Rickards, SF Symphony, Floating Homes

We have just completed week 1 of 5, in our little house on the hill in Cloverdale.  We have had a wonderful week of wine tasting and bike riding.  So far, we have been to Twomey (owned by Silver Oak), Rickards (more on that in a minute), Jaxon Keys (Mendicino County), Locals Tasting Room (10 small wineries represented with over 70 wines to choose from), Williamsons (nibbles and wine pairing), Ferrari Carano (no tasting, just pics), Dutcher Crossing, and Matrix to name a few.  During the week, we stopped in at Cloverdale Cyclery and inquired about bike rentals.  $40 a day was too steep ($1200 per bike for a month), but they offered us $150 per bike for the entire month of April.  Couldn’t pass that up.  So we have ridden a few times, and always stop at a winery along the way.  The riding is always easier before the tasting!  We average around 20 miles per ride and hope to ride every other day or two.  He lent us a bike rack, so we can ride further afield as well.  The area is gorgeous and bike riding allows you to savor the landscapes.

Every Fall, we blend and bottle Rickards wine at J.Rickards Winery.  Jim and Eliza have become great friends, and we scheduled a visit to see them this past week.  They have a beautiful home adjacent to the winery and caves.  We figured we would visit for a short while and taste some of their new stuff.  Instead, they fixed lunch for us and  we sat out on the deck eating lunch and sipping fabulous Sav Blanc in the sun.  We then went in and tasted all the latest releases (release party is April 15, and we will be there with Brett and Teri who will be visiting that weekend.)  We toured their new caves and walked around the 100 year old Old Vine Zin vineyards.  We were there several hours and it was so great to see and spend time with them.  A few pics of us at Rickards:


Above:  we rode bikes to Rickards, and sported our matching UOP t-shirts that the students gave us at the university.


The steel tanks just outside the caves.


The four of us and vineyard pooch, Shelby.


On Sunday, we had Matinee tix to the SF Symphony at Davies Hall.  Michael Tilson Thomas was conducting all Mahler; Mahler 1 and Mahler 10 (Mahler completed only one mvt before his death).  The orchestra was dead on with the performance.  After spending 3 months in Europe attending symphony concerts, I must say that American orchestras are louder and brighter (tone quality wise) then European orchestras.  This is especially true of the French orchestras which are dark, rich and highly refined in their approach to orchestral music.  Market St had a Sunday Farmer’s Market, and we enjoyed walking around before the concert.  Pics below are self explanatory, except the first shot, which is a pic of the opera house:IMG_2255.JPG






After the concert, we were invited to stay on Paul’s house boat in the of Sausalito.  I showed you pics in an earlier blog as we walked the docks.  This time we got to “sleep over” and actually spend the night on a “floating home” (which is what they call them). First however, we drove to Tiburon and sampled wine at Clark’s wine bar, Tiburon Wine Bar.

There are about 5 docks in the bay that sport floating homes.  They vary in quality and price, more or less, per dock ie some docks are much nicer than others.  Paul’s dock is by far the poshest (last year, he was offered 1.6 million).  Boats are constructed of concrete (they call them a barge), specially treated, and are hollowed out in the middle.  The homes are then built on the concrete barge right in the bay in Sausalito at the one place that specializes in building floating homes.  They then float the house boat into place and moor it on all 4 corners.  Electricity, plumbing etc are all hooked up at that point.  Each boat has a holding tank for waste water, and when full, a pump sends the waste to the sewer lines on shore.  Plenty of slack is provided for all hook ups to allow for the tide to rise and fall.  At high tide, the boat floats in about 10 feet of water.  At low tide, the boat sets on the sand.  There is very little movement on the boat when the water is calm, which it was when we visited.  Although you own the boat, you lease the dock for revolving 30 year periods (most people never sell).  HOA (which includes water, garbage sewer and deck maintenance) plus the lease fee is about $1000 per month.  His boat faces out on the bay and is at the end of the dock, so he pays the highest lease fee.  Paul’s boat is 3 levels with a deck (and a boat) off the back.  The master bedroom is on the top floor (which is where we slept), the living space is on the main floor and then he has built an apartment in the lower level (which includes the hollowed out concrete space)  Here are some pics:  First, the front of the boat (go back a post or two and you can see the inside of the boat)


Clark and I on the gang plank leading to the back of the house boat:


Our view from the master suite, from the back deck:


Mark Lawrence’s (first bone in SF Symph) boat a few boats over:


Dock kitty, who was more than friendly:


So, this week, more wine tasting and riding.  Liz flies up to see her folks this weekend and we will stay on the boat Friday night (Liz’s flight is 6:30am out of SF).  So, it will be a week or so before I blog again, unless something exciting happens in the mean time.  Ciao!



Author: euro916

I am a college professor in the music department of Utah State University. I will start my sabbatical on May 1, 2016 and plan to document the year's experiences in this blog. The sabbatical consists of musical endeavors in Europe/UK for 3 months, and half a semester as guest artist in a couple of California universities. Thanks for following!

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