It’s 4 am in the morning and sunrise is a long ways off. Back home Laurel rises around the 6 am so she can get ready for work and to make the hour commute to Twin Cities for her job. Me, I rise shortly after she leaves. Now in California our body rhythms are still on Central Daylight Time. The hotel breakast doesn’t open until 6:30 am. So we stayed in bed and tried to get a little more sleep so we can get our bodies on Pacific Daylight Time. As the 6 o’clock hour rolled around we started our morning routines. We figured by the time we were ready for the day the breakfast room would be open. We went to the breakfast room for a full breakfast. Eggs, sausage, cereal and waffles. There was no fear of going hungry. After we finished our fill and a refill of our favorite hot drinks for the road, we headed to the car for our first leg of the day’s travels.
We headed for I-80 in Vallejo and headed north-east towards Sacramento. My desire was to head into the Central Valley to see where America’s food is grown. The sky was overcast and the forecast was for clearing skies by afternoon. The drive was strangely beautiful. The hills on both sides of the interstate were covered with straw colored matured grasses. We also spoted a few Black Angus cattle dotting the hillsides. I’m not sure if they were grazing on the grass or if they were out for their morning walk. I was going to get off on I-505 but made the decision to continue on I-80 and drove to the town of Dixon. We exited the interstate before Dixon and drove thru the countryside on our way to Dixon. The crops were harvested and the field were worked for next years crop season. We found our way into town and it was still early in the morning. Laurel suggested we travel to Sacramento and visit the capital city. So we headed back to I-80.
We programed our phone’s map program for the state capital building and made our way into Sacramento. We weaved our way thru the city and parked our car next to the capital grounds. We started our walking tour around the capital grounds. The gounds were planted with specimen trees. It was a beautiful morning stroll in the park. The front steps of the capital building had some white chairs set up and a musician getting ready for some gathering in the near future. There was a police officer playing with his K-9 partner on the grounds. A young couple were having their engagment photos taken near a small rose garden. We continued our walk and found the catus garden on the far end of the grounds and and another larger rose garden. The skies started clearing as we made our way back to the car. We headed out of the city on leg two of our day. Next stop Napa Valley.
The mapping program suggested we go back near Vallejo then go north into the Napa Valley. Me, no way am I going to take the fastest route I want the most scenic route. We went thru the town of Davis and Winters before we headed over the hills to the Napa Valley. Again Laurel reminded me to stop enjoying the scenery and keep my eyes on the road. We weaved our way up the hills enjoying the unfolding scenery of California’s back country. We made our way to Lake Berryessa a reservoir high in the hills. We could witness the toll the drought has taken on California’s water supply. We could also see the old shore line on the hillside. My guess is the lake was down 10 feet. I didn’t have a good reference point so the water could have been down further. I asked Laurel if they had to add on to the boat launch so the people could launch their boats. After a short visit at the dam and a overlook of the reservoir we continued on the road to the Napa Valley. We passed a few vineyards as we desended from the hills and passed another beautiful lake. A few more miles later we reached the Napa Vally area just south of Saint Helena. We drove north to Castello di Amorosa vineyard. The winery is a castle. I saw this winery on the internet while doing research before we left home. I thought it would be cool to visit a unique winery and the castle was unbelievable.
We signed up for a guided tour and did a wine tasting that included the chocolate pairing. We could of done the simple tasting and and enjoyed the public areas, but the guided tour took us deep into the castle. We also had the chance to taste a wine in its aging process. At the end of the tour we were ushered into a private tasting room. The tour guide intoduced us to our wine choices. He started on the one end of the bar taking requests and pouring the fine wines of Castello di Amorosa. As we left the castle we noted sheep grazing around the castle in a fenced in area. There was some free range chicken also enjoying the grassy pasture. It was a glorious afternoon. The sun was high in the sky giving us fabulous vistas of the Napa Valley. We retreaterd back to our car and started our journery back to the hotel. Vineyards lined both sides of the highway with tasting rooms inviting visitors to stop and taste the fruits of their soil and labor.
We returned to Vallejo and stopped for dinner before returning to the hotel. We found a place called The Black Angus Steakhouse. When we travel we like to eat at restaurants we can’t find back home. We are always hoping for a small local restaurant, but we don’t have a Black Angus back home so we thought we would give it a try. The only Black Angus we have in our area are the ones grazing in the pastures. After a fabulous steak dinner we retired to our hotel to relax and plan Monday’s adventure into San Francisco. I didn’t want to start to early because I didn’t want to be sitting in the morning commute. The plan was to go around the north end of the bay and enter San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge. Plans were made and it was time to go to bed to rest up for our adventure into and around San Francisco on Monday.
To be continued….