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Old 11-08-2011, 01:45 AM   #181
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(Continued from Previous Post)


Sonoma Train Town

One of DH’s colleagues had given us the tip to go visit the Sonoma Train Town. We had all known that DS7 would not be interested to trek about the vineyards for the entire weekend and we would need to find other entertainment to keep him occupied.

It might not be Disneyland…but as far as model train establishments go, this one is probably one of the best I’ve seen. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

























































We had a great time here and it was a fantastic way to spend some quality family time together. There were no queues. Entry was free and you paid for each ride. From memory, the main train ride was about $2. Most of the other small fairground rides were about $1 or thereabouts. The miniature town was really sweet and still under construction whilst we were there. I expect that it would be even better now.


(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:50 AM   #182
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(Continued from Previous Post)


Napa Valley

So, with one day dedicated towards keeping DS in the pink, we had one day where we kept DS in the w(H)ine. It was adult entertainment time!


We headed in to Napa proper.





It, too, had a tourist information center. And it was DH’s turn to make enquiries about possible winery options for us. DS and I indulged in an ice cream whilst we were waiting. It was hot here too…but nowhere near as hot as in Sacramento.





Napa Valley is a very picturesque valley that is surrounded by hills on two sides. From Napa and as you drive north, the valley narrows and the hills just get closer and closer and closer. And the vineyards are all spaced out with their tasting rooms or caves pretty much along the St Helena highway.

There are quite a few vineyards….and a wine train that runs parallel to the highway. We had found out too late about the wine train…that’s what you get for not doing any research and planning beforehand.
Whilst we were driving, we passed the train a couple of times. It certainly looks like a HEAP of fun! Next time we go, we’ll be on that train and ditching DS..…unless he’s of legal drinking age!



The person that provided DH with advise was also spot-on with her help. She had asked about our traveling party and once she found out that we had a 7 year old, she pretty much just told us to head to one vineyard. She said that we could do some wine sampling in the Napa township (which we did) of the respective vineyards; but that we probably shouldn’t try to go to too many vineyards with DS in tow.

She did recommend that we drive out along the valley so that we could see what it looked like and take the Silverado Trail on the way home.

How right she turned out to be! The one vineyard she recommended that we go to was Sterling.





The Sterling vineyard is nearly at the end of the valley and sits right at the top of the hill. They run a cable car to the top…





…and the views are pretty good.














There is a self-guided tour; with about 3 stops along the way for various wine tastes.

























Even before we finished our first glass, the whine had started. Not a happy boy!





We managed the whine as best we could….and just enjoyed the scenery from their rooftop courtyard.









The valley was rather pretty!














Our final taste was in the cellar room….





…where we got the full meltdown. 5 ½ weeks into the holiday…and this was about the first time that DS7 cracked it with us. All things considered, he’d done really well on this trip.


We finished up and mum took DS out to watch the cable cars. That allowed DH and I to purchase some wine…but we could sure hear the whine from where we were!


So, we finished up our purchases and caught the cable car back down; headed back along the scenic Silverado Trail and went back to Sonoma to feed DS some parmesan cheese with pasta on the side.


We spent some time packing that night….we were heading home the day after!



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Old 11-08-2011, 02:35 AM   #183
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Well that was very informative, I had no idea that was all there. I guess we will have to go take a drive. Thanks for sharing and great pics.
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Old 11-08-2011, 03:12 AM   #184
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I hadn't noticed a gondola up there. Interesting. Train Town looked pretty cool as well. DS must have great memories of this trip.
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Old 11-08-2011, 04:10 AM   #185
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Your trips to Napa are very different from ours because we stop at almost every winery up the highway! Luckily Fran doesn't indulge much so we're OK, and she is the driver, but we coined a phrase that sort of was a code word. Places that had pretty labels often had icky wine. Unfortunately when we went to Sterling, they had pretty labels. Now that doesn't mean that the wine hasn't changed since we were there, but in 2001 I think it was, the wine was OK, but not worth the price, but we had also visited quite a few other wineries since you know how many are up that highway. Not all but a few where we had memberships and some others before we got to Sterling!

The tram ride is fun and they do have a good tour. I'm thinking that in lieu of the cancellation of our F&W trip this year I might pull in a Napa trip once we get the vacant apartments rented. I've read about these cooking school trips up there and if we get the apartments rented and don't dip too far into our savings I can ask for a Napa food cooking vacation since I had to give up my F&W trip, she is very susceptible to bribery so we'll see!
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:54 AM   #186
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Nice update

5 weeks is about my breaking point too so I think he did very well. I'm sure I could put his whine to shame...man...I can pull a hissy fit

But seriously I think you've still had a nice introduction and look around even with a 7yo in tow. So at least that's good.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:47 AM   #187
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Sonoma looks lovely! Glad your spontaneity paid off!
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Old 11-18-2011, 09:09 PM   #188
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usnuzuloose View Post
Well that was very informative, I had no idea that was all there. I guess we will have to go take a drive. Thanks for sharing and great pics.

When you go, you'll have to let me know what you did and saw!


Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingfast View Post
I hadn't noticed a gondola up there. Interesting. Train Town looked pretty cool as well. DS must have great memories of this trip.
Yes. DH remembers the food on this trip.....crepes in Quebec City; Hersey and M&M chocolate in NYC; jelly belly in San Francisco.



Quote:
Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
Your trips to Napa are very different from ours because we stop at almost every winery up the highway! Luckily Fran doesn't indulge much so we're OK, and she is the driver, but we coined a phrase that sort of was a code word. Places that had pretty labels often had icky wine. Unfortunately when we went to Sterling, they had pretty labels. Now that doesn't mean that the wine hasn't changed since we were there, but in 2001 I think it was, the wine was OK, but not worth the price, but we had also visited quite a few other wineries since you know how many are up that highway. Not all but a few where we had memberships and some others before we got to Sterling!

The tram ride is fun and they do have a good tour. I'm thinking that in lieu of the cancellation of our F&W trip this year I might pull in a Napa trip once we get the vacant apartments rented. I've read about these cooking school trips up there and if we get the apartments rented and don't dip too far into our savings I can ask for a Napa food cooking vacation since I had to give up my F&W trip, she is very susceptible to bribery so we'll see!
I thought the Stirling label was pretty....plain (there's a picture of the bottle where DH is by the barrel)....if that is "pretty", then when you come to Oz, you're going to have to work out a different system for trying our wines.

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Originally Posted by queenie82 View Post
Nice update

5 weeks is about my breaking point too so I think he did very well. I'm sure I could put his whine to shame...man...I can pull a hissy fit

But seriously I think you've still had a nice introduction and look around even with a 7yo in tow. So at least that's good.

Yeah, I figured he'd done really well to get to that point too.
We'd "been" to Napa in 1990 before on a flying pass through...but that was way too long ago to even remember anything!


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Sonoma looks lovely! Glad your spontaneity paid off!
Sonoma was fantastic. When we go again, we'll definitely look towards Sonoma for accommodation.
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Old 11-19-2011, 11:35 PM   #189
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San Francisco – Homeward Bound

San Francisco – Homeward Bound


It was our final day in California; and we were scheduled to fly out of San Francisco airport late.

We pretty much had the whole day left and we did the only thing that any sensible Aussie would do on their final day……we went shopping!

Yes, we hit the Napa Valley Outlets in the morning.

Mum and I figured we had bought enough during the week in Sac; so we satisfied ourselves with one or six purchases, and took turns at keeping DS amused. DH, on the other hand, went…well….ran amok in the shops. I think he called stumps after he’d purchased about 6 pairs of shoes and a bazillion clothes. We had to get a new bag in the outlet just to hold his purchases.

Eventually all credit cards have to come to a max and it was time to hit the road.

We had time to spare; so we decided to take the longer path back….




…via Sausalito. I have a favourite café in Sausalito. It’s the Cat and the Fiddle. The food is about average by US standards…but the location? It can’t be beat.





You see…I like to look at houseboats at Sausalito and after our late lunch, we took a stroll down the docks.





Yes…it really is a mini floating Taj Mahal.





I like Sausalito. Aside from the main drag, if you look hard enough, you’ll find remnants of the artsy side of life here. And you should know by now that I like looking at street art.








We drove over the bridge…





…and had a fittingly fog farewell.





We did stop off at my cousin’s place to freshen up and change into our travel clothes. She lived around the corner from the Painted Ladies, so it is a rather convenient place to be able to go to have a shower before our flight.





And all too soon, we were at the airport….homeward bound.






This marks the end of my retrospective 2007 TR. It has been a real pleasure for me to relive this trip. It was certainly one of the better and enjoyable trips we have had to the US. I hope you’ve enjoyed the trip down memory lane with me.

I think that Eastern Canada will always hold a special place in my heart; but there is no denying that if it weren’t for the San Andreas fault, I’d be living in San Francisco right now.

I know, I know….some of you live have lived right on top of the San Andreas all your lives.

For now, Melbourne is home.


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Old 11-20-2011, 12:17 AM   #190
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
I thought the Stirling label was pretty....plain (there's a picture of the bottle where DH is by the barrel)....if that is "pretty", then when you come to Oz, you're going to have to work out a different system for trying our wines.
Actually it didn't matter whatsoever if the label was pretty or not. We just figured that "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all", so if we couldn't say anything good about the wine, we would say that the label was pretty!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
I know, I know….some of you live have lived right on top of the San Andreas all your lives.
I only lived on it growing up, my parents have lived on it for over 40 years, and you know what? That fault has not caused a major earthquake in their region, the Loma Prieta quake, not on the San Andreas.... Yes, it is ready to rip and who knows if it will be So Cal or Nor Cal or inbetween, but hey, earthquakes happen. I lived on the epicenter of the Northridge quake and survived that. It sucked, but I'll take living in CA. So glad you've enjoyed your trips here!

Great Trip Report! Looking forward to hearing about your next adventure! And just think when you finish that one up we can begin planning the games board meet up!
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:28 AM   #191
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Lovely TR! Thanks for taking the time to share!
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:40 PM   #192
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PIO, another gem as per always. I simply adore your writing style. Witty, cheeky and full of details! Can't wait until HK rolls around.
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