Saratoga Springs

I drove up to Saratoga Springs for a birthday getaway, joining a group of men whose retreats i’ve enjoyed many times. I hadn’t gone in several years owing to general decrepitude and my falls off the Segway that kept me from being able to participate in the play, but back in January i decided that i owed it to myself to schedule a brief swan song during the middle of this year’s retreat.

Turned out to be way more fun than i’d imagined possible, as by napping on Saturday afternoon i conserved my energy and it had been long enough since my last broken bones that i was able to play well with others.

Several of the campers are from the east coast, and of course they delight in making tart observations about the eccentricities of Californians, especially all our food fetishes. Overhearing one of the campers inquire whether any of the food served was vegan, my friend Ken observed, “Hell, out here in California even the rabbits are vegetarians.” That one just gets better and better for me, especially as i envision those clawed and fanged New England rabbits.

The fringe benefit was that i picked up highway 29 just above Vallejo and followed it past Napa and through the Napa Valley vineyards to Calistoga. And from there over the flanks of Mount Saint Helena (which unlike Mount St. Helens up in Washington is a totally dormant volcano, at least so far) through Middleton, Lower Lake, and Kelseyville, past Clear Lake and Lakeport to its junction with highway 20 five miles from camp, a lovely route i’d never taken and such a pleasure that i used it in return. If you’re ever going up to Clear Lake from the city, use this route for a change from 101.

Meanwhile, here’s one of the pics i got at camp. The water strider was a bonus.

Saratoga Springs lily

And here’s my other critter shot. Damn little thing obstinately refused to look at the camera, and i pushed him beyond his endurance when i ran around in front of him and stuck the macro lens in his face.


And OK, one more flora pic because i couldn’t believe my luck. I was rolling along on the Segway and suddenly there at my feet was this.


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