The climax of my recent trip to the Bay Area two weekends ago was a stop in Calistoga, a small town at the north end of Napa Valley which is famous for its natural hot springs.
We headed to Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort, a no-frills spa that offered a 1 1/2 hour, three-step treatment for a reasonable $90. Sal, the bath attendant, prepared the mud for us.
It was a first for me and Tim. The mud was a mix of local ancient volcanic ash, peat from Canada and natural spring water. Your body kind of floats in the stuff, which is heated to around 105 degrees. Once we were settled in, Sal smeared a mud masque on our faces, dropped cucumber slices on our eyes and laid a cool towel over our foreheads.
The only downside was showering the stuff off. I had mud in places I never imagined possible.
Next was a 20 minute dip in a mineral water hot bath. Mine was great, until my foot accidentally dislodged the plug at the bottom of the tub and drained most of the water. Sal was not happy.
The third step was a 20 minute nap under piles of sheets and blankets.
Afterward, we had lunch at a sandwich shop across the street. From left to right are Richard, Tim, Joey, David, Rod and Greg.
David is an old friend from NOLA who used to do communications for the Greater New Orleans Chamber of Commerce in the 1990s. He and his partner Joey moved to the Bay Area in the late 90s.
Richard is a buddy from San Diego who recently relocated to the Bay Area for work.