Well, actually, Sparks, Nevada, which is pretty much Reno.

I haven’t posted the last few days because I haven’t really gone anywhere, and I got kept busy running around and having a party and such. But this morning, I got back on the road and headed for Sparks, where an old friend lives. Well, she’s not old, being about the same age as I am, but we’ve known each other for a very long time.

After I got to Livermore, my first order of business (other than getting a full night’s sleep) was to get my car serviced – oil change, tire rotation (don’t they do that on their own?) and so on. I’d brought it to the Subaru place back home before I left, and they recommend service every 5,000 miles (look, folks, the “every 3,000 miles” thing was made up by Jiffy Lube to get people to go there more often – follow your car’s recommendations). Astute readers will note that this means that I’ve now driven over 5,000 miles on this trip. Holy shit. And I still have most of the way back to go.

While in Livermore, as planned, I visited a few wineries with my friend, who was awesome enough to drive while I sampled. Some of the places, however, were disappointing – I mean, do you really have to pay $50 for a mediocre bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon? Fortunately, not all the wineries were like that. Two in particular I’ll give a shout out to:

Tesla Vintners, home of the Singing Winemaker. Reasonably priced wines, and Steve’s cool. He even came, with his family, to the party on Saturday.

He really does sing.

And Thomas Coyne – by the time I was there, I was taking blurry and double-visioned pictures (it was the last place we visited), but there are good pics at the link.

Another thing I did was drive up to Stockton to meet someone I’ve known on the internet since about 1999. Odd to finally meet in person after all that time, but glad I did. You hear all these horror stories about people from online meeting, but in my experience people are just people, and once you’ve talked to (or, well, typed to) someone for that long you can be pretty sure what they’re like. At least that was my side of things – I hope she wasn’t disappointed.

Getting back to today: crossing the Sierra Nevada was interesting. Fortunately, the weather stayed nice – it’s called Sierra Nevada for a reason; Nevada means “snowy” or some such. And I got high. Seriously – I think the route through that range tops out at 8,000 feet, with mountains looming on either side.

It might have been psychosomatic, but there were times I was wishing for an oxygen mask.

It starts out lush and green, and as you get higher in elevation, the mountains become more bare, and rocky. Trees become stunted at that height. And then once you’re closer to Nevada, the trees disappear, replaced by desert scrub. And then you descend into the valley and it’s like someone took a rolling pin to it. This is probably old hat to some of you, but I’d never done it before.

And good luck finding a restroom along that route. Sheesh. Some days I’m just glad I’m a guy.

Views like this one, though, made it all worth it:

Of course, it was also about 20 degrees F.

Planning on some sightseeing tomorrow – more pix then.


About Waltz

An international man of mystery, Waltz is a puzzle wrapped in an enigma. Kind of a puzzle burrito, actually. With conundrum cheese and secret sauce. And a side of Riddle Rice.

Posted on December 13, 2011, in Travel, Wine and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Glad you made it safely! The kids were asking (funnily enough) “is he there yet?”

    Glad you got a photo of Steve singing . . . now off to check out the rest of the party pics. Happy trails. πŸ™‚

  2. Glad to see you enjoying California, but I have a request that you come back up north again! We were enjoying nice, unseasonably “warm” weather, but as soon as you started heading south down into California, temperatures started to plummet. Please turn around and head north again. πŸ˜‰

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