Thursday 12th April
With time marching on we have travelled north to the highly recommended Nappa valley. From here we will journey the 40 odd miles into San Francisco, in Toad.
There are a few things we’ve noticed since crossing the border into California firstly, their very poor road signs – come to think of it the roads themselves are pretty poor too – at one point Malc was threatening Arnie with a letter to tell him to sort out the state of his state! (He was doing this so loudly that Arnie probably heard him!) Back to the signs, there doesn’t seem to be any consistency – sometimes you get road numbers, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes there are just names and sometimes no signs at all! Even crossing the first bridge on our way here, it was very busy you expect that – but why no signs about tolls until you reach the booth and there it is on the side of that booth visible only when you reach it. Wouldn’t it make sense to have the tolls displayed beforehand so you could have money ready – obviously not? Californian drivers, at least the ones we’ve come across so far, like to hug your bumper, even if there is room for them to pass you so that they may exceed the speed limit and get to their destination quicker. If you do pull over to let them by, often they will pull over behind you… no! we don’t know why… but it makes for very frustrating driving. Hence our planned leisurely drive along the “Silverado Trail” recommended by the nice lady in the Tourist office as being the quieter road with lots of opportunity to stop and admire the views, became a nightmare. Traffic tore along making it impossible to either take in the view or comfortably stop at any of the wineries we liked the look of. High speed wine route was not for us.
We did manage to pull over at one however, we had to – Van Der Heyden winery – took some piccies for you Janice & Eddie we’ll e mail them. The valley is pretty, the row upon row of vines meticulously planted and neatly pruned follow every contour like statues ready to march when the order comes; wineries line the route many offering other attractions like art collections and gardens, besides the wine tasting. The houses are spectacular, each one a tribute to the owner. Perhaps we just caught it at the wrong time, who knows but we certainly weren’t able to do it justice that’s for sure. Nappa itself had all the usual outlets, but if you ignored these and stuck to downtown, it was very pleasant, beautiful “old” houses along “comfortable “ streets. It’s actually becoming quite common to accept the look of admiration upon your listener’s face, when you tell them that you live in a Victorian home back in England!