Future retirement campsite for Dory1, with full hookups and magic desert dust from Mojave soon to come
Wow. I totally forgot to take a picture of Dory2 in her site. That doesn’t happen too often. Instead I will show you a picture of Dory1’s future site! A lot happened this week, and this was the good part. Tons of work finally got done on the outside home project and I am giddy with excitement. I can actually start to visualize an end to all of this and, after all is done and dusted, I think it’s going to be AWESOME. The massive retaining wall is finished, drained, permitted, and signed off. The next step is to put the ground cover on. I’m psyched that the “DG” (decomposed granite) we’re getting was quarried in the Mojave desert, and will have that distinctive gold color of the desert floor. I’m super excited.
Really good to have this guy still around
Now for the very dramatic, and not at all good part of the week: Richard got hit by a car while biking. He’s ok. His bike is ok. He got some bad road rash, but nothing broken and no head injuries. Just very painful and absolutely terrifying. He got side swiped by a car that was coming from an off ramp onto a surface street, and crossed right through the bike lane. It knocked Richard onto the ground in front of oncoming traffic, but there was an angel looking out for him, who stopped traffic immediately and stayed with him the entire time. Richard called me right away and I could tell before I answered that something bad had happened. He tried to urge me not to worry, which was silly, and I dropped everything at school and got there as fast as I could. Another angel, Jennifer, called me to say she was with him and that he was ok, just very shaken. She assured me he was being well taken care of, and tried to tell me not to cry.
Pretty views of Napa to take the edge off the narrative
By the time I got to the scene, there were four police cars, paramedics, and the two angel bystanders. Plus, the driver who hit him, who is undocumented, and therefore had no license or insurance. I want to just point out the fact that this guy came back to check on Richard. He must have known how bad that would be for him, so it showed a lot of courage to do the right thing. Richard was scraped up and trembling all over, but coherent and able to walk and talk. He assured the paramedics he did not need to be taken away by ambulance, and they did not insist. He had to wait for a long time as the police conducted their investigation. Meanwhile, Jennifer and I kept trying to help by putting disinfectant on him or putting his bike in my car. We were screwing up the evidence collection though, so we were ordered to go stand “over there.”
Richard later told me about a funny story that happened as the paramedics were checking him out.
- Richard: “Where’s my bike?”
- Paramedic: “Over there, leaning against the pole.”
- Richard: “Ok”
- Paramedic: “What year is it?”
- Richard: “2000.”
- Paramedic, pausing: .. “What year is it?”
- Richard, insistently: “2000.”
The paramedics then brought out the equipment. They checked his glucose, shone lights in his eyes, asked him all kinds of questions, like who the president was. He got annoyed and asked, “Why are you asking me all these questions?” The paramedic answered it was because he had said the year was 2000. Richard, somewhat exasperated, explained, “No! My bike! My bike is 2000.” Jeez. Does no one understand the priorities of a bikie? To Richard’s credit: his grammar was correct here.
Another scenic shot
Anyway, he is ok. We bandaged him up at home, and he has even gotten back on his bike so he doesn’t get the heebie jeebies. We are both extremely grateful it wasn’t any worse, and that made him all the more determined to go out this weekend as planned. He had been promised a nice dinner, “on the house,” by his boss, and he meant to use that. And what better place to get a nice free dinner than Napa? As Friday was a Veteran’s Day holiday, we got to leave early. That put our arrival at around noon, and we were able to get in a nice hike before dinner. The hike was kind of recovery therapy for him because it worked out all the stress and kinks in his muscles.
Little mysterious passageway hand carved into the rock wall
From the Skyline Wilderness campground, there are miles and miles of trails that go off into the hills. We took the Skyline Trail up to Lake Marie, and then followed Lake Marie Road all the way back down. There are some really nice views of the northern boundary of San Fransisco Bay from up there. The “lake” itself is kind of more an algae pond right now, so this was about the journey, not the destination.
A bit of a macabre leftover structure
We did notice some odd structures in the rocky sides of the hills, which we later looked up. They seemed like once inhabited structures, which was true for one of them, but not so much the other. Yes, during the Gold Rush era, there were some people who lived out in the hills and chiseled out a sort of sheltered space in the rock. The other structure though, with the old rusted out oven and chimney, turns out to be a crematorium, where they took deceased patients from the nearby Napa State Hospital. It was originally called the Napa Insane Asylum and was built to deal with the overcrowding from the Stockton Asylum. Kind of a bleak history there, but interesting too.
Why one comes to Napa
On Saturday, we drove down to Kennedy Park and walked two miles along the Napa River Trail until we got to town. We split a Cajun fried chicken sandwich at the Dutch Door, stopped and got some chocolate truffles at Anette’s, and then just walked up and down the streets. At around 2, we were tired and sat down at the Bounty Hunter, for a flight of Cabernet tasting for me. And before dinner, we had just enough time to go across the river to check out Oxbow Public Market.
Not usually a restaurant food photographer, but, I mean, come ON.
At last, we got to the highlight of the weekend: dinner at Torc. This is for sure one of the best meals I have ever tasted. For an appetizer, we split: farm fresh DEVILED EGGS, pickled onions, bacon, which seemed to have some kind of avocado magic happening in the filling. For dinner we shared a pasta dish of: house-made CAMPANELLE, sonoma coast porcini mushroom bolognese, parmigiano-reggiano, sylvetta, along side a meat entree: prime black angus BEEF FILET, beef short rib ragoût, matsutake mushrooms, satsumaimo sweet potato, beef jus. It was just incredible. For dessert, we eschewed the fancy offerings on the menu, and instead went next door to Ben & Jerry’s.
Torc next to Ben & Jerry’s
After that, it was dark and time to head back. We had thought ahead and brought our headlamps, and the walk back on the River Trail was entirely pleasant. All told, Strava calculated 11 miles of walking for me (while only 9 for Richard?? I guess my short legs go farther than his do).
Hard to beat a three day weekend in Napa
All in all, it was a weekend for being grateful. Gratitude for Richard being alive of course, but also gratitude for so much of the good stuff in life. When the world seems so very full of suffering, it can be hard to stop and hold tight to the good things. But you really have to, any possible chance you get, because you just never know.
Total miles: 38.5, 17.0 mpg, 1 hour 47 min. Site 1 hookups. Not good service for ATT but good for Verizon. Dump is ok, but there was a huge line waiting at check out time.