LASTING TRANSITIONS

Transitions commence new adventures. Make 'em last…

NorCal Adventures

After relishing the warm sunshine in southern California for a week, it was time to begin the second leg of my visit and head up to northern California in order to spend time with Carmen, my best university friend whom I hadn’t seen in over 4 years. I had minor concerns that things would be a little different, that our lives and personalities would oppose one another, but my concerns and doubts were immediately laid to rest after we gave each other a big hug at Sacramento Airport. At that precise moment, I knew that time and distance did nothing to damper our close friendship while we were apart; does it ever?

We began joyfully chatting and laughing almost instantly on the way to her place in Sacramento, and with no exact plans in hand, I prompted that we visit Chico, where we both attended Chico State University. She concurred and we were quickly on our way.

Sacrament to Chico

Sacrament to Chico

In addition to meeting Carmen, I had been dreaming of Sierra Nevada beer and Tres Hombres spicy-chicken quesadillas for over 4 years, and I couldn’t wait to savor them once again. Upon reaching Chico, we hit up “The Banshee” for a few brews and then quickly meandered to Tres Hombres for the tastiest chicken quesadillas on Earth; it was a dream come true.

After getting my fill of two orders of quesadillas, yes, two orders, we took a stroll through Chico State University and I marveled at many of the new structures and improvements throughout the university grounds. Of course, the oldest structures are still my favorite and what ideally makes Chico State so unique in comparison to other California State Universities.

California State University, Chico

California State University, Chico

California State University, Chico

California State University, Chico

We then continued our stroll through downtown Chico and I had a pleasant time visiting and reminiscing amid several places I use to call my “home away from home.”

The Beatles - Chico, California

The Beatles – Chico, California

The Naked Lounge - Chico, CaliforniaMy home away from home while attending Chico State University

The Naked Lounge – Chico, California
My home away from home while attending Chico State University

Chico fostered so many fond memories that I had not thought about in years and I found it a bit difficult to leave when it was finally time to head back; a part of me really wanted to stay much much longer. It’s a bit peculiar because I did not feel this yearning much at all while back in my hometown in southern California, where I grew up and lived for 2o years. Chico certainly had a grand impact on my life and who I am today, and will always have a place in my heart. In addition, the concept of returning to Chico in order to obtain a Masters degree has not fallen away from viable options in the future. Only time will tell…

The following day was simply a day of relaxing, drinking a few brews, and watching American football. Carmen and I met up with her boyfriend and some of his friends at a local sports bar, and I had a great time watching football with enthusiastic individuals. It was definitely one of the things I missed, and I’m glad I was able to partake during my visit. Carmen and I also took a few strolls through Sacramento and I marveled at all the wonderful trees throughout downtown. I didn’t remember Sacramento having so many large trees lining the streets.

Sacramento, California

Sacramento, California

The next day Carmen and I fancied the idea of going wine-tasting. I suggested that we visit the Russian River Valley, or even Napa, both of which I had visited numerous times, but Carmen wasn’t exactly up for it. However, she was totally up to visit wineries in Amador County, which is fairly close to Sacramento. I had never been to wineries in Amador County, particularly in Murphys, where most of the prominent wineries reside, and the idea of both of us visiting someplace new was very alluring. On the way to Murphys we went…

Sacramento to Murphys

Sacramento to Murphys

The drive to Murphys was very pleasant. The central valley landscape was beautiful under the crystal-clear blue sky and I began to ponder if only South Korea could have divine days like this in the middle of winter. I wish that dream-like drive could have lasted longer.

Upon reaching Murphys after tasting wines at few locally-famous wineries along the way, I was delighted on how quiant and inviting Murphys was. We continued our tasting throughout town and I marveled and attempted to get a feel for Murphys and its habitants. Murphys would make for a nice day-trip for anyone living in Sacramento, Stockton, or San Francisco.

Weird signs like this @ Twisted Oak Vineyard - Murphys, California

Weird signs like this @ Twisted Oak Vineyard – Murphys, California

Twisted Oak Vineyard - Murphys, California

Twisted Oak Vineyard – Murphys, California

Chatom Winery - Murphys, CaliforniaExcellent sweet wine!!

Chatom Winery – Murphys, California
Excellent sweet wine!!

Murphys, California

Murphys, California

Murphys Hotel - Murphys, California

Murphys Hotel – Murphys, California

FIREWOODMurphys, California

FIREWOOD
Murphys, California

After tasting wines, we were starving and were enthusiastically recommended a placed called “Firewood” (firewoodeats.com) by several wine hosts, which is located on Murphys main strip. We were not disappointed. Carmen ordered the locally-famous fish tacos, and I ordered one of the tastiest sausage & pepperoni pizza I’ve ever had. Oh my word, it was remarkably scrumptious! I offered Carmen a slice amid my gorging and I was so glad that she kindly rejected it; she must have innately known that I really wanted it all. Indeed I did!

We left Murphys shortly thereafter, and during the ride back to Sacramento I facetiously fancied the idea of making another trip out to Murphys just for the wonderful pizza. And although I was still quite full after eating an entire pizza, I was so undoubtedly ready for seconds.

It was New Year’s Eve, and after resting for a few hours we then met up with Carmen’s boyfriend and his friends in preparation to go to “Old Town” Sacramento to celebrate. While in Old Town, if it wasn’t for my insistence to not enter a specific bar on account of a premonition I had while walking around in search of a place to hang out, it definitely could have been our last New Years. I wrote a detailed blog about this a few weeks ago, and if you have not read it, I encourage you to do so.

“Premonition” – https://lastingtransitions.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/premonition/

New Years Day felt like a summer’s day and we decided to head to San Francisco for some sea breezes and inner-city strolls. We had a very pleasant time walking around enjoying the wonderful weather and great food.

View from Alamo Square Park, San Francisco

View from Alamo Square Park, San Francisco

Alamo Square Cafe - San Francisco, California

Alamo Square Cafe – San Francisco, California

Patxi's Chicago Pizza - Hayes St, San Francisco

Patxi’s Chicago Pizza – Hayes St, San Francisco

Patxi's Chicago Pizza - Meat SliceSo good!

Patxi’s Chicago Pizza – Meat Slice
So good!

Hippie Mobile - Haight Street, San Francisco

Hippie Mobile – Haight Street, San Francisco

Haight Street Market - San Francisco, California

Haight Street Market – San Francisco, California

Traveler at ease on Haight Street, San Francisco

Traveler at ease on Haight Street, San Francisco

With San Francisco being the last of my NorCal adventures with Carmen before heading to the east coast, it definitely concluded a marvelous visit catching up amid some good times and laughs, something of which I dearly missed.

One comment on “NorCal Adventures

  1. carmen
    January 22, 2013

    Thanks for the wonderful blog about N. Cali!

    It was a visit of close-calls and great laughs!

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“Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves.”

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