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2019 - West Coast USA - Day 8

Today the Hotel promised a deluxe breakfast. Turned out to be scrambled eggs again, this time accompanied by ‘Sausage’. I’m sorry a ‘patty’ of some description is not in any way a sausage. I’m not even sure what meat it was as I know the Americans do love a Turkey Sausage (which again is not a Sausage). It tasted slightly spicy and I had to try another one to decide if I liked it. Interestingly (for me anyway), Karen who is not renown for liking spicy food likes them.

If we ever leave the EU and Boris has to negotiate a Trade deal with the USA then the term Sausage needs to be properly defined. A Sausage is round and long and should be made primarily of Pork. They should not be able anything else as such. End of.

We started this drive through the last of the Redwoods. I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing them. We stopped at another named tree, this one called The Grandfather Tree for seemingly no reason at all other than having a closed gift shop next to it. Next door was the single log cabin, which as the name suggests is a caravan of sorts made out of a single log. We went inside (it was free) and it was surprisingly spacious and yet cosy.

Our next stop was at another Drive Thru tree, this time The Chandelier Tree. This was much better than The Shrine Tree from the day before and was one I recalled from old photographs. Again it cost $10 to go through it. It was much better organised and had a really nice gift shop. I drove through the tree behind Karen who walked through to take photos. I offered to swap but she wasn’t confident to drive as it was still a tight fit. The whole place and tree was much better maintained than the previous one as well.

As we drove on we finally left the Tsunami areas behind us. Much of the time we had been driving near the coast we had had a minus altitude and were warned we were in Tsunami areas. Indeed many of the Hotels we had stayed in had left ‘What to do in the event of a Tsunami’ instructions either on the bed or desk of our rooms. To start with this really put the jitters up Karen but after she had woken up each morning without finding the room under water she finally started to get blasé about it all.

The next destination on route was to a Safeway to buy some sandwiches and then allow Karen to continue her Starbucks tour of the world from the instore branch. We drove on trying to find a rest area to eat our lunch but after driving for a hour we gave up and I just pulled into a lay-by. The temperature was now 100f and so we were soon back in the cooled air conditioned car and listening to the Baker & Lineker podcast which made Karen laugh a lot.

The plan for the afternoon was to hit the wineries of Napa Valley before going onto our Hotel for the night. I had chosen V Sattui as our first stop. This place had been recommended on many sites and was not too costly for a tasting (many were upwards of $50). The drive through the valley was as pretty as we hoped and we could see all the grapes on the hundreds of vineyards.

The winery was obviously a popular choice amongst visitors as the large car park was very full. As we arrived the wine train was also parked up outside. As we walked through the pretty gardens the heat was stifling and we were pleased to enter the cooling Tasting room. We paid $20 for Karen to have a tasting session of 5 wines (although we somehow miscounted and she had 6!). Her favourite by far was the Gamay Rouge which was retailing for only $20 and was one of their cheaper ones. We asked about purchasing in the UK, but their business model is that they only sell the wine at the winery. They have no stockists anywhere. If you want it then you have to visit and whilst we doing the tasting, we heard and saw many people who had travelled a long way just to do so. We could have bought the wine and then they would ship for us, but at a shipping cost of $200 to the UK we declined. To make up for the disappointment, I went round and tried all the cheese and oils samples at least twice.

Karen was now feeling mellow and so we thought we would try another tasting session elsewhere. Now when we are in the USA we often buy cheap wine in cartons or small bottles as it makes it easier to transport with us. One of these is made by Sutter Home. By chance their winery was almost opposite. Whilst we knew the wine was no where near as high brow we thought we should try it here. We are glad we did as we had stumbled upon the only ‘free’ tasting session in Napa. The place was quite empty and Karen ended up having another 5 tastings of what were cheap wines but I am not sure she could tell the difference by that point. We ended up having a long conversation with the girl who was originally from El Salvador who was pouring the wine.

It was now time to find the Hotel. As usual, as it was not a chain Hotel Karen was getting more perturbed about this fact as we got closer. She questioned as usual why I had booked it. I was pretty confident of this one as it had won many awards and had terrific reviews. I was right, although it was an older style motel, it was run with care and the room was lovely. Karen really liked it.

After settling in we went out via the nearby Premium Outlets. The one things I had wanted to buy this trip was new Skechers Golf Shoes as my old ones were falling to pieces. I wanted something that I knew would not cause my feet problems and but they cost over £130 at home. We went to the Skechers Outlet only to be told they don’t stock Golf Shoes and the nearest place that did was San Francisco. So I needed to come up with a Plan B to get hold of some.

For dinner we headed to the Napa Riverfront. After eventually finding parking we walked to The Bounty Hunter bar. This place would have been Neil’s ideal eating place as they served and so we ordered a whole chicken covered in a incredibly tasty dry rub and cooked with a full beer can inside of it. The beer evaporates into the chicken and gives it a terrific flavour. The hot metal from the can means it cooks inside out at the same time. The chicken came perched on the plate with the can still inside. It was probably the tastiest chicken I have ever had. It was not the easiest thing to carve but it also much bigger than we expected. We both enjoyed it although Karen took the leg and wing away in a box to eat tomorrow. It was another good end to another good day.

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