EARTHQUAKE!!, HeliTac, Hollister Micro Brew

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
Trip End Oct 01, 2013

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, June 27, 2013

Harlan: (Remember to 'click' on each picture to get an expanded explanation AND larger view of the shot)

UPDATE--EARTHQUAKE!!!!!!!!!!:  We have experienced our FIRST (and hopefully LAST) California earthquake.  Now, we KNOW we are basically following the San Andres Fault ever since we entered CA and will be continuing along the fault up through the next couple of weeks as we travel north-BUT we had hoped any seismic activity would wait until we LEFT California. But in the evening the motorhome started to gyrate and 'thump'--at first I thought it was just Aragon bumping the furniture, then I thought maybe the RV jacks were failing and letting us 'down'.  After what seemed like forever, but was actually probably only 6 to 10 seconds, it stopped.  I went outside to be sure the jacks had not slid off the blocks and a neighbor was doing the same thing.  He said to not be surprised if there were aftershocks.  GREAT, now something ELSE to worry about.  Found out the quake was a 3.9 magnitude and was just a few miles south of where we are camped.

OK, now for the pictures of the HeliTac firefighting unit we stopped and visited yesterday as well as our NEW favorite Brew-bar in Hollister CA.  On our way back from the Rock forest we stopped where we saw a helicopter sitting out in a pasture in basically 'no where land'.  It looked like a Vietnam era chopper and later we found out the 'air frame' basically was from the Vietnam era, BUT all the 'other' things had been replaced:  like a souped up Cobra engine, new types of skids, new interior, foam carrying skids, 300 gallon collapsible water bucket and belly hook to carry it, and seating for 6 to 8 FireTac firefighters who would go down ropes to join in a fire fight, as well as a pilot and a Captain.  The young firefighter giving us the 'walk through' compared the chopper to a '69 Camaro bodywise, but one that had a 427 dropped into it, with a beefed up tranny, new paint, 4-11 rear-end, and hi-tech tires.  Got the picture?

Anyway, I digress--we drove into the driveway and I rolled down the window and snapped a picture about the time a guy in a uniform came out to the jeep.  I figured he was going to run us off but instead we found out he was the Captain and wanted to know if we'd like one of his firefighters to give us a full tour UP CLOSE of the FireTac chopper.  He called a young, very fit, firefighter out of the 'barn', introduced us and we headed out to the bird.  The young firefighter gave us a complete rundown of the chopper, the fire fighting gear inside, how the unit was set up and all-in-all spent about 45 minutes enthusiastically talking about their job and the importance of the Heli-Tac units for fighting fires.  There are only 5 such firefighting units in California, and this base is one of the ones farthest south.  He said the pilot was a Vietnam vet who flew the military version of this firefighting unit in the war.  Just replaced the guns with the firefighting stuff--.  I said, so this guy must be about as ancient as I am in years correct", and he said, "well he IS 67"-so I interpreted that as him thinking I must be YEARS younger than the old fart who piloted the chopper.  After thanking him for the tour and 'chat', we headed on to Hollister for our primary current mission of food and grog.  

Bonna got on the "Around Me" app on her iPhone (once we were back into coverage-Verizon is KING here, as in most places, so our ATT phones sucked until we got near a larger town) just outside of Hollister and found a new 'micro brewery' listed.  We plugged it into the trusty GPS and found the Hollister Taproom and Brewery.  All seating was on steel stools and we found out they had only been in business for 8 months.  Since you probably expect a 'food' report from me---my 1/2 lb pub burger was ABSOLUTELY the finest tasting morsel I've EVERY consumed, and those of you who know of my love of burgers know that if this is the BEST I've ever had---then that's saying something.  Bonna's pastrami looked equally great.  We had a good cold beer (or two) with the food AND got to talking with a 'gearhead' local and talked about the finer points of the '60's muscle cars we had owned in another life. Bonna finally had enough 'gearhead' talk and got us back on the road.

