not plant them.

We traveled another thirty miles to Leggett, then turned onto the Pacific Coast Highway. Leggett is the town where you can drive your car through a living redwood tree. Since The Ritz is too tall to fit through the opening, we didn’t bother trying.

It was this section of the PCH that was demanding. The road climbed up a mountain ridge then descended into a small valley, then up a second ridge before it dumped us on the coast. We watched the mirrors constantly, so we could let traffic by, but we only had to pull over once.

Lost Coast South End
From this overlook to just south of Eureka, is the only section of California without highway access.

When we reached the ocean, we stopped to take in the view. This stretch of the California coast between where we stopped and north to Eureka is road-less. It’s called The Lost Coast, and if you want to see it, you have to go by sea or foot. While I’m dealing out trivia, it also has the western most point of land in the lower 48 states.

We’re going to rest here for another day and see what kind of trouble we can cause. After that we’ll head down into Northern California wine country, and pick up a couple of samples for our growing collection. After that, we have to avoid San Francisco. If I thought today’s roads were challenging, I certainly don’t want to drag The Ritz down Lombard Street.

jw

Ferndale Tonight – California

Today, I shot enough gingerbread houses to make my teeth hurt. We spent time walking around Old Town Eureka, which has a good collection of buildings from that period. That wasn’t enough. Fifteen miles down the road is Ferndale, with even more Victorian style buildings. After a half day of ornate buildings, I had to drive out into the countryside to shoot an unpainted barn to balance my senses.

Carson Mansion
If you bought a piece of redwood lumber in the 19th Century, this man cut the timbers.

Today’s weather was cool and overcast, as it is often along the northern coast of California. It’s not cloudy in the normal sense, it’s more of a fog that’s a couple hundred feet in the air. If you drive up any substantial hill, you’ll be in the clouds, and then looking down on them soon after that. It’s all due to the Humboldt Current (which is too long of a story for this blog).

For those of you that are unaware, I confess to being a ‘foodie’. I like to try new foods (to an extent). Since I like to cook, I try to recreate tastes that I like in my kitchen. I’m not a trained chef, but I’m an avid Food Network watcher, and I’ve seen every Dinners Drive Inns and Dives (Triple D) a couple of times. With that in mind, it surprised me to learn that the host, Guy Fieri is from Ferndale and worked at a couple of local restaurants before flying off to Europe for training. I learned all of this by reading an article pasted in the local paper’s window. Wow.

Ferndale Meat Company
This is one of the restaurants that Guy Fieri apprenticed at before running off to Europe for culinary training.

On our trips, we try to look up good places to have dinner. In Eureka, it’s obvious that the younger generation are more adept at online reviewing. The local brew house was the number one choice, while the seafood restaurant we ate at last night was down on the list. I’m sorry to disagree, but burgers and wings in a loud atmosphere don’t trump linen and superior seafood and immaculate service.

Not A Victorian House
Aackl! I just needed to photographer something that wasn’t painted in six colors.

Tomorrow we’re on the move again, this time to Fort Bragg. Or as I like to call it, the poor man’s Mendocino. It’s not that far of a drive, but we’ll likely spend a lot of time in the giant redwoods we’ll be driving through. Only the Sequoia’s in the Sierra’s are larger. I really want to take some time to capture their grandeur for you.

jw

Eureka – California

What a  difference a day and one hundred sixty-four miles makes. Yesterday we were complaining about the heat in Oregon and this evening, I’m wearing a sweater. That’s because we’re on the northern California coast, where the low clouds have kept the temperature below 70° today. That is, as long as we stay along the shore, if you go a mile inland, the temperature soars.

The drive from Oregon was a bit more challenging than yesterday’s. We were on a twisty two lane road that had several construction zones, so we didn’t make very good time. I told Anne that the drive would be a lot more fun if we had Betty White; our other car.

Once we crossed the state line, we soon picked up US 101, a road that we’ll follow south along the coast until we head east sometime next week. The Redwood Highway is what they call this section of the 101, and for good reason. The road would skirt the beach for a while before having to turn inland to get around a mountain. As the road climbed into the clouds, we would be in dense redwood forests. The trees were beautiful, being both thick and tall. They were so thick, the automatic headlights would turn on.

Fritz in the Redwoods
A couple of times along this section of road, we entered the Redwoods National Park, where the trees were so dense, the lights would automatically come on.

I don’t remember exactly where, but the road dropped into a small town in a glade, and there was one of those signs warning about elk. Only this time, they were there. Fritz tripped the ten-thousand mile mark yesterday and he’s taken us through seven states and four Canadian Provinces. Finally in the last state, in the last week of our travels before returning to Arizona, we got to see a big herd of wild animals along the road.

