Napa and Sonoma
with great friends! Healdsburg seemed tough to beat, but we knew our friends were arriving in sonoma before sundown and we woke up excited to get underway. We managed to squeeze in a coffee and an early morning wine tasting before leaving the square...but otherwise we were in a hurry.
We couldn't get to sonoma fast enough, and the bus was struggling for the first time since the clutch issue. We couldn't seem to keep the idle when stopping at lights, but I adjusted the timing and worked on the carbs and we sound much better now. Mostly, we were reminded that it's only when we are really eager to make plans and get somewhere that we have bus problems... so we are stoked to pull in the driveway and to have made it this far north before meeting our friends! Sadly, i still can't help but feeling like the engines on it's last leg and we're just hoping to make it home before something tragic happens.
We checked into a delightful rental a quick drive (or long walk) from the square and were thrilled when the cloudy/foggy days we've been having ended just in time for our northwest pals. Jen and i spent the afternoon soaking up the sun, watched a movie with dinner (to try and make time pass more quickly) and then heard them pull up out front around 10pm! Finally!!
We opened a local bottle of wine and caught up as they unwound from their work-weeks, and we eventually forced ourselves to go to bed in anticipation of a big tasting day early in the morning.
They rented a car, so we let E take a well-earned nap for a few days while we hit the valley. Kelly and Wendy had just been to sonoma not long ago, so we spent the day driving around Napa and the Silverado Trail. Most of the group (i'm the odd one) are fans of bubbly, so we went back and forth from wine tasting to bubbly tasting and made our way along from place to place on the north end of the valley.
It would be an understatement to say the valley treated us well. We had great recommendations from trusted friends, stumbled upon unknown places and only got turned away from one place (oddly the only one we had arranged a reservation at). We had an almost perfect day, and even lunch was "the bomb". When it seemed appropriate, we returned to the sonoma square for one more tasting and then back to the house for a much needed dinner.
The following day we packed up the vehicles and hit the trail again. The bus fired right up (we weren't sure after our idling issues and sitting for a few days), but i tweak the carbs a bit and add a hose to our breather tube. We started spitting a bit of oil from the breather tube on our drive in. It's never happened before and our engines always been pretty dry when it comes to oil drips, but we remember someone once saying we should/could put one end of a hose over the breather and the other end into a coke can. We get our mechanical work done before breakfast and follow Brock towards the Trail.
We spend the morning at another few tasting stops, but this time in the much heralded stag's leap area of napa. Wow. While we found a few hidden gems the first day, it seemed like every wine we tasted in this area blew away our expectations. A bit of a switch in the palette for a guy who loves oregon pinots, but these big cabernets are truly delicious. We all shared a picnic lunch in the sun outside the Grocery and then sadly returned to E to swap suitcases for wine case and say our goodbyes.
Luckily (if all goes well on the road) we will see them again in a few short days back home...but we all wish we could make the weekend last a bit longer!