Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chico, California. Beer, Country rides, and Monster Trucks !

Hello Blog Fans! Before the narrative, let me remind you that you can click on the photos to enlarge them. Also, there's a couple of movies that are inserted below that should be nice to view.

We headed out last Wednesday for a 4 day trip to Chico in northern California which is about 80 miles north of Sacramento. We went up there to tour the Sierra Nevada Brewery, sample the beer(s) and buy useless magnets, beer mugs, etc.
"Wait, we're driving right by the place Dad"

But we never did tour the place. When we finally got around to it on Friday, all tours were booked. We got so distracted by other things to do that it never happened. However, we did go to the restaurant to sample their 16 beers....yes, SIXTEEN!
BEFORE sampling the choices.
AFTER sampling the choices....hiccup, hiccup. We found only three that were not to our liking. What fun!
Kim and I ordered some appetizers then decided to go exploring. We took off north of Chico and turned on a street that headed out into the country. Here's what we found.

 Wonderful views of wide open spaces...just the way we like 'em. The wildflowers were in abundance in every field. We went about 8 miles north until the road ran out then we stopped the truck, got outside and just quiet and peaceful. All you can hear is the wind.

We also toured the Bidwell House which was an amazing place! When constructed, Bidwell Mansion featured the most modern plumbing, gas lighting and water systems. The overall style of the three-story brick structure is that of an Italian Villa, an informal, warmly romantic style. The building's exterior is finished with a pink tinted plaster. We had the tour director all to ourselves so we peppered him with questions to which he was only too eager to answer. Great tour and visitor center.
This fellow, John Bidwell founded Chico in the late 1800s from part of his 30,000-acre ranch called Rio Chico. His biography is pretty impressive stuff.
Bidwell House....Three stories and a cupola

Of course, we had to have breakfast a few days.
The local donut shop made GREAT donuts.
The last night were were there, Friday, they had a Monster Truck event going on at the local fairgrounds. I found out about it a week earlier and bought a couple of VIP tickets which got us in to see the trucks close up as well as primo seating for the event. They had the trucks, of course, then dirt bikes doing long acrobatic ramp jumps, some kids driving quads and a rocket car called The Beast, which shot out flames 30 feet from the tail end! Check out the movies below.
Lots of kids got autographs from the drives...including my wife!

The California Kid hitting on Kim.

Titan was one of the best this night.

Look for the real monster in this movie....very scary.

Of course, our cats came along with us....they seemed to always be wondering why there are so many dogs in the RV park..."where are all the cats??"

On a final, sad note. My sister, Shelley, passed away April 6th. My Dad was with her when she closed her eyes and just went to sleep. She just turned 63.
Love you always Shelley!
Steve and Kim