Saturday, October 29, 2016

Beer, Ranch Packing Facility, Sand Hill Cranes!

So, as the title suggests, we've had a bit of variety lately! Moving on from Ukiah we arrived at Calistoga RV Park with lots of rain in the forecast. We basically holed up in the RV for two days with a couple of brief walks in light rain through the lovely little wine town of Calistoga.

We took advantage of our one dry day to meet up with fellow RV friends, Rusty and Tony, who live down in the Bay area. On the way we stopped for a hike at Spring Lake Regional Park in Santa Rosa. Lots of folks were out enjoying this beautiful morning, happy to be outside after all the recent rain.

Spring Lake, Santa Rosa, CA

Refreshed and ready to party we continued on to Petaluma for our meet up with Rusty and Tony. We met these two happy souls during our first year of travel, their first year of part time RVing as well. This time we enjoyed lunch at Pub Republic and a tour of Lagunitas Brewing.

We've long been fans of Lagunitas' Little Sumpin' Ale and had the pleasure of trying their limited release Born Yesterday Fresh Hop Ale during our recent stay in Ukiah. The tour was super casual with tasters served first at the bar while employees tell the company story, followed by a short stroll around the grounds.

Hans, Rusty and Tony enjoy Lagunitas samples.

Lagunitas had the largest barrels I've ever seen!



With more rain on the way we cut out of Calistoga a day early because our site was getting pretty messy. For our next stop we returned to Lodi, CA and Flag City RV Park, one of the stops we had made back in June with my dad as we headed North.

This time we made a special visit to one of Hans' boyhood homes. Well the house no longer exists but the people from his past life do! From about age four to eight Hans' family lived in an old farmhouse in Linden, CA. The rancher who owned the land grew almonds, walnuts, and cherries and Hans often got to spend the day riding around with him while he attended to ranch business.

Today Lawrence Sambado's companies, A. Sambado & Son, Prima Frutta Packing, and Primavera Marketing, grow, pack and distribute walnuts, apples and cherries all over the world. Lawrence took us on a grand tour of his state-of-the-art packing facilities and we enjoyed a delicious lunch with the family.

Sambado's decades of experience in the field have led to the creation of innovative processing technology and it was fascinating to see the inner workings of this complex business. Thank you Lawrence and Beverly, Tim and Richard for your hospitality and generosity...we'll be thinking of you as we enjoy the apples and walnuts!!!

Lawrence and Hans and a whole lot of granny smith apples!

Clean apples are dried and sorted.

Lawrence describes how the walnut shell bits are separated from the walnut meat.

A portion of the walnut processing system.

Walnut sorting is labor intensive! 

Woodbridge Ecological Reserve (AKA Isenberg Crane Reserve) is just five miles from Flag City RV Park so of course we had to visit it. Sandhill cranes spend the fall and winter in the Delta and Central Valley and every evening thousands of them fly in to the area surrounding the Reserve.




Lovely evening light colors the clouds above Woodbridge Nature Reserve.

These last couple of weeks have been the wettest we've experienced since we went on the road in 2012 and we've discovered a slide leak (wet carpet in a small closet in a slide), and water may have gotten into our satellite dish rendering it inoperable. It's time to make tracks to the desert so we can dry out!


27 comments:

  1. Yes it's been one of the wettest Octobers here in Portland. Good thing you got out of Oregon before the deluge! Love those sandhill cranes, and how fun to visit someone from Hans' childhood. That processing plant looks amazing!

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    1. I do like rain, but not when it is almost constant! Time to dry out!

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  2. That is why we ran away form Portland as early as we did and made a beeline for Nevada...

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    1. Yep, too much rain when you are in a small space gets old quickly!

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  3. It's nice to have some rainy days to get caught up on stuff, but too much is too much! Sounds like some desert time will provide a nice respite and give you and your rig time to dry out. :-) Beautiful photos of the Sandhill Cranes!

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    1. Yes indeed, rain is great but there is such a thing as too much!

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  4. Your visit to Sambado's looks fascinating. What a special treat for Hans too to revisit his childhood haunts. Those hot tubs at Sam's will feel mighty fine. Thanks for making the time to get together!

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    1. It was great to see you two again! Looking forward to the next time...whenever and where ever that may be!

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  5. What a fascinating tour of the packing company. It's so cool Hans had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends. The sandhill cranes are amazing! And your last picture is "picture perfect" Lisa...so beautiful!

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  6. How much fun for Hans to go back to a place of his childhood and get a tour of the success of old friends. Love your Crane pictures. I didn't think we were ever going to quit with the rain this spring and it really does get old pretty quickly. Hate to hear about water leaks. They can really be trouble. Hope you get it figured out easily.

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    1. Hopefully we've got the leak taken care of with a little sealant and fortunately the water accumulation was small so it is drying out quickly.

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  7. Having been out of the country for the past couple of months, I hadn't heard about all the rain. Wish we could get some of that in So Cal. Hope you dry out soon. Love your photos of the sandhill crane.

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    1. I know....you really need the rain down there!

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  8. What a great couple days!! Lots of variety makes things so much fun. Brews and friends!! Good times! The tour at the Sambado packing plant looked so neat. I really enjoy this type thing. I'm sure Hans enjoyed visiting his friend from the past:) I love the Sandhill cranes! Nice stop at the Preserve:) Sorry to hear about your leak and satellite. There is only so much rain one can take. Yes, get to the desert to dry out:)

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    1. Yes indeed, it's great to have some variety! I guess we can't hike every single day... ;-)

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  9. You were in the nick of the woods where we used to hang out for our wine run, Lodi. But I never heard of the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve when we drove there (perhaps we were too focused in Zinfandels then :) Since we will be by there this winter glad you visited it plus am wondering if Sambago and sons do public tours or was it just a special one for you and Hans.
    That Flag City RV was where we had Betsy's shakedown in 2009.

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    1. Woodbridge is very tiny and just off I-5. Flag City isn't any thing special as you know, but it sure was nice to have pavement during the rain!

      Mr. Sambado gave us a private tour thanks to Hans' history with them.

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  10. How fascinating to get an inside peak into that fruit and nut packing plant! I always wonder about those places, and this one looks top notch. And don't you just love those huge flocks of noisy sandhill cranes in the evening? Almost an otherworldly experience.

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    1. We loved getting a peak at some processes that we never see except maybe on TV!

      The cranes are incredible...and the sound!!!!!

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  11. Great pictures of the sand cranes. The packing plant tour looks so very interesting. I have toured the Tabasco plant in New Iberia, LA and the Tillamook Cheese factory in Oregon but they were not nearly as interesting as this place looks. Separating the walnut shells from the meat is definitely an achievement.

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    1. Factory tours are always so interesting! I wish more places offered them.

      They use blasts of air to pull out the lighter bits of shell!

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  12. Really interesting tour of Sambados. Looks like you kept busy despite the rain.

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    1. Yeah, we can only sit in the RV for so long...

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  14. Great tour of the produce factory! How fortunate was that?:) And then a nice lunch with those lovely people:) Nice evening pics of the cranes. bummer about the slider leak.....need dryer climate;)

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  15. Still can't believe I lived there ten years and never knew about the Cranes! Your pics are beautiful. My late husband lived his whole life in Linden and raised two kids there - it's a small town so I wonder if Hans knew the Ellis'? Such fun to see where and how things are made.

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