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Sonoma County

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    • Day30

      Wine Country

      May 2 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Awesome stay in a little Airstream on a dairy farm in Wine Country!

      Found a few vineyards that do walk ins... who knew most were appointment only! Had fresh veg to pick for dinner, fresh cheese, fresh eggs for breakfast. Just what I needed after a week of burgers and burritos!

      Lots of miles to cover over the next week or so now as I'm running behind schedule!!
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      This looks like my kind of place 🙂


      it was exactly your kind of place 😂 I had asparagus, chard, broccoli, strawberries all ready to pick and cook as I needed! and eggs straight from the chickens bum just hours before I poached them! 😂


      Yum! 🙂

      2 more comments
    • Day52

      Tomales Point

      May 30 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 11 °C

      On avait trouvé un endroit paisible avec des toilettes, parfait pour passer la nuit. Mais c'était sans compter sur le camion qui s'est posé pour les vider pendant près d'une heure à 6h du matin, juste à côté du van. Toujours le long de la côte ouest, on roule jusqu'à un grand ranch abandonné et point de départ d'une randonnée jusqu'au Tomales Point. Loin des paysages dépaysants des jours précédents, ceux-ci sont à l'inverse semblables à nos côtes bretonnes (à l'exception des montagnes en arrière-plan). On marche sous grand vent sur un sentier sablonneux, entouré d'arbustes et de buissons très fleuris. On passe devant Bird Rock avant de prendre une pause pour manger une barre de céréales, perchés dans un arbre. Le sentier aménagé se termine pour laisser la place à une végétation plus dense. On navigue entre les buissons, jusqu'à la pointe où on s'arrête pour déjeuner face à la mer. Sur le chemin du retour, on croise bon nombre de wapitis, indiqués plusieurs fois sur des panneaux explicatifs, mais qui semblaient s'être tout juste réveillés. Par troupeaux, ils ne paraissent ni surpris ni effrayés par notre présence. De retour au van, on prend la route vers le nord. On roule assez longtemps jusqu'à la petite ville de Willows.Read more


      C'est vrai que c'est beau comme la Bretagne 😍

    • Day9

      From here, to there

      October 9 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

      Once again, we're all up in good time after a good night's rest. Even though Mariposa is still at some 700m elevation, the early morning sun is warm, and I sit in the garden with a coffee for a while, letting the rays of the sun help wake me.

      Today's a bit of a transition day - heading from the mountains to the coast, and to Sonoma. It's also the day that will include the only segment of freeway/Interstate driving, which I've tried to avoid as much as possible during our trip.

      Our first pit-stop is at the Castle Air Museum. Castle used to be a US Air Force base, but was closed in 1995 following the end of the Cold War. Between the mid 1950s and the 90s, it was home to a bomber wing of B52 Stratofortresses, the workhorses of the USAF Strategic Air Command, and which were responsible for the majority of the 7.5m tons of bombs dropped on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia between 1965 and 1975.

      These days, Castle is a museum, featuring military aircraft of the past 75 years. It's a treat, and real eye opener to wander around the open air exhibits. The scale of some of the aircraft is staggering. After a fun hour wombling around, the sun starts to get a little warm, so we get back on the road to our next destination. The majority of this leg of our journey is on the Freeway, and we're all bored out of our tiny little minds. We blow past several towns, without the faintest idea of what kind of town they are. I'm assured that the choice to travel by smaller roads wherever possible is the right one, even if it adds time to the journey.

      We're collectively delighted that lunch isn't the clusterfuck that it was yesterday. We're a little earlier to our reservation in Lodi, but are quickly seated, and enjoy a very laid back brunch type affair, with some very tasty local wines. The restaurant is in a lovely and peaceful setting in Lodi, attached to a wine tasting centre for local wines. Our lunch is backed by a guy with an acoustic guitar doing passable covers of Police, Elton John, The Clash etc etc.

