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Letters: Gems of Santa Barbara County wine country

Also: Virginia City, Nev., water supply uses no pumps; Andrew McCarthy's travels in Ireland; pedestrian safety in foreign countries.

October 14, 2012

Regarding "It's Ripening on the Vine," by Christopher Reynolds, Oct. 7: As a visitor to the Santa Ynez Valley before the days of Indian gambling, before Neverland Ranch and before vineyards and wineries, I always thought of Solvang as the Danish Tijuana.

The original Hitching Post in Casmalia is a true gem. But it takes time and effort to get there. Your readers should be warned that just showing up without prior arrangements [especially on weekends] is a recipe for disappointment.

Bob Boyd

La Canada Flintridge

I was disappointed that Reynolds left out my favorite stop in Buellton, Firestone Walker Brewery. The ambience is fantastic, and there's an eclectic mixture of cowboys, ranch hands, businesspeople and tourists. The burgers are cooked perfectly, and the chili is awesome. They have a great beer sampler and local wines. My 15-year-old daughter enjoys the free pretzels and mustard served by the bar.

Kathleen Ocampo

Rancho Palos Verdes

Water works

Regarding "Meet Twain Territory," by Jay Jones, Oct. 7: Here's another unique aspect of Virginia City, Nev. Its water supply comes from the Tahoe Basin solely by gravity (no pumps).

Marlette Lake (above the east shore of Lake Tahoe) was tapped with a flume that carried water northward to a saddle in the Carson Range, then put into an inverted siphon (pipe) that traversed down the east side of the Carson Range, across the Washoe Valley and then up to Virginia City at its 6,200-feet elevation.

Marlette Lake is at 6,800 feet and the beginning of the "inverted siphon" around 6,500 feet. That leaves several hundred feet of static head to move the water without pumps. An engineering feat equal to the Comstock mines themselves.

Nevada has a history that is not widely known, except maybe to Sam Clemens.

G. Chapman

Santa Barbara

Irish aye

I enjoyed Andrew McCarthy's article "Optimism Is in the Air" [Sept. 30] so much that I went online and purchased his memoir.

Evan Hosie

Redondo Beach

Wrong-way lookers

One safety issue I've never seen discussed is the danger of crossing the street in countries where they drive on the opposite side of the road.

From the time we are born we are conditioned to look left first as we step out into traffic. This can have unfortunate results if you're in a place where you're looking left and a driver is about to nail you on your immediate right. Every year people are injured or even killed because of this.

Sadly the same concept works in reverse. Friends from Australia and Wales visiting here nearly got hit because they stepped out into traffic looking the wrong way.

Mark Anderson

La Jolla

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