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Running away from Home 

"I think it's time that you ran away from home." That's one of my favorite lines from Sabrina (the new version with Harrison Ford) and when the weight of my pending and strictly unacknowledged layoff got the better of me, I decided it was a very good idea. My mom used to call it taking a mental health day and I've upheld the tradition. There's an art to running away. First, just go. No plans. Minimal packing. Just get in your car and go. Second, leave your problems at home. The whole point of running away is to get away from whatever is dragging you down. So on January 12th, I ditched all my friends (except Crystal), my responsibilities, and my worries to head out to Gold Country near Yosemite. Living on the coast, I picked one of the three available directions (east) and an area with some wine tasting. Oh, and we packed some poetry. That was the extent of our planning. Footloose and fancyfree - let the rest of the world take care of itself for a few days. 

Garbed in Harley and Catwoman style, we hit the open road. I left my cell phone off and turned the stereo up. We spent a few lovely hours getting lost. With only vague directions to some wineries, we ended up on a tiny, badly paved, one-lane country road winding through the hills and valleys. Bucolic was the word of the day. Warm soft sunshine flowed through the trees and bathed us in quiet happiness the whole time. It didn't matter really where we were or when we'd get to our destination. That is the beauty of letting go. Crystal's the only traveling companion I've had who understands and enjoys being lost. The let-life-come-as-it-will attitude toward travelling and really toward life itself.

We finally started wine tasting at the Stevenot Winery, a couple of hundred miles and five hours away from home. The wines were yummy and our host friendly and talkative. Next came Millaire, not such good wines and a quiet host who stared at us because we were the only ones there. As we had come to the lovely, little village of Murphys, we decided to stop for lunch. The Alechemy Wine Bar was just right.  After lunch, we hit two more wineries in Murphys - Malvadino and Zucca Mountains. Zucca was very interesting because the tasting room was down a steep flight of stairs and carved out of rock. Very atmospheric. Ironstone was our last stop - very posh with an ampitheater, a swan pond, and a little gold rush museum. We walked around after tasting and admired the scenery. By this time, we were feeling pretty relaxed. In fact, it would have been almost impossible for anything to harsh our mellow. We decided that was a great place to leave things and started looking for a hotel. 

In Angel's Camp, we found a nice looking Best Western then drove on to the grocery store to get munchies (it was the perfect occasion for a snack dinner!) and champagne (the only kind of wine we weren't able to taste that day). Well fortified, we went back to the hotel and got a jacuzzi mini-suite for the same price as a regular double room. Let's hear it for the off-season. We settled in for a night of wine, poetry, and hot bubbly water.

On Sunday, the day dawned cold and grey, but we were relaxed and lazy after our night of debauchery and didn't care. We grabbed a bite of breakfast from the lobby, watched the Real World for awhile, then decided to spend some time wandering through the quaint, little town. Unfortunately, we were out and about just after 9 am and nothing was open. After driving mindlessly down the road a bit, we headed for Sacramento since it's old town is cute and sure to be open by the time we got there. The country-side rolled by with mellow Enigma on the cd player. We switched to Garbage just outside the city limits and boogied our way downtown. The stores were fun, but the real find was a fabulous costume store - Evangeline's - not currently open, but we got to take a peek when we asked about flapper dresses. We'll definitely be back when we can spend the hours this store deserves. We did some more walking and then had lunch at Fat City. The food was okay but the decor was excellent - lots of stained glass windows hung all over, from the ceiling, on the walls, and even set up to create different sections in the dining room. Very cool. Lots of adorable kids and lots of people having bloody marys with their lunch. Hmmm...

From that point on, I had a hard time concentrating. I kept zoning, staring off into space. I may have overdosed on relaxation. We finished wandering Old Sacramento, then drove home. No traffic even. Once home, we didn't go inside, didn't bring in our bags, didn't check our messages. Instead, we went straight over to the beach and sat in quiet contemplation of the sky, the waves, and the sounds of the occassional seagull and quiet little laps against the shore. There's a reason we live here. It was the perfect end to my running away weekend.

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