Nothing inspires a shopping spree like discomfort. Since our winter in the desert, we have purchased additional Smartwool base layers, insulated hiking pants, super warm long sleeve hoodies and pullovers, 2 down jackets, plus a down parka that comes down to my calves and has faux fur trim on the hood. All of this for next winter because weekend temperatures around where we live are really not that cold. We got to test some of the new gear this weekend in Napa and felt overheated, proving we had the right stuff.
Before we got out of town, we had to take care of our ‘home car.’ On Wednesday evening I heard something weird, like a ‘click-whirrrrr-click’ about every five seconds, even with the motor off. I thought to myself, “I’d better get that checked out because it’ll drain the battery, whatever it is.” Thursday morning I still heard it on the way to work. By the time I was ready to go home, the key wouldn’t even turn the engine on enough to show me a warning light. It was fully dead. But it was late, so I called Richard to pick me up in Bruce, and we came back to deal with it after dinner. We’ve never professed to being mechanical people, but the depth of our ineptitude was rather conspicuously exposed here. As we drove over to save the Subie, Richard was Googling, “How do you jump start a car?” We both had the sequence down as we pulled into the parking lot and I prepared to remove all of our camping gear so that I could get to the emergency jumper cables, cleverly stored in the secret compartment underneath everything else. Smart. I’m hauling jerry cans and leveling blocks and camping furniture out of the back as Richard keeps closing the trunk door on me, searching in vain for how to open the hood. I’m shouting “STOP DOING THAT!” and Richard is now Googling: “How do you open the hood of an Acura?” We got it open and both just stared for a while. The Acura is known for being a very quiet car. Apparently, this is achieved by putting all kinds of noise baffling layers of plastic over the engine. How to remove them was not immediately obvious. And the battery appears to be placed in a location way down low, with the negative terminal nowhere to be seen without removing something. So, we gave up, figuring this was beyond our skill set, and it would be better to call a tow truck anyway. Sadly, by the time the tow truck actually arrived the next day, it was pick up time at an elementary school of 800 students. Apologies to all those blocked in while the green Outback was getting hauled away to Subie Urgent Care.
Did any of that throw our camping plans? Of course not. And now we know the phone number to call for insurance covered Roadside Assistance. We rolled out just a little later than normal and arrived at the campground around 5:30. It rained all night, but cleared up nicely Saturday. We intended to be pretty lazy, but ended up going out to top up the propane and found a quick hike on the way back. Much of the talk on the hike was about what we would be wearing if we were to purchase other layers of cold weather clothes.
The Historical Trail in Bothe Napa State Park will take you from the White Church Cemetery to the Bale Grist Mill. Both sites have artifacts dating from gold rush pioneer days, and the grist mill still functions. We got to watch as the huge, water powered mill wheel started turning, causing belts and gears to rotate, like some kind of enormous clock. The end result was the creation of fine flour, ground from wheat berries crushed between two grinding stones, right before our eyes. I have to say, it was pretty cool. Not a place to be if you have Celiac disease because the dust of freshly milled flour filled the air. They sell bags of it as part of their historical society. It was a nice historical park and not too far from the campground. The trail goes up and then down through lovely oaks and across a stream. We had to step carefully because of the recent rain. All told it was a little over a mile each way.
We got in some fine Napa valley dining with a couple of lunch stops at Dean and De Luca, plus a dinner at Pizzeria Tra Vigne. Every now and then we saw the Wine Train pass by and we were reminded of how lucky we are to live so close to this gem of a valley. Note to self: strawberry balsamic truffles sound better than they taste.
Total miles: 69.9, 16.3 mpg, 2 hours 12 min. Site 7. Bathroom in the lower loop will be beautiful – when it is finished. Right now it’s closed. Lovely bathroom in the upper loop and porta potties in the lower loop. Nice sites: 7*, 10*, 16, 17, 20, 41, 45, 47. Inner circle of upper loop is less tippy, but not by the river. Ok LTE for Verizon, but spotty ATT. No dump.