Sunday, 15 September 2019

A Visit to Cooper Garrod Winery in Saratoga

After a morning working at the new house we headed up to Cooper Garrod Winery up in the mountains above Saratoga. It was very busy and a bit noisy with a band playing but a lovely setting and the wine was excellent. Mother and son enjoying each others company.
Eleanor and Tommy enjoying Sushi at our picnic 
Elliot with his mum eying up the strawberries 
Kelly and me enjoying a glass of wine. Kelly and her husband Brad live just along Betlo Close and have been superb friends to Fraser and Leslie but that won't change after the move as they will still only be about 1.6 miles away.
The Graham Family and the Lear Family minus Mallory who was looking at the horses.
One small section of the vineyard
Plenty cactus as well.
The usual Graham family photograph at the end of our holiday.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Betlo Court Garage Sale

Fraser and Leslie took part in a Garage Sale in their cul-de-sac Betlo Court as a way to get rid of unwanted items. It was shared with 2 other families and proved to be a great success. As usual in California it is a bit different from our Garage sales as it is outside and with notices up on all the local streets we drew quite a few people.
Eleanor had a difficult choice choosing which soft toys to get rid of. 
All ready for customers. Three bikes were sold.
Eleanor gets ready to sell her soft toys 
Emily selling cup cakes

Back to Work at Riverdale Close

My 5 day break in Utah is over so its back to work on Fraser and Leslie's house in Saratoga. The first job was to cut the hedge in front of the bedrooms. 
I have to say I am very pleased with my efforts and this certainly improves the front of the house.  
I then helped Fraser to lift the floor covering from this room. It was a tough job and I had to left hundreds of nails out of this wooden floor. Fraser will eventually lay a new floor in the next couple of weeks. 

A Trip on The Californian Zephyr

We boarded the Zephyr in Salt Lake City on Thursday evening after a lovely dinner at Fraser's sister-in-law Nancy's house.  This was to be our home for about 18 hours. This photo was taken when we arrive at Emeryville which is the terminal for San Francisco. We boarded the train and were immediately disappointed at the size of our sleeping berth. I had great difficulty getting into my upper berth. I had even more difficulty getting out of it, but Gaye was fine in the bottom bunk. 
After about 7 hours in our cramped cabin we woke to a beautiful Arizona sunrise.  
This is the Arizona desert
We had breakfast with this charming Greek couple who were on holiday in USA from their home in a small Greek Island. They were eager to talk about Brexit and told us we were stupid to leave Europe. We of course agree with them.  
This is our tiny cabin once the seats have beer returned from beds to very comfortable seats again.We used the Observation Carriage several times but spent most of the journey in these seats. 

Still in Arizona
The observation Carriage. We had a superb view from here but it got very busy just before the dining car opened.
We are now in California and following the route of the Truckee River. This river is the sole outlet of Lake Tahoe. The river flows northeasterly for 121 miles and empties into Pyramid Lake in the Great Basin. Although it is high summer there is plenty of water which is used for irrigation along its route. Fraser and the family recently did a rafting trip along it when they were on holiday at Lake Tahoe. 
We are now climbing into the Sierra Nevada mountains and the train is going very slowly. 
This is Donner Lake which is at an elevation of almost 6000ft.   
After we leave the mountains and get beyond Sacramento we head into the rich agricultural plains. The harvest is over now on this field
There are loads of orchards
A field of Maze 
We crossed several bridges over the various Bays that form San Francisco inlets 
Another road bridge over the Bay 
One of the many ships moored in the Bay
We enjoyed our train journey but its not nearly as good as the Canadian Rocky Mountaineer which is much better customer service. The USA uses the railways for freight and passenger services seem to play second fiddle. The most upsetting thing is the number of homeless people living beside the railway line near the main cities. 
President Trump if you want to make America Great Again then start by looking after your thousands of homeless people. 

Thursday, 12 September 2019

My Last Morning Walk in Utah

After the storms of yesterday including snow in the mountains we woke this morning to a glorious day. There was a mist in the valley so I headed uphill towards the town cemetery.
For the first mile I was accompanied by a neighbours Labrador that seemed to want to show me the way. 
This is Mendon Town Hall. There are no shops in the town.
This is one of the oldest houses in the town.
The way ahead. I would like to have walked to  the top but its a lot further than it looks and is about 7000ft up at least. 
The surrounding countryside is superb
Looking north
This really is a lovely area and so peaceful. I never met another person all morning. 

A flock of Wild Turkeys in the distance
A Veterans Memorial in the Cemetery. Carlo has his name on it for service in Korea. When he dies they add the date of death.  
The view from a very nice seat I spent 15 minutes at enjoying the peace and quiet
Mendon Main Street looking North
Main Street looking South. It makes Langholm High street look like a Metropolis.
A closer view of the Wild Turkeys. We head back to Salt Lake City this afternoon and will have dinner with Leslie's sister Nancy and her family before boarding the Zephyr Train to San Francisco at 11.00pm tonight. This will be a great adventure as we will be on the train for 17 hours.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Old Rock Church in Providence

This morning we visited Old Rock Church in Providence just across the valley from Mendon. The Church was built by the early Pioneer families who came to Providence by Wagon Train in the mid 1800s. Its use was changed to various things from 1969 but it is now a Bed and Breakfast and Wedding and Event Centre. It is owned by a friend of Carlo's from his College days when they were room mates. It is one of the oldest buildings in the valley.
Completed in 1871 it is only 2 years older than our house back in Langholm
After visiting this building we lunched at Chuckarama which was one of the best we have been to in USA. You pay $12 and there is a buffet you can just help yourself too and return as many times as you like.
It is much cooler this morning and the mountains in the distance have their first snow of the season. The leaves are starting to fall and soon it will be much colder with the skiing season commencing in November. 
This Memorial celebrates the early Settlers that came by Wagon Train in the 1860s
Sidne and Gaye 
An early Wagon which brought the first settlers. How times and transportation have changed in the 160 years since this area was settled by the pioneers. It would take them a year to make the journey from the east to the west.

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