I had some work frustrations the night before, and had to finish up in the morning. Thankfully, what I had been pulling my hair out over when I was tired and frustrated, was a simple fix, when I looked at it with fresh eyes. Harold ran down to the casino to get us some coffee, while I finished, then we went for a short walk to look out at the scenery and take some photos.
We crawled back down the hillside, and out to the highway. About a mile down the road, we passed the same walker with the stroller we’d seen last night. Did he even sleep? Or did he walk all night? I wish we could have stopped and asked.
That’s definitely something we’ve been comparing. The last time we were down the coast was on bicycles. You move so much slower and are so much closer to the scenery. You aren’t just cruising on by. It’s easy to stop and chat to people, or chat as you cycle alongside others. You feel like you are part of the landscape, rather than a viewer. Travelling in a truck towing a trailer, you can’t fit in anywhere and can’t just stop whenever you want. It definitely has it’s perks, but there is a cost.
We had a four hour drive and thanks to work, we left later than planned, so we were in more of a hurry than we’d hoped for. Of course, this isn’t a complaint, most people aren’t as lucky as us to be able to work on the road.
As the temperature crept up, we realized our air conditioning had quit working. Not such a big deal in the high 70’s, but it’s bound to be a problem when we get into the desert. In the meantime, we just opened the windows, all old-school, and it was quite a pleasant experience.
I signed us up to a club called Harvest Hosts before we left home. For $40 per year, you get access to a list of wineries and farms across North America, where you can park overnight, for no charge. You must be self contained and you are encouraged to buy something, to repay their hospitality. This is hardly a hardship, since we’d be buying the wine anyway.
Hopland, Ca, is situated in Mendocino County, an area known mostly for it’s Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir production, but there are very many other varietals grown there. The weather was perfectly warm, and the grapevines meandered up and down over the rolling hills, with vineyards one after the other, all down the road – such a beautiful area.
By the time we got to Jaxon Keys Winery, it was 3pm. We drove up, signed in, and were told to park anywhere down the hill, where we wouldn’t block access. We found a perfectly level area down in the vineyards, set up, and went back up to taste some wines.
They had 4 whites and 9 reds, which we could sample for $5 for 6 – the charge waived if we bought a bottle. We each had our own tastings, choosing different wines and, sharing them, so we could sample them all (She threw in the last one, and I was glad since it was my favorite). We were both thirsty so quite unlike our usual, we prefered the whites, especially the Sauvignon Blanc. The reds were good but only the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Syrah appealed to me. We purchased a chilled bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc and the Petite Syrah, then we went out to the patio where we had lunch, and drank our white, while we caught up on email and facebook.
An hour later we wandered back down to our trailer in the vineyard, where we sat out and let our surroundings inspire us, until they closed the winery and left us all alone there. The sun was getting lower in the sky, so we decided to climb up into the hills to get a better view.
The pathway was peppered with fresh scat, which we worried might be coyote, so we kept a close eye on Toonie. At home, when she smells them, she freezes and refuses to go further, so we relied on her better skills, and didn’t come across any wildlife, but the view was definitely worth the climb. Once back down, we sat out until dark, amazed we could be left here in this amazing place all alone, by ourselves.
When we went inside, I sat down to catch up on my blog while Harold made dinner. I needed to add some photos, so went looking for my camera, but we couldn’t find it anywhere. Eventually, we had to give up in frustration. I figured we’d find it in the morning.