Time for repairs…

Our next home for two days, is at the Fontana Elks.  We were originally going to stay at an RV park in Jurupa, but they no longer offer the Passport America discount which made it too expensive.

The Fontana Elks turned out to be one of Korda’s and Kylie’s favorites.  It offers water and power for $20, but the selling point for the dogs is a huge, grassy fenced in area.  The girls found racing around the large, center bbq and meeting place, to be heaven.  They would race around one way for about 4 or 5 times then turn and race around the other way.

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One of the reasons for choosing to stay here at this location is there is an RV repair place about 5 minutes away.  Those of you that have RVs know, but for those that don’t…it’s a constant process keeping things working.  The jarring of going down the road can play havoc on the vehicles.  That, as well as my coach is an 2004 and only had 10K miles on it, so it sat quite a bit.

Anyway, from the day I left my stabilizer jacks stopped working, my slide was starting to stick and not open/close smoothly, and my air conditioner wasn’t working.  None of it was much of a problem at this point, but I was going to need air conditioning and I didn’t need my slide to get stuck while out.

I called a repair place before we were expected to arrive, and German (pronounced Herman) answered, said he was just down the road and to give him a call when we got settled.  Herman Dominguez is the owner of Foothill RV Center, and I highly recommend him if you are needing service in the area.

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He came out and worked to find the most reasonably priced fixes for my problems.  He ended up lubing all the moving parts on my slide and replacing a fuse, and it appears that problem is fixed.  The air conditioner he replaced a capacitor, but it had more issues so we decided the best fix would be to just replace the unit.  We decided to go with a more powerful unit, a 15,000 BTUs instead of 13,500 BTUs, for a little more money.   The HWH leveling jacks he suspects a circuit board and will try switching it out to see if that fixes the problem.

Herman told an interesting story yesterday when he first came out to see what my issues were.  He was standing at the shop and a dove flew down, flew right by a customer and his employee and landed on his head!!  The dove let him take it in his hands and caress it.  He said it looked as though it might have been attacked by a hawk, there was blood on the back of it’s neck.  He gave it some water, and it drank.  When they left for the evening, he left it in the shop with water and they planned to bring some food for it the next day.

Next, my hometown area!  I grew up in Palm Desert, CA and went to high school in Indio.  We will be staying at the Indio Elks.

Orange ya glad you’re in CA? …

Yes, it’s $45 a night with the Good Sam’s discount, and yes that seems expensive…but for full hookups and being surrounded by orange trees loaded with fruit? Priceless!  This will become one of my favorites, you can walk around and just pluck the sweetest Valencia oranges right off the tree.

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The spots are roomy, there are two off leash areas for dogs as well as a track around the property to walk them.  There is a laundry room and bathrooms, as well as a pool.

A fruit and nut stand is within walking distance of the park.  There are samples galore, and all kinds of tasty treats.  We went, hoping for a date shake, but they were all out until the next day.  There is a factory for boxing  and shipping the delicious oranges from the area.  I found it a bit sad, because obviously the ones being boxed up in the factory were on their way overseas.  It’s the same with the apples and other produce in WA. The best is sent elsewhere, and we’re left with the poorer quality in our grocery stores.

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There was a fun car with a colorful wrap parked out front.  It was owned by an old hippie who was as colorful as his car. 🙂

Sadly, we are only here for one night, but we intend on being down to Indio for Christmas…and it’s getting close!

 

A peaceful setting…..

After a long drive, we arrived at Success Lake Campground outside of Porterville, CA.  This campground is also known as Tule Lake Recreational area.   Power and water spots are $30, and they have a place to dump.

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This campground is next to a lake created by a reservoir. I’m sure this campground can be very crowded in the summertime, but we had lots of elbow room with only a few other RVs and a group of tent campers.  It was so peaceful and the light at sunrise and sunset plays across the mountains like watercolors.

