Friday, July 3, 2015

Pacific Coast Air Museum

The Pacific Coast Air Museum is located just south of Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport.

I first heard about the museum while researching things to do in Santa Rosa.

After the Charles Schulz Museum, it was an activity I was most looking forward to doing.
We went there on a Monday as we scheduled, but it turns out they are closed on Monday.

So we tried the next day and thankfully, it was open. From the outside, the building doesn't look like much, not impressive in the least – just a small building with a small sign and a door. No paved parking, just dirt and gravel.

An old warrior mans the front counter and accepts your admission of $10 (or in my case, $7 for being a senior citizen with I.D.). He off-handedly waved away my I.D. with a little grunt that I interpreted as "no need." Guess I look old and retired.

Off to the left is a room filled with glass cases filled with models of historic war planes, black-and-white and faded color photographs, airport dioramas, and plane parts. The walls are festooned with war posters and news articles, and familiar war planes hang from the ceiling. Squint your eyes and you can almost hear them screaming in attack dives on the enemy.

Then, you step through a door and enter another world outside, where dozens of real aircraft are parked in formation. It's an impressive display of wartime air power: prop fighters, jet fighters, helicopters, bombers, spy planes – all real-life versions of the model airplanes I used to put together when I was a youngster.

F-105 Thunderbird

Sikorsky H-34
Again, squint your eyes and you can imagine yourself flying into battle, tracer bullets streaking all around you in a deadly dogfight.

Grumman F-14A Tomcat

Northrup T-38A Talon

IIlyushin IL-14

F-SE Tiger II Tactical Fighter

UH-1H Iroquois (Huey)

McDonnell Douglas A-4E Skyhawk
Step back inside through a different door and you're in the gift shop, the old vet sitting at the counter, wondering if you're going to buy anything, and thanking you kindly when you step outside to return to the real world.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that everything in the exhibit room and the outside display area is identified, accompanied by little descriptions of the aircrafts' histories. Not all of the nonprofit group's planes are displayed. There are quite a number parked in covered "garages" beyond the fence.

For information on the museum's special events, you should visit their website:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Phone Pix 49: Bed, Bath and Beyond

Sometimes, while wandering around in a store waiting for the wife to spend my money and load up the debits on my charge card, I notice some pretty interesting designs on the shelves.

Such was the case when we visited Bed, Bath and Beyond in Fremont this past spring. Do any of these look familiar? Go check out the nearest BBB and see if you can find them:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Brad Pitt Ate Here!

You'd never believe it if I just told you that Brad Pitt (yes, THAT Brad Pitt) eats at Zippy's. So here's proof:

Brad Pitt bought one of those "HUGS Heart" cards, wrote his name on it, and taped it to the wall of the Zippy's Manoa dining room near the entrance. How nice of him.

What? What are you talking about? Sure, he did that. Lookit the card! It has his name on it. You mean ... you mean ... noooooo, it's real, I tell ya! REAL!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Azura Hotel in Santa Rosa

During our recent overnighter in Santa Rosa, we stayed at The Azura Hotel, located on Healdsburg Avenue near downtown Santa Rosa.

The Azura refers to itself as a "boutique hotel." Actually, it's more like a really nice motel with nice appointments and amenities. But believe me, it's not bad ... not bad at all.

First of all, it has a neat room card. You don't have to insert it in the door handle. Instead, you just turn the little design on the card toward the matching design on the door handle, and the door unlocks. This is the first of this kind that I've ever seen.

The bed is top drawer. It's thick and tall like the one I had recently at the Luxor in Las Vegas.

It's very, very comfortable and it delivers one helluva good night's sleep. And isn't that what hotel beds are for anyway?

Only one problem – it's hard to climb into or onto because it's so high. I almost had to do a running start. Once I got on, I didn't want to get off because of the effort required.

They have Illy espresso coffee and custom coffee brewer all filled with water waiting for you when you arrive, and a large bottle of Pellegrino sparkling water as well.

It's the first time I've been given a complimentary bottle of sparkling water.

The shower is weird. How so, you may ask? Well, for one thing, there's no shower door to close. A large glass pane fronts the shower, but only halfway. Why? Because the shower head is mounted ... well, not on the wall, but on the ceiling. It's large, and round, and the water falls on you like an overhead rain shower. The bathroom floor got slightly wet during my shower.

Hand wash, body lotion, shampoo/conditioner and shower gel are all in refillable pump bottles of the non-removable persuasion. They all have a delightfully refreshing aroma.

Nice room, huh?

Oh, and when I checked out, I wanted to pay in cash, but they don't accept cash. What? They don't accept cash? You heard that right. The office girl said they had an "incident" a while back so the owner instituted a credit card-only policy. She never explained "incident."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Kendall-Jackson Winery Flowers

As promised, here are more of the beautiful flowers (roses) that grace the grounds of the Kendall-Jackson Winery that we visited on a recent day-trip to Santa Rosa.




Now ... don't you think you should visit the winery the next time you're in California wine country?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kendall-Jackson Winery

The wife and I originally were going to visit wineries on the second day of our visit to Santa Rosa, but when we got to the Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa a half hour before closing on our first day there, they'd already shut down for the day. No, correct that, they're closed on Mondays.

So we visited the nearby Kendall-Jackson winery instead, wandered the grounds for a bit, and did some shopping in their tasting room gift shop.

The main building is architecturally beautiful, with nice appointments both inside and out:


Their gift shop is stocked with great logo gifts and Kendall-Jackson wines:

And finally, the landscaped grounds are full of beautiful plants and flowers:

I'll show you more flowers next time.

As for wine tasting, the wife and I don't imbibe. Besides, the tasting counter was filled with amateur oenologists carrying on deep discussions with the pourers.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center

The very first thing the wife and I did after an hour and 15-minute drive north from Fremont to Santa Rosa, the principal city in the Napa-Sonoma wine haven of the San Francisco Bay Area, was head for the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center.

Schulz, you remember, is the creator of the deeply loved comic strip, Peanuts, and its lovable characters – Charlie and Sally Brown, Lucy and Linus Van Pelt, Schroeder, Rerun, Peppermint Patty, Woodstock, and of course, everybody's favorite beagle, Snoopy.

We'd tried to check into our hotel room, but it was 'way too early. But I'd anticipated that, used the GPS on my iPad Air2, and confidently headed for the museum.

Oops, I missed the off ramp for the street I needed to get to (it came up 'way too fast), and I ended up miles too far north before backtracking. Thankfully, there was an off ramp coming and we soon got there. Good thing too. This was a Monday and if we went on Tuesday, the museum would have been closed. Adult admission is $10, but seniors 62+ and kids 4-18 are $5, with younger kids free.

Gotta tell you, it's mostly comic strips – in display cases and on the walls, with special rooms devoted to Alice in Wonderland, sports, nostalgic photographs and the like. There's even a children's room where kids can learn how to draw and color the Peanuts characters.

Was it worth the long drive and the $5 admission? Hell yes. Enjoy my photos: