|Monday’s drive from Verdi up over the mountains and past Lake Tahoe, then around Sacramento was uneventful and took us from a high of over 7,000 feet to our present elevation of 108’ - according to the GPS – in Petaluma about an hour north of San Francisco.
Tuesday was a busy day. Friends that we met in Michigan when we bought this coach back in 2013, and that we tracked down in Saco, Maine last fall, are working at this KOA. And since they made the mistake of telling us that, we tracked them down again. We had breakfast with them then hit the farmer’s market for some fruit for Michele and beef jerky and a whole grilled chicken for me, then they dropped us off so I could wash the house.
Almost no campground will let you wash your RV, and if they do, they charge you to do it but not this one so I had to take advantage while Michele did some inside stuff then took off to do some sort of personal grooming task and get some cash from the Free Money Machine...this operation still has some cash left to flow.
Tuesday was also our day to finally complete the last item on our unintentional Bucket List. We left about 4:45 to head into the wonderfully quaint little town of Oakland. Just kidding – it is big and very unimpressive. The traffic was as lousy as I expected and nothing – and I mean absolutely nothing – that I saw on the trip was anywhere near what I would call nice. But apparently, based on the volume of traffic, a very large number of people must enjoy living here. After a 90 minute drive, with only a short fog-shrouded view of San Francisco across the bay, we pulled into the parking lot of the Oakland Coliseum for our last game. Well, at least the last game on our quest.
Tampa’s ranking as the worst of the 30 ballparks – in my humble opinion – is still safe though Oakland gave it good shot. It is in a crappy neighborhood, it’s old and the dining options are weak, but despite all those things going against it, it still didn’t overtake Tampa for the award...but they tried.
Despite all the negatives, the people were very nice and the prices were really good. We sat 30 rows up, directly behind home plate for $39 each. In most parks that would be in the $50+ range...and since it was Tuesday the parking was FREE! Pretty fair deal if you ask me...you gotta do something to get people to willingly drive into Oakland.
Our 90 minute drive into Oakland was long forgotten after our trip home took less than an hour and we were back in the nest before 11:00. I would have preferred if our final stadium was in someplace special like Fenway in Boston or Wrigley in Chicago, but it was still pretty neat to finish this quest. I would bet that even some MLB players have never seen a game in every major league ballpark so I think that what we have done is pretty special...so; on to our next bucket list.
Wednesday’s plan was written in anything but stone. We knew we were going sightseeing with Benny and Marie, but we didn’t know where until we actually left. We decided to first head to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve to wander around some of the oldest Redwood trees in the country, which we did for about 90 minutes. The park website at http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=450 gives you more information than I could give you, but I will post some pictures.
From there we did a drive up toward the seaside town of Jenner where we gawked at the Pacific Ocean for a bit, then headed back inland to hit a couple wineries. Our first and most interesting stop was at the Korbel Winery. Korbel is most famous for it’s champagne but we learned that champagne is basically wine that goes through a secondary fermentation while in the bottle and that Korbel actually makes more wines than champagnes. We did a wine tasting – it’s either red or white – then did the tour for about 45 minutes and stopped at their deli to get a bite before we hit 2 other wineries on the way home.
We decided to do another night here because we have booked a guided tour of San Francisco for Thursday while Benny and Marie are at work. We’ve been to San Francisco twice before and wandered it’s streets extensively, but we heard rave reviews about this tour so we’ll give it a try. Besides, it will be fun to hear a driver other than me curse the traffic and the spleen-bruising, tooth-chipping slabs of asphalt and concrete that they call roads around here.