Road Trip – To Williams

Road Trip – To Williams

I am writing this after the Santa Rosa wildfires and before I leave for the drive to Santa Barbara to start the Sierra Club boat trip to the Channel Islands. This road trip to Williams signifies when I took back my power to drive long distances alone through remote places. It has been 18 months and it was time to get back in my 23 year old Volvo and find the confidence that I could deal with a breakdown on a back road. Both the car and my failed marriage date back to 1994 and this was an important step to take back control of my life.

Back around 1985, I had driven up 101 from San Francisco to Portland in my Honda CVCC hatchback and swore I would never do it again. This time I took Route 5 because it would take me to Ashland, OR for the Shakespeare Festival. Two years earlier, Lake County had been devastated by wildfire and I finally had the nerve to drive over to look. I wanted to check out the way to Clear Lake only once and never to Lake Berryessa and wanted to learn more about the geography so that I could boat them when the opportunity arose.

Route 20 from Calistoga to Williams, CA passes near Clear Lake

I left before daybreak and managed to lost trying to find Mark West Springs Road. Google maps put me right, but by then I was being chased to morning commuters impatient with my tentative driving in the dark. Entering Calistoga, the trick is to turn left to Tubbs Rd. to get to Rt. 20 and Williams. I wound through the twisty road near Robert Louis Stevenson park which I have not yet visited although I have lived here since 2000. So many places I want to see. Went through the town of Lower Lake.

La Fortuna Bakers, Williams CA.

My goal was to have breakfast at La Fortuna bakery in Williams, which I had discovered on Yelp. I would have missed it without Google telling me where to take the right cut-off from Rt. 20 that goes to Williams. The voice navigation makes such a big difference to me, The Map Queen. I ordered an adobo sandwich and the coffee was so hot, it took 45 minutes to cool down enough to drink. By then I was back on the road, heading north on Interstate 5, past Redding, up to Oregon.

Mountain driving on two-lane roads with trucks is tricky. Mount Shasta was not as snowy as it has looked from a small plane, but the next big surprise was the spectacular appearance of Mount Lassen from the road. So glad I went.

Annual Doran Camp 2017

Annual Doran Camp 2017
Doran Beach Campout

Bruce, Bran, Norma, Helen

I look forward all year to the annual SCPN campout at Doran Beach. This time, Saturday night was calm and clear and they saw some of the Perseid Meteor shower. I, myself, slept through the whole thing, getting a great night’s sleep and kayaking by myself on Sunday morning in the mist. I had the bay to myself. Jeannie made a fabulous potato Thai curry Saturday night, and I served a red shrimp curry that Peggy and Mary Rose made the night before and shared with me, along with their famous peach chutney.

Jeannie is a great cook

Bran, Norma, Billy

There is a core group that camps every year, and we have daytime visitors including AnnaLisa, LeeAnnin and Benn. They even had a club meeting!

Bran hand-ground coffee beans, something he learned at an Arizona get-together. The food was great. They brought some grilled chicken thighs that were yummy. On Friday night we grilled the NYTimes taste-test willing hot dogs from Whole Foods, and taste-tested two kinds of buns: pretzel and brioche. Pretzel won.

On Saturday, Billy fire-roasted an enormous squash. He could have fed an army with it. He was not too happy with the mini-army of Japanese-American boy scouts that started early-morning calisthenics on Sunday morning with sharp counting in Japanese, and barked orders as they did laps around the parking lot before 7 a.m.

In the past, the illumination on the low-hanging branches near where I like to place my tent would cause too much light infiltration. This year I hung a couple of beach towels over the front which worked well (I should bring clamps next time in case of wind). No rain fly for me — it blocks the windows and ventilation. I used both a solor-powered string ($20 at Home Depot) and a remote-controlled battery-operated $8 string from Amazon. Both worked well, and next time I will wrap them with more space between each ring in order to illuminate the entire limb.

Solar lights, battery lights, wind baffles


Billy and Bruce rigged up two enormous wind baffles on the street-side of site D which really made the site much more usable. They had climbed the tree to attach the tarps using bungee cords and they withstood the wind well. Billy cleverly used an acorn to attach the ripcord when the grommets tore out of a cheap tarp.

Notes for next time: duct tape or bungee cords to secure the lighting power packs. Put Volvo key on long keychain necklace — it kept falling out of pants pockets. Turkey pucks for Billy, Bruce makes his “bone cereal” in the morning. It is only 30 minutes via Sebastopol, 45 via Occidental.

 

 

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Sedanini — Lentil Pasta

Sedanini — Lentil Pasta

sedanini

Sedanini, Sat Choi, Salmon


As so many people are avoiding wheat and gluten, Trader Joe’s is coming out with noodles made from interesting things. These little tubes are made with pink lentils. Not as tasty as pasta, but very pretty with the green sat choi from the new Asian Market that recently opened at the corner of Piner and Marlow. On Thursdays, I can get fresh salmon at an attractive price, so I put the three together for a healthy meal.

Kaylane Wong turned me on to the “greens” and Hang Ah which are delicious, especially with fish, so I think I found the ingredients at the Asian market. The trick with sat choi is to blanch it first to reduce bitterness, then just cook as kale or spinach. A splash of rice vinegar at the end adds zest.

Happy Birthday, Trish!

Happy Birthday, Trish!
Patricia Pascual Yoga

Birthday Collage for Trish

Patricia Pascual celebrated the Grand Opening of her new Yoga Studio in Rohnert Park, and her birthday, with a party. I have a really hard time finding places in Sonoma Mountain Center (formerly Agilent) so it took me 45 minutes of trying doors, talking to security, walking around buildings and driving to finally find the place. By then, it was 9 p.m. and I was too cranky to take off my shoes and find a place in the studio. Anyway, happy birthday, Trish!

Flageolets — French White Beans

Flageolets — French White Beans

Years ago, I bought some flageolets at a farmer’s market and I have been saving them in a jar. I finally cooked them up according to a French cookbook, blanching first then using a pressure cooker for 15 minutes instead of simmering them for an hour. They are delicious! Here they are sauteed with peppers, carrots, onions, garlic and ginger. I later added mushrooms, brown rice and kale fresh-picked from my garden.

I also found some rambutan at Trader Joe’s and brought it to the Saunterer’s Potluck on July 1.

rambutan

Rambutan from Guatemala

Dates and Almonds

Dates and Almonds

Brought this appetizer to a summer potluck party and it was a success. I used ordinary dates and sliced toasted almonds but I think it would be much nicer with the premium ingredients listed. Because the dates were small, it was finger food.

Dates with Cream and Chopped Pistachios

Ingredients

12 large medjool dates
24 whole almonds (preferably blanched), walnuts or pecans
3 to 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon or 1/2 orange (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped pistachios

Preparation

Rinse and dry the dates. Make a clean cut along the side of each date to open, and remove the pit.
Stuff each date with 2 whole almonds and lightly pinch closed. (The recipe can be made up to this point up to 2 days in advance. Store in an airtight container.)
When ready to serve, arrange dates cut sides up on a plate or platter. Drizzle on the crème fraîche, making a dollop on each date. Sprinkle on the citrus zest, then the chopped pistachios. Serve immediately, as finger food or on plates with a small fork and knife.

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