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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Hello Again!!

Synopsis of Our Time in Napa

~October 24th thru Nov. 11th, 2022~

Days 862 to 880

WE’RE BACK 👋! While on blog hiatus, we were thinking about each and every one of you, hoping you had a wonderful Holiday and are having a fantastic new year so far. Thanks for staying patient with us as we took care of a variety of things while on the West Coast. And no, I haven’t forgotten the Alaska page. Once in California, we never stopped. It was a packed time for sure. First stopover….Napa, CA.

There’s something very comfortable and familiar about returning to your old hometown. For us, it’s all about seeing our son, Shane, and our forever friends that we miss so much. The hugs couldn’t be long enough. Even for our Sadie, she is thrilled to be back at her old stomping grounds. Seriously, she knows the minute we’re back as the whimpering begins and the tail wags uncontrollably while passing the Napa River, the many walking paths we used to trek, and the neighborhoods and stores we’d pass on a daily basis. Whenever possible, she is with us wherever we go.

Our home for the first week of our 3-week visit was the Napa Valley Expo RV Park. We had tried to get into our “regular” place at Skyline Wilderness Park

for the entire 3 week stay, but they’ve changed their rules to a maximum stay of 14 days. Being our favorite campground in Napa and feeling more like “home”, we were happy to at least have gotten 2 weeks there.

Our first priority once we got to Napa was getting to our favorite pet store….Pet Food Express, where we can always rely on them to have Sadie’s dog food. If you may remember, while we were in Canada, we were getting low on Sadie’s regular First Mate food. We were able to find the brand, but not the FORMULA we wanted. So we bought the alternative grain-friendly formula that they had. Big mistake!! We didn’t think her system would be affected so drastically where she endured skin allergies for a few weeks until we got to the Lower 48. Within a few days of switching back to the correct formula, Sadie was back to her normal self, thank goodness!

After getting Sadie squared away, it was time for some celebrations……mine and Shane’s birthdays; Shane’s being October 21st (whom he shares with his Aunt Karen and his Grandpa Latreille),

and me, October 30th (whom I share with my daughter, Hannah). Yes, October is quite a month for us. We had a wonderful dinner at the trailer one night as well as another evening out, dining at one of Shane’s favorite restaurants…..Rutherford Grill. We’re always thrilled when the Grilled Artichoke with Aioli Sauce is on the menu. 👏😋Sadly, I got food poisoning the very next day which I attributed to what I ate the night before. I’d like to think it wasn’t from the artichoke and couldn’t imagine this neighborhood gem ever having a problem with tainted food. It remains a mystery.

After a few days of recovery, our birthday celebrations continued with a visit to High Hand Nursery

(one of our favorite brunch places and one of the best garden nurseries we’ve ever been to). Shane, Jeff, mom and I met up on a Sunday and enjoyed a lovely, delicious brunch in their beautiful sunroom. The place was hoppin’ as usual, especially being a Sunday. I will certainly miss that place.

And the birthday celebrations didn’t end there. My bestie Michele was sweet enough to take me out for a birthday night at a fabulous Thai bistro called Mango on Main (formerly Mini Mango). The food was just as I remembered…..absolutely fresh, flavorful and delicious. The owner has expanded the space and improved the decor, making for an even better experience.

But what made the evening most special was catching up with my dear friend. We had so much to talk about, we carried on our evening just a few doors down to TORC with its dimly lit, stone-walled, lively scene. A few glasses of champagne and a shared dessert enhanced our already fun evening!

As if that wasn’t enough, more fun continued at our dear friend Sylvia and Jerry’s home in Napa, helping Sylvia ring in another year as well…..HAPPY BIRTHDAY SYLVIA!! 🎈

We were treated to her delicious homemade lasagna and wonderful conversation between all of us. Such a special evening.

And a trip to Napa would not be complete without seeing my forever dear friend, Karena. She was so sweet to invite us over to her lovely home for dinner. And let me tell you….when Karena cooks, the world should be tasting it. She’s AMAZING!!

The dish was spaghetti squash with wild mushrooms on a bed of polenta, I think it was, and the sauce was to die for. To give us a little “girl” time, Jeff decided not to join us and I am sure he regretted that decision once I told him about what Karena had prepared. It was so great to catch up, albeit brief. I can’t wait to hear the outcome of her goal in becoming a master gardener. Best of luck, Karena!! Look forward to our next visit, hopefully at our new digs.

