Road Trip #11: Jack London SHP

Coming out of our daughter’s quarantine from being in “close contact” with somebody who tested positive for COVID (another student in her class), we thought we’d take advantage of the weekend and head out for a short road trip. This week we chose Jack London State Historic Park, near Glen Ellen, as our destination.

Not far from home, and mostly freeway driving, we made it to the park in around an hour and a half, starting the journey with around 85% state of charge (our home charger is offline at the moment as we are getting it rewired as part of upgrading the central heating and water heater in the house to be electric heap pump systems – more on that in a future post).

The House of Happy Walls

We started out exploration of the park at the House of Happy Walls, which is now a small museum with an even smaller shop. Inside the house are selections of souvenirs the famous author and his wife brought back from their various trips, photo collections and even typewriters.

The house was built by Charmian London, and was where she lived after her husband passed away. Smaller than the Wolf House, which was Jack London’s dream home (sadly destroyed by fire a few years before his death), but with obvious similarities.

Jack London’s Grave

A short hike from the House of Happy Walls (or direct from the parking lot), is the quiet area in the woods where both Mr and Mrs London’s ashes were laid under a large stone from the ruins of Wolf House. Nearby are the graves of two children, David and Lillie Greenlaw, children of early California settlers from Europe.

Wolf House Ruins

A little further along the same path you come to the ruins of Wolf House. In the museum there is a model showing what the house looked like before the fire, but even in its ruined state, you can tell it was an impressive home. While all that remains is the stone work, some supported by concrete and metal supports to prevent it falling down, the size and grandeur of the property is still apparent.

The park has added a wooden stairway up one side and a walkway along one outer wall allowing visitors to see inside from above, as well as looking over what was once the reflecting pool in the center of the building.

It is heartbreaking to lose any home, but to lose one’s dream home that you have spent time bringing to reality, not to mention the collected artifacts of years of global travel, which in the late 1800s/early 1900s was nowhere near as simple as it is today, must be especially hard.

The Cottage and Surroundings

As you enter the park there are two parking lots, one left and one right. The Happy Walls House is at the end of the left side one, After a quick packed lunch on a partially shaded bench in the parking lot, we switched over to the other side of the park to explore the Cottage and the surrounding buildings.

The Cottage has work areas for both London’s as well as bedrooms for them and guests. A separate building houses a kitchen, complete with large wood burning stove and an ice box, and a dining room where they entertained.

Outside are several outbuildings with wagons from the era, as well as the remains of a winery. A little further away is the London’s pig farm (which we skipped because it was hot and the kids were both tired).

Glen Ellen

After exploring the park and draining our iced water and supplies, we dropped back down the hill into Glen Ellen and picked up some cold drinks, ice cream and other snacks. The small town looks interesting, but neither of the kids were keen on walking around it, and we were trying to keep away from crowded spaces, so we did not spend much time here. Planning instead to stop at one or two wineries on the return trip, assuming they were not too crowded.

Jacuzzi and Viansa

Along the route back home are two wineries we have visited in the past and liked both their shops and grounds. Jacuzzi was first, but we were unable to visit the patio at the back since they were in the middle of setting up for a wedding and had the area blocked off.

Next down the road is Viansa, another Italian styled winery sitting up on the hill with amazing views out over the vineyards below. Viansa was even busier than Jacuzzi, and also getting ready for a wedding (we even had to wait at one point while photographers took photos of the bridal party around the entryway to the winery. Since it was so crowded, we made our way quickly to the back to show the kids the view, and then back to the car for the drive into the city for dinner with their grandmother, then home.

Trip Stats

Even with only 85% state of charge at the start, we had no need to charge for this trip, with the final stats for the day looking like this:

Just under 134 miles total, and an average of 3.0 miles/kWh, which seems to be becoming the norm for our road trips. We ended with 29% state of charge (which I boosted back to 85% the next day at the local Electrify America, taking advantage of their complimentary sessions for the holiday weekend, although since my session was under 30 minutes it would have been free anyway under the Taycan’s charging plan – guess I saved Porsche some money 😉).

The Taycan is proving itself to be as much GT as sports car. Pulling out of winery parking lots into the traffic on the main road, the acceleration presses you back into your seat, but in Normal mode, it cruises happily along freeways, and is a joy to drive through the twists and turns of the smaller roads when we leave the freeway to explore more remote areas. That acceleration is still available on the freeway, and even more so if you punch it from a standing start.

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