woensdag 8 februari 2012

Putah Creek aka Green River, and LODI, and a lot of trains.

Left around 9 again and the sky was grey and it was rainy. Everyone was a bit tired and maybe even moody :-)
Michaels needed to put gas in his car, so we followed him and it went well untill he all of a sudden decided to leave the highway and there was no way that we could follow him without driving through bushes and concrete, so we waved at him and hoped for the best. Godspeed!

Somewhere after the Bay Area, the scenery changed into beautifull green hills, so pretty! Many of them had cows walking around on them and little calfs running around, very cute. We admired the many things we saw, from the Bay Express bus to cars held together with Ducttape, from little windmills to Highway Patrols, Mercurys and Lincolns, an sign by the highway saying "American Revolution coming soon, voters wake up" (not sure what side they were on :-) and offcourse, a TARGET every 10 miles!
We now know that was a sign, but thats for later haha.
I'm glad they didnt kick me out of the van because I kept on saying out loud what I see, going "Oooooh, cows! aahh, little calfs... and OOOhhh, Ford Mustang! ooohhh this, ooohhh that"

We went to Putah Creek in Winters first, its the place where John spent his childhood holidays and where the song Green River is written about (or so they say) We left the highway in Winters and our GPS quit so we drove around between huge fruitfarms first a bit, with endless fields filled with appletrees (I think, they looked like fruittrees we have at home, not oranges or something) When we got on the right track again, we first crossed the small downtown area, and then drove into the hills, and the scenery got even more beautifull.
As we looked around in awe, the guys on the backseat started "so the Fogerty's must have done this trip a few times too!"
a moment of silence, and then "JOHN AND TOM!!! dont fight! Be quiet! Tom look after your little brother Bob!" "are we there yet dad? I need to pee!" "I said be quiet and behave" :-D
It was still raining when we reached the lodge, we pulled over and looked around a bit. It was a small recreational area with a RV parking.
Just a few moments later, a car stopped next to us and a cheery waving guy got out: the one and only JOHNNY B GOODE!!! he excists! He's alive!! The myth is true!
After ALL these years there he is!!

I can hear the bullfrog calling me
Wonder if my rope's still hanging to the tree
Love to kick my feet way down the shallow water
Shoe fly, dragon fly, get back to your mother
Pick up a flat rock, skip it across Green River
See how green the river REALLY IS?!

I cant tell you how fun it was to finally meet him after years and years on the online Fogerty community! we had great chats and seeked shelter for the rain, then walked around a bit, took pictures, wondered if John's rope was still hanging to the tree :-D there was a rope actually! We also skipped a few flat rocks across the Green River, (it was really green) and admired the serene beauty of the place. And we just looked around and wonder how it was 60 (!!) years ago when John and Tom were little boys and came here for holiday.

As we had to be in Lodi on time, we didnt stay too long. We said goodbye to Johnny B. Goode and drove to Lodi.
We passed the state capital, Sacramento, started singing the song by Middle of the Road (we're singing all the time, there are songs everywhere here) looked at the fields that just looked exactly like home and around 13.00 the first Lodi signs came in sight.

We were filming and taking pictures of everything :-D and for some reason we missed the city limits sign, I was able to snap it last minute, and Uwe allmost hit the breaks when I started screaming "CITY LIMITS!!!!"
After that, we stopped the car to take pictures of the sign of the Grape Festival and I feared we would be taking pics of every turd that said LODI :-) but everyone got back in the car and we drove to the tourist office. We had have some contact with them online before we left and they welcomed us very friendly, and gave us all information brochures and a map and told us were to get souvenirs etc. I asked the woman what the locals think about the song, and she said that mainly everyone thinks its a great joke. No bad feelings!

After that we were invited by the lovely owner of the shop called "Taste of heaven" who welcomed us with local champaign and nice treats! They also had great souvenirs and I got some fun stuff, like a fridgemagnet (finally) and the bottle of olive oil I couldnt take with me last time. Local olive oil!
She explained us that Lodi is really farm area and they import a lot of stuff to the rest of California.
We thanked her for her hospitallity and the group split up, some went to eat, and we decided to walk to the adress we got where they were supposed to sell t-shirts.
We allready feared that 12 blocks was a bit too far through the rain, and after 3 blocks we gave up and went back :-D We passed the firestation and I hoped to get a nice picture of a fireengine but we didnt see any.
Then a small cookshop called "Lodi Cooks" (i think) where I found a dragonfly cookie cutter :-D
It was still raining and Robert didnt wanna go "shopping " and I didnt wanna walk around alone, so I followed him to the guitarshop we were informed about. I was getting slightly out of mood again as I didnt wanna spend the rest of the day in a guitarshop, but I didnt feel like walking around alone either.

