California Dreamin’

Ensconced in a southern Ontario university as fall comes too quickly, I’m moved to recall a wonderful summer trip. From the travelogue archive…

24 July, 2008, San Francisco, USA

What a whirlwind. Should have been obvious by the name, but San Francisco is brimming with Spanish influence. So is all of northern California once you hit the Sacramento Valley. It’s different — the rainy, wet woods of the Pacific Northwest give way to a dry palette of browns and beiges that remind of droughts and wildfires. First day in California was marked by heat — winding through sparsely wooded mountains (Shasta appearing like a hazy mirage), rolling brown hills and flat fields of olive trees interspersed with dry creek beds. All laid over with a light sprinkling of palms. Then suddenly off the beaten path, up into the winding roads of northern Napa, a shifting swath of flora and form. Like no place else on earth (except what one imagines Greece to be…).

Sonoma is the ultimate multi-faceted simulacrum — every European clime reproduced in this still authentic reserve of the wine country. Authenticity a touch more elusive at the mushrooming vineyards, but beauty abounds in and among overtly commercial enterprises. In a few cases, they also make some damn good wine.

Heading west through the pseudo-urbanity of Petaluma to the coast is another revelation — Marin county a mix of rocky highlands and groves of huge, seemingly ageless Cypress trees. Hitting the back bay near Reyes Point is like remembering an old sea shanty — dotted as it is with old oyster shacks and hippies who’ve decided to put up the “gone fishin’” sign — permanently…

Feels far away now, though transcribing this I can almost smell the ocean.

4 Responses to “California Dreamin’”

  1. uberfrau Says:

    Jesus Christ. Petaluma is my hometown.

  2. uberfrau Says:

    P.S. It is NOT in MARIN (meh!) county.

  3. The Necromancer Says:

    uberfrau: Appreciate the geography lesson…But this was a “road memory”. From Sonoma, you have to go through Petaluma to get to Marin. Not sure about the city proper, but the area around it certainly seems like a nice place to grow up.

  4. Skybluepink Says:

    Brought it all back so vividly.

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