Thursday, August 26, 2010

Road Trip Recap Part I - Peaches, Wine, and Douchebags

Am I the only one who needs at least a week to recover from a vacation, no matter how short?  I've been such a bum since returning from our trip on Monday night!  But I have unpacked my suitcase, which is a huge step considering it usually takes me at least two weeks to fully unpack.

Anyway, our road trip was a huge success.  We left Seattle last Thursday at 6:30 am.  We had plenty of tasty snacks to satisfy our road hunger (do any of you get ravenous on road trips?) - veggies and hummus, several bags of Pirate's Booty, and unlimited supply of Trader Joe's roasted seaweed snacks, and trail mix.

The drive down was a breeze, with no traffic except for a brief slowdown in Portland.  We made it to my uncle and aunt's ranch in under 13 hours, and that's with plenty of stops at rest areas to pee and stretch our legs.

Michelle and The Scientist (representin' in his Sounders FC jersey) 

We arrived at the ranch as the sun was starting to set.  We picked the last of the peaches off his peach trees (We picked so many that I've been eating at least 3 a day and we still have enough to make at least two pies).

Check out all those peaches on the ground! There were tons more in the trees, too.
Nico and The Scientist playing an inning of Peach Ball

After dinner we headed over to the house in Petaluma where we would be staying.  The next morning we woke up to sunny skies and our plan was to head into wine country.  But first we stopped at one of my favorite spots in Petaluma, Della Fattoria, a delightful restaurant and bakery.  We got some sandwiches to go, along with a loaf of their famous bread, and headed toward Sonoma.  

First Winery - Cline Cellars

The Scientist and I frequently drink one of their Zins ($8.99 at Cost Plus!) so we wanted to see where the magic happens!  The grounds were beautiful, the staff was welcoming and friendly, and the wines were delicious!  We bought 3 bottles, Nico and Michelle bought 4.  And to our happy surprise, the tasting was complimentary even before we made our purchases (tastings at most wineries are $10-20 per person, but that is typically waived IF you buy a bottle).  

Nico and The Scientist at Cline

 The lovely grounds

After Cline, we had planned on heading further north to the Alexander Valley, but the people at Cline recommended we head across the street to Jacuzzi.  Jacuzzi specializes in Italian varietals, whereas Cline specializes in Rhone and Zinfandels, so we happily crossed the street to get the contrast to what we had just been drinking.

Second Winery - Jacuzzi

We had a fantastic time here.  Their tasting room is huge and is also complimentary!  Not only that, but it was unlimited tastings.  The staff here was also extremely friendly and our visit was really positive and lively. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time here.  They also have an olive oil tasting room with countless flavored oils and vinegars.  We bought a bottle of wine and a bottle of white balsamic vinegar (which was so, so tasty).

Nico and his new friend

Michelle, The Scientist, and Myself
After this we drove through Sonoma and headed up north a bit.  Michelle had a guide book to wineries that were off the beaten path, so we picked a couple of them to visit.  

Third Winery - Kaz

Kaz was...interesting.  It's a small family run winery specializing in organic grapes and organic production processes.  Unfortunately, I'm not a huge fan of organic wines.  Without the added sulfites, the wines are just too acidic for me.  The wines were ok but not my favorite.  We still had a great time here, though, because the grounds are basically the family's backyard.  It has a really funky vibe and is pretty much exactly the type of place The Scientist and I would consider for our wedding someday.  

The Scientist and Nico playing some lawn game in the backyard

 Lotus flower in the Koi pond

 Adorable gargoyle.  He was about a foot tall.  So cute!

Fourth Winery - Mayo Family Reserve Room

This was the last winery we visited and we chose it because they stay open until 6:30 (most other wineries close at 5).  The Reserve Room is known for it's wine and food pairings, but that's only during the day so we didn't partake.  The chef, however, was still there pouring the wines for our tasting.  I don't know what we did or what we said, but this guy was the most pretentious asshole I've ever met.  First of all, his name is Maxwell Porter-Elliott.  The only way that name could get any more douchebaggy is if you added a roman numeral to the end.  Secondly, the guy is only in his late 20s but treated us like children.  Thirdly (thirdly? is that even a word? it sounds so weird...), the four of us love to cook.  The food menu looked AH-MAZING.  So naturally we wanted to talk to him about it.  Michelle was curious about one of the items on the menu so she asked how it's made.  His response?  "Even if I told you, you wouldn't be able to make it." that a challenge, Maxwell Porter-Elliott the Fourth?  I ACCEPT.  Seriously.  What a douchebag.  He made several similar comments throughout our time there, and even though the wines were wonderful, his attitude pretty much tainted the experience.  But it also provided us with excellent fodder for jokes and conversations throughout the trip.

We finished off the day with some delicious Mexican food and headed back to the house.  I think we were in bed by 10:30 that night because we were so beat from all the sunshine and drinking.  

This post is getting long, so I'm going to split this out into a few parts.  Stay tuned for Part II - San Francisco!


  1. This is like my dream road trip. Only thing missing are the strippers.

  2. 1. something about being in the car immediately creates the need for snacks
    2. I love that blue top you are wearing in the picture
    3. I love how you called out Mr. Porter-Elliott-- you're hilarious :)

  3. Sounds like a fun trip....except for the douchenizzle of course.

  4. haha, i love adding roman numerals to the names of people i dislike! it adds that certain extra douchery that fits them so well. i'm sure mr snootynose pretentiouspants the third would agree.