With every return to Napa, it seems to also be met with projects. Here is a list of a few items we completed:

  1. Fixed a loose MCD blind over the master bed. It turned out to be more involved than we thought (isn’t that always the case?). We couldn’t access the blind without pulling off the entire valance that surrounds the window.

There’s nothing more annoying than a design that doesn’t factor in maintenance or repairs. Unfortunately, this project led to taking on another one……..the problem shelf over our bed (the one that was warped from the very beginning, the one that has been repaired 3 times). It is starting to come loose at the center anchor point and we were assured it would never come loose again. Maybe Alaska did it in from all those crazy roads? Who knows. We’ll just have to keep an eye on it. In hindsight we should have pushed for a whole new shelf from the manufacturer at the very beginning!!

2. Fixed shower drain (no more clogs!). With full-time use, the pipes do get gunked up and clogged. But interestingly enough, we also learned that the reason we had occasional leaks into our hallway and under our fireplace was due to an inferior seal where the drain adheres to the tub, leaving water to get under the seal. I’m not surprised Jeff caught that one, nor am I surprised he did a great job fixing it. No more leaks!!

3. Fixing our exterior steps. A faithful customer of Shane’s was happy to bend back, reweld and paint the entire contraption (remember when we bent those on a tree stump while trying to get into a campsite in the dark in Whistler?) We have plans to reattach the repaired steps on the trailer once we get it to storage in El Dorado Hills (next stop).

4. Replaced the UV worn vent covers on the roof, switching to white instead of black.

5. Discovered the toilet would have to be completely replaced, not just repaired. If you might recall, Jeff had removed it before our arrival to California, hoping he could just clean parts, etc. The foot pedal, when pushed down, was not closing the valve inside the toilet. It killed us to add a “0” to what would have been a $30 part, had we been able to find a replacement. Since we are very limited on space in the RV bathroom, we went with the same toilet. However, they have made improvements to the valve and the seat and cover are now made of wood, not plastic. Let’s just hope if we run into the same issue, we won’t find ourselves spending more, unnecessarily.

Other to-do’s involved being at my mom’s for a few days to begin the tasks in getting her ready for her move to Oregon. We have plans to spend the next few months with her to help sift, purge, pack and sell things. But we had a 2-day window while staying in Napa to help get things rollin’. We were able to sell her treadmill and move the piano out to the garage, thinking that would be an easy sell. It was not. More on that later. But in order to make room in the garage for packed boxes or things to sell, that meant moving our Mazda Miata that’s been stored in mom’s garage these past few years. The battery was of course dead. Once that got replaced, off it went to our son, Shane’s, to be stored for the remainder of our travels. Even though it’s not completely enclosed, at least it’s a covered spot. Thank you Shane and thanks for starting her up every 2 weeks.

A few days later, we picked up the Miata again, trying to give Hank (the truck)a break. We had plans to use the Miata quite a bit while at my mom’s and to drive it up to Oregon to visit my sister. One of the first errands we had was in the Sacramento area to drop by an Apple store to fix a few keys on my laptop. They tried to repair it on site with efforts, unsuccessful. However, they offered to have the laptop sent out at no cost to me. In the end, I got a whole new keyboard, new touchpad and new battery for free (a $650 value), and I was out of my warranty period. That’s Apple for ‘ya! Anyway, when Jeff and I returned to the car, I realized that we’d forgotten to reinstate our registration on the Miata. At least I remembered to insure it. OMG!! I guess too much on the brain.🤨Since the start of our trip, the Miata had a temporary suspension on it, so I immediately called the DMV to see if we could lift it for the few months while we were in California. But because the registration renewal was coming up in 4 months, the representative recommended not to reinstate it due to the fact registration is required to be paid in full, not for whatever time you’d be driving it. Why pay $500 for so little driving? So back to Napa we CAREFULLY drove, and I mean CAREFULLY, to avoid getting pulled over for expired tags. It didn’t help that we were in a bright red convertible!! 😳🚘So, I guess we’ll be taking the truck to Oregon. The good news is when we drive it to our next home, DMV will issue a temporary travel registration until its final destination, so it’s nice to know we won’t need to pay full registration when we pick it up in Napa.

One of our last stops while in Napa, was a day in San Francisco, specifically Union Square. It was great to see the holiday

festiveness and the city improved and vibrant once again, as our last visit was pretty dismal with the surge in homelessness, garbage and graffiti. The last few years have not been too kind to the city by the Bay.

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