Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tree Question

While walking around Mount Diablo State Park, we noticed these trees. Mahogany-red colored bark covers most of the tree.

The red bark is extremely smooth, looking almost variegated on some branches and areas of the trunk.

Anybody know what tree this is?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stay Healthy While Traveling

Don't have a gym at your hotel and you want some exercise? When driving, stop at a rest stop and use a bench for step ups or push ups. Be sure to stop often when driving to stretch your legs.

If your flight is a long one, get up and walk around. When seated for a long period of time rotate your ankles, first one way and then the other way. Take off your shoes to allow better circulation. I always take a pair of socks just for long flights.

In your hotel room, do some squats or lunges while watching TV. Take the stairs if you can. And always include a walking tour of the city. Great exercise, great photo ops and great exercise.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sweet Alpacas

Know what this is? It's a pile of Alpaca wool. Softer than soft...

Nice sign if you don't look at what the little guy is doing.

A new baby and his mom.

The new baby.

These guys have such sweet dispositions and are very curious. Alpacas were once called the hidden treasure of the Incas. Fabric from the Alpacas found dates back over 2000 years. This fabric had been the currency of the Inca people.

This guy wanted to know what my camera was all about.

Just resting in the shade.

Greeters as you enter their pen.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Halloween in San Diego?

Heading to San Diego in October? Here are some great Halloween tricks...or treats.

If you are in the area or traveling to San Diego this October, take a look at some of these events for Halloween. Because San Diego’s weather is so mild in October, many of these sorts of events are held outdoors including one that is set in nature.

Haunted Trail in Balboa Park

Perhaps the best outdoor setting for a terror-filled experience, especially since the park is pretty scary at night any time! The spooky and dark trails are located in the Marston Point section of the Park which is east of Sixth Avenue and Juniper Street in Balboa Park. Look for the orange signs with the ghoulish writing to point you in the right direction.

The Haunted Trail in Balboa Park starts on September 25, 2009 and goes until October 31, 2009. This will allow plenty of time to get the living daylights scared out of you! The Haunted Trail is open from 7pm to 12 Midnight Fridays and Saturdays and 7pm to 11pm Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The monsters and witches take a break on Mondays and Tuesdays except for October 26 and 27, 2009.

Admission: $14.99 per person

For more information, call: (619) 696-SCARE or buy your tickets online.

Please note: This experience is not recommended for gremlins younger than 10 years old.

Haunted Hotel

Rooms decorated to bring back the spirits of Hollywood horror films from the past, the hotel is situated in an old building that probably has stories of its own to tell. The Haunted Hotel is located at 424 Market Street in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. The terror starts on September 25, 2009 and goes until October 31, 2009. Operating hours for the Haunted Hotel are: Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm to 1am and Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7pm to 11pm. The venue is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays except for October 26 & 27, 2009.

Admission: $14.99 per person with plenty of free street parking available since parking meters are not enforced after 6pm.

For more information, call: (619) 696-SCARE or buy your tickets online.

Please note: This experience is not recommended for gremlins younger than 10 years old.

Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

Three haunted attractions await you; the House of Horror, the Haunted Hayride and The Chamber. Each dwelling is inhabited by terrifying creatures and scary scenes. Local actors play the part of the many ghouls and monsters that dwell in this very scary Scream Zone. Be prepared to scream your head off.

The Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds is open September 25 & 26th, October 2-4th, October 8-11th and October 15-18th. After that, the Scream Zone is open every night from October 22 until October 31st. The hours are as follows: Sundays-Thursdays are from 7pm to 11pm; Fridays & Saturdays from 7pm to Midnight.

Admission, Discounts & Parking

“Triple Haunt” - House of Horror, Haunted Hayride & The Chamber: $27.99

“Double Haunt” - The Chamber plus House of Horror or Haunted Hayride: $18.99

“Single Haunt” - House of Horror or Haunted Hayride: $14.99

There is no cost to enter The Scream Zone complex. Parents who aren’t planning on entering the attractions can have something to eat or drink while waiting for the kids.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fall Images From Peter Prager Port Works

Nothing says Fall like pumpkins.

Leaves are turning...grapes are yummy looking

Flowers in bloom


Like Port? Then be sure to visit Peter Prager's Port Works in Napa Valley. His grounds are pleasing to your eyes and his Port is pleasing to your palette.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More of Lake County

Lavender attracts bees, small buzzing ones to fat, fluffy bumble ones. Lavender grows all over northern California and is plentiful at wineries, making for great smells as you walk towards a tasting room.

