Saturday, August 23, 2014

Road Trip to Yellowstone

With most of our boat projects finished, we have some time on our hands before the synthetic teak arrives, so we decided to take a road trip to Yellowstone National Park, with stops along the way to visit friends and family in Berkeley and Nevada City, then a week or so in Mammoth Lakes before heading northeast to Yellowstone. We packed bikes and backpacks in the truck and headed up Highway 101 toward Berkeley. Along the way we stopped at Pinnacles National Park long enough to check out the unique caves near the west entrance to the park. These caves are made of enormous rocks that tumbled down into steep ravines, leaving spaces between them. Some of those spaces are cavernous, others are too small to fit through. After a couple of hours we continued on to Berkeley where we met friends and family. We spent a couple of days in the area and took an afternoon putter around the Bay aboard SF Joe, our friend's Grand Banks 36.

Pinnacles National Park. The "Balconies" cliffs overlook the ravine where the caves are located.

The trail to the caves crosses over a dry creek bed. Unfortunately we saw many signs of California's severe drought along the way,
Entrance to one of the caves. 
In some areas the caves were pitch dark and we were fortunate to have brought along a flashlight. In this area, light filtered down between the enormous boulders that make up the caves.
Lisa checked her camera after bouncing it on the rocks as we scrambled through the caves.

On Monday, August 18th we drove northeast toward the town of Grass Valley where we spent an afternoon and evening checking out the town and visiting a couple of our favorite wine tasting rooms. At the Sierra Starr winery, we were invited to visit their vineyard, which is located in the hills just out of town, where they were taking the first harvest of sauvignon blanc grapes. So the next day we drove up to the vineyard and spent a couple of hours with a merry group of volunteers harvesting these tasty grapes.

Rustic and quaint, Sierra Starr is a small, family run vineyard with about 25 acres of land under cultivation.
Phil Starr runs the vineyard while his wife, Anne manages the tasting room. But when harvest time comes, everyone picks grapes.

It's hot, sticky work, but for a few hours it was fun to pick the grapes and learn about the rudiments of viticulture.
Lisa's first bunch of grapes.
The colors of the grapes were amazing.
Picking grapes is hard work. I wouldn't want to do it for a living.
Son Jack Starr is the chief winemaker. After the grapes are crushed and cleaned they go into the stainless steel tanks where they are inoculated with yeast and allowed to ferment. 
The next day we drove through the town of Nevada City and up into the hills along Banner Lava Cap road to visit family, hike, bike and relax. We spent an afternoon riding our mountain bikes through a beautiful forest of pine and oak along an old aqueduct. Another day we went tubing on the Yuba river, enjoying perfect weather and lovely scenery.

We hiked down to the river from the road and were greeted with the sight of the beautiful old Bridgeport Bridge. It was completed in 1862  and is a fine example of a truss and arch covered bridge. It is the longest bridge of its type in the world, so I guess it beats all the bridges in Madison County!

Bridgeport Bridge is the longest single span covered bridge in the world. 
The bridge has fallen into disrepair and is no longer usable. Fortunately the governor of California has allocated some money in the state budget to repair and restore the bridge so there is hope that it will survive. 
It was fun to navigate our inner tubes among the rocks and float down the gentle rapids of the river.  
After three days in hills above Nevada City, we headed to Mammoth Lakes where we'll stay a week or so, hiking, biking and fly fishing. 


  1. Leif! Your blog is attention-grabbing due to share images and information. I have also visited Yellowstone during my denver to yellowstone bus with my friends. The natural attractiveness, Waterfalls and afforest existence demonstrate conjecture scene .It is in truth good-looking. During the tour we enjoy it here its lakes. We do lots of fun there such as Fishing, hiking and saw Wildlife. It is a nice place for a picnic and enjoys summer vocations.

  2. I have a new (to me) 2007, 423, NEW DISCOVERY and want to install fans

    1. Dave, I replaced the swivel spotlights in the forward stateroom, salon and aft cabin with Caframo fans. For a clean installation I drilled a 5/16" hole through the base and ran the wire through it to the same wires that powered the lights.