Our Wagonmasters - Art and Sandy Schipper, Joe and Maria Johnson – planned a great weekend for
the Chardonnay Travelers on March 20-23, at The Lakes RV and Golf Resort. The ten rigs who
journeyed to Chowchilla for this event enjoyed both the beauty of the park itself and the interesting
activities our hosts had arranged.
On Friday morning after breakfast, the gals gathered for a felted wool craft project taught by Carol
Kenyon. Carol provided all the materials needed, and we had our choice of making a glasses case or a
pincushion. Each completed item turned out delightfully different, reflecting the choices made by each
creator. Thank you, Carol. It was a fun project to do together!
That afternoon we visited the Golden Valley Farm & Cheese Factory, a family-owned farm in Chowchilla
which produces artisan sheep cheeses that are marketed to specialty stores in Los Angeles and San
Francisco. Mario Daccarett, the owner, led us on a tour through the farm which included barns housing
several hundred sheep, the milking shed, the wool shed, the lambing paddocks (where we saw new-
born twin lambs stand up to nurse) , and the cheese cellar. The farm is also home to free range
chickens, turkeys, and ducks, horses, Black Angus cows, llamas, and an emu. Following the tour, we
sampled cheeses and ice cream, then were able to buy some to enjoy at home.
On Saturday afternoon we toured the fascinating Forestiere Underground Gardens in Fresno. This
extraordinary underground home and gardens are the work of Sicilian immigrant Baldassare Forestiere,
who labored alone from 1906-1946 to hand-excavate a cool subterranean retreat to in order to escape
the summer heat of the Central Valley. He began by digging three rooms for himself, but kept
expanding this oasis throughout his life. Some of the rooms still contain his furnishings. Many of the
fruit trees and grapevines still thrive, and are over 100 years old.
Meals throughout the weekend were wonderful, as always. Our “welcome dinner” of spaghetti and
meatballs (featuring Maria’s secret sauce), salad, garlic bread, and ice cream was delicious. Yum! The
next morning a terrific breakfast buffet was provided by our hosts. Another yum! Friday evening we
had dinner out at Farnesi’s Steakhouse, where most of us ordered the reasonable all-you-can-eat tri-
tip/shrimp dinner. Saturday night Norm and Scott barbequed whatever meat we provided, and the
hosts supplied the side dishes of beans and assorted salads, with strawberry shortcake for dessert.
Following our get-away breakfast, we turned our RVs for home, having enjoyed another memorable