Elk Along The Highway
After three months on the road, we finally got to see a large herd of wild animals.

Shortly after leaving the elk, the road made its way back to the shore, and I stopped to take a shot of some off-shore rocks. We pulled in behind a parked truck. The woman in the passenger’s seat rolled down the window so that she could tell us about the dolphins. Anne got out of the truck and we watched for a while suspecting that we missed them. After scanning the water, I saw one break the surface for a breath then watched as its dorsal fin went out of sight.  I pointed in its direction and blurted, “There!” It took another minute before she saw one too. Then there were two, three and soon they were everywhere. In all, I think there was a school of a dozen or more working the small bay in front of us. They were too far out and only briefly broke the surface to get a good shot of them, so I didn’t try. We watched as long as we could before having to get back on the road.

Pacific Coast
We stopped to get a shot of the rocks off shore. As we watched, we spotted a school of dolphin swimming in the small bay.

We made Eureka by mid afternoon and set up camp. We needed to make a Costco run for provisions, which was on the other side of town. As we drove along the highway, we got a sneak peek at some Victorian homes, so that’s what’s on our agenda tomorrow. For now, I see the temperature has already dropped below 60°, so we have to put the comforter back on the bed to keep warm tonight.

jw

Grants Pass – Oregon

Our trip today took us up the Willamette Valley into the Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon to Grants Pass (how do you have a possessive noun without an apostrophe?). A town in the mountains . . . sounds wonderful doesn’t it? In Silverton yesterday, the highs were in the 80’s and the lows in the 50’s. As we set up camp, I glanced at the thermometer, and the temperature was 104°. Compare that with the high in Congress today, which was 93°. What’s wrong with this picture?

Our drive was pleasant as we  followed the Willamette River to its headwaters. South of Eugene, the rolling farm-land gave way to a low mountain range. We played tag with the trailer trucks, passing them on the up-grades and they’d return the favor on the down-hill runs. We had the cruise set at five miles over their speed limit, so they shouldn’t have been able to do that. For a moment I thought about calling the 800 number posted on the trailers and report their speeding, just for something to do, but that would have spoiled the drive. Besides, I would have had to wake Anne.

I noticed today that the great raptors circling in the sky are no longer eagles. They’re turkey buzzards, just like we have at home. They seem pinned to the sky, never moving their wings. I wonder why their arms don’t get tired.

We made the two hundred mile journey to Grants Pass in less than five hours. As I said, we were poking along, enjoying the ride. Because we got here during the heat of the day, we had to move all the new wine bottles out of Fritz and into The Ritz, where we could keep them air-conditioned. I’m afraid that will become a daily routine until we get home next week.

After the heat broke, we searched for a place to have dinner. We found a nice one called River’s Edge. It’s an upscale restaurant perched above a riffle on the Rouge River. The first thing you see in the entrance is a ginormous painting of a fly fisherman making an impossible cast. Still it was romantic in a River Runs Through It sort of way.

From the Deck at the River's Edge
I found it impossible to concentrate on dinner, when the river called to me.

We had a very good meal, but while we sat there, I wanted to go get my fly rod out of the truck. That river called to me. “Fish me! Fish me!” It was the haunting voice of the Goddess of Fly Fishing (maybe we should have a contest to give her a pseudo mythological name). Anne kept gushing on about how romantic it was, and I kept looking for steel-head in the riffle.

We left just after the bus came in. Two large tables were reserved for a group of octogenarian on the lowest deck. They walked through the door with canes and walkers. The restaurant didn’t have access ramps, so they struggled down the stairs clutching at the railing and each other. They certainly had the best seat in the house, and undoubtedly an excellent dinner, still . . .

Blue Bear in Grants Pass
A sculptor of a blue bear reading a fairy tale to its cub. Is that a Goldilocks tattoo on her chest? “Eat my porridge will you?”

On the way back to camp, we stopped in downtown so I could take some snaps. Bear sculptures decorate downtown Grants Pass. That surprised me, because after Alaska, how could there be any bears around this much civilization. All of California’s grizzlies were wiped out by 1855. The statues are artists interpretations as each was different. There weren’t any plaques explaining their existence or meaning, just the artist’s name.

Hotel Josephine
The Redwoods Hotel with a mural of the original Hotel Josephine painted on its wall. The five-story structure was an addition to the original which suffered a fire and was torn down. Now the original hotel lives on as a mural on the side of the addition.

Tomorrow we’ll take the Redwood Highway to Eureka, where we will spend a couple of days. We read that there is a walking tour of the Victorian Era homes available, so that has Anne excited. As you already know, I love to shoot old buildings, so I’m looking forward to it too. Maybe it will be cooler down by the Pacific.

