windsor, sonoma county, california

Yesterday was a travel day, a short distance that took a long time.

If the Oakland Airport wants to be a viable alternative to San Francisco, they have to fix their rental car problem. And PS, don't ever rent from Payless out here. But after the BART to the "Air BART" (bus link between airport and BART), to the insane rental car shuttle, and almost to a second, nonexistent shuttle for Payless, we finally did get a car from National. If Payless wants to try and charge us for the reservation we didn't keep, bring it on.

We immediately drove to the nearest In-N-Out, which we had seen from the Air BART bus, and Allan had his first In-N-Out experience. By that time it was late and we were very hungry, and ate copious amounts of cheeseburgers and fries. I've already noted this on previous California posts, but it's amusing that there's a "double double" here, too. As we would say in a Joy of Sox gamethred: In-N-Out Double Double > Tim Hortons' Double Double.

After a few wrong turns, we joined a slow parade of traffic crawling northward from San Francisco, to the town of Windsor in Sonoma County. This is the heart of wine country, very near the hip, happening town of Healdsburg which everyone tells us to check out.

The cottage is so sweet - just perfect. It's a bed-and-breakfast cottage, so our hosts have stocked it with everything we need for breakfast. Last year in New Mexico, as soon as we put down our bags after a very long day of travel, we had to head out to a store for basics like coffee, tea and cereal. This is easier and more convenient.

We were late for the rehearsal dinner, but by coincidence it was being held at a golf club right down the road from where we're staying, so we were able to relax for a bit before getting ready for the party. Like last year, the best part of this trip is seeing our nieces and nephews, sibs and sibs-in-law, and some extended family (not necessarily related to us). We have a lot to catch up on with a lot of people, and it's great just to be around them.

Cue take 4,573 of how freaking amazing it is to enjoy family gatherings now. After half a lifetime of approaching these things with anxiety and dread, I now look forward to them with joy and excitement. And people think death and divorce are bad things! They've done wonders for us.

Our cottage are adjacent to a farm. We hear baby goats bleating and horses whinnying - and this morning we actually woke up to a rooster crowing. (Then went right back to sleep.) Next to the porch, there's a plum tree laden with ripe fruit. It's beautiful and quiet, and hearing the animals talk is so peaceful.

The wedding is this afternoon, so I'm not sure what, if anything, we'll do besides that.

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