You can go a lot of north in California before reaching not-California. And you have a lot of east-west room to do it. I-5 is a theoretical median that dissects the state tip to tail, until you reach LA, and then it's all coastal-ish.
But back to north. Head outside of San Francisco, and just a little east, and you start driving through wine-country. Napa, Sonoma, Alexander valley - all places of vines and vintages. Once you get out of wine country, you start to reach very dry and very hot areas of California.
People find all sorts of ways to stay cool up there, one of the most common ways is to live near a lake. There are a few lakes to chose from - Berryessa, Clearlake, and farther north there is Whiskeytown and Shasta.
The town of Lakeport sits right on Clearlake, and is home to about 5000 people. It has a cute main street with old pioneer style buildings, most of the old banks have been converted to antique shops or restaurants.
The Norcal Aircooled VW club hosts a show and campout there every year. I've never hung out with these guys, but hey, it's a VW show, and more importantly, a good excuse for a motorcycle ride. So Joe and I suit up last Saturday morning, get caffinated, and head the 100 or so miles to Lakeport to check out the scene.
We take 101 north for a full sprint, and once we reach the little town of Hopland, we turn right on 175 for one of the windiest roads in California. The views, when you have time to look at them are classically wine country.
It's 15 miles of twists and turns, signs that require trucks over 38 feet to turn around, manzanita, dry grass, and a feint hint of sage coming through the helmet. You don't notice too much on a motorcycle as you are paying attention to the road, but you do notice smells. This is the smell of my childhood in Redding, and I can't help but think of my grandparents and their old Studebaker Hawk. But back to Lakeport.
The NAG group has blocked off a one block area for the show. It's small, but not without a few gems. For instance, this pillow:
There's this splittie with the cool front bar, and the center headlight.
A hacked but nice bugtruck
The ever-present peace bug:
This flawless convertible:
John La Torre was there, fresh back from Maupin, and representing as usual.
Here's a bumpersticker that pretty much says what I keep tryingto say, but the other driver can't hear me.
And finally, one of these things is not like the other:
The rest of the pictures are on my flickr site.
Joe and I do a quick walk through the town, and head out in mid afternoon. It's 101 degrees, and the hot air is seriously affecting our mood. An air-conditioned subway, and an afternoon starbucks keep us sane.
We get back to the bay area around 5:00pm, and the bay air drops the temperature by 15 degrees. One of the reasons I live here is the temperature is agreeable. My theory is that I can always put more clothes on, but I can't get more naked. cold is tolerable, heat is repressive.
I'll be camping with the wife next weekend - seriously looking forward to spending time with here along the coast. Happy driving. If anyone cares to join us, we'll be at Ocean Cove north of Jenner on Thursday and Friday.
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