Thursday night in Lodi is market night. We didn't know that. Without that knowledge, it's hard to find a place to park.
Eventually we do, finding a spot in a parking structure near the train station. This only leaves us three blocks from our dinner destination, the Lodi Beer Company.
It is more of a slog than we imagined, just trying to get through the throngs of people only to find a large crowd outside of the restaurant but, what the hell, I'll give it a shot.
It turns out that the people waiting are waiting for an outdoor table. We don't mind eating indoors so we are immediately seated.
A brew each, a burger for me, and the mac 'n cheese Letty's been dying to eat again since our last trip a few years ago for her and Tim. They pronounce it good but the portion is a little smaller than before and it's just not quite as exquisite as it once was.
Back up to the foothills for another quiet night by the pool, drinking a bottle of wine with a view of the vineyards it came from.
In the morning, we head home via Ione, another historic town. Letty and I had spent a lovely weekend getaway here years ago at a B and B called the Heirloom Inn. Today, it's strictly a wedding venue and the only lodging option here is the historic (read inaccessible) Hotel Ione.
The Ione Café, across the creek from the old Heirloom Inn, will take care of us this morning with a heaping pile of pancakes, bacon, and eggs.
Afterward, we amble through the sleepy downtown while dozens of cops and their supporters run through the town on a fun run. They've run from a nearby prison about 5 miles away. They stop here for a water and chat break at the Pizza Factory here before heading back.
Piling back in the van, we make one last stop in the nearby town of Lockeford and buy some of their amazing sausage.
It's so good, I even wait in line on the sidewalk over an hour to get some.
All's well in the end, though, now I have an ice chest full of a year's worth of sausage to take home.
Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
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