Friday, October 8, 2010

Eastern Sierra - Day 1: Menlo Park to Buck Meadows

Nick & I got up, packed, said goodbye to Borealis and Denali and were out the door by 11am. Zipped across the Bay, no problemo, had a leisure lunch in Livermore and made it up to Murphys in time to taste at  three different wineries.

Oh wait!  That was the plan. Reality is much more challenging.  There were emails to send off, a conference call to attend - a new chair, it was only fair that I be on for a while and most importantly, a run to my optometrist for replacement left lens.  It's partially a photo expedition, I really need to be able to see.

A short tangential rant -  I've been wearing extended wear soft contact lenses for 40, yes kids 40, years.  I'd get a pair and they'd be good for an entire YEAR!  A year ago, my eye doc talks me into disposables, better for the aging eyes.  First batch, no problem.  Second batch - first left lens uncomfortable whenever I look up,
like driving.   Try another from the batch - comfy enough but tolerance on prescription off.   Month passes, try the third one; same as the first.  Not optimistic about the remaining three.  Hence today's last minute trip to Dr Chin.  Well he didn't have any spares and says "how about the daily ones?"  DAILY - like a new lens every day.  He claims I can wear them for a week.   I went home and packed three right- and nine left-eye contact lenses so I can see when I go to Bodie.  Conspicuous consumerism is winning.

Eventually, we left around 1ish, as in after, not before noon.  Made it across the Bay ok.  Before going to bed (don't ask! but it did involve remembering that I had a column due at 10pm) I had discovered that my new 4Mb camera disk wasn't working.   Apparently my camera chokes on SDHC cards - got an obscure message [flashing CHR or something].  So, the plan was to pick one up at the Target in Union City.  Target doesn't carry SanDisk! At this point, we're pushing 3 hours late, I'm hungry/cranky and worried about e-film.  Like I wanted Kodak and they were offering me unknown.

Next, we get stuck in traffic - on 238 as expected (but not bad) and then a lot on 580.  Eventually, I spotted a Staples off the highway in Tracy.  Turns out there's a Golden Corral in the same parking lot!  Turns out we were so late for lunch we got the early bird dinner special.  Things are starting to look up - at least our blood sugar was.  Talked to a nice guy in Staples about SD vs SDHC (for High Capacity).   It's bad enough that James, Liz's fiance who is our go-to computer guy, tells me my 2000 computer is old. [c'mon where does that put me?  oh never mind!]  Now I have a nice but random stranger telling me that my 2006 camera is old.  Let us consider that both really work well - it's the creeping elegance and consumerism that are doing us in!

The nice man convinced me that he uses PNY and it's just as good as SanDisk and I have 14 days to return it (yes in Menlo Park if need be) if I'm unhappy.   So far so good.

Well fed and having camera issue resolved, we worked our way up the road.  Made it to the only winery that is open till 5:30 at 5pm.  Twisted Oak has a twisted sense of humor - the road up is twisted and there are signs, ala Wall Drug, at each turn, including rubber chicken crossing.  They have a fricken out in front - ah, did I forgot to mention this is Calavaras county as in Mark Twain short stories?  If I could figure out how to post pictures in this blog, I would up load it here - from the PNY disk.

Twisted Oak also has some fine wines.  Amanda served us and after others left chatted with us for about 45 min.  We then worked our way back towards Groveland (I remember it as Grover the muppet) and Buck Meadow where I now sit.  Nice dinner at the Buck Meadow's restaurant with leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  More, I hope, after we visit Yosemite, the northern part.


ps, at some point on the drive, Nick shared with me a lot of highway numbers - more when the appropriate photo is taken.

© 2010 Esther A. Heller

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