diamond geezer

 Sunday, April 11, 2004

golden gate geezer (day 4)

Sights seen (1) Wine Country: Today we took a 200-mile round trip around the grapelands. We jeep-ed alongside the Russian River up the Sonoma Valley, reapplied the suntan lotion, then returned down the touristier Napa Valley. At the head of Napa lies Calistoga, a town of geothermal spas, mud baths and upmarket trinkets. Vineyards line the valley south for miles, most open to the public for tours and tastings. The local police must find rich pickings arresting visitors for drunk driving. Hordes of gruff Harley bikers were out in force, riding up and down the valley with black tin helmets and full facial hair, but I saved grinning at them until they were out of sight.
Fog index: A bank of thick fog hung across the entrance to the bay, covering the entire Golden Gate Bridge but nothing else. We drove across the bridge in pitch grey, unable to spot either of the orange towers in the enveloping gloom, then emerged into full sunshine the other side. Picture postcard perfect.
Seismic activity: We also visited Clearlake, the shaking capital of Northern California, an area which averages about a quake a day. Today's quake was another negligible 1.4, however, so the earth didn't move for me.
Contours ascended: Highway 175 between the Sonoma and Napa Valleys looked like just another main road on the map, but it turned out to be a twisty turny switchback ride over rugged hilltops - the sort of road you might see in a Hollywood car chase just before a speeding convertible full of teenagers plummets over a precipice in a blazing fireball. Not all American roads are dull, flat and straight, thank goodness.
Number of photos taken: 5

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