We left the cool Monterey Peninsula to head north with a stop over in Chico. Why Chico? Well, we didn't plan very well and all of the cooler options were taken with 4th of July travelers. We stayed at the Chico Elks Club, which is very nice. We had a nice shady spot with just enough clearance in the trees for the satellite. Actually, our visit there turned out to be a very pleasant surprise and would not hesitate to go back.
One word about the the week Hot. Hot. Hot. OK that three words.
Actually, the City of Chico turned out to be a very pleasant and surprising stay. I had spent a semester at Chico State College(right out of high school). At that time Chico was just a little cow town and the college was the main attraction. Most of my class mates were kids from the farm sent to the big city to attend college. Now the little college is a California State University and the community has grown at least ten fold. The campus was huge and I didn't recognize anything. There are lots of good restaurants on main street and it is a "happen" place. If you like Farmers Markets, there is one somewhere in Chico almost every day. Joel continued his search for the perfect tomato at two of the markets. I don't think he found the perfect one yet.
Chico's Bidwell Park is amazing. One could spend a month and not walk/bike/or explore it's entirety. Fortunately one of the entrances to the park with a stones throw from the Elks Club and we walked or biked nearly every day, early in the morning. Tara enjoyed the river immensely and with her black coat she struggled with the heat and the river was a welcome relief. What's neat about the park there is something for everyone and there are lots of places where it is legal for your dog to be off leash. Mountain biking, road biking, playgrounds for kids, huge swimming holes, fishing, and even golf is avaiable..its all there.
Chico Creek with runs thorugh the park. The trail follows an old flume and leads up to an abandoned dam.
The other main attraction for you beer lovers is Sierra Nevada Brewery and Tap Room. Several tours our offered of the brewery and they are quite generous with their beer tastings. Joel and I participated in two tours which were extremely interesting. The sustainable tour was very educational showing all the recycling and sustainable systems that have been put in place as well as discussing future systems. They have a huge solar farm, recycle water back to the city, compost all restaurant waste, sell and recycle all the mash from the beer production. The public tour was educational about the types of beer and different hops that go into making the bear. The tasting at the end presented all summer beers. I asked about some of the darker beers and was informed they are winter beers, so they won't be available for tasting. Alrighty then. ...
Everything is automated in the packing facitily. Here they are boxing up Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, the first beer brewed and what started it all.
The brewery started out on 2 acres with repurposed tanks and has developed into a 40 acre campus and has recently brought on line a new brewery near Ashville North Carolina. Now the folks on the east coast can enjoy craft beer. Actually, we were told the new brewery was developed to cut down on gas house emissions do to shipping.
This tank was actually imported from Germany, brought to the US as a repurposed. It ended up costing more to ship it than to purchase it.
There is a wonderful restaurant at the brewery. At first I thought it would be the typical touristy type restaurant. Not so. Much of the food served in the tap room is locally or estate grown. We enjoyed lunch there and and it was really good.
Tomatoe plants grown on site for the restaurant.
My good friends, Casey and Kim live in Chico and are RVers and I had hoped to catch up with them while in Chico. We seem always miss each other by a day or two. This time we were able to connect very briefly as they returned the day before we planned to leave. I had a wonderful visit with them and was able to catch up. Casey led a great bike ride through Bidwell Park and lunch at their home and dinner at Tortilla Flat, a great Mexican food restaurant. I sure hope we can catch up with them again this winter in Arizona!
On Tuesday, with pulled up the jacks, closed down the satellite and headed for Oregon. We will be staying at the Rogue River State Park for a few days. I have not explored this part of the country, so it ought to be interesting.