      Sated, we get back on the road, and head towards wine country. At one point, Google Maps takes us on a slightly detour, due to my route plan of avoiding the Interstate. We're pleased that it does as it takes us past a highly random saloon bar in the middle of nowhere (or Cordelia, if you prefer). We stop for a sharpener, and are met with a bar full of friendly locals, a ceiling covered in bras, and some of the strongest mixed drinks known to man or woman. These kind of out of the way bars are amongst my favourite things about travelling in the US. They're stacked with character and characters, and are almost always a smiling and happy place to rest.

      We've got a final 45 minute shoot down to Sonoma, and we're soon passing field upon field of vines. We drive past the hill that was used as the wallpaper for Windows XP, and quickly arrive into Sonoma, a small city of 10,000 that is a Mecca for wine lovers. Nearby Napa is bigger, and perhaps more famous, but Sonoma is home to some of the finest Californian wine producers around.

      For dinner, we head out to a brilliant Portuguese tapas restaurant. Salt cod cakes, crab pies, amazing braised pork, a stunning goat stew. Massively tasty, and a great little place to hang out.

      By 22:00, we're all winding down towards sleep. We're off on a full day's wine tasting tour tomorrow, and our chariot arrives at 09:30 to pick us up.

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      Tim Irvine

      Mighty Vulcan

      Tim Irvine

      Convair B58 Hustler, mid renovation

      Tim Irvine

      An early B52 Stratofortress that was based at Castle in the 1950s and 1960s

      15 more comments
    • Day63

      Floating pumpkin 🎃

      October 31 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      Laura knows I like Halloween and that Americans go crazy for it. So she found this "floating pumpkin" event in Napa Valley where we were going to be.
      I was very excited, but we got there and the excitement quickly disappeared like a Halloween ghost as it was pretty crap. But it killed some time 😂Read more

    • Day64

      Madrigal family winery - Winery #2

      November 1 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      Madrigal family winery was much more fun and a much nicer experience than the castle. We had a guy to ourselves and he sat and went through all the wines with us, as well as explained the local area and loads of information. We felt compelled to buy a bottle of wine because of the experience. However it was the end of the day and he had some open bottles, which he let us leave with. The bottle purchased was around $50, but the value of the two other bottles was around $200. So a bargain was had really. Laura was super excited 😂Read more


      Brilliant x


      can't say no to freebies. especially free alcohol


      Wow that’s fab - hope you enjoyed it x


      I'm not a wine drinker. so I'd already drank my fair share, but Laura enjoyed the free bottles.


      I bet she did lol x

    • Day10

      We all need an afternoon Napa...

      October 10 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

      We're up in good time after yet another restful night's sleep. It is COLD. The outside temp is around 8C, which is a bit of a culture shock after the past week. Our wine tour pick up is at 09:40, and it's still fairly fresh. We head off to our first winery, arriving at 10:00, and to be met by a cheeky Rosé for breakfast. Delish.

      This is Patz and Hall, top notch producer of (predominantly) Chardonnay and Pinot Noir still wines, along with a couple of sparklers for good measure. We spend the next 90 minutes trying 8 of their estate wines, loving most, adoring a couple. We limit our purchases to two bottles, as we're not planning to bring any home with us, and we've already got a fridge full back at the house. The surrounding scenery is stunning. Reminds me a lot of the Franschhoek valley, one of my very favourite places on the planet.

      We head off to an early lunch, regaled by our guide, Luke, with insider details of the different wineries we pass along the way. Fair to say that the Napa Valley is pretty much at saturation point now, with every conceivable square inch of plantable ground used for vines. We learn that it's a US holiday today, which explains some of the traffic. What used to be Columbus day, is now known as Indigenous day, a change made, according to Luke, because, "It turns out Columbus was a total asshole."

