Locke, California

When traveling to a new part of the country or looking for a week-end day trip, search out small interesting spots.

Locke, CA, is one of those spots. Many years ago this Chinese town was just a wide spot off the delta. Today, it’s still a wide spot off the delta. But people, from bikers to tourists, search it out and head to Al the Wops for a steak sandwich.
And it’s worth the side trip.

Bags, Totes, and Retired Airplane Seats

With Earth Day only a day behind us, think about these recycled fashionable totes. Then think about the weight of your suitcase you are using now.
Seattle cyclist Eli Reich decided to make stylish waterproof packs out of a material he knew well…recycled bike tire inner tubes. Check out http://www.alchemygoods.com/ for his haversack, selling for $98.
Remember Virgin Atlantic Airlines? A British design firm has taken coach class upholstery, stripped it, dry cleaned it and then turned it into limited edition bags. Take a look at the Lydia purse for $94 at thwww.wornagain.co.uk.
Vinyl exhibition banners from Barcelona are turned into chic totes by a trio of eco conscious Colombian designers. The Marbella bag at $90 can be found at http://www.demano.net/.
What does this have to do with traveling? Well, if each passenger carried a suitcase that was just 5 pounds lighter every aircraft in the sky would save 18,000 gallons of fuel annually. Think about it.

Skyline Park…more photos

Weird tree bark…shiny, mahogany colored bark, smooth to the touch

Weird roots…along some of the trail roots poked through the hillside and into the air

Many caves and hidden spots…signs for mountain lions, wild pigs, turkeys, and deer are everywhere. But, only the turkeys poked their heads up…and they didn’t even pose for a photo shoot.

Skyline Wilderness Park

Saturday started hazy with a marine layer over Napa…good for the start of a 5 mile hike.

Lake Marie Road wound through peaceful grasses, trees, and remnants of old stone buildings. Supposedly there is a fig tree that is over 100 years old. The somewhat rocky trail offered a moderate hike with sun and shade, as the day quickly warmed up.

Sharing the trail with mountain bikers and horses poses a small problem on some of the steeper curves. Patiently waiting for us to pass, the horses eyed our snacks of apples.

California wildflowers are abundant along the trail.

The final destination of Lake Marie. For a slightly different view on our return trip, we followed the Marie Creek Trail. Bushier and more narrow in spots, it’s still a moderate work out.
If you’re in the Napa area this is a good park with plenty of trails of varying lengths and terrain. There is a $6 park fee.

More streams, birds, and photo shots were available on our return trip. This was a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Preston Castle

Did you know about this castle in Ione, California?

The “Castle,” built in 1890-1894, is the most significant example of Romanesque Revival architecture in the Mother Lode. It was built to house the Preston School of Industry, established by the State Legislature as a progressive action toward rehabilitating, rather than simply imprisoning, juvenile offenders. Doors of the 120 room “Castle” closed in 1960 after new facilities were completed.

Still…it’s impressive.


On a visit to wine country in Amador County last week-end we stopped by a local deli/market to buy lunch. You can save a few dollars picking up a lunch and eating in one of many vineyards.

Crusty bread and tomato spread complimented our Sangiovese and Zin wines.

These Zin vines produced the wine we were drinking. What a view…

First Strawberries

There is no travel tip associated with these berries…just the hint of summer to come.
Less than 2 miles away is a strawberry farm and these followed me home. I have a feeling many more will be coming.
By the way…they are better tasting than they look.