In only 7 weeks I will be here.
Then I'm going here.
That would be Florence.
I am going with daughter Alex to celebrate a sort of anniversary. Ten years ago we went on a barge trip on the Saône river. Aside from the fact that the rudder broke loose from the barge and we got stranded and had to finish the trip by bus, it was terrific. We arrive in Paris on Saturday, October 3, stay in a hotel for 4 nights (Les Marronniers in the 6th - MSMASSF and ECHJ take note!), fly to Florence on the 8th for a week in a smart apartment near Santa Croce, back to Paris (an apartment this time), and home on the 20th. I still am not quite sure how it all happened but reservations have been made, money has changed hands and it appears it's a go. I can only take one suitcase so it's purge, purge, purge. Plus I need room for all the scarves I always manage to find in both places, and of course a little something from Dehillerin's.
A few words about the rest of our road trip. We left Bozeman in a driving rainstorm which didn't let up until we had covered 50 miles. Then it was on to Coeur d'Alene, a lovely place I would very much like to spend some time in. Next morning we headed for Walla Walla and Alex's sweet little house. We spent a relaxing afternoon sitting out on her deck enjoying the mild weather. We had a lovely dinner outside, too.
Then we did some trendy chores including a trip to the Saturday farmers' market where we loaded up on fruits and veggies.
Next was the Walla Walla Roastery for coffee, and a couple of bakeries for bread. The larder was fully stocked! In the evening we went to Brasserie Four in downtown for a wonderful dinner. Both Mr. C and I had mussels in a luscious spicy tomato broth ~ I think it had coriander seeds in it and boy was it delicious. Alex had bouillabaisse in a tasty sauce. There was no bread and no sauce left over anywhere.
First thing Sunday morning Alex and I took a walk through her neighborhood. It is filled with big, old, gracious wooden homes, most of which have large verandas, several fireplaces (by the look of the chimneys), rolling lawns and flower gardens. They've been there since the early 20th century, most having been built by the wheat farmers for their families who preferred to live "in town". At 11 0'clock we had an appointment for a "private" tasting of some splendid reds. The winemaker is a friend of Alex's so we got very personal attention and instruction. I tasted and bought. We took Mr. C home and Alex and I headed out to two more of her favorites, Gifford Hirelinger Winery and Castillo de Feliciana. At both we tasted and we bought. We napped in the afternoon, no surprise.
Monday we lounged around the house, packed up, went shopping, made plans for our trip (see above!). In the evening we had a little dinner party out in the garden under an umbrella. Good food ~ shrimp and pasta ~ and good conversation.
Then it was time to head off toward Portland and the Oregon coast. We drove down the Columbia River, past Portland and on to Tillamook, through that sleepy little town ~ except for the cheese factory ~ to Netarts right on the coast. A lovely little place. This was our home for the night.
It reminded me of Newport Beach in the 50's. It was very comfortable, with a view to forever from the rickety porch outside our door.
Next morning it was up and on the road, the Redwood Highway, to Crescent City, CA. It's a long, slow drive but really gorgeous. Old redwoods, lots of ferns and forest blooms along the way. Stayed at the Best Western in CC; another very nice iteration of that chain. Thursday morning we were up and on our way home on the old US 101, mostly 2-lane and again, absolutely gorgeous. But slow. Oh my, is it ever slow. We were going to turn off at Arcata to cross over to I- 5 but a big flashing sign announced a 1-2 hour delay due to road construction so we blew right on by and finally crossed over to I-80 at Novato. Slow again, but things picked up after Vallejo and we made it home around 3 PM, 71/2 hours later. It had been so cool and fresh when we left Crescent City - 52º. In the valley it was at least 100º . In fact, big heat wave over several days while we were enjoying delightfully cool days.
So here we are, back home again, still awaiting the landscaping of the garden although a batch of plants arrived yesterday. Mr. C goes off to Ohio on Tuesday for his annual "greet the family" while I stay here and do whatever it is I do while he's gone which will include watching "Wolf Hall" and any other goodies I can find. I finished "The Paying Guests" by Sarah Waters (I recommend highly) and have embarked on a Sinclair Lewis binge; it has been many years since I have read his work and I am enjoying "Arrowsmith" no matter how dated. Next will be "Elmer Gantry". It's dry as dirt here in the valley and on my morning walks I watch lovely trees and gardens turn brown and die. It's very depressing. I'm paying scant attention to national politics; that's really depressing.