      We have an astonishingly good lunch at Farmstead in St Helena, a little village in the Napa Valley, and all suddenly feel like a little afternoon nap wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. We have more wine to drink though, so head off to Paraduxx - part of the Duckhorn family portfolio. Paraduxx is where they experiment with blended wines, using grapes from across their portfolio. A couple of traditional Bordeaux style blends, a very cool one that focuses on South American traditions, and an Aussie style Cabernet/Syrah option. We also get a little bonus tasting of their premium Merlot offering, which goes some way to changing my mind about the grape. We're also taken off for a mystery tour to see the concrete egg - something completely new to me, and apparently a way of ageing white wines without oak, but allowing them to oxidise a little (which stainless steel tanks don't allow). Our host, Steph, is a joy, and regales us with information and stories in equal measure. She keeps our glasses well topped up as well... The wines are great. Perhaps not quite the heady heights of Patz and Hall's, but none too shabby. The Viognier/Chardonnay blend we try IS outstanding, and I make sure to grab a bottle on our way out.

      We're in the heat of the afternoon, and fair to say flagging just a touch. We have one more winery to visit though - Gundlach Bundschu. We decide unilaterally that this 'probably' means Good Luck Bum Face. We don't ask at the winery, just in case. This is set up in the hills above the Sonoma Valley, and is a slightly more casual and laid back affair. Ant and Vick decide cheese is needed to help sustain them, and I don't argue. The wines are a bit more of a mixed bag. The Pinot Noir a little disappointing, the Merlot a touch bland, but the Cabernet is great, and the Chardonnay up there with the best we've tried on our tour. Our host shares that our next destination on our roadtrip is renowned for its pot farms. Interesting...

      Luke drives us the short trip back to our house, and we pour ourselves out of the car. It's around 18:00, and we're trying to decide if we should head out for a bite, or just relax at the house. We opt for the latter, watch a movie, and are all headed for bed by 21:00.

      ROCK. AND. ROLL.
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      Now that's how to carry glasses! [Matty]

      Tim Irvine

      Astounding. A true talent...

    • Day20

      Earth, Wind and Fire

      October 26, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

      We spent most of the day driving south stopping occasionally to appreciate the endless beaches. We were happily settled in Bodega Bay making our dinner when we noticed many cars passing. One stopped and told us to "get the hell out of here, and go south!" The town was ordered to evacuate as the extreme winds predicted for the night would likely direct the Kencade Fire burning north towards the coast! Yikes! We drove another 2 hours and settled in Stinson Beach, south of Point Reyes for the night. We hoped to attempt a hike in this region the next day but turns out we could have been roasted ducks.

      Nous avons mis le cap au sud et roulé pendant la majeure partie de la journée, nous arrêtant occasionnellement sur une poignée de plage à n'en plus finir parmi l'infinité d'entre elles qui cisèlent la magnifique côte nord-californienne. Vers la fin de journée, alors que nous attaquions joyeusement la préparation du dîner en bord d'une route a priori peu fréquentée dans les environs de Bodega Bay, une ribambelle de voitures fusa sur la route. L'un des conducteurs ralentit et nous intima "Vous devriez foutre le camp, allez vers le Sud !" Non point la parole d'un local ennuyé par des squatteurs, mais une vraie alerte : une évacuation préventive de la ville face à la menace de propagation du feu de Kencade à la faveur des vents nord-nord-est extrêmes prévus pour la nuit ! Nous rangeâmes fissa notre barda et mirent deux heures de route entre nous et la zone de danger, pour nous arrêter à Stinson Beach, au sud de Point Reyes. Tant pis pour la rando que nous avions prévu, on ne voulais pas finir en poulets boucanés !
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      Love this shot!

    • Day27

      Day 26 - Rio Vista to St. Helena

      June 21 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

      Gluthitze in Kalifornien! Mein Garmin zeigte 45 Grad an!😅😅 Mit vielen Zwischenstopps in klimatisierten Tankstellenshops im Napa-Valley angekommen. Leider kein Pool auf dem Campground!😕 Die Lust nach Wein blieb auch aus. Das Bier ging runter wie Wasser!!😂Read more

    • Day7

      Wine Country - must taste attraction

      August 31 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

      There are 'must-sees' and there are 'must-tastes'
      Wine country is definitely a 'must-taste' for us!

