Monday, September 28, 2015

Day 17- Napa Valley

Last night Anna told me she would be getting up early to shower and get ready; since I showered last night, I knew as I laid in bed at 7:30am that I should probably get up and start packing. I am sure she is already in the shower, and I don't want to delay us any longer to getting to Napa! I crawled out, and started to pack things up and head to the bathroom; when I returned she was exiting her tent. Had she already showered and was reading waiting for me? I asked and seemed she hadn't showered yet; she headed for the bathroom to do so, and I continued packing. We checked out at the exit; and what that really meant was, no one was there so I erased my name off the reservation slip and placed it on the ground next to the ranger hut. We were trying to get a hotel room for Napa so we didn't have to worry about camping, and looking good for the wineries. Anna's mom had offered us a gift of a hotel room, and was looking on Groupon for good deals. Since it was so last minute, everything was already booked; and we would be arriving for the weekend which didn't help. First our plan was to take our time and see a cheese factory about an hour and a half into our drive, and also see the Elk if possible; now that I was trying to find hotels as I drove, our plans changed a little. We still planned to go to the cheese shop for lunch, but I was a little panicked about trying to find somewhere to stay. Service was spotty where I was and it was unreliable to try and call places to make reservations. My mom had ever so kindly offered to pay for the hotel room, and she called every place I looked up that would be in a reasonable distance to both Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley; though no where had rooms available. As I passed by a road, I noticed antlers sticking up from the grass; I braked, threw the car in reverse, and joined the groups of people and cars parked on a side road to watch the beautiful creatures. There was a male just 30 feet from the road, and then on the other side a few bucks and does; they were so cool. We stayed for a little while to take photos just outside the car, and then continued on our way. The service improved, and I found a couple hotels that were about 45 minutes outside of Napa Valley; my mom called for us while I was driving, and each one was booked. I was beginning to lose hope when she sent me a text that she got us a room for one night, but the second night was unavailable; at least we got one night! Rather relieved, we continued to the cheese factory when I received a call from my mom; seems when she called they had a room available for two nights and she was calling me to make sure that was what I wanted; I agreed. Tonight we would be sleeping in a bed, and tomorrow night too! We arrived at the cheese factory, and decided to check it out before drying our tents out in the sun; it was a quaint little store, and we were the only ones in there. We were advised to check out all of the samples, and the garden out back; my first request though was a restroom. After, the samples were delicious! We tried everything from cheese curds, to sharp cheddar, to garlic and spiced havarti. We split our sampling in half with a garden visit, and it was an adorable backyard garden. I could have had a nice cheese plate, some wine, and hung out back there for the afternoon! Walking back inside, we tried some more samples and then decided to each buy a brick of cheese; Anna got some crackers with hers too. As I was checking out at the counter, I looked up to see a signed poster of Guy Fieri; being a huge fan of the Food Network, I snapped a photo before leaving. Back at the car, we grabbed the trash bag full of wet tent contents and began to lay them out by the car in the grass. I noticed a bar going across and up to the power lines so I hung my footprint and rainfly over the bar to flap in the wind. I quickly organized my side of the car, and sat to enjoy my new cheese on a bagel along with a juice, and apple sauce. The sun felt great as I sat on my new camp chair next to the car. This was when I realized I don't think I could ever live in Oregon, or Washington; where the majority of the year, it is raining. Just two days in the rain at the Redwoods put me in a funky mood, and I could feel it lifting away as the sun touched my skin. We hung out there for at least a half hour or so to let things dry up before packing up. Hanging the tent didn't dry things any faster than the tent laying on the ground, I don't think. I stood there waving it around to try and help the process before it was 90% dry. We packed everything back up, and I asked Anna to drive the rest of the way to Napa Valley! I was hoping to catch up on the blog a bit, but that didn't happen. The scenery changed to more desertous rolling hills, with clusters of green trees placed like an artist from a painting. Slowly, before we knew it both sides of the highway were lined with grape vines. We were getting close! And then we hit a two lane road, with water on either side, and traffic. It was stop and go for quite some time before we were finally over the wetlands and the lanes opened up. It was around 4:00 when we arrived at the hotel for check in, I decided to just bring my whole suitecase up, along with my dirty clothes. We were on the 3rd floor, which was the top floor; and the sight of two queen beds, a bathroom, and air conditioning was heaven sent! I laid out on the bed and relaxed. We looked up wineries nearby, but they all closed at 5:00, and they would all take about 20-30 minutes to get to; oh well tomorrow is a new day. Instead, we looked up restaurants in the area and came across a nice Italian restaurant that surely would have at least a glass of wine at! We called to make a reservation (just in case) and hung out in the room for a little while before heading over to have dinner. We made reservations at Cakebread Cellars tomorrow for 11:00, and for Robert Mondavi after that; while also deciding on two more wineries that didn't require reservations. It was a short 5 minute drive, and seemed like any Italian restaurant I may find in Florida. The landscape outside was full of palm trees, and greenery, and inside seemed a little fancy; good thing I put on my fancy white jeans. We were sat at a table for two, and that is when Anna realized she didn't have her wallet with her, guess she wouldn't be having wine tonight. I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir from California, and the artichoke, vegetable, fettuccine; as we sat enjoying the overly garlic dipping oil with bread. I was eyeing a younger waiter that was tending to a large party nearby, as we caught eyes; we both smiled. Anna and I were the youngest in the restaurant by at least 20 years, seems people in their 60's and 80's come to Napa Valley. Somehow, I managed to drip oil on my left thigh leaving a faint yellow stain. My napkin was draped over my right thigh since I eat with my right hand, how it was dropped on my left side is beyond me. I placed my napkin in my water glass, dabbing it on the stain, hoping to help the removal process. Our food arrived and we both agreed our dishes were, good; but not great, they seemed to be missing the "wow factor" but we couldn't pin what that may have been. Upon waiting for the check, the younger waiter and I caught each other in glimpse here and there. I settled up the bill, and Anna claims he watched me the whole time as we exited. Tell me, what is the point of this game of staring back and fourth and not one word is said? It was nothing more than amusing I suppose. Deciding to stop at Walmart on our way back to the hotel for a Tidestick was practically a waste of time. Seems they did not have any Tidesticks in stock, so I got some other kind of stain removal for white clothing before arriving back at the hotel. I gathered all of my dirty clothes, and a few of Anna's she accumulated; and headed to the second floor for the laundry facilities. Threw in a load, and headed to change into our swim suites to hit up the pool and possible the hot tub. We looked down the hall from the gym, no pool; we walked the other way, and nothing? Where was this pool? Then the thought hit me, maybe it wasn't an indoor pool? And then I saw the exit door down the hallway and the pool, well; maybe the hot tub is sounding better and better. Since we were in Napa, I wanted to finally take off the chipped and small reminisce of gel nail polish left over from weeks ago, so I had previously picked up nail polish remover. I sat in the hot tub and rubbed the polish from my nails, but nothing came off. I scrubbed and scrubbed, but still nothing; I had to sit there picking it off my nails what a pain! It was a gorgeous night, and even better; sunset. When it was time to switch the clothes into the dryer, we got out of the hot tub and decided to go back to the room to wait for the clothes to dry. Anna decided to blog, but I couldn't make myself; I laid in bed listening to music instead until the clothes were done. I listened to music in bed before drifting off to sleep, dreaming of wine country in the morning.

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