Ok, I literally just felt my way through the dark to find the laptop, tripped and cursed, then tried to take the cord out of the wall discreetly and knocked everything over by Rane’s nightstand, to which he jumped a mile, and I felt bad. But if I don’t blog on yesterday I might forget!
We woke up and went to a delicious and abundant breakfast buffet in the restaurant hooked onto the hotel. They had dry goods and pastries, some fatty sausages/bacon, and the usuals of little potatoes, french toast, etc. Their cheesy omelet in the chaffer was riddles with tomatoes, chives, and sides of Tabasco. Why do I not cook breakfast more? Before the guilt sets in, I’m sitting down eating.
Side note: If you book a hotel or B&B, I highly encourage Booking.com. We got our place for a deep discount PLUS a free possible upgrade in room (which happened!) and free deluxe breakfast every morning. Booking.com Try it!
I wore a shirt dress type frock (ha) with spandex and tank top underneath. Thank the Lord Almighty I brought my hoodie. It wasn’t cold, but there was a wee chill in the air and sleeveless would’ve looked way out of place. I didn’t get to wear it like it was Florida, but the NorCal weather now is like Alaska summer weather. Don’t go far without a layer or two?
We stepped on our tour shuttle to meet 5 couples. All above the age of 50, all of them were kind, funny, and mellow people. Two couples were best friends and on their 35 year anniversary, two couples were travel junkies (and probably more around early 70?) from South Carolina, one was a Christian couple from Chicago on their 25th anniversary, and the last couple was picked up after us. They were our age, on their 10 year anniversary, and have a sweet 2 1/2 year old at home. They were all a hoot and we got peppered with Alaska questions… Rane and I are used to that when we go anywhere so we felt prepared :)
The best friend couples reminded me of Aunt Heidi and Aunt Sari. Rane concurred. Spunky, fun bartender lady with rockin’ hair that talked about looking like a circus tent, but insisted we were best friends… she was the first to get tipsy. Aunt Heidi. The other friend wasn’t quiet, but not outgoing, and although she was opinionated, you just kind of loved that about her? Aunt Sari. Their husbands were great talkers, great convo, and made me laugh a lot.
The South Carolina couples spoke to me in bits throughout the tour. One of the sisters whispered how she’s been with the other sister for too long on this trip and it was time to go home (LOL). They didn’t sit by each other on the bus, but that’s what tours are for, meeting new people. They all did an Alaskan tour previously and they said it was their favorite. Their accents are MY FAVORITE. No y’all’s really, no hard twang or highs and lows of pronunciation. It’s very romantic. (I love all accents btw. but this took the cake.) Wehll, ahh do be-lieve it wuhzz vary niuhss and haad a nephew from Shawlette.
The tour started and everyone was friendly. Our driver is the owner too, he was really upbeat and fun (well ofcourse, right?). Our first winery was a dream, my dream really. I grabbed the wrong cable so I can’t upload my camera on the laptop (the whole reason we brought this hunk of garbage in the first place). I’m bitter. But anyways, it’s a hobbit hole, with cobblestone, stone steps, a wooden whimsy door, and big wooden doors to open up the storage for the barrels. The winery host did an excellent job and we were on cloud 9. Fieldstone Winery had a notable cabernet, maybe our favorite of the day, but we ended up with a petite syrah, which Rane and I both liked. None of us spit in the bucket, but instead drank what we wanted and poured the rest out. (By the end of the trip, we had a very, very mild buzz).
Next stop was J. Rickels Winery. It was rustic and smaller, but not THAT small. Again, the host was gracious and took us through their “flight” of wines. This one was a gem in my opinion. The first two were my favorite. Obviously the first one screams Kasi, but the second one felt like your relative’s winery. Just a rustic homey place. They farmed what they could handle in order to produce the best quality wines. It reminded me of spending the summers in Washington and watching my boisterous French uncle clean his pool and trim the hedges around his yard. Just waking up smelling the adults drink coffee in the other room and feeling loved. Omfg. That almost made me cry. ANYWAYS. We bought the most wine here, thank GOD we did. It was good.
Side note: Dea hates wine. She doesn’t do it. So she said, bring back chocolate. They have a very sweet, delicious dessert wine. It’s a smaller thin bottle. They dipped the whole bottle in chocolate a few times, then swirl chocolate around it for a cute look. It’s wrapped in plastic and a bow, so when you unwrap it, the chocolate falls off into the plastic and then it pairs with the dessert wine. SO both of them can enjoy it! MIND BLOWN! Bought. Also bought one to share with my besties on my birthday :) (A plain bottle, I’ll buy my own chocolate).
We ate a little lunch. Rustic bread, cheese, fruit, and a killer quinoa salad. Good to soak up booze (plus they put water in front of us every 5 minutes). Sat across the Carolina’s and just listened.
Side note: All the wineries shipped for a fee and you can join a club to get their wines regularly. BUT Alaska Airlines ships a case (two total for Rane and I) for free. Free. Free. Free. from Sonoma Country or any west coast wine country area (WA and OR too).
The next winery was UPTick. I did not like any wines at this winery. I did love the host and the setting. All these wineries were on vineyards ofcourse (tour!), but this was panoramic gorgeous. I got so mad and went BAHH when I realized I didn’t take any panoramic shots! When Rane asked, what’s wrong? I told him and we went BAHH!!! It was like… too beautiful that it made me forget. I will let you google UPTick, but it has the most soul and meaning. In a way it’s a memorial for the owners friends. He worked hugely on Wall Street in NYC and was very successful. He lost a lot of friends on Sept 11th, 2001 and then sold his stock, moved to the Dry Creek area, and now has a successful, clean, modern winery.
Side note: An acre in Napa costs $1 million. No. Joke.
Our last winery was Vizlay Winery. It was like J. Rickels, smaller, farm-y, but still beautiful vineyards you’re sitting in while you get the flight. The daughter of the place gave us our last tasting. It was excellent wine. We bought two Chardonnays. We were sure we hated them, but this was full creamy, buttery flavor. She also gave us a “future” (not bottled or sold yet) of their first zinfandel from the tap (a huge hopper with a spout)! It was very delicious. They had a Five Wine, that was bordeaux style. It had grapes from malbec, cabernet, and I forgot the other three (but wrote them down).
It was a nice day. I was sad and not ready for it to end. From 10am-5pm if you feel that way on any tour… it was a GREAT tour. The day ended with getting lost in the dark and getting stressed out, then being fine and eating anywhere. The food was horrible, but the place was big a gimmicky and fun to be in. But the food was horrible. So we went to the hotel’s fancy place and had dessert. It cleansed the palate and we were happy again hahaha!
Now it is the morning of ziplining the Redwoods! I’m excited. I’m excited to buy souvenirs for friends and family. I’m excited to finally eat In-n-Out burger. I’m excited to trade the wrong size bra for the right size, but I’m still happy bc I get to visit VS again. But now, I need to shower and then go eat some breakfast! THAT I DIDN’T MAKE!
Side note: We do not have the money to be here much longer. It’s like Vegas. As much as I’d like to stay longer, it seems wise that we were heading home tomorrow. Trying not to think about it too much and just focusing on beautiful Redwood pictures! :)