Casa Rondeña Winery – I Finally Get Some New Mexico Wine

Casa Rondeña Winery has been chosen “Best Winery” seven years in a row by Albuquerque the Magazine readers.Read on to learn why.

Although I had cases of amazing Gold Country wine in my wine fridge when I was getting ready to leave northern California, I didn’t bring much with me. I shipped a couple of cases and gave the rest away. Turns out, that was a bit of a mistake. My plan was to stop at wineries along the way and buy wine to drink as I traveled. That worked for the first week or two when I stopped in Lodi and Paso Robles. After that, discovering new wineries and wine remained an elusive longing. Once I left Paso Robles, wineries were either not located near my route or closed. Such was the case with a winery in Arizona. I had planned to boondock at Stetson Winery…

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Piedras Marcadas Canyon in Petroglyph National Monument

Piedras Marcadas Canyon in Petroglyph National Monument, Albuquerque, NM, combined my love of and fascination with history, geology and archeology.

When I began fantasizing about this journey to southern Texas, I planned to leave northern California the third week of September, in time to get to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta. Since that didn’t happen, I had no real plans of what to see or do in Albuquerque other than to try to find some New Mexico wineries. I had no idea that Petroglyph National Monument was so close to where I was staying. Petroglyph National Monument Visitor Center After a little research, I learned that there is a visitor center but no trail access there. Petroglyph National Monument is a day-use park so the visitor center and the four trailhead parking lots are open from 8:30 to 4:30. The trailheads range in distance from…

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Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert

Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, lies at the heart of the Painted Desert and is one of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the world.

When I heard that the National Parks’ Senior Lifetime Pass was increasing from $20 to $80, I decided to go ahead and get mine. I was a few years past the time when I qualified but I never really thought I would use it. Other than Yosemite, there weren’t many National Parks near me in northern California but I wanted to get it, just in case, before the price increase. So, who knew I would use it twice in one week on this trip, for Grand Canyon National Park and for Petrified Forest National Park. Now that I’m in Texas, there’s no chance I’ll use it again here, but that’s a whole different blog post. The first time I used my pass was when I…

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The Incomparable Grand Canyon via the Grand Canyon Railway

I love trains so I knew that combining the Grand Canyon Railway with seeing the Grand Canyon would be the highlight of my trip.

My RV journey began with the thought that a travel trailer might be easier than finding multiple hotels that would take my three cats on my move from Northern California to southern Texas. From that simple thought it grew into the idea of fulfilling a life-long dream of traveling around the country in an RV. As I fantasized about what the trip might look like, I knew the only thing I HAD to do was see the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and the only one in the United States. Everything else I might get to see or do would just be gravy on the potatoes. Grand Canyon Railway I don’t remember how I learned…

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Notes from an RV Newbie’s First Weekend on the Road

If my first weekend on the road as an RV newbie is any indication of how things are going to go for the next few weeks, I’m truly going to love this life.

If you have been following my blog, you know that just before my birthday I made a life changing decision to downsize, buy a travel trailer and do some long-term traveling while moving in the general direction of southern Texas. Preparing to be an RV newbie has been a monumental chore with not much to write about so it has been a while since I posted. I’m back now and plan to share the whole adventure with you. If my first weekend on the road as an RV newbie is any indication of how things are going to go for the next few weeks, I’m truly going to love this life. Day one, Friday, October 12 I finally pulled out from Pine Grove at about…

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View a Glorious Display of Spring at Daffodil Hill

Daffodil Hill is a privately owned farm that has been in the McLaughlin family since 1887. If mother nature cooperates, as many as 300 varieties of bulbs put out more than 400,000 blooms annually. Visitors can witness this spectacle from mid-March through mid-April, weather permitting.

When I moved to Pine Grove in Northern California’s Gold Country, one of the first things to go on my spring bucket list was a visit to Daffodil Hill in nearby Volcano. The blooms of the more than 300,000 daffodils are legendary and people visit from all over the world to see the spectacular sight.     I got lucky that first year. We had a mild winter with little rain – we were at the height of the drought – and the flowers were amazing during the spring of 2015. I’m so glad I made it that year because in 2016, a huge hail storm beat down all the flowers and forced them to close after just a few days.   Pretty excited that…

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Mercer Caverns: A Top Attraction in Murphys, CA

Murphys, CA, in Calaveras County is home to Mercer Caverns, one of four fantastic caverns in Northern Caifornia's Gold Country. Learn about the fascinating history and amazing geology on an entertaining guided tour.

My friend Joy and her husband were here visiting for a few days from Southern California so I planned some activities for them. We spent the day on Sunday in Murphys attending their Presidents’ Wine Weekend event. On the drive to Murphys, Joy wanted to know if we could visit Mercer Caverns wile we were there since it was only a mile away. One of my goals is to visit all four of the fantastic caverns in Northern California’s Gold Country, so I was happy to agree. Because it is so close and the tour only lasts about an hour, it was a perfect break from all the wine tasting.     Since I visited Black Chasm Cavern in Volcano last year, I figured Mercer…

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Amador City: Where to Eat, Stay and Play

Although Amador City is the smallest incorporated city in California, covering less than a square mile, it has lots to offer. It has a hotel and four great places to eat. Main Street is also dotted with unique shops, a wine tasting room or two and a museum.

Although Amador City is the smallest incorporated city in California, covering less than a square mile, it has lots to offer. It has a hotel and four great places to eat. Main Street is also dotted with unique shops, a wine tasting room or two and a museum. If you want to learn about local history, you can take a walking tour of the town. Hike the back roads to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.     Where to Eat in Amador City Imperial Hotel The Imperial Hotel is the perfect place for an elegant dinner for a special occasion or just some really delicious food. The hotel dining room prides itself on featuring organic, locally grown produce, fresh meats and sustainably…

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Things to do in Murphys CA — More than Wine Tasting

When you visit Murphys, it will be obvious why it was voted one of the top ten coolest small towns in America. Take a trip back to the 1800s while enjoying great food, shopping, art galleries, outdoor activities and more.

If you haven’t been to Murphys, you should definitely add it to your list of places to go in California’s Gold Country. I have been there for special events like the Chili Cook-off, just to shop, and to stop for breakfast on my way to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. When you visit, it will be obvious why it was voted one of the top ten coolest small towns in America by Budget Travel Magazine. There are cool things to do in Murphys CA! Murphys, California, is located in Calaveras County, about 3 hours east of San Francisco and a little less than two hours southeast of Sacramento. I’m only an hour away where I live in Amador County so I can visit often. If you…

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Small Town Wine Bar in California’s Smallest Incorporated City

When I learned that another eating and drinking establishment was opening in Amador City, I have to admit, I was a little jealous. They already had the Imperial Hotel and Jamison’s Ale House, two of my favorite places to eat in the county. They had Andrae’s Bakery, which puts out some awesome bread and pastries. Now they were going to have Small Town Wine Bar, too.     Small Town Wine Bar in Amador City Small Town Wine Bar owner, Ginger Budrick Carter, has been in the hospitality industry all her life. She started working in her parents restaurant in Sutter Creek at the age of 13 where she worked her way up through all the positions. She learned to pay close attention to every…

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