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Valley visit

October 7, 2008

I’m in one of my favorite places right now – the king size bed in the suite in Key West. I could be out tearing up the town, but I’m honestly content to sit in bed and enjoy the comfort of this place. I did go downstairs to the bar by the pool with my pilots earlier to have a beer and enjoy the nice evening, but I couldn’t be bothered to stay for more than one. My bed was calling. I was supposed to be in Canton/Akron tonight after doing Knoxville and Key West round trips. We made it to Key West and then had maintainance. Something about the right engine not starting. Thankfully we found it out in between flights so no harm, no foul.

Saturday I returned from one of the most pleasant trips I’ve had in a while. After driving back from Asheville on Tuesday, I met J at the airport and we flew to SFO. His parents picked us up and about 13 hours after leaving Asheville we were in J’s hometown, about 30 minutes north of Napa.

We spent the next few days drinking coffee, eating, meeting friends and family, and enjoying the beautiful valley. I got to see pictures of a pre-30s J, which really amused me. I was also able to hear stories and see the places and faces that were part of the stories I’ve heard for the last few years. Every morning we went to The Model Bakery in St. Helena, about 15 minutes down the hill from his parents house. Sometimes someone would meet us there. Sometimes we’d see people he knew passing through the bakery.

The towns in this area are quaint and beautiful. The scenery is breathtaking. The last time I was in Napa it was winter so seeing the vineyards starting to change colors was amazing. It’s crush time so the smell of ripe grapes was everywhere. I don’t know if it’s considered a wine country culture, but there were so many interesting things to see and learn being in an area like that. We visited the Castello de Amorosa winery. It’s a castle on a hill. I’m not sure all the history behind it, but I know it took 15 years to build and was pretty impressive. The wine samples were pretty skimpy, but it was good and the castle made up for it. I noticed that a lot of the vineyards had rose bushes planted at the end of each row. I need to figure out what that’s all about. I’m pretty sure it isn’t for looks.

Since I can’t very well visit northern California without enjoying some of Christine’s food, we made a visit to Concord. She never disappoints. We had lots of cheese, beef short ribs, polenta, and broccoli. I think even poor Scott with his squishy gums enjoyed it (he had major mouth surgery in July). We also visited the Concord farmers market and bought lots of fresh fruits and veggies. It was great seeing part of the California family. It’s been too long.

It was a great trip. Cali is starting to cool off. It rained a little the last day I was there. Hopefully it didn’t mess up the grapes that were still on the vines. It was nice not to work either job. Nice to sleep as long as I wanted. Nice to be driven everywhere I went. Nice to eat home cooking.

I’m off to bed. Not sure what’s going to happen to my schedule tomorrow since I was supposed to be in CAK all day… Stay tuned.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2008 06:59

    About the rose bushes…in the old days, roses were planted in vineyards as a canary-in-the-mine kind of precaution. Roses were so delicate that if a disease or pest came along, the roses would start showing the strain and the vine growers could take steps to protect their vines before it was too late. I have heard that it has become more form than function lately, but that’s the background. It makes for a pretty valley don’t you think?

  2. October 8, 2008 21:31

    It sounds as if I should go there and explore all the things you have seen…pure bliss I’m sure.

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