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There are houseboat rentals, fishing and boating.  Bird watching was fun too, as the lake is a draw for migrating birds, as well as natives.   I saw Canadian Geese, American White Pelicans, large groups of Coots, a few Cormorants and I witnessed two Blue Herons doing an air battle for a choice spot along the water.

 

I wanted to let the dogs swim, though there was only a couple of spots to access the lake.  The banks are fairly steep, but there is a boat launch and a spit of land out by the houseboat rentals.  I let them swim from each location,  the water was a bit cleaner by the house boat docks(floating debris).

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This location was loaded with goatheads and other stickers.  My dogs couldn’t walk far without holding a foot up to have the sticker removed.

We went in for lunch to Porterville on our 2nd day.  Janet picked the best Mexican restaurant in Porterville!  I had Barbacoa tacos as well as a cerviche and fish tostada.  I also couldn’t leave without buying a cookie and piece of Mexican sweet bread.   Highly recommend if you find yourself in Porterville, the name is Panaderia Tortilleria Carniceria and it’s located 150 Main St.

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Next, on to Bakersfield!!

 

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. -John Steinbeck

We traveled further south to the Salinas Elks to stay for 2 nights. $25 a night for power and water. There is a dump station for an additional $5.   It’s basically a gravel parking lot, there are a few grassy areas to walk the dogs.

The most memorable excursion was to the Steinbeck museum.  I remember crying reading The Red Pony as a kid, and as recent as last year I listened to Travels With Charley on CD while on the road to Utah. Touring the museum I realize that I need to read some more of his books.  I remember reading a few of his books during high school, but really don’t remember much about them.  Also, I would like to watch some of the great movies that were made from his books.  Do you have a favorite Steinbeck book or movie?

I didn’t realize that he was a war correspondent, and had traveled as much as he did.  If you get a chance to tour the museum I highly recommend it.

After we left we drove by the Steinbeck house as a gorgeous sunset was in the making.

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The next day we packed up for a long drive to Porterville.

 

You go to Sonoma for wine and Napa for auto parts….

Todd Legg told me that saying and I found it rather humorous.  Sonoma is definitely a good place to go to find great wines, and vinegars.

We moved to Petaluma Elks for 5 nights. $25 a night for full hookups.  Elbow room and a huge parking lot behind for dog running.

Our first day there Todd’s brother, Bruce, his wife, Nancy and grandson, Alexander stopped by for a visit.  We all went together to Rafy’s Pizza for lunch. Rafy is the son-in-law of Bruce and Nancy.  Rafy spent time in New York City where he learned the fine art of creating NY pizza.

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Next stop was the Sonoma Portworks.  Tried a couple of their ports which were good, but what I was really impressed with was their vinegars.  One was made with muscat grapes and one with cabernet grapes. The flavors! Can’t wait to try cooking with them…or even drizzle them over fruit or ice cream. Yum!  Next door was a distillery, both the portworks and the distillery were dog friendly.  Petaluma has over 30 restaurants, breweries and wineries that are dog friendly. Definitely a pet friendly town.

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The next day we headed to Glen Ellen to tour Jack London State Historic Park.   The park is also known as Jack London home and ranch.  I so enjoyed reading Jack London’s books growing up, especially Call of the Wild and White Fang.

I was really looking forward to exploring this park.  Sadly, but understandably, they had moved all the museum pieces to a safe location due to the recent fires.   We could still walk around the Beauty Ranch and view the cottages, horse barns and surrounding beautiful countryside.

The Wolf House ruins are there.  The Wolf  House was Jack London’s dream house and he started building it in 1911.  It was 15,000 square feet and had 26 rooms and 9 fireplaces.  Unfortunately, the house spontaneously combusted, one hot August night in 1913. They never had a chance to move in and he died before he was able to rebuild. Both he, and his wife, Charmian loved entertaining and having guests stay at their ranch.

