Emerald Valley

Friday 22 May

Today is a bit cool in the morning but I am off on a hike on my own. Deb has some work stuff to do and is probably sick of having me around so I am off to Cotati which is about 3.2 k’s down the road. Cotati is one of those, ‘don’t blink or you will miss it’ villages but the walk there is great with lots of different types of farms and some really lovely looking houses. The houses here are great; mostly build from timber they are generally two story with turrets, Dutch Gable roofs, dormer windows and verandahs out the front or side. There are some really lovely older ones in Petaluma and I am going to do a house photo walk before I go.

The walk to Cotati (named after a local Indian Chief) boasts about a half a dozen places that do all day breakfast, a couple of bars (one is the local rough nut bikie hang out), a good bicycle shop, some antique/knick-nack shops and an excellent ice cream ‘parlour’ that is straight out of the 50’s.

I have decided that my trip to the US is going to be a discovery of the most decadent things that one can possibly have for breakfast. Today’s fare was blueberry hot cakes, aka blueberry buttermilk pancakes. Now these were just about the best pancakes I have ever had and I got to was them down with a bottomless cup of coffee that the waitress kept filling up every 5 minutes. Tonight I will sleep sitting up with my eyes open. Wandered around for a few hours and headed off back to Penngrove because tonight we are going over to watch Chance, Deb’s grandson, play baseball. It’s such a blast watching little kids play sport because they generally don’t take it too seriously and if there is anything better going on at the time their concentration shifts. This is the first time I get to meet Heather and her husband TJ. They are great people and Chance is a real little boy.

We went out to Applebee’s for dinner. Applebee’s is a family restaurant and it is packed to the rafters so we have to wait for about 20 minutes for a seat. Well worth the wait I can tell you. I opted for a Surf’n’turf Burger, rare of course. The menu says it is swimming in shrimp. Well there were no shrimp but there was a trawler load of prawns in the thing and it was out of this world. It was also totally unblemished by anything green. I shared with Heather, an ice cream cake with the Cadbury gross national output in it and staggered out the door.

Note: I speak of eating to excess but have actually dropped two pounds (whatever that means) since arriving so worry not folks.

Saturday 23 May

This weekend is Memorial Day Holiday Weekend. Memorial Day is the equivalent of our Anzac Day and is fairly low key from what I can see although every second house is flying the Stars and Stripes from poles and fences. There is a fair bit of Red White and Blue bunting and many garlands as well. Unfortunately there was no two up.

Today is pretty low key for Deb and me, we are going to the shops again looking for outdoor furniture and later today we are heading off to Deb’s daughter Heather’s house for dinner. We did go for a long drive to a place called Sebastapol for a bit of a look around and stopped in at a place called Emerald Valley (wildlife and human sanctuary) which is in the Redwood Forest near Sebastapol. This is where Deb lived back in the early 70’s and where her youngest was born. It is a steep sided valley (almost a gully) surrounded by huge Redwoods. The place is now the California School of Herbal Studies and they have a biggish garden with some really ‘interesting herbs’ growing in it. I include in this list opium poppies but strangely enough no experimental hemp (for fibre purposes of course). 

On the way home we spotted a shop with hundreds of lead lit Tiffany Lamps and light shades so we had to have a bo peep. Some of them were quite spectacular. There were a few that were made from Jade and cost a bomb. The guy in the shop had a no teeth and a beard so can you imagine how well we communicated. He was a fascinating bloke though and so laid back. He never got out of second gear the whole time we were with him. Definitely one of the ‘characters’ I have met so far.

Sunday May 24

Seems to not exist in my memory. I do know that we didn’t do all that much because we were both a bit tired from the tourist thing. We did take a drive to Petaluma and went out for some groceries and a look around but that seems to be all the memory bank has retained.

I will be back later for Monday etc.

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