      Being in California, we had to add another wine tour to our list.

      Booked with 'Edge of the World' Tours. We didn't go to there but it was definitely an experience. Made even more special by our guide Anthony aka Nino Firetto - a very colourful character.

      Anthony/Nino not known to the non-English/British world but famous for ITV children programs, music shows (e.g. ITV Music box), some movies, DJ-ing in lots of countries/cities. He still has his own radio show that he records.
      He definitely had lots of stories to tell not least the one where he and his wife were gate crashing the closing down party of the studio where Fleetwood Mac recorded 'Rumours'.

      But back to the wine tasting ...
      We visited three boutique wineries (less than 5000 cases a year) in Sonoma. All three with different approaches to winemaking and style.

      Homewood Wines - we thought the wines were ok but nothing special. But Steve, the guy who took us through the tasting, comes from Portsmouth (UK) of all places. You might just be able to imagine the banter going on between him and Fergus, especially around Pompey.

      The wines at Peter Cellars (not the Pink Panther) - a winery managed by another English guy - were our absolute favourites. Peter received several double Gold (awarded when all of the 100 judges vote for the wine), Gold (about 80%+ of the judges agree) and multiple Silver medals for his wines.
      The wines were truly fantastic and we would have taken home any of them. Sadly the prices did put us off.
      Very relaxing time at the winery and totally enjoyed being able to talk with the winemaker himself.
      Rather hilarious that his dogs are called Harry, Meghan and Archie.

      Lastly we visited Séamus, a winery/tasting room under the leadership of an Irish guy. Wines were good but nothing special to our taste. Unless you are prepared to pay 70 dollars for a bottle which I have to say, some of our party did!!

      So just a couple of titbits at the end
      👆Do you know the 5 S's to wine tasting - Sight, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savour?
      Well, I only learned the 5 S's of Lean - Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardise and Sustain.
      Seems I still need to calibrate my mind 😂 🤣🤣
      👆Sonoma is the oldest of the two wine growing areas. It ultimately started with monks needing wine for Holy Communion. The monks imported vines from Europe, e.g. Zinfandel originating from a small village in Croatia (proven by DNA testing).
      And curiously enough, Zinfandel and Primitivo are virtually the same grape as they are both cloned from the same original from Croatia. Can you believe this?
      👆The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, also known as the Judgement of Paris, was a wine competition in which French judges carried out two blind tastings comparing French and Californian wine.
      To the disgust of the French winemakers, out of the top 10 wines 6 came from California.
      A re-tasting competition in 2006 the win of Californian wines was confirmed again.

      Think that explains, why we are not so impressed by French wines 😉
      Read more

    • Day6

      Point Reyes

      September 16 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

      Heute ging es zum Point Reyes. Wir hatten einen Ranger für den ganzen Tag, der uns viel geologisches erzählt hat. Wir hatten sehr viel Glück mit dem Wetter und der Tierwelt. Wir haben einen Kojoten, Gupher, Wale und Elche gesehen.Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Sonoma County, مقاطعة سونوما, Сонома, সোনোমা কাউন্টি, Kantono Sonoma, Condado de Sonoma, Sonoma maakond, Sonoma konderria, شهرستان سونوما، کالیفرنیا, Comté de Sonoma, 索諾馬縣, סונומה, Sonoma megye, Սոնոմա շրջան, Contea di Sonoma, ソノマ郡, Sonoma Comitatus, Sonoma, Sonoma Kūn, Hrabstwo Sonoma, سونوما کاؤنٹی, Округ Сонома, سونوما کاؤنٹی، کیلیفورنیا, Quận Sonoma, Condado han Sonoma, 索诺马县

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