Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sonoma 2

Almost two years to the day after our first trip to Sonoma, we found ourselves launching the sequel, Sonoma 2. A debate arose while driving up the 880 whether we should stop at the exact same first-rate Thai restaurant in the Berkeley area that we did then. I could have gone either way but L thought otherwise, and fate had another idea. We were veering around Oakland on a very curved and elevated section of freeway when a certain Beastie Boys song that L liked came on the radio which she raised to a startlingly high volume just as we were approaching a critical fork in the road. When she asked me which way to turn, the loud music interfered with my navigation abilities, and I chose the wrong direction. We soon found ourselves in a massive, multi-lane bottleneck of vehicles entering the Bay Bridge (the one famous for collapsing in the Loma Prieta earthquake) from which there was no turning around.

So we ended up taking an unplanned, extended detour through San Francisco and then over the Golden Gate Bridge. No Thai meal, just driving. By the time we reached the city of Sonoma I needed a big coffee. Equipped with an over-sized mocha purchased at the Sonoma Cheese Factory, we stumbled through shops and galleries and the scenic square. As it was getting late, we figured we should find our lodge in Glen Ellen before it got dark. There we dined at the wonderful but very crowded Fig Cafe.

The next day we checked out nearby Jack London State Historic Park. The House of Happy Walls exceeded my expectations -- I especially liked all the weird Polynesian artifacts. We then hiked to the ruins of London's dream house; his grave; an abandoned winery; and the cottage where the author cranked out many novels.

Down the road we randomly stopped at a winery called Cline, across the road from what appeared to be an olive oil festival. It was almost alarmingly enchanting -- a garden with various pools, a fine old farmhouse, a display explaining that the winery was 100% solar-powered. We tasted the Mourvedre and the Cargnane and strolled around.

Afterwards we were careful not to miss the exit for the Richmond Bridge, which took as back to the East Bay. The plan was to stop at Ikea in Emeryville, a small city wedged between Berkeley and Oakland. We did, and it was everything one might imagine that Ikea to be.


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