The trip east from the redwoods and fog of Monte Rio in the Russian River to the vineyards and sunshine of the Alexander Valley wine country was a study in contrasts. Both ecosystems, and economic geography. The area of Monte Rio I suspect is pretty dependent on tourism. Just a few miles east in Guerneville, one enters the Russian River wine region and density of vineyards and contrasts of wealth increase as you drive into the Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys, two major areas of the Sonoma Valley. Top was up while still early in the Alexander Valley. Top came down shortly after.
Lunch was at Willie's in Healdsburg and was delish. I becoming spoiled by California eateries. Healdsburg exists, apparently, to support the big industry, wine, and its accompanying oenotourism. There is a downtown square that is vibrant and full of higher end shops and restaurants. Not generally where I see myself shopping.
We made several stops at wineries and bought a couple of bottles - not much room in the car - nor, I suspect, will conditions be right in the car for the wine to travel well through the deserts ahead this week.
Last evening, in the neighboring town of Duncan Mills, there was much fun listening to the Fargo Brothers, a blues/rock rock band. While some pictures were taken, I won't be publishing any in the name of good taste ;-) and because I fear my companions. Many thanks to Sherean, Vanessa, and their many fine friends for the hospitality of the last few days.
There is no plan for the day today. Repack the car for the eleven remaining days of the rolling sabbatical. Check things out well because the heat of the next couple of days will be extreme. The route tomorrow takes us to SFO, where I drop off MJ, then just me through Yosemite, then south, through the hot and dry Owens River valley. Once a garden, now a wasteland due to the unrelenting water ravenousness of LA in the last century. Next couple of days will be the toughest challenge for my 40-year-old wheels. Wish me luck.