Monday, August 24, 2009

Adventures in Healdsburg

When we first arrived at the Davis airport, Breanna and I met the instructor who had rented the plane before us. He handed me a paper clip with the keys to the airplane and said, "you might try using this to keep the window shut." Evidently, the window latch had fallen off during taxi and was somewhere in the run-up area. After many unsuccessful attempts to keep the window shut, we took off in our more breezy Cessna 152. We were headed to Healdsburg, a little town north of Santa Rosa, to celebrate Kirstin going to vet school.

Our 40 min. flight took us west over Lake Berryessa, past the vineyards of Napa Valley, and by the highest landmark in the area, Mt. St. Helena. I couldn't help but think of how much time we were saving by cutting the 2 hour drive to less than half the time and how we were able to enjoy a beautiful view of the valleys below.
Above the vineyards and country roads of Healdsburg

More wine country through the window that wouldn't shut (Healdsburg airport can be seen in the distance)

We landed at the Healdsburg airport where Kirstin was waiting to pick us up. We drove to her house and soon after we arrived, toured parts of her family's 80+ acres. Later, we celebrated with her friends, family, and coworkers over barbecued burgers, salsa made fresh from the garden, and cake. Everyone enjoyed the food and company. As the evening progressed, I noticed a layer of clouds slowly approaching from the south. Though I was warned by a few at the party about the fog, I was confident that the weather reports would be accurate and the cloud layer wouldn't reach us till after we left. But as the outside temperature continued to sink, so did my faith in the reports. The drop in temperature hastened the formation of clouds up the valley. Checking the recently updated online weather reports only confirmed what I already suspected, we weren't going to be flying anywhere that night.

I felt bad for not getting Breanna back to Davis when she expected and for imposing myself on my hosts, but at that point there wasn't much I could do. It seemed that flying had increased our transportation time rather than shortening it. However, we were warmly welcomed to stay the night and after Breanna and I made a few phone calls letting people know we would be late in returning to Davis, our adventure continued.

Kirstin, her mom Kathy, Breanna and I then drove to Ed and Jean's house (close friends of Kirstin's) where we stayed up talking into the early hours of the morning. Breanna and I spent the night there and woke to a generous breakfast of omelets made with fresh vegetables from Ed and Jean's garden. Kirstin stopped by in the morning to join us for breakfast before heading off to a short day at work.

Still waiting for the cloud cover to burn off, Breanna, Kathy, and I decided it would be fun to go riding. Just as we were about to leave, Kirstin arrived back from work and we all went to her place together. Having nearly no riding experience, I had to be shown everything. Luckily, I was surrounded by real experts and before long was able to walk and trot around the arena. Now it was time to put my very elementary knowledge of riding to use. Kirstin led Breanna and I on a short ride up Pony Hill. From the top, we had a great view of the valley below, but above us, the clear sky beckoned our return to Davis.

Walking around the arena, being taught by the experts

The view from atop Pony Hill

Life rarely goes according to plan. But sometimes, significant changes can create an adventure better than what we planned for.


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