Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Wow, I couldn't believe the response to my first blog, thanks guys....I think it's appropriate to tell you that the reason I have grapes in the background of my blog is because we live in the middle of 40 wineries in Lodi, Ca.

(Yes, just like the CCR song, STUCK IN LODI AGAIN)...With that said, it brings me to the topic of my second blog.  WINE TASTING....Next to traveling, is  probably my second greatest love.  I decided to give you a brief tour of some of my favorite wineries in Lodi.  You should probably start at the LODI WINE AND VISITORS CENTER at 2545 West Turner Rd  for maps, history, etc.  It is located on the grounds of the famous Wine and Roses Inn (a very charming B&B in Lodi that hosts many weddings and functions in Lodi).

Continuing on your wine experience is one of my favorites, ABUNDANCE VINEYARDS.  It looks like something you would see in Provence complete with courtyard and firepit and tables for picnics.  In the summer months every Friday and Saturday night they have different bands playing there.  You can bring a picnic lunch and dance under the stars.  (The best part, it is FREE).

My second favorite is HARMONY WYNELANDS.  What makes this winery so unique is the building itself was built around organ pipes.  They have a vintage Pipe Organ out of the old San Francisco Castro Theater and if you are lucky enough to be there when the owner, a classy gentleman named Robert Hartzell, is there, he will give you an impromptu performance.  When the pipe bellows open up around the room the sound is amazing.
Oh, yes, the wine is excellent also.  They also host many weddings in their courtyard.

No trip would be complete without lunch at the DANCING FOX BAKERY AND TASTING ROOM in downtown Lodi.  It is a family owned restaurant and wine tasting room.  The food is excellent and reasonably priced.  Don't leave without taking some freshly baked focaccia bread with you.

There are many wine tasting events held in Lodi during the year.  The next one coming up is the WINE AND CHOCOLATE WEEKEND, February 12 and 13 this year.  What could be better WINE AND CHOCOLATE , TWO OF MY FAVORITE THINGS.
For those of you that have RV's , there is a wonderful RV park at Flag City (Hwy 12 and Interstate 5), a great place to stay and start your wine tasting experience. 

Our next big adventure is the AT&T GOLF TOURNAMENT AT PEBBLE BEACH. February 8-13  John and I marshall this tournament every year and I will be sending you lots of pictures of movie stars (like Kevin Costner, yum) and professional golfers.  Right from there we go to Palm Springs for 3 weeks, so will keep you posted.

Just a little postnote, John went with me for the photo shoot for this blog.  He lasted through two wineries, then got bored and said, "I'm out of here" and went golfing (very supportive)


Sunday, January 16, 2011

First attempt

As this is my very first blog it should probably be something profound, but this is as profound as I can get: Don't feed wild donkeys carrots.

Our latest adventure was to a ghost town in Oatman, Arizona.This was an old mining town that became a ghost town when the mines went dry and the miners left behind their donkeys that eventually became wild.  While staying at a resort in Lake Havasu, I was told this would be a great trip to visit the donkeys and bring carrots to feed them, as they love carrots. 

...nobody told me how excited they would get when they see said carrots. The first two donkeys loved the carrots. So much so that at the sight of the very last carrot, they suddenly became aggressive and started chasing me.  I tried to run, fell down, hit my head on the pavement and spent the rest of the afternoon in the Emergency room getting a cat scan.  Luckily, I have a hard head and there was no permanent damage. 

I will leave out the picture of the goose-egg on forehead as it would gross you out.   Needless to say, I have been the butt of donkey jokes ever since the incident.  My eye turned black as did the side of my face.  I wore dark glasses for the next two weeks.  My husband was going to get a tee shirt made that said, "I didn't do this to her" for him and a tee shirt for me that said, "I'm clumsy".  My daughter bought me a little donkey magnet for my refrigerator.  My new name is "Babalooe" from the "Quick draw McGraw cartoon" (the little donkey sidekick).  My husband says I'm not allowed to feed any animals on vacation, not even fish...
We left the next day for Avila Beach where we checked into the San Luis Bay Inn for the next week.  When I get these last minute deals ($50 for the week) I never know what to expect but this vacation was amazing.

 This is the view from our balcony suite of the San Luis Bay.  The suite was about 900 sq feet and decorated exquisitely, huge master bedroom with walk in closet, two full bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen.

  We spent New Years Eve here and as we left the San Joaquin Valley to get away from the fog, we had five days of glorious sun.  An absolute must during a visit to Avila Beach is a one day trip to Solvang.  Solvang is a little dutch town complete with windmills, shopping to die for, not to mention the Swedish bakeries with their delicious pastries. 

I hope you enjoyed my first blog.  Stay tuned and I will tell you little secrets how you too can "TRAVEL ON A SHOESTRING"....

Happy Blogging