Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 1 - Morgan Hill to Petaluma

[Saturday, Morgan Hill, CA] We left home at aproximately 6:59a.m. First stop was at Safeway for gas. Second stop was at the Daily Bagel Cafe for breakfast. Linda had a marinara bagle and John had a one with everything. Third stope was the restroom at the Daily Bagel Cafe. Then, on the road for the 140 / 150 mile trek to Petaluma to visit our son, Jay. We say 140 / 150 mile trek, because John took us on a side trip to San Francisco over the Bay Bridge. He claims this occurred because Wilma (our Honda Odyssey and her GPS) didn't warn him far enough in advance to exit right. He couldn't cross two lanes of traffic in time without cutting off cars in those lanes causing those drivers to yell things at him like he yells at drivers who cut him off. (Not things for delicate ears!).

Thus, the ten mile, $4.00 side trip to San Francisco. Linda took the opportunity to shoot some photos through the windshield and passenger window of the bridge and downtown San Francisco. We're happy to report that the Bay Bridge "bypass" on the east side of Yerba Buena Island is up and functioning quite well.

The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful (a good thing in traffic). We found our motel, the Petaluma Valley Inn, an America's Best Value Inn, and requested a downstairs room. It was only about 10:30a.m., so too early to check in. We then journeyed over to Jay's house. He lives on Baker St., just like Sherlock Holmes. The origin of Petaluma's name is a Coastal Miwok phrase for "valley of the little hills". Sunset Magazine recently called Petaluma "The Perfect Small Town". labeled it "The Best Small Town in America". Jay lives in the Historic Downtown District where there are lots of interesting Victorian Homes. After taking Maggie for a nice walk, we went to lunch at Lombardi's BBQ and Deli. John had a great tri-tip sandwich with horseradish cheese. Linda had a salmon sandwich. All was yummy!

We drove the back way to Santa Rosa through Penngrove and Cotati because Hwy 101 north was jammed. Why go to Santa Rosa, you ask? To visit the Charles Shultz Museum, of course. It is a very interesting and informative place. Sadly, you can only take pictures in the lobbies and outside, not in the galleries. John was sitting on a bench in one of the lobbies when the author of a book entitled "William Mauldin" started a book signing next to where John was sitting. An elderly gentleman approached and started reminiscing with the author. This gentlemen served from 1940 to 1945 in WWII and spend nearly twenty years in the army and seventeen in the air force. He was originally from Oklahoma and was delightful to listen to. The photo below is a few of 3,588 tiles that make up a mural of Charlie Brown and Lucy at one end of one of the lobbies. The mural in its entirety can be seen in today's photo gallery. A link to the gallery is at the end of today's travelogue.

After visiting the museum, Jay and Linda wanted to go find a letterbox at the Charles Schultz Ice Arena (across the street from the museum). So we drove over there and John waited in Wilma while those two searched for, and found, the letterbox. They also made it onto the webcam outside the ice arena where you would have seen both of them had you been watching at about 3:37pm PST on Charles Schultz had famous skaters carve their name in cement. We saw Dorothy Hamil's name and Scott Hamilton's name and others too numerous to mention here.

Next we checked in at the motel and then dropped back by Jay's house to pick up Maggie. Wow, was she glad to see us! Then we drove around the countryside looking for old ramshackle farm buildings for John to photograph. We went by some buildings where Petaluma Poultry (that's who Jay works for) raises organic chickens. Then, more letterboxing at a cemetery at a country church. This was a grave matter. Linda didn't have to follow the clues because Jay had already been there and knew right where to dig (so to speak). Linda couldn't resist taking a photo of one of the Baker children's headstones. Under her name it said "Professional Shopper". As we headed back to Petaluma, the wind was really picking up as promised on the weather report. We drove by the Petaluma Poultry processing plant (yes, that's where they give it up for your dining enjoyment) and then by the administration offices where Jay works.

We parked in downtown Petaluma and walked a block to the Theater District. Maggie waited with Wilma. We had a nice Mexican dinner at Tres Hombres. The food and service were very good. The only negative was the darling child across the restaurant who kept screaming high pitched screams. Her parents never quietened her or put her in the naughty nina's corner. After dinner we stopped by a sweet shoppe in the Theater District and enjoyed looking at their offerings. They have some of the old candies like Chuckles, Violet Crumbles (made in Australia), Teabury gum, Cowboy brand candy cigarettes and tons more. Linda bought a nice bar of Cote d'Or dark choclate with orange. This is the same brand of Belgian choclate that John binged on in Brussels to the point that his eyes swelled shut!

Jay was dropped off at his house and we proceeded to our motel room.

About our room. Nice, clean and comfortable. However, let me mention something we've noticed about Petaluma. Lots of flies. Imagine a dead body in your motel room for two days. Imagine all of the flies it has attracted. Now, remove the body and leave the flies. It's almost like that. Linda has been on a murdering streak this morning and has really reduced the fly population. Yeah, Linda!! She sacrificed the outside cover to one of her favorite magazines - Nutrition Action - it's covered in flat fly remains now.

Well, time for bed. Need to be at Jay's at 10:00a.m. tomorrow. Another busy, but wonderful day!

Link to Day 1 Photo Gallery The gallery will open in its own window. When finished viewing, close that window to return here.


  1. I'm silly enough, I logged in! I read the wonderful trip log, viewed all the photos and am jealous. I was supposed to be leaving for D.C. tomorrow, but had to cancel. Have a blast and be safe. I'm looking forward to more installments. G6k

  2. Love the pics of the museum!