Thursday, May 23, 2013

Napa Valley and a Drive Into the Mountain

On Wednesday morning, we were up with plans to leave around 8:30 a.m. to go visit the Jelly Belly factory. We got a late start, however, because my dad could not remember the name of the hotel we were supposed to be staying at that evening nor where it was located. He spent about an hour searching and scouring and never figured it out.

So, we finally set out and made it to Jelly Belly a little later than planned, but still early enough that the crowds were not terribly large. We took the factory tour which was cool to see and it also provided historical information about the candy company which was interesting.

The tour lasted about 45 minutes, but it seemed like it was about 15 minutes. After the tour was finished, we perused the gift shop and I bought a couple of things for the children back home. I'm sure their mothers will be thrilled to no end.

After visiting Jelly Belly, we headed back to Napa and somehow came to the decision to stop at Sutter Home first. They were offering tastings (as were all wineries), but I was more interested in a tour to see how things were done. Sutter Home did not have any tours, but directed us to either Berringer or Robert Mondavi. So, we went to Berringer first.

The tour at Berringer was $25, lasted maybe 20 minutes and really wasn't that great. We went into a cellar, tasted three wines, and that was about the extent of things. So, we moseyed on down to Robert Mondavi where we paid $25 for a tour that lasted one hour and 20 minutes and had four tastings.

The tour was really great. We got a history of Napa, a history of the winery, we walked into the vineyard and looked at grapes and also got to go into the rooms where the wine is stored in oak barrels. While we were there, they were bottling wine and we were able to see that process as well. To wrap up the tour, we tasted four wines at a table with the others in our group. There were only eight of us and our guide said it would probably be the last small group for the summer since they do a lot of tours starting around Memorial Day. The experience at Robert Mondavi was really enjoyable.

Before we left Robert Mondavi, my dad made a reservation at a hotel and we headed in that direction. I then decided to look once again for the hotel where he had made our original reservation. As luck would have it, I called the first one that I thought might be it and in fact it was the hotel he had booked. It was America's Best Yosemite Westgate Lodge. So, I changed the directions on the Garmin, cancelled the second reservation and a couple of hours and a treacherous mountain climb later we had arrived.

The hotel was in the middle of nowhere, but the accommodations were nice. We had no cell service and no Internet, but there was a laundry, which was good news. Beside the laundry I noticed a men's and women's restroom and asked my dad if there were bathrooms in the hotel room. I thought we might be kicking it camping style. As it turns out, there were in fact bathrooms in the hotel rooms. Thank goodness.

There was a restaurant beside the hotel and we had dinner there. We both had burgers which were good and the people were really nice too. They did not have Diet Coke (they had Pepsi) and at this point I had not had a Diet Coke in two days! I walked over to the hotel to get one from the machine. The first machine was sold out and the second machine spit out a DC that expired in January. I was disappointed, but I soldiered on.

 After dinner, I did a couple of loads of laundry. The laundry room closed at 9:00 so I stayed with the laundry until it was done and locked up for the owner who had come in around 9:00 to shut the door. I was gone from the room about an hour or so and when I got back my dad had no idea I had been gone so long. I guess it's a good thing I didn't get kidnapped by a bear. 

1 comment:

Erika said...

I'm glad you and your dad are having such a nice time!