California Wine Country Trip – Day 1 – July 21, 2016
When the alarm went off at 5:00 am, I hit snooze. Twice. My body is not used to, nor does it enjoy waking up early. And apparently, it was not pleased with the “pre-vacation Doritos” I ate last night. I’ll let your mind fill in the details.
Despite all my careful planning and (surprisingly) efficient packing the day before, we ended up leaving a half hour late. We slowed down to let The Girl out at Grandma’s with a quick “Hi” and “Bye” to the Conneticut contingency who were in to visit (sorry we mostly missed you guys, Max and Kathi). The half hour lateness really shouldn’t have been an issue (hooray for TSA PreCheck – no long line and no airport foot fungus!), but of course, there was traffic, so we OJ’d it from the farthest economy lot, onto the tram (where I changed out of my Birks into Bernie Mev’s in anticipation of the foot pounding), through O’Hare to Concourse C (yeah, the far one where you go through the trippy people mover walkway)…
…gate 29 (yes, the one at the very end) just in time to board with the rest of the elite group 1 and 2 passengers.
Between the Doritos Disaster and our rush, I didn’t have breakfast, so I got the cheese plate on the plane. It was actually pretty good – and there was Brie! I hope to eat something green later. I’m already getting a headache and feeling the need for veg and lean protein. Izzy, what have you done to me?!
I watched a couple episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on my phone (Hubs was watching the latest Star Wars on my iPad), and settled in for a nap. With an hour left to go, Hubs pulled out his reading glasses to play solitaire on his phone. I turned to see how he looked (they were new glasses). Oh, I wish I’d been faster to take a pic. My adorable Hubby of 11 years still had the stickers on each lens, and didn’t even notice when he put them on. Gotta love that man.
As we were starting our descent, someone sprayed something that smelled like bug spray. I was not amused. Seriously – who does that? Who sprays anything on an airplane? But, the best people story yet is about a couple… We were at the rental car counter, and the agent next to ours said, “I can help who’s next over here.” The next couple in line were watching some video on the man’s phone, giggling like crazy. The agent had to say something again. And again – louder each time. Finally, after cupping his hands and really yelling, they looked up, and said, “Oh, no, we’re going over here.” They thought he was with a different company. Once convinced that he could help them, they finally meandered over to the guy next to us, though the man couldn’t take his eyes off his phone. They were at least in their 50s. And, welcome to San Francisco.
We picked up our rental car – a cute little Prius. I feel so Cali in it. I do hope the parking spot isn’t indicative of what’s to come.
We took the long way to our hotel in Napa so we could cross the Golden Gate Bridge. The Waze lady was kind enough to take us through Golden Gate Park. Who knew there were buffalo in there? Not I. Once we crossed the bridge (Hubs was surprised at how long it was), we stopped at Vista Point for a few pics:
Then, it was on to Napa. Here’s a bit of awesome: We spent about two minutes on SR-37. That’s California 37. Of course, while on it, I cranked Train’s California 37 on the Prius’ stereo. LOVE!
As we got into Napa, we started to see vineyards all over. Rows and rows of soon to be delicious wine, still in fruit form. We even passed one that had a section clearly marked for Hess – a name I recognized.
And then, I realized that my headache was very possibly from what I thought were overactive allergies, but now I think is a cold. I really do hope I don’t end up wasting this experience by not being able to smell or taste properly. Not to worry – When we got to the hotel, we took off for the nearest market (for wine and beer to keep in the room, of course), and I hit the pharmacy aisle and armed myself with Zicam and Afrin. Oh, did I mention the budding cold sore? Happy anniversary to us.
Next, we headed to Downtown Joe’s for dinner. It’s a brewery and restaurant. Yeah – Hubs cannot exist on wine alone. Dinner was ok. Drinks were ok. There was a cheesy, but not horrible trio of singer/songwriters on the patio where we sat. But, we nearly came to blows with a dude smoking a cigarette JUST outside the patio next to our table. I’m an ex-smoker, so I get it. He wanted to have a cig, hear the music, and still drink his beer. But dude, I wanted to taste my dinner, not your smoky exhalation. I muttered something about it to our server, and she immediately went and asked him to move. As he walked back in towards the bar, he flipped me off. I felt kind of proud, in a weird, I-can’t-explain-it-sort-of-way. Moments later, he’d returned, just on the other side of the bushes from us. And he lit up a big, long, stogey. When I smelled it and turned around, he was looking right at me through his dark sunglasses. But, ha, joke’s on him… I didn’t mind the cigar smoke smell nearly as much as the cigarette.
A few minutes later, the hostess and some of the servers were trying to figure out if they could do anything about him, but he was outside of the restaurant’s property, and although he wasn’t supposed to smoke in the park, apparently the cops didn’t care. S’ok. I wasn’t loving my dinner anyway. I stupidly ordered fish and chips, and I felt so gross eating all that fried crap.
I did enjoy some of the signage at the brew pub:
We wanted to walk around a bit – downtown Napa is pretty cute, plus there’s the riverfront – but dang, it turns chilly here when the sun goes down. So, we hopped in an Uber and headed back to the hotel. Apparently, our driver had some raging B.O. (according to Hubs), but I couldn’t smell it. Thanks, cold. Tomorrow, Afrin to the rescue!