There is a little town about 20 or so miles from where
we’re staying (Cloverdale, CA) called “The Geysers”. When we saw this we
were intrigued, because there is a lot of geothermal activity around
here in California, of course, and we thought maybe we’d get to see
something exciting in a town called “The Geysers”. Plus, with all the
signs pointing that way and short blurbs to visit the Visitor Center
there, we knew this had to be an amazing place.
To get to The Geysers from here, you have to drive over a very steep,
twisty mountain road (and not just twisty, but turn after turn after 90
degree turn for 10 miles, twisty). People will go through a lot, though,
to get a look at something as spectacular as geysers.
Unfortunately, it turns out that there are no Geysers or steam vents
visible in “The Geysers” and not really much else to see there either.
The town does have the largest complex of geothermal (electricity
producing) plants in the world- but you can’t see those either, because
they are all on private wooded property, protected from the prying eyes
of anyone wishing to actually have a reason to go there. We stopped by
the Geothermal Visitor Center just south of The Geysers, where we were
given lots and lots of thought provoking information about Calpine, the
geothermal company, and told over and over how great it is. After the
propaganda- oops- information sharing, we were told by the guide that,
“amazingly, a lot of people come here thinking there will be geysers in
‘The Geysers’, but unfortunately, that’s just not the case.” Yes, it’s
quite amazing that people would think that. The guide really seemed to
enjoy her job. We decided that either this lady really likes
disappointing people, or she really doesn’t get how hard that drive over
the mountain is. Bummer- but that was okay, because there are lots of
other things to see around here.
We did actually find a geyser- California has an “Old Faithful” Geyser.
It’s on Tubbs Lane in Calistoga. It’s not too far from here, on a
straight, easy road.
Other things to see/do here- take a November swim in the Russian River
(which Travis and Marley did), visit the Charles M. Schulz museum, see
Lake Sonoma, pay only $6.00 per person to see the largest Petrified Tree
(we skipped that)- oh, and maybe visit one or more of the close to
bazillion wineries here, because this is California wine country!
Cloverdale, CA is a small little town within the Anderson Valley. Most
people are aware of Napa Valley as a prolific winemaking region, but
many of the areas surrounding Napa (Anderson Valley, Sonoma Valley,
Russian River Valley) also produce an enormous amount of great wines.
Taking a drive through the area, we came across literally dozens of
wineries, most of them open to visitors daily. Being only occasional
wine drinkers, we didn’t feel that a tour of numerous wineries was
necessary for us, but we did stop in at the White Oak Winery so that we
could take part in the California wine country experience. The staff
there was very friendly and gave us the most thorough wine tasting we’d
ever experienced, offering advice on tasting, what we should be
observing as we tasted their wines, history of the winery, and of the
area. A fellow wine taster we met there, (a college student whose teeth
were positively purple from his day of wine touring), had lots of advice
on wineries for us to visit. When we asked his favorite, he could only
narrow it down to about twenty. After about 45 minutes, and half a dozen
wines tasted, we bought a very nice bottle of Chardonnay and called it a
day. We didn’t go to any other wineries, but did find a great brew pub
(through the advice of friends, thanks Jason!)- the Bear Republic. They
have a great IPA called Racer 5. A nice hoppy aroma, pairs nicely with
cheesy potato skins.