Ken Spooner's Web Glob ... "why only blog, when you can lay it on thick"
(Has Become A Reality)
Just one look and I knew what songwriter Jimmy Webb was saying in several of his tunes like Too Young To Die & Adios
I have always wanted to go to California, ever since around 1954-55 when as a little kid I watched Walt Disney and all the stuff he produced and was involved with out there e.g. Davy Crockett, The Hardy Boys, Spin & Marty, Zorro and Annette !
The urge to go west came about again in the early '60's with Hot Rods and the sounds of The Beach Boys and the scenery from my favorite movie of all times It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
I got my first real shot at going west young man in 1970 when Sue (my first wife) and I planned a trip and then at the 11th hour went to England instead as BOAC made us an offer we couldn't refuse. The second time around, came eight years later when as a single person I actually headed for it, got as far as Colorado, then turned around and came back to the west coast of Florida (which has similar scenery like palm trees with Southern California) , where I had lived for about a year or so... No Regrets There ... as within a month after I returned, I met Anne and we have been together for over 32 years now.
Third Time Was The Charm !
In September of 2010, I headed out for Northern California and wine country, to help celebrate my mother in law Mary's, 80th Birthday. along for the ride with Anne, our son Erik, Anne's sister Claire and the birthday girl herself ! It was Mary's choice of places to visit. A splendid time was had by all ... the weather, the scenery, the food, the wine and the people were all great. Would I go back ? Silly Question ... plus I'd still like to see Southern California too and visit with my old buddy Jack Rutigliano, who lives near Riverside which is over 500 miles south of where we were driving all over the hilly countryside in Sonoma and Napa Valleys and San Francisco. We stayed in three different places, a B&B in Sausalito, a mountain cabin in Healdsburg and a fine Frisco hotel, in the course of one very active week.
THE BIRTHDAY GIRL !
She don't look a day over 65
FIRST STOP WAS SAUSALITO
After a 9 plus hour flight from Nashville that included a 3 hour layover in Houston in a huge and far too busy airport, and a harrowing shuttle ride at night from San Francisco airport in a van driven by a guy who has seen Bullit one too many times, we arrived in a really nice B&B in Sausolito called ..,
The San Francisco Bay Was Just About 500 Feet Away At The Bottom Of The Hill
The Sausalito marina is huge there must be several thousand sail boats alone in it
We had a great night and a great breakfast there before heading up the Pacific coast in a new Chevy HHR which is a great little vehicle BTW . It held 5 of us and all our luggage, climbed hills like a champ and didn't kill us at the gas pumps which we only visted twice in 7 days.
THE SONOMA PACIFIC COAST
SEEING THE PACIFIC OCEAN IN PERSON FOR THE FIRST TIME WAS AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE FOR ME
But Probably Just Another Day In Paradise For Mr. Gull
Looking down from the cliff at the rocks reminded me of several Hitchock movies I have seen.
Like I said under the first photo, Jimmy Webb's spirit was here that day, especially when a Hot Dodge pulled up
You can see it along with some more California Cars on my special page just for us car guys
DO YOU KNOW THE WAY TO SAN JOSE?
We Stopped At A Tiny Town Called Duncan MIlls (pop 175) that is along
side of the Russian River
Had A Great Late Lunch Outside At The Cape Fear Cafe
I could get used to California cusine real quick.
A little browsing after lunch in the small shops in Duncan Mills, then it was onward for 25 miles or so to the town Healdsburg
where we had rented a cabin in the mountains just above the town.
THIS CABIN ON FITCH MOUNTAIN ROAD OUR BASE FOR FOUR DAYS
AS WE EXPLORED THE WINE COUNTRY
THE RUSSIAN RIVER WAS JUST ACROSS THE ROAD AND DOWN THE CLIFF FROM OUR CABIN
THE TOWN OF HEALDSBURG IS WHAT EVERY CITY, TOWN OR VILLAGE SHOULD STRIVE FOR REGARDLESS OF THEIR SIZE CLASSY, ARTISTIC, INDIVIDUALISTIC AND BURSTING WITH PRIDE. YOU CAN GET A SENSE OF IT'S ESSENCE IN
THE CALIFORNIA FOOD AS I HAVE ALREADY SAID WAS FANTASTIC ONE UNFORGETABLE EXPERIENCE WAS DINING AT
A PLACE CALLED WOULD YOU BELIEVE ... "THE SPOON BAR "
On Saturday morning we visited the Healdsburg farmers market and as we got near it, I heard the unmistakable sound of a barrel organ. For those who have read my new book, The Knapps Lived Here, you know something about the part barrel organs played in my early book research and how they almost put a "GRINDING HALT" if you will pardon the pun, on the whole deal. This experience was Au contraire' though, as we all enjoyed listening to the very talented and personable Michel Saga, cranking and singing his Parisian heart out for enthusiastic crowds. We bought three of his CDs. One of them is with his Gypsy Swing Jazz group called Rue Manouche
A TRUE ONE MAN SHOW
Michel was very busy entertaining, selling his wares etc, but we got to talk a little about barrel organs and Django & Stephane. That's how I found out about his Gypsy swing & blues band. I also told Michel, he was a dead ringer for Robbie Mince, who played piano in my group when I was back in college. But only when he wore his hat ! Why is that .. I dunno?
But This Songwriter's Hat Is Off To Michel Saga
When I got home to Tennessee, I discovered Michel is all over "The Internets"
MICHEL SAGA INTERVIEW
Would you believe just as I finished up putting this page together, my e mail light came on and there was a message from Michel !