A few weeks ago, we enjoyed a short trip to Napa Valley and stayed in one of the large yurts in Bothe Napa Valley State Park.
Per Wikipedia: a yurt is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises an angled assembly or latticework of pieces of wood or bamboo for walls, a door frame, ribs (poles, rafters), and a wheel (crown, compression ring) possibly steam-bent.
I don’t believe our yurt was covered in skins or felt, but rather in canvas. The lattice work was indeed a part of it, however, I don’t recall seeing a wheel.
The Yurt was large enough to fit six people with one full size bed and four cots. At night, it would get really chilly and dark (no electricity!) in the yurt, and during the day it’ll feel hot like a sauna. The sun will hit directly on your face around 6am forcing you to wake from your slumber; it was nature’s nice way of providing you an alarm clock.
We came to love our lil home for the past two days we were there. The only down side to it is that there are no keys given for each yurt. You can lock your door from inside the room before you sleep, but we couldn’t lock it from the outside to protect our personal belongings. So, I suggest not bringing anything of high value and leaving only minimal things in your yurt while everyone goes hiking, swimming, or wine tasting.
If I happen to be in the Napa area in the future, I would definitely like to stay in a yurt again.
I decided to have a special feature on the blog every first Thursday of the month. This feature will be called Guam to California. I will be sharing personal experiences and lessons I’ve learned since leaving the rock (Guam.)
This month’s lesson is about freeways.
Prior to moving to California, I drove on two major roads from age 16-24. Those two roads were Marine Drive and Route 16. I always thought that the speed limit was 55mph but discovered recently that it was only 45mph. Oops! That is the fastest speed on island, legally. Majority of the roads on island have speed limits of 35mph or 15mph in residential areas.
So, when I moved to California I was excited to drive at the normal rate I was already going…(65mph +) and to be able to do that without feeling guilty.
The confusing part was finding out if I was going North, South, East, or West.
For two years, I was dependent on my GPS because of that. I only stopped using my GPS because it got stolen…but looking back, i’m kinda glad that happened because I was then forced to learn the roads and remember them.
I have a few funny stories about driving here in California. One day, I was heading to a meeting, and called my uncle because it was my very first time driving without him or anyone else, I wasn’t sure if I had to take 5 north or 5 south. He wasn’t answering and the exits were coming up quickly and so I just decided, on a whim, to take 5 south. So as I was exiting, he called back and he told me 5 north. So fortunately for me, I was still on the on-ramp, and I just continued on to the off-ramp and took the northbound freeway. I made a complete circle. I felt like an idiot after that. Lol.
Another evening, I was driving back home and one of my girlfriends called me, to make sure I made it home safely. But, because I was still on the road, my GPS was giving me directions to exit and she heard the GPS speaking…she started laughing because I have been living in that studio for almost a year but still needed a GPS to give me directions to get home. Yup, that was me!
Another thing about freeways, are CARPOOL or HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes! They are amazing! Some carpool lanes require only two passengers, others a minimum of three. Carpool lanes are meant to encourage people to carpool so that there are less cars on the freeway and/or to buy/lease a low or zero emission vehicle. According to ca.gov: “As of April 8, 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has issued the 63,255 Green Clean Air Vehicle decals. The maximum number of decals available is 70,000.”
I say carpool lanes are amazing because you get by through traffic much quicker than the other lanes on most days. However, most carpool lanes are in effect only during certain hours, so before or after those hours, anyone can use those lanes.
So, as you can see…I’ve garnered more roads, highways, and mileage (and some tickets..ahem!) under my belt compared to when I was 24. And because of that, I feel that driving on Guam is WAY too EASY.
Hope you got a kick out of reading about my experiences on freeways. Happy and Safe Driving!