California: Fairfield to Eureka

Jeanne bought new boots for the trip. It’s a week later and:

Not a good thing to happen with boots I’m thinking.

Jeanne can be so patient with my picture taking at times 😀

From Fairfield we headed back to Napa and stopped for breakfast, again at IHOP 🙂 and then started heading north. Jeanne wanted to take in Wine Country. Man there are a lot of wineries here. I never realized. Lots of interesting spots and some oddities I had to investigate later when we stopped. We did miss riding up the coast but we’ve both done that (although me on a bike and her in a car many years ago) and this was pretty cool.

One oddity were the number of vineyards with roses planted at the end of the rows of grapes. There were red roses, white roses, and other colors. I figured it might tell what sort of grapes were being grown (white wine, red wine, etc). But a quick google check finds:

Both roses and grape vines are susceptible to some of the same diseases. Indeed, roses act as early warning of mildew which is a fungal disease. There are two main kinds of mildews: Powdery mildew (Oidium) that develops on all green parts of the vine. We can see white powdery growth of spores on the surfaces.

Well that’s Cool.

Next, there was a smell of grapes of course, but about half the time, I smelled sulfur. What’s up with that?

This sulfur smell in your homemade wine comes from hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is a compound that is naturally produced during a wine fermentation. All wine fermentation will produce some hydrogen sulfide, however there are some scenarios that can cause more of it to be produced than others

That was interesting. Learn new things every day. Cool!

We stopped at Castillo di Amorosa and the wikipedia page.

It’s a pretty interesting place. The owner brought the castle from Italy and recreated it in the valley.

The tour was starting later than we wanted to wait so Jeanne bought passes to go in and walk around and hit the tasting room before we left. We still spent quite a bit of time wandering around but the tour would have ended later than I really wanted in order to get to Eureka in a reasonable amount of time.

The castle has goats and sheep!

Gargoyle guarding the entrance

Jeanne heading up the steps

Arrow ports

For raising and lowering the portcullis

Jeanne again (the portcullis wheel is just to the left in the alcove)

One of the towers

View over the top of the castle

Parking lot

Wine country

At the entrance

Central courtyard

There was a butterfly flying around the flowers. I snapped several pictures until I got this one.

Down in the wine cellar. “100 bottles of wine on the wall, 100 bottles of wine. Take one down, pass it around, 99 bottles of wine on the wall”

Per the cork, bottled in 2000

Your basic tourist trap. Lots of little things like soap, cooking with wine books, wooden cases to carry your wine, etc.

Continuing on from the castle, we headed up until 128 and 29 split. We took the left and headed for the coast. 128 was a pretty cool ride in general, running through the upper valley. Then 101 up to the 128 split again. I got behind a Prius and a Scion and we hauled ass in the mountains. Great fun if a bit weary. The shifting shade and sun made it difficult to determine what was around the corner at times so sudden slowness was called for. At one point the Prius seemed to have trouble going up the hills but recovered. I wasn’t sure if she wanted me to pass or what.

One of the real problems is lane discipline. It didn’t happen a lot but certainly there were a few places where people were cutting corners. I’m still tentative on the bike though. I’ve said it before. There is a midway between full on sportbike and touring bike like the Goldwing so this felt a little wobbly at times. At one corner there was a bit of a washboard and the bike stuttered a bit to the left!

At the Navarro River Redwoods State Park, we stopped for a break and some pictures.

And a super awesome picture of Jeanne, the bike, and the trees.

The trees are pretty big here.

Hopping back on the bike, we headed up to the coast. Nice and cool again 🙂

Of course we stopped at the “Drive Through a Tree” park 🙂 Jeanne insisted.

Looking up inside the tree

Dark in there

Seriously, I have been working on my smile for years. It’s a grimace most of the time if I’m not thinking “smile!”

The Chandler tree itself

Now that’s a big tree.

Continuing, the road merged back with 101. I did get a nice video of the ride to 101 though 🙂 At the “House in a log” spot in Piercy, we stopped for gas. There have been a few places where my card wasn’t accepted for some reason. I’d just go inside to set some amount, around $10, and then pump the gas. In this case I set it to $7.00 but instead of going to 7, it stopped at 2 gallons. Kind of an odd configuration but it was the only time it was different than just pumping $7 or $10 or $15 of gas.

We finally got to Eureka and I stopped to get gas.

“Do you have my credit card??”

Oh no. No card. Check wallet. Check pocket. The last place I had it was Piercy. Call the Patriot station. “Yea, I found it when I was walking out. I tried to catch you but you were already gone.” *whew* “Okay, excellent. I’ll drive down in the morning and pick it up. You guys are open on Sunday right?”

That would have sucked.

We found the motel and unpacked the bike. The motel was a little on the cheaper side (and across from the county jail 🙂 ) with a few homeless folks wandering around. The lady at the desk says there are a lot of homeless in Eureka for some reason. Anyway, she suggested Lost Coast Brewery so we walked down to get something to eat. Man what a loud establishment. I’m not really good with loud but I muddled through it 🙂 I’ve been ordering fish and chips up the coast and they’ve been okay in general. The fish here were pretty good but the fries were pretty bad. Cold and chewy. I did get a root beer float which was good in general.

That big spider? When the door opens and closes, it goes up and down 🙂

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