Category Archives: Wine

Heading Home

To condense over a week’s worth of stuff into a short sentence:

I visited a bunch of breweries, a couple of wineries, and some friends.

Check out this view from my friends’ backyard, just outside of Reno:

Deserts are cool.

Deserts are cool.

On my way across Nevada (I’m taking the interstate back to speed things up a bit), I passed this sign (I didn’t stop to take the picture; I figured, correctly, that someone had already posted it on the internet):

I find your lack of trees disturbing.

Tonight, I’m in Salt Lake City. As I discovered on my last adventure, Utah does, indeed, have good beer. But they have weird laws about them. Still, I was able to find a brewery, Red Rock, and sample some of their delicious beers – and I even brought one back to my hotel, one of the few Russian Imperial Stouts I’ve seen apart from Old Rasputin.

There are quite a few breweries here, actually, so I’ll have to come back sometime.

Tomorrow, I don’t know where I’m going, apart from eastward. So much depends on weather.

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Reno

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.