  5. White balsamic? I have never tried that. That sounds amazing.

    And what a douchnozzle of a chef, what is that about? I would imagine that, oh I don't know, since that is his trade of choice, that he would be excited to talk to you about his menu. Ridiculous.

  6. Oh it all sounds so wonderful! So any out of those 3 I must visit? I'm counting down the days!...Although we'll only be in Sonoma for 1 day.

  7. Oooh! Wine tasting! How fun! Looks like you had a good time. And your description of the snotty 20-something tool is priceless. :)

  8. I'm surprised you remember all of this - that's a lot of wine tastings!!! Great pictures - can't wait for part 2!

  9. @Barfly - Stick around for part two. There are definitely strippers.

    @Sabrina - What is the deal with that? I was eating non stop the whole trip and STILL felt hungry! That shirt is actually a dress! A super comfy and soft jersey knit dress. :-)

    @KT - At least he was serving us alcohol while being a douchenoozle! Otherwise I may have punched him.

    @Alice - Ha! I always think of the episode of SATC where Samantha says "The higher the roman numeral, the worse in bed."

    @Erika - The white balsamic was wonderful. It had all the flavor of balsamic, but was REALLY smooth. I was drinking it like juice! And yeah, you would think he would want to be just a bit nicer to his customers.

    @Nikki - I would recommend Jacuzzi. It looks like a Tuscan villa and the wines are delicious. It also didn't have that snobby wine attitude. But there are SO many wineries down there, it's always so hard to choose!

    @Betty - We had such a good time! I love wine tasting. I'm glad my description amused you. :-)

    @Becky - Haha, yeah. We had quite a bit of wine that day! I probably wouldn't have remembered if I hadn't written it down. Luckily Nico was our Designated Driver that day!

  10. Sounds and looks fun, who doesn't love a good road trip?!

    LOVE the Sounders Jersey!!! We are huge fans:-)

    P.S. I've prob been at Purple or barrio when you're there, we love those places here in Bellevue

  11. The title of this post is one of the best titles ever. I love it. And I love the story. Except for the douchebag. You have to think, though, that's it's much worse to BE him. You get to walk away. :)

  12. @Tamara Nicole - He actually got several comments on his jersey on the way down! Glad to know people appreciate good football :-)

    @Lemon Gloria - Excellent point! He has to live with his douchebaggy self 24/7. Sounds like a miserable existence!

  13. What a lovely time with good friends ... great weather ... magnificent experiences! I'm with you - I hate unpacking from trips and always need at least a day (or five) to feel like I've caught up!

  14. OMG! I am so, so jealous! I am in love with California and love wine, so this sounds like the best time! Thanks for commenting on my blog, I appreciate it! I am going to subscribe to yours as well! Can't wait to read more of your adventures in Seattle (which is on my top 5 places to visit in the US list, by the way!) !

  15. Thanks for the recommendations! I love pretending I'm in Italy. I do it often ;)

  16. Love doing the wine tour thing!!! What fun!
    (And Peach Ball looks like fun too...:)
    I always get bummed after a super's normal. Just think of the next place you can helps!

    Nice pictures....Like your blog!
    Happy day,

  17. Very fun! road trips with friends (and lovas!) are the best. Yes, I do get ravenous on road trips. Mainly because I could eat all damn day if I let myself and situations where I get bored are never good for that :) I love that peach picking and the "peach ball"- what a good, ol' fashioned summery event- seriously. Sounds like the basis for a movie in the 60s or something! LOVE all the wine tours. Wine tasting is ever so much fun, great wine and snacks... beautiful landscapes and photography opps. I love it! I am ready to read the second half!

  18. @Nilsa - It really was a great time, and our traveling partners were the best. I think the unwillingness to unpack stems from denial. If I don't unpack, then I'm still on vacation! :-)

    @northonthe5 - Wine country in northern California is fabulous. If you haven't been, you should go! And definitely come to Seattle soon, we have great wine here, too!

    @Nikki - Haha, I often pretend as well :-)

    @Dawn - I've definitely been dreaming up my next vacation!

    @Caitlin - Hmmmm, I think you're on to something. It would be such a fun movie! I'll have to think about who would play me...

  19. How do you even remember all this, that's a lot of wine!

  20. hello from the [Life of Meg] Mingle Monday, sounds like quite an adventure ... great kick off to your road trip!! HHL

  21. Catching up at last! Man, this sounds like such a fun trip, and I'm jealous of all the winery visits. (Although, I live so close to SO many wineries, so I really have no excuse for NEVER having been to one.)

  22. @Krysten - It was a LOT of wine! But I have pictures and wrote some stuff down. And saved the receipts! :-)

    @High Heeled Life - It was a blast! We had so much fun with our travel buddies.

    @Tabitha - You are SO close to all those fabulous wineries. Los Olivos is such a fun place the spend the day :-)

  23. Ah, your trip sounds like fun! I love Northern California. Maxwell-Idiot-Porter sounds like he needs a kick in the arse. stat.


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