Posted by: TheAuthor | 07/11/2011

Days 49 and 50 – Journey To San Francisco

Day 49: Todays drive is across the plains of Nevada to the city of Reno. As soon as we entered the state we were bombarded with a great many casinos both sides of the road. However, as we drove throughout the day we all became acutely aware that the state of Nevada really is a barren desert even if the terrain isn’t flat.

During the entire drive of nearly 1000km I believe we saw no more than three petrol (gas) stations, the state that hosts Las Vegas is remarkably dull.

Early evening we arrived in Reno, a large city on the border with California. Very much a miniature Las Vegas in appearance, it was great to be back in civilisation once again.

Leaving Falk and Claire behind in the hotel, Shell and myself took a drive around the city and went out for a more ‘normal’ past time – the cinema. A great way to relax after another long days drive, all in preparation for our trip to the Napa Valley in the morning.

Trip Statistics:

Tim Horton’s Stops – 16

Alternate Coffee Stops – 8

States Driven Through – Idaho, Nevada

Kilometres driven – 949km

Total Canadian Kilometres driven – 11,499km

Total distance driven – 18,425km

Car faults – Found out Speedometer is inaccurate by 10kph

– Speakers starting to refuse to operate

– Tail Light Casing Broken

– Console Handbrake light always ‘on’

Day 50: Taking off early to make the most of the day (our last drive on the road trip as well) we sped off for the Napa Valley and the tasting of California’s best wines.

The valley is beautiful to drive through, vineyards upon wineries scattered as far as the eye can see. The temperature has also improved vastly making our time spent outdoors glorious indeed. We took our time driving through the numerous regions of the valley, stopping periodically at some of the free tasting spots along the way courtesy of our coupons.

Our first port of call is the Jessup Cellars where we were welcomed with open arms for free samples of their spectacular wines. They are very happy to share their wines with any and everyone coming into the winery, offering friendly guidance and knowledge as you sip away.

Beaulieu Vineyard was second on our list after it was recommended to us. We also learned of a tour on offer here, something which Shell was eager to do so that we could explore the vineyards themselves. Our coupons here only extended to paying $10 for a set of samples, shared between the four of us. I have to admit that here the service is not as welcoming and friendly compared to that at Jessup’s, the wines to the layman taste the same.

After tasting the wines and receiving over complicated descriptions of what we had Shell and myself departed for our tour at $20 each.

The tour led outside where we were treated to another over complicated explanation of how this winery came into being, lasting for 25 minutes of our alloted 45. Standing by the front doors beside a small token vineyard set up Shell and me were becoming increasingly frustrated at our predicament, ready to demand our money back any second.

Fortunately for the guide, he led us off into the fermenting warehouse where the wines stay until ready to be bottled and served. Seeing the huge fermenting barrels helped ease our pain as we progressed inside, barely able to hear our tour guide mumbling along not noticing us stopping for pictures.

Our guide led us to a room filled with trinkets from the companies past as well as tools utilised during the wine making process. Ignoring all of these our guide walked past them all straight to casks of wine, which he promptly opened and shared out between us. By far the best part of our tour, he then explained in simple language how to get the optimum tastes from the wines. Quite fun and noisy to recreate even if Shell managed to dribble on herself.

Once the tasting had finished the guide wanted us to leave promptly, however we asked to see everything in the room before we left which caused our guide to sigh and gaze at his watch. A great guide you may say sarcastically. We had not had the chance to see everything in this room, some of which was of great importance to the history of Beaulieu wines and was interesting to see.

On our way out we learned of a Goliath bottle of wine, something Shell had never seen before and I had not heard of at all.

Shortly after Shell had administered her top with ‘Wine-away’ to remove the stains from red wine, we ventured off to Heitz Wine Cellars to sample what they had to offer. This was a simple tasting offered, numerous wines offered and plenty of people here trying it. No coupon necessary to try them for free either but I much preferred this experience to that offered at Beaulieu, far less snobby and self glorifying. It is also set in a beautiful back drop of mountains in the far ground and their vineyard in the foreground.

As the suns shadows grew we realised that we needed to get to San Francisco sooner rather than later, we had a two-hour drive before us to the hostel. Taking the route without tolls we crossed over the golden gate bridge into the city. As we entered volumes of slow-moving traffic I was reminded of how much I dislike city driving, it is just a shame this was our last excursion in Kevin during our adventures.

Last stop of the road trip, San Francisco!

Trip Statistics:

Tim Horton’s Stops – 16

Alternate Coffee Stops – 8

States Driven Through – Nevada, California

Kilometres driven – 502km

Total Canadian Kilometres driven – 11,499km

Total distance driven – 18,927km

Car faults – Found out Speedometer is inaccurate by 10kph

– Speakers starting to refuse to operate

– Tail Light Casing Broken

– Console Handbrake light always ‘on’

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