Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 27 - Petaluma to Auburn CA

white egret

We are on the move again.  It was only about 120 miles to Auburn so we were able to do a leisurely morning routine and got started with the drive at about 10:30.  I like to cover new ground when I go for a drive but we had a little bit of familiar territory to cover on our way to I80 and the Sacramento area.  I waved good bye to Saskia as we passed Vallejo.  Maybe she was sitting on her deck looking out over her great view and felt our well wishes.  Yup, that's what happened.  Driving days seem to make me end up with lists of things.  Here goes:

  • I expect to see egrets fishing by the ocean (as in the photo).  I do not expect to see them in a little patch of grassiness next to a busy freeway on ramp (therefore I do not have a picture of that one).  Perhaps it was a cattle egret and it had momentarily lost it's cow.  
  • A lot of the grapevines are still full of grapes and they are covered with netting.  We asked about this at Ledson Winery and were told that the birds hang out on the electric wires and like to raid the grapes that are nearest the wires (lazy birds).  The netting discourages this.  Perhaps this is true for Ledson but we saw netting nowhere near power lines.  I think it just protects from the birds in general.
  • There were many signs urging us to Protect Our San Pablo Bay Lands.  
  • Many birds seem to enjoy these bay lands.  During our two drives past this area, we saw lots of sandpiper/plover like birds all standing around in the mud on one leg or the other.  I could not identify them specifically.  I wonder if a particular species always tucks up the right leg when lounging about?  Perhaps it is a way to identify them.  Did you ever notice that it is impossible to locate a bird in a bird book?  I've tried mightily over the years.  Usually by the time I've located the book, the bird has left.  Or if I am careful and remember some of the characteristics of the bird, none of those show up in the book.  I paid for an app called iBird PRO on my iPhone and I have been happily putting names to birds for a while.  Except for the one legged lounging things in the San Pablo Bay Lands.
American White PelicansI did see and recognize a flock of American White Pelicans.  This is the first time I have seen any that were not brown.  I borrowed this picture from Randy C Anderson and hope he doesn't mind.
  • I love the lane assist feature on the GPS.  This morning it advised us to stay in one of the five left most lanes in order to take the correct route!  At home, the instructions would be more along the lines of follow the 5 cars in front of you.  And there were actually two more lanes that you could get yourself messed up in.  I think 14 lanes of freeway ought to be sufficient for any purpose.
 Here's a nice touch.

 Parts of the center dividers between east and west I80 are landscaped with oleander bushes.  These look very nice.  They also happen to be toxic in all their parts.  Perhaps California has assumed that folks screaming by at 65mph (well that's how fast we were going but we were  being passed a lot) aren't going to bother to pluck and consume the foliage.

  • We are seeing crop land again.  It is harvest time but here is something green busy growing.  I know this will sound funny but I am always thrilled to be in this part of the country when the tomatoes are being harvested.  I'll try to get a photo of one of the double trucks filled heaping to the brim with ripe, red tomatoes.  It is a wonder to behold.  The darned things bounce out of the truck and if you care to, you can pick up roadside tomatoes to your heart's content.  We did see a harvester operating in one field just pouring tomatoes into a truck.  I'd say that these must have been destined for the ketchup plant.  We just read that Campbell's is closing a big processing operation here and are wondering what will become of the tomatoes.
  • Those brown (oops, golden) hills with their oak trees scattered about are also a venue for various political statements.  No photo but I saw the following statement mowed on the hillside.  "Occupy My Butt".
  • We skirted Sacramento today.
 It's hard to see in the photo but Sacramento is resting in a haze of brown pollution.  I still think that if you can see the air it probably isn't a good idea to breathe it.

I try to be on the lookout for things that we don't see at home.  I don't think I have ever seen a tortilla truck in Maine. 

Our campground for the next few days is located in Placer County in the city of Auburn, CA.  I made my second major navigation boo-boo on the approach but it was pretty easily corrected and we were underwhelmed with a road that again reminded me of the Ellsworth approach to Bar Harbor.  There is one strip mall after another with every chain store you could possibly think of.  Happily the campground is tucked a little away from the road and the shopping.  It is in a fairly pleasant spot.

It was "wrath of God" hot when we arrived.  The Weather Channel says that this is due to some sort of inversion which will be keeping things toasty for the next few days.  I say it is hot and that's enough to know.  At 8:30pm it has cooled down to a respectable 75 degrees and we just returned from a walk in the dark around the campground.  The owners are very proud that they have been able to use solar power to serve many of the camp sites with electricity.  There certainly seems to be enough solar here. 
Pretty enough spot does not necessarily translate into pretty campsite.
I stepped outside for about a minute in order to document the site.  Please note the pavement.  There is a lot of it, not only at our campsite but throughout the entire campground.  I'd say 95 percent parking lot with 5 percent landscape.  I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be Brett's favorite place.  When I said "you don't like this do you?" he replied "at least we have a tree". 
The afternoon was spent inside with the air conditioning on full blast.

It is prettier than a mall parking lot because most of those don't have trees.  There are a LOT of RV's here. 
My afternoon was spent in the air conditioned comfort of my recliner.  Please don't tell Brett about the messiness on the sofa.  He was taking a nap and I did get it cleaned up. 

I prepared a grilled pork tenderloin for dinner.  This was cooked inside on my electric grill because I did not want to be cooked outside along with the meat.  Small problem - the air conditioner and the grill together drew too many amps and the circuit breaker went.  So now I had to choose between dinner and comfort.  For those who say this isn't roughing it, I say that I chose dinner and cooked the darned pork despite the temperature! 

Tomorrow we visit with my sister in Roseville.  There should be tales to tell...

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