Our first day at the new place was exploring closer to home.
As I mentioned we were staying right next to Jack London State Park and Sonoma Mountain SP. We climbed over a ridge into SMSP. We went the hard way, Amy has trouble on downhills and has to crawl down them like a crab
We then took the trail to the top of the ridge, not going as far as the London park as that would take us down the opposite side of the mountain and make for a long day to get home
Close out the day at Sunset view.
Here is the path we walk through each time coming back to the house
The next day I walked down hill, the opposite way from yesterday on same trail, and came across tons of wild turkeys. They are loud as I recorded some of them up amongst the tops of the Redwoods.
From there I walked over to Coopers Grove.
It was a magical clearing within the Redwoods. Perfect for a camp overnight. Alas, I never made it happen. But I did bring Amy along next time and we hiked through the brush back up to the back of the AirBNB property.
The next day we borrowed the owners parking pass and drove around the mountain to the Jack London State park. I had read his recent biography, “An American Life”, but walking the grounds was amazed at his ingenuity and self-determination fighting with the mental illness that lurked in the shadows. He made his money on stories about Alaska, but his passion was right here on this farm. Looking for new ways to manage pigs, experimenting with terraces, cactus farming and more efficient ways to operate a vineyard.
This picture below is where Amy thinks she sees a Mountain Lion on the path up ahead. To me it looked like a fox, but later in the trip we did see another one by the road that did look a lot like a Mountain Lion (read house cat) so maybe she was right.
He is buried here right on the property
Here are some shots of the dream home he built that burned to the ground just before completion.
The next morning I made the 2 mile out and back up to Umbrella Tree.
The spot just seemed like a scene out of Forrest Gump where him and Jenny grew under an old tree in the plantations of Alabama. I could imagine being 8 yo and heading up here with my friends to climb, camp and look out over the fields during the day and stars at night.
After I got back, we drove into Petaluma to Helen Putnam Park. It allowed us to get Max outside to explore.
It also gave us a chance to do laundry. We did not have washer in the unit so we dragged it to a laundromat and hung out with the migrant workers cleaning our clothes. Not a problem, as our clothes were being washed we walked over to Brewsters Pub and Beer Garden for lunch. It was my birthday and a warm day outside, with a burger and a beer sounded good
Stopped at Trader Joes and Safeway and back to the compound.
A lot of fires tore through here in 2017 and again last year. The owners of the house said they came real close to losing the place. Now they had water tank up the hill to at least give themselves a shot at wetting the area down if embers begin to fly. A lot of the parks and hiking trails were closed from this most recent fire season.
We drove into Santa Rosa to ride the bikes down a path but they all looked like they ran through pretty sketchy neighborhoods. For the hell of it we looked up these run down places and they were listed for over 400K! It blew me away. Instead of riding we drove through downtown Santa Rosa, which was less than impressive itself
We kept heading north and stopped in the charming Northern Cali mountain town of Calastoga where we stopped at a brewery for lunch
We came back home in the neighboring valley, Napa. This was quite a different scene. It was the weekend and I believe the first time they had opened up since COVID. The wineries where elaborate only to be outdone by the visitors and their unending string of Mercedes and Teslas. St Helena was a cute little down heading down through Napa valley on the way to the town of Napa. We took a right and winded our way back up the mountain and down into Sonoma Valley and the town of Glen Ellen.
When we got back, we walked Max all the way down the driveway to the grove.
He had not been himself lately. We do not know if it is the recent Vet emergencies, old age, or frequent house changes, but he never wants to go outside anymore. Sometimes he ran through the fields with me. He always loves bounding through the tall grass. When we got back Amy found a deer tick on him and that’s the day our trip changed. I was able to get tweezers and pull it off but he got bit good.
Amy was freaked out and from now on he was only allowed on the driveway. It was hard to argue because literally every time he came in the house we found one on him. It was a non stop battle. I think people up here just get used to it and take their chances with dogs getting disease. Our hosts used an oil rub on Buck, while Amy stuck with a flea and tick medicine.
Once Amy got bit, both of them were regulated to the driveway. Fortunately no one got lyme disease…yet.