Pie Shopping on the Road to Tahoe; Don’t You Love New Traditions?

NOTE: We’re sorry to report that shortly after posting this story we discovered that Z Pie had closed several weeks earlier. But there are still plenty of fruit pie options on the road to Tahoe. Enjoy!   

Lots of travelers enjoy stopping for a sweet slice of fruit pie at an Apple Hill orchard on the road to Lake Tahoe. But the most unique pies in the region just may be the savory variety available at a tiny pot pie restaurant not far away in Placerville.

Who knew? Continue reading “Pie Shopping on the Road to Tahoe; Don’t You Love New Traditions?”

Sea otter at Moss Landing. Dawn Page / CoastsideSlacking

Quest for California Sea Otters Ends with Shenanigans and Groupies Downstream from the Power Plant

Marine mammals stir the hearts of even the most jaded Coastsiders. Slackers, too. We’ve seen dolphins cruising, whales spouting, harbor seals lolling, and elephant seals … well, um… it was mating season. But sadly, not a single sea otter. Where the heck are the sea otters? Continue reading “Quest for California Sea Otters Ends with Shenanigans and Groupies Downstream from the Power Plant”

Waterfall at Garrapata State Beach. Dawn Page/CoastsideSlacking

Visit the Beach and Bluffs at Garrapata; With a Name Like “Tick State Park,” it’s Gotta be Good

The Coastside founding fathers stumbled upon a sweet brand when they came up with “Half Moon Bay.” Who can resist, right? But 100 miles to the south, the bureaucrats who named Garrapata State Park and Beach missed the mark badly if they were trying to evoke seaside romance.

Garrapata — that’s “tick” in Spanish, as in the eight-legged blood-suckers — deserves better. Continue reading “Visit the Beach and Bluffs at Garrapata; With a Name Like “Tick State Park,” it’s Gotta be Good”

Hall Wines, St.Helena. Dawn Page/Coastside Slacking

The Slackers Pair Sonoma Cheesy Grits with Rock ‘n’ Roll in Napa; Oops, We Skipped the Wine Again

How do you impress your British friends on their first visit to California’s wine country? Take them out for cheesy grits at the Fremont Diner and pair it with a helping of Los Lonely Boys a la Uptown Theatre. Duh. Continue reading “The Slackers Pair Sonoma Cheesy Grits with Rock ‘n’ Roll in Napa; Oops, We Skipped the Wine Again”

Cold Day Coastside? Break out the Flannel and Chill at the Moss Beach Bluffs, Beach and Tide Pools

If you enjoy Coastside sand and surf but a water temperature of 55 degrees is not on your “to do” list, then consider visiting the beaches, bluffs and tide pools of the James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach. Continue reading “Cold Day Coastside? Break out the Flannel and Chill at the Moss Beach Bluffs, Beach and Tide Pools”

Owens Cemetery, Arkansas. Dawn Page/CoastsideSlacking

Day of the Dead, Southern Style: Pack a Picnic Basket, Wear Your Sunday Shoes and Bring the Kids

It’s May in the Ozarks. The mountains are green and lush. The creeks and bayous are running full. And families from the communities that dot the hills and hollers are gathering at local cemeteries to enjoy a moment of prayer, a bit of gospel music and a whole lot of food and happy memories in a ritual of remembrance known as Decoration Day.

Continue reading “Day of the Dead, Southern Style: Pack a Picnic Basket, Wear Your Sunday Shoes and Bring the Kids”

We Battle Rain and Phlegm to Find Fun in Napa; Would You Like Wine With That?

“It’s spring. Let’s go to Napa!” we said. “Let’s taste some wine, take a hike, pack a picnic, book a balloon flight! It’ll be great!”

But GeekSlacker caught a nasty cold. And then it began to rain – again. And the deadline for canceling our reservation at the charming El Bonita Motel in St. Helena had passed. What were two Coastside Slackers to do? Particularly with a blog to feed. Continue reading “We Battle Rain and Phlegm to Find Fun in Napa; Would You Like Wine With That?”

Lake Berryessa "Morning Glory" spillway.