As to TODAY--it was an easy day in camp catching up on some clothes washing and computer work then we took a jaunt over to Gilroy and checked out 'all things garlic' and boy that is a LOT of stuff--including ICE CREAM.  We had a fantastic experience drinking garlic wine, then topped off the day with a GREAT Italian meal of chicken parmigiana and Lasagna at Johnny Carinos, a place we used to enjoy in Farmington NM.  

Today was wash day and I'm reminded how humidity affects the time it takes clothes to dry! Harlan paid some bills and tended to Aragon, who was worn out from our early morning walk (Aragon not Harlan--well maybe BOTH of them). He’s not a great fan of humidity either.

We made plans to spend the afternoon in Gilroy and have dinner there.  I found a couple of garlic shops and a winery for some wine tasting, we were in business.  First stop was the Garlic Shoppe where we looked for vinegar infused with garlic and peppers.  They didn’t have anything like that, but had hundreds of food items with garlic as an ingredient.  Niece Danica had told us about the Garlic Festival every July and now we can see what a fun event it would be… garlic as an ingredient in anything you can think of to cook. 

Just down the road was Rapazzini Winery and their tasting room was still open.  Lucky for us, we were the only customers at the time and Adam Pagnagni, the tasting room manager welcomed us.  We told him what we liked and that we’d like to also try the Almond Champagne that was listed on the board.  Of course, we liked the most expensive red, but found the more reasonably priced one was a close second.  Then the fun began.  Chateau de Garlic wine, see I said it can be used as an ingredient in almost any food… Adam told us to taste the wine first, eat a cracker smeared with garlic butter, then taste the wine again, and it’ll leave an aftertaste of pizza.  A strong garlic aroma wafted up when he poured it into the glass…..I was wondering just what we were getting into, but we followed directions and YES, it did taste like pizza…but the best was the garlic butter!  We were ready to buy jars of it, but unfortunately they were out of it.  He told us they could ship to AZ, so we took down the information for future reference.

The next wine was a sweet dessert wine, Apribella, an apricot and peach recipe, that was delicious and refreshing.  Add to that the Almond Champagne to make a bellini and we were in champagne heaven! Wellll, we just had to buy a few bottles of the above mentioned wines and also the red selection….I can’t wait to enjoy a bellini…maybe this weekend.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Johnny Carino’s Italian Restaurant.  We always enjoyed this restaurant when it was in New Mexico and it didn’t disappoint.  The portions are gigantic, so we’ll get to have a second meal with the boxes we brought home.

EARTHQUAKE!!!! As I’m writing this it’s about 8:50 pm and the motorhome started rocking and shaking.  At first we thought it was Aragon moving around, but then realized there was too much movement for him.  It lasted for 5 or 6 seconds, but seemed much longer!  Harlan went outside and there were others standing around.  A neighbor said there may or may not be aftershocks.  Great!  Harlan found the USGS site and it was already listed as a 3.9 magnitude earthquake.  The San Andreas Fault is west of the RV park. As we were leaving Pinnacles yesterday, I read aloud that the fault lies to the east of the park.  Harlan wasn't listening because he's looking at the map and sees that the fault is just to the east of the park.  That'll teach him to listen during a teachable moment!  Yikes!!  That’s as strong of a temblor that I wish to experience, thank you very much.

Hope we have a quiet night!!
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Steve on

Harlan, Bonna, having flown a number of different helicopters over the years your post was interesting... safe travels.

wayne on

You know if a BIG earthquake hit and there was a lateral shift in the plates then you could get a lot further north (or south depending on your location) with no diesel expended. Come to think of it, California is probably injecting lubricant in the fault to test this new method of commuting. Gosh, just think no longer will you have to spend $4.15 for diesel. Happy travels...

sue stabler on

Hi Bonna,
Sounds like you're enjoying great adventures! Wow, even an earthquake!? I'm enjoying following your travels. Sue

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