Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Napa Vacation - Day 1

We welcomed the day with anxious excitement. Neither Don, nor I had ever been to that part of our country and we were excited to mark it off our list of places to see. Unsure of what to expect, we blindly packed the night before, guessing what to bring. At the last minute, I'd packed my newly purchased green hoodie (thanks Banana for the discounts! It's EXACTLY what I wanted for my birthday!!) and I was so thankful that I had. Immediately when we stepped out of San Francisco airport, I felt the bay winds. brrrrr...chilly dog!

The flight over was ok, but I was disappointed that there wasn't an in-flight movie. Oh well. We hit the ground running, immediately heading over to In-and-Out Burger for lunch. We had our burgers loaded and enjoyed the fries. The strawberry shake was your standard pre-mixed fare, I was unimpressed, but happy that we were able to eat something native to Cali. Anyway, off we headed towards Napa when the other car in our caravan signaled to us to let us know that they had to turn around to go back to In-and-Out to retrieve a rogue cellphone. While we waited for their round-trip, we had an impromptu photo session less than a mile from Candlestick Park. Since the Giants no longer play there, I didn't lament too much to not have the opportunity to catch a game, especially since they were on the road during our stay.
Anyway, when they returned, off we set on our journey. I wanted to read more of my book, but the scenery was too incredible, distracting me from her captivating words. I was especially excited when we passed over the C&H Pure Cane Sugar factory when we were going over one of the tolled bridges. MMMmmm...I love C&H and I fondly remember that was one of the brands that my mom used religiously as a baked good staple.

Then, there was this giant sculpture of a worker turning an old fashioned grape crusher (I'm certain there's a more specific name, but I don't know what it is) to welcome us to the Valley. It was quite lovely.
Then, we came upon a stop sign and encountered one of the most random trucks I've ever seen in my life. Yes folks, that's a giant piece of wood (or what remains of it) being used as a bumper.
First stop, Domaine Chandon. This was a sparkling wine place and the tasting included 4 different types to try. Since Primo is a member of their wine club, we were able to sit in the VIP section and really take in the luscious landscape. I'd wandered over to Etoile to check out their menu since we were going to be dining there on Thursday.

After some silliness, we left and headed over to St. Supery since it had been suggested to us by a friend of a friend. While we left unimpressed with their wines, we all seemed to enjoy their self-guided tour. (The only winery tour we would take during our stay.) They had these neat contraptions that when you pushed in, it would open a chamber that housed a specific smell that they used in their wines. I was especially taken back by fresh mowed hay. It wasn't at all what I was expecting. We passed on purchasing a bottle of wine, but I did pick up a really cute (and soft!) t-shirt for Mari.

There, we parted ways. Half of us were headed to Oakland, the rest to visit Peju, then check into our hotel. The drive to Oakland wasn't bad. I was INCREDIBLY surprised with the weather. I was wearing a 3/4 sleeved flowy top with shorts and flip-flops. I was very happy that we didn't load up our luggage with the other group because I was c-o-l-d! I was loving every minute of it, but I was just not prepared. Luckily, I threw on my jeans, sneakers, and hoodie. I wrapped my linen scarf (Thanks Gen!) around my neck and head and shoved my cold hands into my pockets. We walked up to the ticket counter and paid our $9 for the most inexpensive seats they had to offer. They didn't have any coupons or discounts and instantly I missed my Rangers. They ALWAYS have some sort of special going on. And if you are really lucky, there's usually a fan w/ extra tickets so you just need to get in the gate. We didn't have any luck in that department. No worries, though, I was going to be able to scratch off another stadium from my list. We walked in and I immediately recognized this cement slab as a football stadium, not a baseball stadium. Hmmm...I disregarded it, especially when we were passing the concessions. Each one themed after the beer they carried, and boy were there many types of beer to choose from, not just Coors or Bud. However, the food was EXTREMELY disappointing. My fish and chips were burned, and when I requested some that hadn't been sitting out for a while, the guy shot me a disdainful look and I immediately regretted my food decision. I should've stuck with typical stadium food of brats or dogs. *sigh* After walking around most of the stadium, we just threw up our arms and settled on a random section to sit in. It was off the 3rd base line, closer to left field than the infield. Well, no sooner were we taking a bite into our nibbles when one of the workers demanded to see our tickets. She explained we were in the wrong section and said we better get to our seats and if they caught us again, we'd be thrown out. HMPF. Two things: 1. EVERYONE in that section was kicked out. 2. That section remained TOTALLY empty the entire time we were there. Heck, most of the stadium was empty and I felt really bad for the players. No wonder the A's are in last place. Seems to me that they do have some die hard fans, but they certainly don't know how to welcome them with open arms to their park, nor do they treat them right. Yes, we paid for a cheaper ticket to the game, but with the amount we dropped on parking and concessions, well, let's just say that I didn't feel bad for squatting in a seat that wasn't being used at all. What a waste! We left at the top of the 5th and those of you who know me know that's saying something. I have no desire to return to that stadium ever again. Oh, and the other good thing about it was that Ada acquired a souvenir cup, but more on that towards the end of our adventure.


After the game, we headed to the hotel and settled in comfortably for the night. We laid out our clothes and set our alarms for an early morning workout before heading out for more tastings. Plus, we didn't want to miss the free breakfast, which was actually quite tasty for being a free quick breakfast.

Day 2 was even more delightful than the first one and I had enough distractions that I only welled up once at the thought of Mari. But I knew she was having a ball spending time with her Nana, so then I was better.

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