Dont American trains look way cooler? Yes they do.
When we were nearly there, we had to cross a railroad, and all of a sudden I heard... a honking train! the railroad wasnt closed yet, so we crossed it and while we did that we saw the train coming, it was pretty near allready and that was a bit scary, we couldnt see how fast it was driving. When we were on the other side, the crossing closed (how on earth do you say that in proper English?) so we decided to wait for the train, that arrived not long after that. It wasnt going fast, but it was still LLLOUD, and we watched in awe. I started yelling back at it and Robert thought I was crazy :-D It was a freighttrain pulled by 3 engines, and goodness, it was long!! we just stood there looking at it, it just didnt have no end. We just watched and watched and finally there the end was, another engine.
We turned around and walked ahead and wondered what the people in the waiting cars were thinking about us. We crossed the tracks intime, and then we waited for the train to pass on the OTHER side of the tracks, hahaha!! Oh sometimes I just love being weird woohoo ;-)

We found the music shop and looked around a bit, we expected that the others would be there, but they werent and we admired their collection of old guitars. We wanted to buy guitarpicks with the name of the shop on it, but they didnt have any, and the owner started talking with us a bit, asked us why we were here and I said "I'll give you a hint; we're CCR fans!" his first response "are they playing here tonight??"
NO! duh! :-D maybe he was thinking about Revisited hahaha. I said "try again!" and then he finally got it. We had to tell all about it and he thought it was great, and called the other guy of the shop going "you come over here and listen to this, this is really a funny story!" haha!!
We warned him there would be some German guitarists on their way, and went back to downtown.

The guy told us that the Lodi Beer Brewery had t-shirts for sure, and we went there. I figured that we could have a beer to while we were there, but when we sat down we noticed it was a restaurant too, so we ordered food. Another Cobb salad for me!
I got a Lodi Light Lager and Robert a coke, and the coke came in the coolest glass ever, and guess what, they were for sale! they had shirts too, so we were happy.
After talking to the waitress about why we were here (I think she asked about it) she left and 3 minutes later a CCR song sounded! Ha!!! It would have been even better if it was Lodi, but it was cool for sure!
The beer tasted very good, not too heavy.
Then Robert saw Uwe and Martine wandering around on the street and he went to get them in, and they went crazy when they saw what was for sale hahaha!!!
The restaurant/bar/brewery was a very cool decorated place and I was glad I was having my lunch there and not in some pizzaplace or sandwichbar. Can be nice sometimes too, but this was a great Lodi experience!
Robert and I wondered how we could have missed this 7 years ago. We still have pictures of the outside of the building, but we never went in for a drink!
We got some very cool stuff there. The shirts and the glasses are really great!! Hope I get the glasses home in one piece!

Then I calculated the tip for the waitress wrong. At least it was too much, and not not enough. We allready wondered why she allmost started crying :-D
(after asking "are you SURE!?") Well at least she was a very nice girl and helped us very well and we were pretty annoying with getting our souvenirs. I now realized what went wrong but its ok. Consider it charity :-D

Ok let me think... didnt make much notes... only "teehee I am in Lodi" and stuff like that :-)
We met the rest of the group again, we sent them to the brewery for souvenirs and afterthat we decided that we needed to take another hour so we split up again.
We walked around with Pete Brown and Tom and decided to take some pics of the Lodi Arch (Paris has the Eiffeltower, Lodi has the Arch)
when we arrived we noticed Uwe and Martina standing underneath it in the middle of the street, holding eachother and it came across as they were watching a sunset or something. It was a bizar situation, we came closer and thought "???!!" but then Robert noticed the camera on a tripod on the sidewalk!!! They were posing for the picture in the middle of the street!!! We just had to laugh, it was so funny!

Downtown Lodi is very compact and both the arch and the post office (where our car was parked) are near the railway station. Everytime I heard a train coming in the distance I went "just a sec, guys!" and ran to the platform to watch. I think I have a new hobby :-D

All of a sudden Martina called me and held up a tshirt saying "Stuck in Lodi"
HUH?! I left the trainstation for what it was and ran to her, and she gave me directions about where to get one. I went there quickly and just as I found it, a guy and a woman came out and they were closing the shop, nooooooooo....
I asked "you're closing?" and he turned around and said "you come for the shirts? Come on in!"
WOW!! the woman left and I walked in, and there were Lodi t-shirts everywhere!! he must have had at least 6 different designs! And even girlie sizes, THANK YOU.
There were shirts that said "Stuck in Lodi" (for the non CCR geeks; thats where the song is about) and on the back "and loving it" and shirts with "I <3 Lodi" and with Lodi and grapes and with Lodi and the arch. I tried a few on (his messy office was the dressingroom :-) and bought the supercool one with the arch.
I'm still very gratefull that he opened the shop for me again! He could just as well have said "sorry I am going home" ! Robert bought the "stuck in Lodi" one and we asked if he wanted to wait for the rest of the group, and that was ok with him, so we went to get them.
It was a very good day for the local shops in Lodi, California today!!

