Spent a fantastic trip going down the Oregon Coast to Napa and Sonoma Valleys, and back again up the Oregon Coast - awesome! It was like a honeymoon!
We drove from Vancouver, Canada down through Chuckanut Drive, Widbey Island and down to Portland - over to a place called Seaside, Oregon - stayed at a great motel called Ebb Tide right on the beach there - woke up and strolled the beach - awesome 500 feet deep beaches, with virtually nobody on them
Stopped in at the Sea Lion Caves, and the Devil's Churn - great spot to watch waves catapaulting in the air as they hit huge rocks - the Oregon Coast goes from deep deep beaches to headlands with huge waves crashing, to sand dunes with grass and miles of sand inland - its 400 miles of gorgeous scenery every mile!
Went for oysters at Winchester Bay - they have a triangle in the river mouth where they "make" oysters, and then they are taken to the place where we went, where they come in on a conveyor belt, and the lady shucks them and hands them to you - it couldn't get any fresher! I liked it so much I went back later on in the trip as well.
My impression of California was 6 lane expressways, so I was surprised to drive a stretch of road that was the windiest, lonliest, craziest that I've ever driven - my girlfriend came THIS CLOSE to throwing up! I went for a stretch of over 30 minutes where my hands didn't stop moving, turning, turning, back the other way, up around a curve, back the other way, etc. Came out on the way to Fort Bragg, Mendocino Coast as it got dark - very happy to stop driving!
The next day we drove into an area called the Anderson Valley - and at a Mexican food place, saw that there was a three winery tasting store next door. We had driven by wineries, but I had never heard of them, so assumed they were small potatoes, and we're headed for Sonoma/Napa anyways. The lady at the tasting store says "You're into wines and you've just driven through the Anderson Valley? Go back 20 miles and go here, here and here!" On top of the three wineries we sampled at her store, we went back to GoldenEye - which is Duckhorn's Pinot Noir label (who knew?) and went to Roederer - which makes Cristal Champagne - and also a white wine maker called Navarro - sort of a US Blue Mountain, where they only sell to restaurants, but have won all sorts of awards - ended up with a Chardonnay and a Gewurtztraminer from there - the lady had told us about camping down the road, so we stayed there in awesome 90 degree heat in the midst of the trees. The winding road I mentioned earlier is the one that takes you through all the Redwoods, btw, and we camped in the area where the biggest one of them all is. I have a pic of a stump, that is way higher than my girlfriend, standing up!
Carried on down to Santa Rosa, the beginning of the Sonoma Valley - actually we passed all sorts of Russian River wineries on the freeway, but wanted to get to Sonoma. Went to St. Francis - bought some Pinot Noir, also Kenwood - bought a bottle of Cab - and what sells in Canada for 50-60 bucks is about 15-20 bucks in US - great prices! Also visited Benziger,but didn't get to do their famous tour - not enough time! Went to B. R. Cohn - got a great pic in front of all the Doobie Brothers gold albums - he manages them too.
Last minute dash up the Napa Valley to try and find Caymus, very disappointed when we couldn't, and it was 5 o'clock - most wineries are closed by then - on a whim I drove past Freemark Abbey - open till 6!
Got some great glasses, a gun metal grey wine opener and a bit of a steal - they had found 300 cases of a 1988 Sycamore - which is sold there for $115, probably $400 in Canada - they were blowing it out for $20 a bottle - and since we could bring back 2 each - we now have 4 1988 Freemark Abbey Sycamore bottles in our cellar! Fantastic! Now I just have to wait for the occasions to drink them at - but they are soooooo ready to be drunk NOW!!!!! - I was joking that they should best be drunk in the parking lot!
Camped at a place called Berryessa Lake, down another wierd undisturbed road where nobody else was, and at the camp ground, there was us, and another tent - that's it! We had a lovely night, sipping great wine by the fire at the edge of the lake, with nobody else around! Nutty! This is California???? Home of 25 million people?? LOL The next day it was 101 degrees when we drove through Chico - roasting!
Stopped in to Medford, Oregon, and a fellow said, go into town and taste the beer - found this Very local pub under the freeway, Siskiyou Brew Pub, and sampled their local beer - plus Dead Man Ale - Rogue Beer - got 2 great skull and crossbones beer glasses from there!
Made it back to Seaside, top of the Oregon Coast, and stayed in an oceanfront room - for a dollar more! - looking out on dunes, ocean, pits dug for watching fireworks, and we drank great wines ( had to get rid of everything but the Freemark Abbey bottles!) and watched people light fires, and set off fireworks - beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
The last day it started raining as we raced home - the only thing we missed doing was we never got to go dune buggy riding in the Oregon dunes - they don't let you go alone any more - which was the funnest thing last time - but they do groups tours in different sized vehicles, or ATVs, but there was waaaaay too long of a wait - next time!
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