Also along the trail is a gravesite.  “One day, when Charmian and Jack were riding over their property, they came upon the grave site of two pioneer children-David and Lilly Greenlaw. David had died in 1876, the year Jack London was born. Jack was quite moved by the lonely place where the children were buried and he said to Charmian that he would like to be buried in this place if he should die before her. So when Jack died later, Charmian had his ashes placed under this large volcanic rock. When Chamian died, her ashes were placed next to Jack’s under the same rock.”

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For lunch we went to The Girl and the Fig,  a French restaurant in Sonoma.  Inside there is a beautiful antique bar and a country feel.  We chose to share a cheese & charcuterie platter.  Titled “The Works” we let our waiter choose 3 different selections of meat, and 3 different cheeses.  The meat and cheese is accompanied by apples and fruit compote, spiced nuts, house made fig cake and a baguette.  To drink I wanted something “figgy” so I ordered a Fig Kiss.  It was concocted of Figcello di Sonoma, St-Germain Liqueur and cranberry juice.   It was refreshing an oh so delicious. 🙂

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We had a short stop at Sebastiani winery,  enjoyed looking at the wooden barrels with their engravings and the painting on the wall by the fireplace.

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I spent a day of cleaning the coach and Jeep, the next day…and it took ALL day!  For a reward we went to Lagunitas for dinner.  It’s a brewery that has a great open feel and is very dog friendly.  They have grassy areas and water bowls set about.   A band was playing some great danceable music and they had an eclectic menu.  Todd and I both chose the the soy glazed chicken street tacos.  The tacos came with pickled onions and Asian slaw.  Delicious! Janet had the Dog Town Garden Sandwich.  She said it was also very good, and basically a salad between two pieces of bread.  I chose the Brown Shugga’ “Originally a failed attempt at our 1997 batch of Olde GanrlyWine Ale, resulting in an all-new-beer-style we like to call…. Irresponsible. ”  It was a enjoyable brew.

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Back to the coaches to get a good nights sleep before heading to the Salinas Elks for two nights.

When in Rome…or Sonoma County, eat Italian!!

The last tour of a winery we chose to do from our base at Cloverdale Citrus Fair, was Korbel.

Korbel is a beautiful winery with an interesting history.  We took the tour so were able learn quite a bit, though it was too much to remember.  I highly recommend the tour if you have the opportunity.

The Korbel brothers were from Bohemia (todays western region of the Czech Republic). Francis Korbel was the frontrunner, with a colorful start: “According to family lore, Francis was in Prague in 1848 and fired the shot that started a revolution against the monarch of the Austrian Empire. The attempt to overthrow the ruling Hapsburgs failed, and the world would have to wait almost 70 years more before another gun shot mortally wounded Arch Duke Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of what had now become the Austro-Hungarian Empire, an act that led to World War I and the downfall of the Hapsburgs. For his part in revolutionary activity, young Korbel landed in Daliborka Prison. He managed to escape, however, reportedly with the help of his grandmother who provided civilian clothes that allowed him to stroll out an unlocked gate to freedom, casually smoking a cigar. 

Francis Korbel’s start was making cigars and cigar boxes.  He emmigrated to New York and then moved to San Francisco (traveling around the Isthmus of Panama).  It was there that he asked his brothers, Joseph and Anton to join him.  They originally purchased their Russian River land in Sonoma county in 1872 for the timber.  They, like all good entrepreneurs diversified into many directions to take advantage of all the possibilities available for business.

They did some farming, growing alfalfa, beets, corn, prunes and wheat and used some of the crops to feed cows and start a dairy.  At this time they also began to plant their vineyards.  The rest, as they say is history (and it is worth reading about, if you don’t have the chance to take the tour).   Because of their start in champagne was so long ago  they were grandfathered in to be allowed to sell their California Champagne, as Champagne.   Other than that only Champagne produced in the Champagne region of France can be called Champagne.

Besides seeing all the historical photos and memorabilia we watched a couple of movies on the history as well as the making of their Champagne.  We also got to taste a Natural Champagne which was dry, followed by a Blanc de Noirs-a little sweeter, then Moscato Frizzante sweeter still and finished up with a Sweet Rose-the sweetest.   They were all very enjoyable.

