My husband and I started a little tradition while we were dating. We take a drive to the backroads of the wine country every winter. We do this because the drive winds into varied landscape and peacefulness envelops us when we do this.
The route we take is California State route 128.
Route 128 begins at Route 1 near the mouth of the Navarro River at the Pacific Ocean. The highway travels upriver through the coast redwood forests of Navarro River Redwoods State Park and through the vineyards and apple orchards of the Anderson Valley to Boonville. Route 253 terminates into Route 128 at the south end of Boonville. Leaving Boonville, Route 128 climbs out of the Navarro River watershed and crosses the Yorkville Highlands before descending into the Russian River watershed, arriving at Cloverdale in the Alexander Valley, where the highway joins U.S. Route 101 heading south. A few miles later, at Geyserville, Route 128 separates from U.S. 101 and crosses Knights Valley on the way to Napa Valley, where it joins Route 29 at Calistoga. After passing through the town of St. Helena, Route 128 splits from Route 29 at Rutherford and climbs east over dry ridges above Lake Berryessa to the Sacramento Valley. In Winters, the route's constructed portion ends at Interstate 505. By its legal definition, the route continues 14 mi (23 km) east to Route 113 at Davis and Interstate 80, but this segment is currently not constructed.(wiki)
The section of Route 128 through Navarro River Redwoods State Park is often closed in winter storms due to flooding. Two slower alternate routes are available: the Philo-Greenwood road connects Route 1 near Elk to Route 128 near Hendy Woods State Park, a few miles north of Philo; another alternate route is the Comptche-Ukiah Road, which intersects Route 1 just south of the town of Mendocino and runs inland to Comptche, and departs Comptche on Flynn Creek Road, intersecting Route 128 just up river from the seasonal flood gate closing the highway.
We approach this at its eastern end in Winters. Another tradition is stopping in Winters for coffee and pastries at Steady Eddy's.
(shot from previous year's drive)
We passed by fruit orchards.
I know this part of California is where they grow almonds and walnuts.
We normally don't stop outside of getting coffee, but we saw this small park like structure and thought we could give our legs a little stretch, but we only went so far as a few yards from the parking lot before we changed our mind and made a U turn for the car.
The road passes by water.
But the main reason why we fell in love with this route is that it passes through oak trees covered with Spanish moss. When we first saw them, it was drizzling, the place was empty except for the two of us, and there was mist around the trees and the moss. It was just magical.
No rain this year, all sunshine and blue sky.
Somewhere we took a turn and left SR 128 and headed to the wine country.
Saw miniature horses grazing.
I love balconies.
We passed by more water.
We stopped by Mumm, but neither was in the mood to taste, so I just took some pictures.
As we left Napa, the sun started to set so I kept on drive by shooting.
By the time we reached Discovery Kingdom (Six Flags) in Vallejo, the sun has almost fully set.
Drive date was 1/28/13.
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