Dark Bathtub Anxieties Revisited at Lake Berryessa’s ‘Morning Glory’ Spillway; Stare if you Dare

Did you ever have a hint of anxiety as a child watching your bath water swirl down the drain at the deep end of the tub? Could the drain capture a toe or perhaps a foot? What might crawl or reach from the from the soapy vortex? Alone in the steamy confines of the bathroom, would anyone hear you scream?

Continue reading “Dark Bathtub Anxieties Revisited at Lake Berryessa’s ‘Morning Glory’ Spillway; Stare if you Dare”

Super Bloom Part 3 — The Carrizo Plain Blows our Minds; Please Don’t Tell

Our spring wildflower sojourn had yielded a brilliant carpet of color at the Poppy Reserve, and dazzling individual blooms interwoven into intricate floral tapestries at Anza-Borrego. We really didn’t know what to expect at Carrizo Plain National Monument – the road less traveled on the super bloom trail. I suppose we expected more of the same.

Wrong again! What we found was was a floral cascade of brilliant yellow California goldfields, accented by purple lupine, yellow-orange fiddlenecks and occasional patches of baby blue eyes, flowing from the mountain tops and pooling into the Carrizo grasslands across miles of the rugged Temblor Range. Continue reading “Super Bloom Part 3 — The Carrizo Plain Blows our Minds; Please Don’t Tell”

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve/Dawn Page/CoastsideSlacking

Super Bloom Part 2 – We Cope with Urban Anthophiles at the California Poppy Reserve; the Flowers are Quite Orange

Part 2 of 3

We lived 90 minutes from the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve for 21 years and never visited. We thought about it, but we always had an excuse.

“We’re too busy.”

“It’s too crowded.”

“It’s a bad bloom.”

So since we were passing by on our way back from admiring the wildflower super bloom at Anzo-Borrego Desert State Park, we decided it was time to stop and smell the poppies. We even spent the night in nearby Lancaster so we could do it right. Continue reading “Super Bloom Part 2 – We Cope with Urban Anthophiles at the California Poppy Reserve; the Flowers are Quite Orange”

Wait, There’s More to the Willamette Valley Than Wine? Say Cheese!

With 500+ wineries in Willamette Valley, Oregon always feels like home to me. It has been the actual home to the ‘rents for the last 20 years, so I call it my second home. It is much more slacker friendly than the limo clogged drunk-fest that is Napa. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — been there quite a few half-remembered times.

IMG_1832
Willamette Valley Cheese Company. Dawn Page/CoastSideSlacking

The more wine the better, really, but this post isn’t about wine. ‘Cause sometimes you just need a little something to soak up all that Pinot Noir. Continue reading “Wait, There’s More to the Willamette Valley Than Wine? Say Cheese!”

Cactus League Dreamin’ – True Confessions of a Coastside Cubs Fan

True confession: I may live in San Francisco Giants country, but I’m a Cubs baseball loyalist. I can’t help it. I grew up that way in Suburban Chicago.

So as the Cubs brought home their World Series victory in 108 years last fall, I immediately began plotting out a slothful weekend in Arizona for a Cactus League victory lap with a handful of my old Wrigley Field bleacher buddies – Manny, Moe and Jack – to gloat celebrate in the desert sunshine. Continue reading “Cactus League Dreamin’ – True Confessions of a Coastside Cubs Fan”

Seven Miles of Weeping Bluffs, Moss-Shrouded Woods, Roaring Waterfalls … and One too Many Staircases

The Peabody Award-winning TV series Portlandia taught us that the Dream of the ‘90s is alive in Portland. And for nearly two decades during visits to Dawn’s folks at their hillside Silverton, OR, home we have coveted the fantasy of retiring young and weird.

Perhaps our favorite activity in Oregon is sitting on the ‘rents expansive deck overlooking pine covered hillsides and the Silver Creek Reservoir, sipping wine while watching the bats emerge from beneath the shingles of the house at dusk

A close second, however, is Silver Falls State Park. Continue reading “Seven Miles of Weeping Bluffs, Moss-Shrouded Woods, Roaring Waterfalls … and One too Many Staircases”