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After we finished up our tour we were hungry and drove to Occidental. We pulled up to Negri’s Italian Dinners and Joe’s Bar, a restaurant that Todd and Janet had really enjoyed eating at before.

Walking in, you could tell that this was a well loved place by the locals.  It has been around since 1943.  Todd and I ordered Nonni’s Ravioli, a house made pasta, with beef, pork, swiss chard, herbs, and parmesan.   Janet ordered the calamari steak.  We chose to get the dinner version as it included a homemade minestrone, antipasto, salami, and a salad that had the most mouth-watering dressing on it.  The dressing, a blue cheese vinaigrette, is available for sale…normally.  They were so busy they couldn’t sell any that day, was I ever disappointed! 😦

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A winery straight from Hollywood….

Our only winery visit this day, was to the Francis Ford Coppola winery.  As can be expected the winery is opulent, and there is a lot of memorabilia from some of his most memorable films on different levels within the winery.   A large area holding of memorabilia from the Godfather, as well as the car and other items from the movie Tucker: The Man and His Dreams is held within.  There are also some smaller displays for Dracula, Apocalypse Now and a scale model ship from Marie Antoinette.

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Two swimming pools are on the grounds, along with cabines (changing rooms).  “Francis Ford Coppola wanted to create a place for families to come and enjoy all the best things in life together. For years, he had seen children playing around the fountain at Inglenook, pleading with their parents to allow them to jump in. Francis always sympathized with the children, so he thought, Gee, the kids will want to go swimming, so let’s have swimming pools.coppola14coppola15coppola16

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Bocce ball courts are available for those who enjoy the sport.

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The wine choices are extensive, and many collectors bottles are available that you can only buy at the winery.  Prices are from reasonable to incredible.  I did buy a Directors Cut 2014 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel that was reasonably priced and very good.  It received 97 Pts, Double Gold, Best of Class-SF Intl Wine Comp and 91 Points, Gold – 2017 Critics Challenge  “Every bottle of Director’s Cut pays homage to the history of filmmaking with its wraparound label designed after a Zoetrope strip, one of the earliest moving picture devices. Each Director’s Cut label is a replica of a strip from Francis’s personal Zoetrope collection.”

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When we left Coppola’s winery we were famished and headed for Healdsburg to look around and get something to eat.  We chose to eat at Journeyman Meat Co. owned by Peter Seghesio. There rules for the way their meats are raised:

“Our source farms must:

Employ humane and sustainable animal farming techniques

Raise antibiotic-free animals

Provide all natural, vegetarian diets

Allow animals to roam freely, never using industrial confinement operations

Raise heritage breed hogs and Black Angus cattle

Ensure that each animal lives a happy life-with only one bad day. ”

Todd found a quote from Pete Seghesio about Gene Cuneo (John, Paula’s (Janet’s sister) husbands father) that makes me wish I had had the opportunity to meet the man.

“He was one of the great pioneers of our industry” said Pete Seghesio, whose Healdsburg family winery has purchased grapes from Mr. Cuneo over the last 80 years. “He did so much for Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County and growers. “With Gene you had living history” said Seghesio, who recalled how Mr. Cuneo would often visit his tasting room and entertain visitors. “He was a wonderful story teller, a wise, wise person.”

Ah, about the food there…indescribable.  I really wish we had someplace like it in WA (if you know of one let me know!).   We ordered a salumi board, that had 6 varieties of their wonderful, house made salami.  Accompanying the salumi was pickled vegetable and fresh cheese.   Janet and I also split a hamburger, that was ground with bacon, had onion, lettuce and tomato and was served on a fresh baked bun. All their cooked foods are done in a wood fired oven. It was accompanied by roasted fingerling potatoes and cauliflower.  We drank one of the finest Pinot Noir wines I have ever tasted with it.

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Back to the coaches, and our pups, took them out for some exercise then lazed around for the rest of the evening.