"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Wine, Umunhum & Buried Arms?

San Jose, CA

On our way to San Jose we passed this interesting, large mural on a parking garage near the airport.
Like I mentioned in my last post my friend, Debbie, insisted we consider staying at her parents place instead of the Elks.  It's around the corner from where I grew up. I was concerned that we may not fit as I know the lots are not too deep.  Steve and I drove over to get a better idea.  It would be tight, but we thought we'd be ok.  Yikes, it was VERY tight!  We did hang over part of the sidewalk a bit but I put reflective warning traffic signs up.  Their parents home is empty at the moment and is very nicely kept.  We had FHU as they used to be campers and her sister also stays here occasionally.  It was super quiet with very little traffic or people around.  We really enjoyed it and stayed a few days longer than we expected.  Thanks Deb & Lynn for the hospitality! :-)
I still have a few friends left in the San Jose area and it was nice to have extra time there to visit with them.  We met up with Michael and Amy to make a trip up to Saratoga to wine taste at Testarossa Winery.  Amy and I were pregnant at the same time with our first kids and have 6 boys between us, same ages.

Thier son, Josh and his girlfriend work there and gave us a personal tour and set us up with some great wine and appetizers!  So sweet and generous of them both!
The food was fantastic!
Turns out our daughter Kaylee was wine tasting up in Napa at the same time we were here.
Me and Amy
Michael and Steve
Our personal tour given by Josh started at the Secret Staircase behind a very skinny door.

They took us all around to every nook and cranny of this old historic winery.  Very interesting history.  It started out as the Novitiate Winery built in 1888.  It is the oldest continuously operating winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Jesuit priests built it and planted the hillside.  They produced and sold altar wine in order to provide funding for the seminary which is also on this site.  The Jensen Family bought the winery and changed the name to Testarossa in 1997. Fun Fact: Testarossa means Red Head in Italian.  Maybe it is in spirit of the new red-headed Irish owners?  The seminary now houses retired priests.  

The grounds are just beautiful.  Covered in gorgeous flowers and fountains under a canopy of Redwoods.  It was a gorgeous way to spend the day with great friends!

On Sunday we decided to take a drive up to Mt. Umunhum which is the fourth highest peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  It looms over San Jose and has been an icon for eons.  
This is what it looks like from where I used to live.  It was a quick drive for us to get to Santa Cruz Beach on the other side of that mountain.  That cube at the top is a radar tower that was completed in 1962 to watch for hostile aircraft during the Cold War.  Other Air Force buildings were eventually dismantled and the site cleaned up and restored to a natural state.  The cube was left as a protected historical resource.  It is now offers hiking trails, a lookout platform and local info.
The view from 3466 feet above the valley.

What it used to look like when the radar dish was mounted on top.
Here's Steve at the bottom.
It was a fun day exploring up here.  I haven't been up since I was a kid.

Later in the week I met back up with my friend, Debbie, for a hike in Quicksilver Park.  Another place I frequented as a kid and ran Cross Country races in high school.  This large area is a landmark of California mining history since the 1820s.  It was one of the richest mercury finds.  As such, you should not eat any fish caught from the neighboring lakes or rivers. It borders the tiny town of New Almaden.  All mines have been sealed but there are still some remnants of mining structures and equipment.
We parked and decided to walk the small loop through historic New Almaden population, about 100.  First we spotted this memorial to Patrick Tillman.  I didn't know he was from here.  Also, we always called this Old Almaden.  Funny.

Interesting ties to the Civil War that I never knew.
Poppies and other blossoms were out in full force!
They have done a fantastic job of putting up these info plaques all around town.

The Hacienda Hotel
Bright yellow Freesias and a Wandering Jew plant (is that even PC anymore?)
A cute mailbox companion.
This cemetery has some very interesting bits about it. For one, the cemetery was cut in 2 when it and some surrounding areas were bought.  The graves were eventually dug up and moved to the other side of the road before it was paved.

Almost all the graves are marked with information about the person buried.  I just liked the name Norfolk Malone.  Sounds like a gangster.  Unfortunately I could not find any information on him.

The most interesting thing about this cemetery is mentioned in the second paragraph below!

What?!  I couldn't believe his arm is buried here!  Of course I need to find where the rest of him is buried.  (I did find it, but that's the next post!)

Not too memorable but interesting.
Of course we geocached along the way. One of those cute Lending Libraries held a geocache.

As we walked up to the hotel we came upon another geocache hidden in the mailbox.
Ha, Ha!  The "flag" to the mailbox is an ARM!  I guess that's a nod to poor old Bert.
Of course the museum was closed but we could take pictures and walk around the grounds.

One of the cute old minors homes.  Nice garden/art piece on the roof.
We sure enjoyed our walk through history.  Now on to our hike.
We chose a trail that we hoped would take us to that chimney you see above.
We talked and geocached and talked all along the way.  Just like old times ;-)
We tried but eventually found out that no trail leads to the chimney.  And we didn't want to bushwack to it as there is Poison Oak and Rattlesnakes out there!

Thanks Deb for the great day and hiking along with me!  It got real hot out so we headed out for some lunch before saying goodbye.
That night Steve and I had the last of our seafood from our Oregon trip.  The Rockfish was delicious!

Stay tuned to see where we found the rest of 'Ol Bert!