Robert and I went in the post office to get stamps for cards (we send a card to ourselfs, I told you we're crazy) and to post the one card so it would be stamped "Lodi" I was holding my diary as he stamped the card so I explained why we were here and if I could get a stamp in my diary and he had to laugh and stamped it!
Then I dragged Robert straight to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory across the street, some chocolate from Lodi and the day would be perfect!! They were selling yummy looking candy and choco apples but there were too many of them and we couldnt choose. The woman in the shop was very friendly and I studied all the funny (for europeans) chocolates they sold like several cookies completely covered in chocolate! (like oreo) they also had GIANTIC HUGE reeses peanutbutter cups, the size of a big cupcake. I love Reeses, but that was just a bit too much!
While we were looking around the woman offered us some fudge, mmmm... fantastic... Robert told we were living in a country with a lot of chocolates too and she said "you're from Holland, no?" WOW!! Thats the first American ever who heard we were talking dutch and not german ;-)
I finally decided to go for the rocky road fudge bar. I mean if you're getting carried away with calories you better do it right and HOLY COW it was good!!!

Then we all got together at the arch again, who was now beautifully lit. Peter Sutter was putting his camera on a tripod and trying to get everything right and I was studying the railroad crossing. When everything finally was ready, I went to the group, sat down, and the crossing started closing! several in our group got excited and we went "train!!!" and started chooochoooo ourself. when the train had pass we cheered for it :-D at least I am not the only one who's impressed.
It was quite a happening to get the picture, but in the end it worked out great, and we walked back to the car.
Tom and Baltasar decided that they were going to sing Lodi here (as they sang Green River for Johnny B Goode in Putah Creek) they sat down underneath the tree at the postoffice and started singing while we were handclapping and singing along. First I had the idea that the sherrif would arrive and ask us to move on, but the opposite was true, they got a small audience! One of them was an older guy and was very impressed and wanted them to sing in his art gallery! It took a while to explain to him that they were no band just singing CCR fans, and he loved it!
Finally we left and said goodbye to downtown Lodi.

Several in our group needed a supermarkt (like me, I wanted to buy enough water for the rest of the week so I dont have to drag it with me from Trader Joe's or buy it at the expensive cornershop near the hotel)
I knew there was a WalMart on our way out, so we decided to go there. First we were lost, but we found it anyway and everyone ran in with carts to fill. I felt a bit bad about going to WalMart, (for the obvious reasons. If you dont know where I'm talking about: WalMart has a very bad reputation considering their employees) but on the other hand, its Americana too, and I wanted to see Wal Creatures (thats a long story)
I looked around a bit, saw more Lodi shirts, unbelievable!! Bought two gallons of water, tried to find a small bottle of V8 but they only sell huge containers, tried to find a small package of Reeses (yes the choco shop triggered it!) but they only had huge bags, tried to find the yummy chips Robert and I had in New York in november, but couldnt find it. In the meantime I was getting headache, and I was stalked by a family with anoying kids who kept on screaming non stop, I was slowly going crazy! Then I found out their produce departement consisted of a shelf with half rotten apples, some oranges and mango, and that was it. Ok, yoghurt then.
NO yoghurt. I really was in a supermarket that didnt sell YOGHURT!!! There was only one big fridge filled with a lot of gallons of milk and, and cottage cheese.
I had to have something, so I picked up the cottage cheese and ran for the check out. Get out of this hell hole! Well, instant karma is gonna get you, right!
But it has to be said, the checkout girl was really friendly.
Outside we teamed up with Uwe who was really out of mood that the shop didnt sell local wine. In fact I think they didnt sell any wine at all.
He really, really, really wanted to have a bottle of local Lodi wine.
we looked around and saw the Target across the street, looked at WM once again and said "scheisse Walmart" :-D and went to Target.

It was an oasis of peace in there, wow! Not crowded, no screaming kids, just a very nice store.
And they had yoghurt. they actually had so much yoghurt it drove Pete Brown nuts, and we just had to laugh when he was going bazurk trying to figure out wich one to buy.
They also had local wine (sorry but really shame on you if you're a supermarket and you dont sell famous local products!) and they picked out 6 bottles.
In the meantime I was going bazurk in the cereal aisle, they must have had like 50 different cereals?? I had hoped to take some with me but I really didnt feel like reading 50 labels of information. But I had my yoghurt!
Checkout girl was very friendly also and her supervisor too, asked where we were from etc. Supernice locals in Lodi!!
While we were there, Robert had gone next door to Safeway (?) and they had loads of local wine too.
Now we were all really tired and ready to go home. And just so you know: WalMart Lodi sucks!

On our way back home we were all excited and singing along with the CCR songs. We sang LODI so loud the roof went off and it felt good. Hell yeah, Lodi!!!

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