After staying in a literal parking lot just outside of San Francisco, it felt good to camp at the Napa Expo Fairgrounds. Lots of space, grass, warm sun, and plenty of places to walk the dogs. Since Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is in nearby Vallejo and San Francisco is only 1.5 hours south, Napa seemed like a good spot to stop for a week. Since we liked the campground so much, we extended the stay to 10 days to give us time to be tourists, do our chores, and have some time off.
Our first stop was Six Flags Discovery Kingdom for our roller coaster fix. This is a much smaller park then the ones we’ve been to and only had a handful of coasters. Since we were there on a Friday in the “off” season, the park was very quiet. There were students here on a school field trip but even they didn’t add much to the crowds. We would wait maybe 5-10 minutes and that was for the front seat of the coasters.
They only had five open coasters at the park, we opted out of Boomerang but rode the other four. Roar is the classic wooden coaster and to our delight, we really enjoyed riding it. We’re never sure what to expect with wooden coasters, but this one had the classic bumps, shakes, drops, and turns without rattling all the teeth in our heads. Kong, their suspended coaster was quite a disappointment. It’s old and doesn’t have the thrill of most suspended coasters. The turns and inversions are way too tight, it’s bumpy, and you spend a lot of effort trying to keep your head from banging around. Superman was a lot of fun and has an interesting start where the ride needs to build momentum, so it launches you forward, backward, then forward again. Medusa is their floorless hypercoaster which we always enjoy.
The park used to be Marine World before it was bought by Six Flags, so it still has a very strong animal theme. We saw dolphins, sea lions, giraffes, elephants, a tiger show, and other animals. Unlike the San Diego Safari Park though, the small quarters for the animals here make us a bit sad.
Due to the small crowds, we were finished in just three hours and headed home pleased with our visit and our season passes. We won’t be hitting another Six Flags until Chicago so this will have to hold us until then.
We thought about checking out some Napa wineries because hey, Napa! However we found that most wineries now charge around $20 for tastings which are not included in most tours. While Mike and I enjoy drinking wine, our palates are not refined enough to justify expensive wines and we didn’t want to spend a lot on wine tastings if we’re just as happy with our cheaper box wines. Instead we took Max and Opie to Alston Dog Park which contains a nice dog park and some good hiking trails for Opie to explore. We also took Opie to Westwood Hills Park, a small city park with some great views of Napa and meandered through the trails there.
My college friend’s children really wanted to see our RV, so they drove up to visit us while we were in Napa. We met them at the Oxbow market where the farmers market had just opened for the season. We bought some fruits and our first RV plant, Thai basil. It has a little while to grow before we can harvest the leaves but it’s nice to have a plant in Rover. If it works out, I may end up getting even more herbs to grow. Oxbow Market is fun to walk through but it has a lot of (what I label) frou-frou foods: all flavors of bitters, italian pastries, chocolate wine sauces, expensive cupcakes and coffees, etc. I did really like the prawn taco for lunch but $9 for one small taco (no sides) is a bit pricey. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Oxbow Market, but it’s no Reading Terminal Market.
After Oxbow, we hung out by Rover while the kids had a blast with the dogs. Max got a nice brushing while Opie got to play ball and chase a very energetic boy around. A fun time was had by all AND we had a tired Opie by the end of the day which is a bonus.