time reversal

the stories of four physicists separated by the whims of fate

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Wine Country (Or My Mom Visits California)

September 21st, 2008 by liz

This weekend, my mom and granddad came to visit me in California. Distinctly different from Dave visiting California, I found myself doing relaxing things and generally staying in an extremely well-fed state. Thursday and Friday my mom and granddad wandered around Berkeley and San Francisco, and fed me delicious dinners when they saw me in the evenings. On Saturday, we took a trip south to see the California coastline.

After crossing the Bay Bridge to San Francisco, I mentioned that part of it had collapsed during the earthquake in 1989. My mom vowed to never drive across it again. After that hiccup, our first stop along the drive south was Pacifica Beach, where there were literally hundreds of surfers enjoying the perfect morning waves. We watched for awhile and then continued on to Half Moon Bay Beach, where there were considerably fewer surfers and less-awesome waves. However, in Half Moon Bay, there is a lovely place known as the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company which not only serves delicious beer (Oktoberfest is in season!) but also has great food, beautiful views of the ocean, and outdoor heaters/fireplaces to keep you warm in the evenings. During lunch, the sun came out, and we set off again on our journey southwards.

As we meandered down the coast on highway 1, we stopped at many state beaches along the way and walked out to see the cliffs and enormous waves. We even saw a seal carcass on one beach, just as you sometimes find fish carcasses on New England beaches. As the afternoon turned to evening we began to approach Santa Cruz. About 8 miles out, we saw an amazing sight. There were at least 60 brightly colored many-square-meter kites flying over the ocean. As be drew near, we saw that they all belonged to kite-surfers clustered near to one beach. I couldn’t figure out how they didn’t get their lines tangled together and crash. We soon realized that it was because all of these kite-surfers were really good, and watched as they pulled amazing flips and spins off the waves. My mother told me I was never allowed to kite-surf. Right.

This morning, my mom picked me up at the ungodly hour of 9:30 am. We hopped on the interstate and headed up to Sonoma, in the heart of wine country. We stopped in Sonoma for breakfast at a bakery (The Boulangerie) chatted with an old friend from VT (Julie) and then headed to our first winery, Bartholomew Park Winery. Their wines were excellent and the lady who was pouring for us really knew what she was talking about. After the tasting, we had a picnic lunch on the terrace overlooking the vineyard. By far, this was my favorite winery that we visited. We also visited Gundlach Bundschu Winery and Buena Vista Winery, which were nice, but not nearly as fun as the first one we stopped at. The entire valley just smelled good (like grapes perhaps?) and was just beautiful. It also looked like the biking there would be excellent.

I had my biking suspicion confirmed when we stopped by Julie and Jame’s house and saw the collection of bicycles. In fact, Sonoma is awesome for biking, and I was told I’d have to come out sometime and try it. Plan: Go to Sonoma with bicycles and ride around to wineries all day (week?).

My mom and granddad are leaving in the morning, and I have to say it was awesome to have them visit. I had a great time and did some really relaxing activities (which by now most of you have noticed are not a part of my regularly scheduled life).

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