September 6th, 2006 (Day 3): San Francisco and Napa Valley
|House cladding in Chinatown, San Francisco|
In the morning we used a cable car to get from Ghiradelli Square up to California Street. From there we explored Chinatown and walked back to our hotel. Then we took our mini-van out of the hotels garage but before we left San Francisco we stopped at some other places:
Via Sausalito we drove up to Napa and started exploring Napa Valley. In Calistoga, a beautiful little town, we found a place to stay over night. The Thai Chicken Noodle Salad I had for dinner there in the “Checkers” restaurant was the best meal of the entire month !
September 7th, 2006 (Day 4): Napa and Sonoma Valley
|Old Faithful Geyser in Napa Valley|
There are two attractions close to Calistoga, which we visted the other day: The Petrified Forest and one of the three “Old Faithful” Geysers in the United States. The second one is in Yellowstone National Park which I visited in 1995 and I don’t know yet where the third is.
The petrified trees we saw on a short loop trail in The Petrified Forest have been trees burried under ash 3 million years ago after an erruption of Mt. St. Helena ( not to confuse with Mt. St. Helens in the state Washington ) 7 miles away.
The “Old Faithful” Geyser is located some miles further up north on highway 29. It errupts every 40 minutes with a 60 foot high water fountain. This Geyser can be used to predict earth quakes since a disturbance of its very regular erruption time periods indicates that something starts going on below the surface. For that reason it is permanently monitored using an infrared sensor.In Santa Rosa we booked a room for the next night (travel hint: there are only a few lodges available in Napa and Sonoma Valley and those are more expensive. Coming from San Francisco it might be smarter to first head to Santa Rosa on highway 101 and book a room there instead of right away driving into Napa Valley. Santa Rosa is a great place from where to start exploring Sonoma and/or Napa Valley) before we started exploring Sonoma and Sonoma Valley and once again Napa Valley, this time using the Silverado Trail, a route parallel to highway 29. We also visited the cheese factory shop in Sonoma (and did some picnic afterwards in the city park surrounded by historic buildings) and one of the 300 wineries there and did some wine tasting.