Rogue Theater
The Rogue theater was converted from a movie theater to live performances. In addition to the bill on the marquee, Iris DeMent is coming in October.

jw

Willamette Valley – Oregon

I want a job where my sole responsibility is visiting wineries and tasting the varietals they offer. I think I’d be good at it, and I promise I wouldn’t spit anything out. Who am I kidding? Like any job, it would be a drag after a while, but it would be fun until my liver gave out.

That’s how Queen Anne and I spent the afternoon, and ‘they learned us’ a thing or two about Oregon wines. Most of the wineries in the state are in the Willamette Valley, a broad river valley that stretches from Eugene to Portland. The west flank has a low coastal range of mountains and the Cascades separate the valley from the high deserts to the east.

View From Erath Vinyards
The four tasting rooms we visited were an area known as the Dundee Hills. Although we stuck to four, we could have easily worked the area for a week.

What grows well here is the Pinot Noir grape, because of the weather and the soils. When you visit a tasting room, you may sample one of these or one of those, but a half-dozen Pinots. Two of the four places we visited had two bottles of the same wine, but only the vine location or the year set them apart. Although they had the same general taste, their personalities were distinct. Choosing which to buy was a matter of personal preference, both were excellent bottles of wine.

Willamette Farm House
There are gobs of photogenic things to shoot in the Willamette Valley. In this case it was an abandoned farm-house along the back-road.

Another fun thing about visiting tasting rooms is the presentations. The large vintners have lavish gardens and a showroom full of ancillary things for sale. The smaller growers may only have a room at the back of the farm-house. Production size is not a good indicator of the quality. The better known labels do offer bottles not available in . . . say, Costco. They have labels marked ‘Reserve’ or ‘Private Reserve’ which are low volume hand crafted wines. Our experience has been that these bottles are substantially better than what you would buy off the shelf.

Pine Grove
Only in New Zealand have I seen crop forests planted as dense as here. It’s so dark inside the grove, I wouldn’t be able to shoot without a tripod.

So much for the fun part . . . back to work. Tomorrow we will be on the move again. This time to Grant’s Pass in southern Oregon. We’re only going to stop for a night and the next day we will head to the coast and Eureka, California. Anne and I never actually visited the town, although we stayed nearby. We’re excited to check it out.

jw

Silverton – Oregon

Capital Theater
Sunday evening, we went to Yakima’s old town to find a place for dinner. As we sat at our table, I noticed this theater across the street and went outside to shoot it and particularly, the restored painted sign on its side. Since it was cloudy out, the shot came out OK, but bland. When we finished dinner, the sun dropped below the cloud’s edge and lit the place up, so I decided to re-shoot the scene. However this time there was a group of young women doing a photo shoot of their own, so I included them into my composition.

After a wonderful day of sampling Washington wines yesterday, we continued on our journey south this morning. Our route took us down the east side of the Cascades till we reached the Columbia River. After crossing the bridge into Oregon, we drove through the ever windy Columbia Gorge, where even on a Monday, there were plenty of wind surfers skimming the white-capped river. Then, just short of Portland we turned south through the Willamette Valley.

Hydro-Electrical Dam on the Columbia River.
There are several dams along the Columbia River that produce gobs of electricity. Although they cause their fair share of ecological problems, it was the power these dams generated that made it possible to produce aluminum on an industrial scale. Aircraft industry used that aluminum to build the planes that helped the allies win WWII.

We’ve stopped in Silverton, a place we’ve visited before more than a fifteen years ago. It’s a couple of miles north of the 45th Parallel; the halfway line between the north pole and the equator. When we were last here, Silverton’s downtown was a cluster of empty historic buildings waiting for re-purposing. Now, they’re filled with boutiques, restaurants, and antique shops. It was fun to walk the couple of blocks trying to find someplace for dinner, but it was Monday, and most of the businesses were closed.

Downtown Silverton
An example of the carefully restored buildings in Silverton.

We chose Silverton because it’s a convenient base for exploring the vineyards of the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s wine country. It’s going to be a rough day tomorrow, because we have to sit down and whittle the list of stops down to six. That seems a good number for us to taste without getting our taste buds confused.

Sllverton Mural
A new mural is being painted on a blank wall of a Silverton Building.

After we leave here on Wednesday, we’ll head toward south Oregon then make our way over to the Pacific Coast. We want to spend some time along the coast before we go through the Sonoma/Napa Valleys. As much as we’d like to add some of those bottles to our collection, they may be out of our budget. There’s no harm in finding out, is there?

jw