Thursday, September 30, 2021

"I knew my destiny when I first experienced Yosemite." -- Ansel Adams

Yosemite's Half Dome.

Thursday we started out visiting Glacier Point in Yosemite which was an hour from our campground.  In the summer months it would be packed by 8 a.m.  but we arrived at 9:30 this morning and the lot only had 20 cars and the overflow lot was empty.

From Glacier Point we were afforded fantastic views of Half Dome, a well known rock formation named after its shape.  It presents a strenuous 17 mile hike.   You gain 4800 feet in elevation before reaching the cables that assist you in climbing the remainder of it's steep granite domes.  It's a good day hike or you can spend the night, both of which require permits.  This has been on my bucket list for years,  but I think that ship has sailed!

Arch Rock entrance

Half Dome

This is zoomed in to the point of being blurry so you can see the people on top of Half Dome.

Looking down at Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point.

317' Vernal Falls as seen from Panorama Trail. We hiked a portion of this trail.

We enjoyed visiting with Ranger Krys.  She is a backcountry Ranger at Yosemite.  She was finishing her sixth day of a backcountry hike patrolling her area.  The 3 weeks prior she had been working on the Caldor fire in California.  She gave us a great tip on when to turn around on this trail before we would regret the return trip, as the trail took a plunge down.

Ranger Krys
Her pack was huge and looked very heavy!

On a clear day you can see almost 190 miles from here.  This was not a clear day!

Remains of a prior forest fire.

El Capitan on the left and Half Dome on the right. Taken from Tunnel View (made famous by Ansel Adams) just outside the Wawana tunnel.  We may have to go back because supposedly you can see Bridalveil Falls from here too.  Bridalveil Falls is a big attraction but the trail is currently closed for work. 

El Capitan

The Wawona tunnel is .8 miles long. It required 275 tons of blasting powder and was completed in 1933.  

200 miles on Weds. led t.o a 5 hour day with one gas (no, not me!) and a lunch stop. The last 40 miles were in the mountains--slow going for the RV.  I always feel bad for the people behind us because we don't go up mountains very fast. Pat's great about pulling over to let people pass, when there's a spot to actually pull a 55' RV and car over in.  

Merced River

We're crossing over to the other side of the river due to a little rock slide on the right.

Reinforcement above the rock slide.

Glad I wasn't driving!  The narrow one lane bridge that took us across the creek.

A cute little campground just 8 miles outside Yosemite National Park.

Pretty views from the RV Park.

Where are the Piepers now?  Indian Flat Campground, El Portal, CA

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Wine a little and you'll feel better!🍷

Domaine Carneros Winery in Napa, CA

Wine before noon?  In Napa!  We drove west, back towards Napa, Monday morning for a 10:15 wine tasting.  What a treat!!

The chateau was built in 1988, inspired by the Chateau de la Marquette in  France.  The Chateau de la Marquette is the country home and estate of the Taittinger family,  founder of Domaine Carneros.  It is considered one of the most beautiful wineries in North America. 

My requests were fulfilled.  I had a tour, as well as tasting yesterday at Berryessa Gap Vineyards, and wine tasting at one of the top scenic wineries, Domaine Carneros today.

I loved both spots but they were very different. They both had various wine tasting and tour packages. Berryessa Gap was a lot more informal and laid back.  It was beautiful, but a natural beauty.  Wine tasting for a flight of 5, plus the tour was $40 per person.  I like Malbec so Woody gave us a sample of it too. These fees were taken off of our purchases.  Wines were nearly all in the $20-30 range.  Wines were excellent.  

Domaine Carneros is in the Napa Valley. It was more formal.  It was beautiful but in a more planned, sculpted way.  They charged $40 each for the 4 flight tasting.  Here it wasn't taken off the purchase price. Our waiter, Richard, was super nice and offered us a 5th tasting.  Their wines were around $30-125.  Wines were excellent. A cheese or charcuterie tray was available as well as Caviar.

Since I always need food after wine,  Pat went ahead and got a cheese tray today.

We had a persistent friend.

I told Pat that a bathroom tells a lot about a place.

Scenery after we left the winery.

Heading back after the winery we passed through Fairfield, home of the Jelly Belly factory.   Time for a tour!

Ronald Reagan was a big fan of Jelly Bellies.

Molds for the Jelly Belly centers.

Molds for gummy rats.

Below the rotating drum is sorting out Jelly Bellies that are too big or small.  They are kicked out of the front.

Sorting out the "Belly Flops."  They sell these rejects in the gift store.

There were lots of Jelly Belly portraits.

Lots of goodies in the gift shop.  They make other candies besides jelly beans including, gummies, licorice, candy corn, and CHOCOLATES.  I noticed the cafe had Jelly Belly ice cream.

Zoom with Boston has moved to Monday nights.  Medical advances!  Our daughter-in-law, Zia, had an emergency appendectomy Sunday morning, came home that afternoon, and was with us tonight for zoom.  Glad she is doing so well!  Not sure how well it works over zoom, but I'm going to try reading to Cyrus and Samira.  "Trapped in a Video Game #4," and the first book in "The Critter Club."  Will a chapter a week work?  We'll see.

I've had too much wine.   A 3 hour nap this evening.  Pat was in bed pretty early too.
Where are the Piepers now?  Vacaville, CA