Today we decided to stick close to home. The girls were happy that meant that they could sleep in as late as they wanted this morning. Still they were up by 7am. Cooper was up before the frost alarm went off around midnight. Once he stole my spot in bed he slept soundly until 6:30 (I had to steal Jason's spot since he was off "turning on the vineyard heaters").
Our first stop was the Petrified Forest. I've never been there before even though I've driven past it thousands of times. It was pretty neat to learn that the trees were petrified in a volcano explosion 3.5 million years ago. They told us that the volcano knocked the trees over and then covered them in ash. As a result of the explosion, the ocean which had been 3 miles away, moved to over 30 miles away and caused a huge flooding that covered the trees in water. As a result of the lack of oxygen the trees became petrified with minerals that leached out of the ash from the pressure of the water. We went through the half-mile walk and looked at the trees and then headed down to Calistoga to see Old Faithful.
Old Faithful is another of our local "landmarks" that I've never visited despite being born and raised in the valley. I negotiated a "locals rate" at the geyser and we headed out to wait for the eruption. Within minutes we saw water shoot about 5 feet in the air. I was unimpressed but the girl wanted to see it happen again. Since we had about 30 minutes before we were due at lunch we waited. A few minutes later water shot about 12 feet into the air. As we talked to another couple visiting from Connecticut we saw a total of 3 eruptions.
After all that excitement, we headed into St. Helena for lunch at Taylor's Refresher. It may have been re-named Gott's Roadside Tray Gourmet last week, but it still tasted like Taylor's to me. Jason, Grammie and Grampa met us for lunch. The girls loved trying the Black & White Milkshake (much better than regular chocolate they both agreed). The weather was beautiful and it was nice to sit at a picnic table on the lawn and soak in some sunshine.
After a quick trip to the bookstore, we headed to the gym for swimming so Jason could take a nap. I was happy to watch the girls play nicely together while I got to sit in a lounge chair and read my book. There is nothing quite like hearing your children squeal in delight while they are playing together. Makes my heart happy!
Tomorrow we are headed to Mrs. Grossman's and possible a movie...