Sunday, March 18, 2012

Headed home, via Yountville

We headed home from our wonderful long weekend in Calistoga, bidding adue to the wonderful campground here at the Napa valley Fairgrounds and RV park. We had full hookups (water, electric and sewer) and a clean place to park our rig, really all we needed! We will definitely use this as our base camp again when we return to the Calistoga area sometime in the future.
When we headed for home, we stopped and had lunch in Yountville which is about 25 miles south of Calistoga. Yountville is another one of those towns that was a train stop in the Napa valley. We had a wonderful lunch at Pacific Blue and wandered around downtown Yountville as well as in a place called 'The Market Place' checking out shops and a couple of Art galleries.
One of the cool things we saw in Yountville, was a rock garden outside the Sheriffs sub-station in Yountville. We stopped there to check to see if where we parked the MOHO was going to cause a concern, which they said it should not. :-) We got back to the MOHO later in the day and found no citations, so we were happy campers! :-) We didn't think it would be too big a problem, except that the drivers side of the motorhome was outside the stripes of the parking spots.
We don't think we will be going on a vacation this year, but since we get every other Friday off, we are looking forward to getting out on three (or four) day weekends every once in a while! :-) Our next adventure we are hoping to make should be to Redding. We hope to make that trip next month (April).
Happy Camping! - Eric and Carol -

Our second day, St. Helena & Bale Grist Mill

Our second full day here in the Calistoga area, included a number of other very interesting, frankly they were amazing stops. Our first stop was at the Petrified forest. This area has a number of tree specimens where trees were impacted by a volcano eruption 3.4 million years ago. The trees were basically turned from cellulose to silicone structure when they were subjected to the effects of the eruption. This location was our first stop for the day, and though admittedly, we didn't know quite what to expect, it was far more fascinating than either of us expected.
Our second stop for the day was the Bale Grist Mill. Dr. Bale built this Grist (grain) mill back in the early half of the 1800's. Dr. Bale was always looking to basically 'Get rich quick' which never seemed to happen for this poor fellow. He did however marry a lady of Mexican decent and after which they were deeded some land and built Dr. Bales Mill. A few years after the Mill was built, Dr. Bale set off to find gold during the gold rush, leaving his wife and 6 children to flounder with a huge load of debt. Dr. Bales estranged wife rose to the occasion however turned the mill into a very successful operation and upon her death, left a great amount of wealth to the 6 kids. This location is a very facinating place to see. The interpretive park ranger was facinating explaining the operation of the mill and demonstrationg the manufacturing of flour. You can even purchase some of the product there. If you are ever in the Calistoga area, this is a must see stop!
After a lot of walking at our first two stops of the day, we ventured to the town of St. Helena for lunch and a little window shopping. St. Helena is a cool little town, with lots of great shops and restaurants. We found that there are a lot of Jewelry stores in this town. We had some great Mexican food for lunch. We must admit however, we think we found the town of Calistoga to be a bit more enjoyable. None the less, the stop here was definitely worth the time. :-)
We drove around the Napa valley a little bit checking out various estates. There is the one that was particularly interesting, The Castello (castle) di Amorosa. This castle, which built by hand in the late 1900's (yes folks 1900's) using materials from the US as well as the Mediterranean, gives you a great look back into what living in a castle might be like. There is a tour and wine tasting. The tour is $33.00 per adult. The castle has a mote as well as a draw bridge. Though we didn't partake in the tour, it appears to be something that would be very interesting to do some time. We fully expect that we will return to Calistoga at some point, and seeing this castle may very well be something we'd like to do.
We also drove through the parking lot of the Culinary institute of America. This is the other CIA which is a cooking school. This facility is on the old Greystone vineyards facility. It was originally built in the 1880's. It was bought by Christian Brothers in 1950 and operated until 1990 when it was closed. The CIA re-opened it in 1995 as a cooking school. The last time Eric was here was in the late 1980's when I was driving one of the 'Blue Devils Booster Club Party barges' on one of their booster club 'Mystery Trips'. I remember this because I had to thread one of the old GMC 4905's through the arches at this winery. I'm glad to see they've re-configured the parking lot so that doesn't have to be done any more! :-)
We returned to camp and this evening I spent a little bit of time trying to figure out the electrical problem with the dash board lights. Though I didn't find the cause of the problem, I did find that it looks like I have a direct short to ground somewhere. Additionally, I found that when Rosie was doing her electrical work under the dash board, that she pulled the wire loose for the spot light. So, I got the spot light working again. I also got a couple of dead wires capped off, but I guess the short on the instrument panel will have to wait for another day.
We are driving home Sunday, with a stop in Yountville, but should be home before dark, so hopefully, we will find the electrical short on Monday, a day we are taking off before we return to work.
Check in tomorrow for information about what we saw in Yountville.
Happy camping! Eric and Carol

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Our first full day in Calistoga

