Saturday, September 25, 2021

"And all at once summer collapsed into fall." -- Oscar Wilde

We are in a beautiful area!  To top it off it's 73° at 7 p.m. here in Napa. CA, with a high of only 81° tomorrow.  This sign was in front of a store in Napa, and after months of mostly triple digits it feels a little like fall this evening.

We arrived in Napa early this afternoon after a good 4 hour drive.  We drove through Manteca on the way, which is where we met our first Granddaughter, Emma, over 14 years ago.   

Early March, 2007
Emma was almost 2 months old.

The closer we got to Napa, the more Vineyards we saw.

Wine was calling our name so we headed to downtown Napa to check it out. 

The residences along the river looked pretty inviting. 

The gondola looked like it was sporting a table and chairs.

Men and women in Napa County who lost their lives in Iran and Afghanistan.

There were a variety of wine and food choices in the Oxbow Market.

Mural paying tribute to the Latino Community in Napa County.

The Napa Art Walk rotates exhibits.  The theme for 2021-2023 was "Play!" Beginning in August, 10 sculptures from 7 artists in 4 western states went on display.

Wild Flower by Patricia Vader
My favorite, probably because it was made from bike wheels.

Meditate by Jann Nun

Sound Harp by Tysen Ayers

I mentioned I had a story to share about Sequoia N. P.  I love when I can find pictures of the places we go now that I went when I was a child or when our kids were younger.  I haven't found any from when I was a kid for quite a while.   There are still thousands of pictures to go through and label so I know there were places in the Northeast that I went when I was younger, that either aren't labeled or the pictures weren't labeled by my own parents. 

I noticed as our kids got older (pre digital) and we all got busier our pictures were often thrown in a box unlabeled. Unlabeled pictures are slowing our categorizing down.  Amazing how mountains seem to look the same, as do lakes.  It's difficult many times to pinpoint just how old a person is or the exact year a picture was taken.

I digress, sorry!   In 2001 our two oldest  Josh and Eric were both on the UMR Rolla (known now as Missouri S & T) Solar Car Team.  Universities from across the world came and still come to the U.S. to participate in the American Solar Challenge (it has changed names a few times but the race has basically remained the same) which is held approximately every 2 years.  It is a test of teamwork, engineering skill, and endurance over thousands of miles on public roads.  

In 2001 the 2300 mile race began in Chicago and ended in Claremont, CA, pretty much following the old "Route 66."  Wouldn't it be fun to kind of follow the race and support UMR?  Well, it was!  Rolla, MO was a stop, so Pat, Chris, and myself began following from there to Claremont.

Let me just say, Josh came from a little town in MO and went to Rolla, Zia a little town in Washington state and went to MIT.  They were on their respective school's Solar Car Teams and I'm not exactly sure when or how they met, but they were both racing in 2001. 

After the race concluded we continued on our vacation and headed north.  We probably had cell phones but not much service then, especially in mountains.  I'm sure we gave the kids a general idea of our itinerary.  We were sitting around our campsite one night in Sequoia and we see a big yellow Ryder truck.  We're talking pretty steep, narrow and winding roads, so that's not something you see expect to see.  Why would anyone bring a Ryder truck here?

Then it stops right in front of our site.   Did you guess?  Sure enough Josh and Zia!  Zia had to return the truck MIT rented for the race to San Francisco.  How did they find us?  They knew we were going to Sequoia so they just drove around until they found us!  

The year before the race, in this case 2000, volunteers from various teams form a crew to just drive the route in a regular vehicle to make sure the route will work. Josh and Zia are front left

Josh and Eric as the cars came through Rolla.

Zia in Rolla in her MIT team shirt.

The UMR team in Clairemont, CA

Josh and Zia spent the night at Sequoia.

Where are the Piepers now?  Napa, CA


  1. Thanks for the NAPA tour. We'll be spending a week in Silicon Valley in late December so maybe we'll drive over for a day.

    1. There's some neat historic wineries around there. If you want to tour them (possibly requires a taste testing too) you need reservations ahead. We scheduled this at the last moment in lieu of Kings Canyon/Sequoia so we were limited, particularly over the weekend. Napa was nice itself. We've had a lot of fun here and I would recommend it.