Brunch Run to Lake County - Saturday, August 4, 2012

Story and photos by Mark and Joan Campagna, Redwood Region members

The day was grey and overcast as the first Club members pulled into the parking lot and headed towards the Starbucks in Healdsburg's Vineyard Plaza Shopping Center. Half an hour later, our introductions done, our drivers' meeting under our belts, and - thanks to Kurt - one freebie answer in our hot little hands for our "Fact or Fiction" contest, our 26 cars were on their way. Today's run would take us valley-hopping across some of the area's most lovely scenery, from Healdsburg in Sonoma County to the Rob Roy Golf Club on Cobb Mountain in Lake County.

We started north on Healdsburg Ave., stopping to regroup there before turning east onto Alexander Valley Road. this is why we are in this Club! Slowly the road began to rise, houses began to drop away, hawks flew overhead, and glimpses of nature in the full bloom of summer slid by the roadside. Continuing onto CA 128, we crested the mountain and began a gentle descent to the floor of Alexander Valley. Right where CA 128 pulls a 90-degree turn is a local landmark, The Jimtown Store, known far and wide by fans (authors included) of Guy Fieri's Food Network show, Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. It's a restaurant as well as store. Great brisket sandwich!

The valley floor, as always, was awe-inspiring. We made our way south on CA 128, passing grape vines bursting with fruit, their long tendrils reaching out and beckoning us to claim the moment. Graceful manses from days past dotted the gold and green fields. Everywhere you looked, nature had provided. One cannot pass along these roads without a deep sense of homage to all we have inherited.

A left onto Tubbs Lane and we began to rise again. Around us stood giant green sentinels mutely passing the decades, a stark contrast to the sleek Porsches straining to cut loose below their branches. We passed Old Faithful Geyser, one of three geysers in the world with the designation "old faithful". Thanks to our run hosts, Bob and Anita, we would hear more about geothermal power at our first Lake County stop of the day, at the Calpine Geothermal Visitor Center in Middletown.

Bob, it turned out, had worked on this Calpine project, and as we gathered around a large turbine in the Visitor's Center courtyard, he briefly explained how the phenomenon works - and that power derived from this source is 99.5% green. Note that several of the questions in our "Fact or Fiction" contest came straight from Bob's talk.

Continuing north, we were welcomed at Club member Glenn Marks's place in Hidden Valley, where he graciously provided us with our first bio-break: finger food, beverages, and time for another group car photo in front of those sleek metal horses we love to ride. Relaxed and refreshed, we headed out to the next spectacular vista.

A right onto County Road 219/Pt. Lakeview Road had us hugging the ridgeline on the southwestern edge of Clear Lake.  Though the ravages of recent fires have been visible on the drive, so also is the regeneration of the land. For several miles, we twisted and turned along the ridge, heading inland again with a left onto CA-281E/Soda Bay Road and continuing south along Red Hill Road to CA-175E and our destination, Rob Roy Golf Club in Cobb, CA.

At a 3,000 ft. elevation, the 9-hole course itself is flat and walkable, a local gem surrounded by the beautiful Mayacamas Mountain Range and Cobb Mountain. We parked our cars on the lawn in front of the clubhouse and, after a few more pictures, proceeded to the function room of the Creekside Grill for some well-deserved refreshment.

As promised, a fajita buffet awaited us: bowls of green salad, rice, beans, chicken and steak...not to mention a killer Bloody Mary that, rightfully observed, could be a meal itself. Once the dining was underway, Bob MC'd the "Fact or Fiction" contest and handed out trophies to the winning entries. But...truth be told - trophies aside - it was a day where all were winners. How could it be otherwise when we are blessed to have the time and resources to spend a day streaking through the beauty of nature in machines of equal beauty? 


geothermal energy

Bob shares some knowledge about Calpine, the largest producer of geothermal energy in North America


Club members get seated for a nice brunch at Creekside Grill     

Twenty-six Porsches

Twenty-six Porsches lined up for a perfect photo opportunity