We left SoCal and headed back up to the central coast for a couple of days more with Little Miss Hailey and Little Miss Ellie (& their mommy and daddy, of course), before making our way back to Sonoma County for hopefully my final bout with the surgeon’s knife. The whole family loaded up and we headed to Montana de Oro beach on a nice sunny day. We found a nice little protected cove/beach where Little Miss Hailey could romp at the water’s edge and even explore a small cave that can only be accessed by a lower tide.
The days seem to fly right on by. After a couple of days visit it was northbound for us, back to the Petaluma Elks Lodge. In the middle of doctor appointments & procedures, we got to go watch Maximus the Gladiator play in his basketball league. That certainly provides welcome relief from the medical stuff, none of which I consider Earth shattering. The first procedure was to have some benign skin growths whacked off my back, stung like a #%$&@#*!
We kinda split our stay due to the spread out nature of appointments, so after a week we relocated to the Napa Elks Lodge for about 10 days stay. Being former longtime Sonoma County residents, it is surprising how much “local flavor” we never really took in while there. We wandered around all over Napa and discovered little gems here and there. We found and dined at the Stone Brewery, maker of the Arrogant Bastard Ale. It is a little stone building perched above the Napa River with pretty good pub fare. Just around the corner we found the Oxbow Public Market. That is an indoor marketplace with all kinds of offerings, including the Fieldworks Brewing Co. I just couldn’t help myself, had to try their Black Ships Imperial Coffee Stout, a 9.7% ABV nectar of the gods! We wandered the market, tasting olive oils, watching the folks wolf down oysters at the oyster bar, all high and dry whilst the rain did come down in sheets outside. Actually while we were in the area this time around the local rivers flooded, including the Russian River which would seriously flood in another couple of weeks, cutting the Russian River Communities off from the outside world yet once again. I worked my share of rescues during Russian River floods over the past 37 years, I felt for the current crews doing as much. We were graced with a visit by Jenn and Max and we took them on a stroll through the historic downtown area. Jenn got a big kick out of olive oil tasting at the Napa Valley Olive Oil Co. at the visitor’s center.
Jelly Belly jelly bean company has their factory over in Fairfield, about 15 miles from Napa. With Max and Jenn in tow, we did another rainy day trip over to the factory and took the self guided tour. That is quite the outfit, if you are ever in the area it is worth a visit. President Reagan put it on the map due to his affinity for the sweet snack. They actually provided his White House with jelly beans & jars with the Presidential seal so he could gift them out to dignitaries.
Finished in Napa, we headed back to Petaluma Elks Lodge for my grand finale surgery. I’ve had a hiatal hernia for quite a long time that we decided to take care of with something called a Robotic Nissen Fundoplication. Fancy words for an octopus robot going in and tying part of my upper stomach around my esophogus and suturing in place. I came out looking like I was on the losing end of a knife fight. It was just an overnighter, and afterwards we decided to take Max out to the Epi Center, a local indoor soccer venue and arcade. Life is good.
Well, we are winding down this visit, preparing for another run up to Redding where I have an appointment to finally get a supplemental brake system installed for the bus/Jeep tandem. I’m sure I have been running less than legal in several states without it for the past 5 years, but hey, better late than never. Besides, the Jeep is over 4,000 lbs. and in Canada that puts the brake system in the “required” category. So, until next post…