I’ve been blogging so infrequently that I forgot to take photos today! Too bad, as we are in a beautiful region. :)
My Dad was discharged from Sutter Rehabilitation Institute on Friday, and I helped him settle in back at home. He is doing well, and has a schedule of almost daily visits from various therapists and a home health nurse to help him continue his recovery. We feel good about his situation and care, so fired up Scoopy and moved a couple of hours west yesterday.
We settled in at the Napa Elks Lodge (read our review and see more photos here) around noon. This lodge has 12 sites, all nicely landscaped with full hookups and cable TV. The sites are behind the lodge, away from traffic noise, a stones throw from the Napa River. A 1.2 mile paved trail runs along the riverbank just outside the lodge grounds. All of this for $20 a night, a true bargain in the Napa valley.
Today was a day for exploring. I have visited the Napa Valley many, many times in the past 30 years and wanted to reacquaint myself of some of my favorite spots. We started with a visit to the Napa Farmer’s Market – peaches, tomatoes, corn, cilantro, green onions, red and green grapes, peppers… they all went into our shopping bags, along with half a dozen chicken enchiladas that just need to be heated for tonight’s dinner.
Then we headed up the Silverado Trail, running along the east side of the Napa valley from Napa to Calistoga. Unlike Highway 29, the Silverado Trail bypasses the small commercial centers in the valley, a scenic two-lane road undulating on the edge of vineyards and eucalyptus.
As we drove, I realized I’ve never come to Napa in August! It is a hot, dry month (though much cooler than the Sacramento Valley!), not one I’ve ever picked for sightseeing. It was fun to see the grapes hanging heavy on the vines, many of which were covered with bird netting. Other vineyards glittered with ribbons of shiny mylar to frighten away hungry birds.
Once we arrived in Calistoga, we found the Napa County Fairgrounds, where we eyeballed the RV parking. I’d like to spend a week in Calistoga in September or October, and wanted to see whether the fairgrounds parking would work for us. Looked good – open with some shade, and typically lax fairgrounds management.
As we looped back down Hwy 29, on the west side of the valley, we stopped for a hike at Bothe Napa Valley State Park. The afternoon was warm, and the state park has a forested, creek side trail that seemed appealing.
California has just raised all of its state park fees, and the day use fee at Bothe Napa is now $8. Chatting with the kiosk attendant, we asked for the senior rate – then Odel said “what about a rate for retired state parks employees?” After a lot of joking give-and-take, guess what? The guy gave us a pass! We’ll have to try that more often. :)
Hmmmm… lovely and shady though the trail was, we should have done our walking early, and our sightseeing later! We both tied bandanas around our foreheads to catch the dripping sweat – and did manage a walk of a couple miles.
We’ve registered for a week here at the Elks Lodge, but may well extend for another week (the maximum stay is 14 days). The Napa Valley is a world-renowned destination – why not take advantage of it for as long as we can?