Looks like fall flowers...

Since my dad owned Studebakers for many years, we had to eat lunch in this deli in Kelseyvillle. Food was fantastic.

Know what this machine does? Better yet, who wants to operate it...bottle after bottle after bottle?

Grapes are so close to being picked here. Clear skies, limited fog, low moisture level and abundant sunshine provide an ideal climate for growing wine grapes. There can be a 50 degree differential between day and night temps in this part of Lake County.

Grapes were planted here as early as the 1870's. Then came the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and tourism declined. Vines were ripped out and pears and walnuts were planted.
In the 1960's a few vines were once again planted. From fewer than 100 acres in 1965 to 8,500 acres today...wines from Lake County win awards and even get served at the White House.

Just a peaceful pond at a winery.

If you are looking for Italian varietals...look no further than Rosa D'Oro. My personal favorite was their Aglianico. I'll go back just for that...that is when all the bottles I purchased are gone.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lake County, California

Clear Lake is California's largest natural freshwater lake.

Lake County's volcanic past is evident as you travel up, down and through different terrain. Crops vary from olive trees to nut trees, from red grapes to white grapes, from pears to pears depending upon the soil. Clear Lake, at 1,326 feet, sits at the foot of a dormant volcano.

Even though the volcano is dormant, geothermal activity is still apparent in the natural hot springs throughout the area, as well as the Geysers, the world's largest complex of geothermal energy resource in southern Lake County.

Mount Konocti, the dormant volcano, rises 4,300 feet.

Lava flows resulted in a diversity of soils that are obsidian rich and high in mineral content. Black rocks, obsidian, shine in the sun along road ways.

More on wine tomorrow...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Street Markets...Flea Markets...

Whatever they are called in your city, Street Markets or Flea Markets they are worth a visit. Flowers to food to goodies to great can find it here.
This one in Luxembourg offered a kaleidoscope of all colors.

In Trier, Germany this guy made sculptures out of wire.

Olives from Turkey were at one in London.

Cambridge offered scarves to jewelry to coffee to fresh baked bread.

Budget Travel tells us of some in the US not to be missed:

The 127 Corridor Sale runs 654 miles (yes miles) of scenic highway from West Unity, Ohio to Gadsden, Alabama the first weekend in August. Put it on your calendar for next year.

Brimfield Antique and Flea Market Shows in Brimfield, Mass. runs six consecutive days in mid May, July and September. Billed as the country's largest, more than 1 million visitors flood in every year.

The Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire in Alameda, California runs the first Sunday of each month. The San Francisco skyline serves as a backdrop for this 800 plus vendor market on the main runway of a decommissioned naval base on San Francisco Bay.

Do you have one you like to visit?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Packing Tips

Even though the photos have nothing to do with today's post...I like them

When packing, think about including hand washable, quick dry fabrics. Maybe you can pack less items that way. Or if something gets dirty, it's an easy fix. Even better are those that need no ironing.

Take a couple of plastic hangers to hang up those wet items.

Always throw in some empty one gallon resealable bags. Uses are many, including food (which is really what they were intended for), wet swimsuits, sea shells, maps, souvenirs, camera when at the beach, glasses...on and on. Don't forget to take a couple of plastic forks, spoons, and knives. You would be amazed how often these come in handy.

Purchase an inexpensive pair of flip-flops. Use them as slippers, at the beach, walking down the hall or anywhere you don't want to be barefoot.

Keep an "emergency kit" in your luggage. Some items might include ear plugs, tiny flashlight, band aids, anti-bacterial cream, safety pins, duct tape wrapped around a straw, or alcohol wipes.

And these are...?

Anybody know what these are?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Napa Wineries Photos

These barrels have quite the view as they rest.

Long row of barrels...

Fountain at Groth Winery

Lewis Winery barrel.

Barrels just off the truck or boat for Velllum Winery.

This is where they came from.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Napa Grapes and Vineyards

Are they ready to be pressed? Or are they escaping?

Leftovers from a press...stems and dried up skins...yum.

These are about ready.

Lots and lots of ready grapes.

O'Brien Winery makes some fine red wines. Try it sometime.

After all, what winery doesn't need a chandelier? There is a story but the photo says it all.

Leaves are turning and grapes are hanging.