Dear Diary, Friends ,and Families,
written June 29+
We are back
into routines, mostly. Weather in the second half of June remains
very nice, the summer heat is pending, but so far so good. Not
too much new or different, except we did get to babysit nephew Henry's
little guy Zaiden. Cute kid and it keeps us in Oma-Opa practice.
The other themes of this diary are the continuing garage construction and a quick wine tasting trip.
On the 29th we took Mamo on an extended Sunday drive and one-night stay in the Paso Robles area.
We started out early enough that we needed to stop right away for
breakfast. The Tachi Casino brunch had been recommended, so we
gave it a try. The selection was huge, but we did our best to NOT
get our money's worth.
From there, it was on to wine tasting. The Paso Robles area has a
few hundred wineries and we just threw darts to pick a few among them.
Our first stop was at SummerWood, a winery offering "super premium"
wines, according to their website. Wine tasting costs $10,
refundable with a purchase of a bottle, the same arrangement for all
three of our selected wineries. We enjoyed a variety of tastes
(syrah, grenache, cabernet) and talked Mamo into joining us. She
got the hang of it after just a few sips!
Our second stop was an equally "premium" winery. All wines are
"estate" bottled, that is, made from their own grapes in their own
winery. They also managed to sell all their wines direct from the
winery too, no stores or restaurants handle their products. Their pinot
noir, cabernet, and syrah all turned out to be the best of the
day. Too bad these wines are above our normal price range!
Our last taste stop was a small (2,500 cases per year) winery in
Templeton operated by two families. Like much of the local wine
business, it is less than 15 years old, but manages to produce some
very nice reds, using both their own and purchased grapes. Again,
marketing requires no stores or restaurants, just the small tasting
room and a website.
We chose the 85-year-old Carlton Hotel in Atascadero for it's history
and reasonable price. The rooms were lovely and Mamo's even had a
patio, where we set up our pre-dinner wine and cheese course.
We had dinner up in Templeton at McFee's Grill.
Like the local wines, the food was a bit pricey, but the setting was
charming and the meal very good. (No pictures, just because I
The bocce court is on hold while the garage gets attention. (We
did have a flurry of activity concerning the bocce court when we
learned of a better surface treatment, until I recognized the "better"
surface would cost $11,100! We can make do with "good".)
Ismael was charged with removing the stucco, concrete hardened enough to require a stone-cutting saw to get it off.
The next day, the whole wall was removed and Brian started real construction.
On Friday, even more wood was dropped off, but most of it spent the
weekend on the ground. Next week the guys need to find places for
Even now, we are beginning to see what an improvement this will be to
our garden view as the wire fence and the house behind us disappear.
When we got back Monday afternoon, we noted that the roof is starting.
Tuesday (July 1), a bit more on top.
Wednesday was a bit more of the same and Thursday was an off day for
the builders. While they were off, Marianne and I checked a recycle
store for old pieces and found some "treasures" - old,
weather-beaten, double-hung, multi-pane windows that match our house's
style. Of course there's repair work for Gary's guys to do.
On Friday, Brian and his partner put in a morning's work and added more wood to the roof.
Hopefully, the real roof and walls will happen next week.
|Monday was our return day,
but we wanted to maximize our time in the relatively temperate climate
of San Louis Obispo county since Fresno was promising a high of 108F
(42C). We started with breakfast at Country Touch Cafe,
reportedly a local favorite and it lived up to recommendations. The
biscuits and gravy may not have been diet fare, however.
After some souvenir shopping, we headed north to San Miguel and the
Mission San Miguel Arcangel, one of the 21 California missions built
between 1769 and 1833. We had the grounds and buildings almost to
ourselves and especially enjoyed the cool and quiet of the 200-year-old
stop: one more taste of wine. For no particular reason other than its
convenience to the start of the highway home, we pulled over to see
what the Robert Hall
winery offered. We opted to taste "normally priced" wines, to see what
we might like and actually buy sometime in the future. (Robert
Hall wines are actually sold at big chains, including Costco.)
The wine was good and the tasting atmosphere was even better. As
an added bonus, we got to examine the winery's bocce court. I
think our court would compare well, although our wine cellar will be
limited in comparison.
|Old adobe walls, bell tower, 19th Century grave, and a single flower.
The classic mission buildings, including original painted frescoes.
From here it was a long hot drive home across "The Valley". I'm
not sure our 10-year-old car was completely comfortable with the
triple-digit temperatures we needed to cross. Where there was
irrigation, the valley brimmed with farms, but elsewhere it is a baking
was a good two days for all three of us, so we might need to try a
repeat, as long as we can avoid the hottest of the summer
temperatures. (Fresno highs this week have all been above 104F -
John and Marianne
ps: Summer heat continues, with no respite in sight. We may need another few days off to cooler places!