Our afternoon of travel from Rancho Cordova to Calistoga started out great. We got some fuel in the Moho and then went to Applebees for dinner. After dinner, when we set out for the second half of our trip to Calistoga, we found that we had no lights on the instrument gauges. We figured out that we had blown a fuse. So, we ran over to the autoparts store across the way to pick up the right ones, plugged it in and found that the fuse blew again. So, we figured oh well, I'll turn on the map light on occasion to check the gauges and press on. What we didn't realize, but found out about a half hour later was that we had no Marker Lights! YIKES! It turned out when the fuse for the Instrument lights went, it took the marker lights fuse with it. So, we made our way to the nearest off ramp and to a Safeway parking lot to resolve the situation. After a little looking, we found the blown fuse for the marker lights, got it replaced and got back on the road. We got in to Calistoga Thursday night around 11:00 PM.
On Friday, we had a wonderful day here in Calistoga. We first went to the Sharpsteen Museum. Mr. Sharpsteen had worked with Walt Disney on many animated movies in the early years, and at this wonderful museum, Carol and I got as close as we probably ever will to an academy award! There are many wonderful dioramas here as well as exhibits from the history of Calistoga, as well as other aspects of California History.
After thoroughly enjoying the Sharpsteen museum, Carol and I went and split a Turkey burger and some fries at the Hydro Grill on Lincoln street, which is the main drag here in Calistoga. This is a great little eatery where they purport to have the best Burger in Calistoga. Though we didn't get a chance to sample any other Burgers while in town, their turkey burger was pretty darn good. After we had lunch, we did a lot of window shopping up and down main street here in Calistoga. This is a wonderful area where we would definitely like to revisit, maybe in the summer time. It's nice and flat here, so walking is really easy. The weather this weekend was a little rainy, but this has been a very dry winter, so we are glad to see the rain.
Calistoga use to be a major train depot in the area. There is a section of town near the train depot where there are old rail cars lined up and turned into shops. This is a very cool section of town. There was a couple of art studios, real estate offices and even a candy store located in the various rail cars.
After we finished up on Mainstreet, we thought we would drive around and see what we might want to check into Tomorrow, Saturday on the second day here. We located where the Grist mill is as well as St Helena and the Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga. Well, since the Geyser was open until 6 and we got there at 5, we thought we would check it out! Though the Geyser erupts every 30 to 40 minutes, we thought for sure, we would get to see it go off before the attraction closes. Well, it turns out that when it rains, it erupts more often. It turned out that it would erupt every 7 to 10 minutes which was very cool. We enjoyed checking out the geyser as well as various goats and Lamas that they had on the property.
Tomorrow, we are off to The Petrified Forest, The Bale Grist Mill and St. Helena. Yay! We are having a great visit here in Calistoga, and can't wait to have more fun, though we don't know how that is possible, tomorrow.
Happy Camping! Eric and Carol!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

On our way to Calistoga

We are on our way to Calistoga  for a long four day weekend. On our way there, we stopped at Applebees for dinner. Yummy!

Happy camping! - Eric and Carol -

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Another busy few weeks

The later part of Februrary and the first part of March were busy as usuall. A number of Carols co-workers wanted to take me (Eric) out to celebrate my 50th birthday. Wow, another celebration of my birthday, I think my waist line has had enough of that. Well, we it was a very nice evening with all of these great people from the HR department of CAL-FIRE.
We also bid goodbye to a neighbor Susan who has been living full time in her fifth wheel. She retired from her job at VSP, a vision care insurance company. She is chasing her dream (and ours) of living on the road and seeing this great country of ours. Please be sure to check out her blog at
We've had some good news on our oldest dog Roxy recently. When we got paid the other day, we were able to take Roxy in for a check up. We've been waiting the last 3 years thinking she had cancer and that her days were numbered, but with the exception of her arthritic hips, she has been going strong as long as we blend her food every day. The consensous is that she's got scar tissue not a tumor going from her stomach to her small intestine. So, as long as we keep blending her food, she should be around quite a while longer.
Speaking of dogs, Rosie, has been such a wonderful addition to our family, we are so happy she is part of our life. She still continues to have some seperation anxiety. So, every once in a while she takes out her anxiety on something in our home. The other day, we came home to find that she had dug a hole in the couch. Oh well, nothing a little needle and thread wouldn't fix.
We are also glad to welcome to our extended family, Cowboy, an Australian Shepperd. Carol's brother Calvin adopted Cowboy from Brandee and Kevin after it was determined, Cowboy was going to pose too much of a challenge to their livestock.
My old boss John Pinola Jr has retired after 13 years working at Volcano communications. John was just as fed up with Volcano as I was and needed to move on. I was glad to be able to go to Teresa's in Jackson to join John and a large number of my fellow co-workers at Volcano to celebrate John's service to the company. The general consensous is that Volcano's days are numbered. Because of the loss of state subsidies, many of us don't expect Volcano to exist 3 year from now. It would be sad if everyone at Volcano loose there jobs.
Later this week, we will be headed off to Calistoga too enjoy a three day weekend in the motorhome. Stay tuned at our blog for more pictures and stories from that trip.
Happy camping! Eric and Carol