What it looks like when I have weather anxiety. And then “I don’t want anyone to hit us in the dark” anxiety. But I also have cones.
Napa Valley in December is pretty sweet, even in the rain. The weather was quite polite and spared us a wet arrival and departure. It pretty much rained solid between those two points, but that was all fine. We were expecting a big storm though, and my eyes narrowed suspiciously at the big oak trees overhanging the site. I was picturing little (or big) branches hitting the roof all night long and insisted on pulling forward as much as possible to get out from under the canopy. This was a trickier maneuver than I could manage with the car, so in went the Caravan Mover rollers to get us situated and leveled. As it turned out, there really wasn’t that much wind where we were, and there was no evidence of debris on the ground, so we would have been fine. Puddly, but fine.
What it looks like when you are “Camping” but have long since ditched tents.
A lot of our time out is spent lollygagging. Especially in the mornings. Since we didn’t really need to be anywhere until 2 on Saturday, we just enjoyed listening to rain on the roof, from the comfort of bed, until around lunch time. If we did the same level of activity at home, it would probably be considered “lazy.” But since we were performing this non activity in a different location, where we can sort of pretend we are outside, we call it “camping.”
Another part of “camping” is going into cute nearby towns to look for yummy things. In St. Helena, this is an easy job. Our first stop was Woodhouse Chocolate. I was excited to get S’mores gifts for a friend, as a never ending reminder of when she accidentally purchased a s’mores kit with no s’mores makings inside. I still send her a picture every time I encounter pre-assembled kits. It never gets old. But sadly, there were none available on site. That didn’t stop us from picking up a few other gifts and sampling some of the fancy chocolates.
Wine barrel holiday tree
We also stopped at The Model Bakery to get some lunch. We both had a slice of their tomato, feta, and pesto pizza, and the crust was absolutely perfect. They are apparently known for their English Muffins being Oprah’s favorite thing in 2021. There was a dizzying array of baked treats, both sweet and savory.
Most incredible public restroom I’ve ever seen
Before heading to our primary destination for the day, Richard stopped at the pubic restroom. Rare is it that Richard will text me from the bathroom to tell me how amazing the bathroom is. He insisted I had to try it, which is, you know, odd. But he was not wrong. I’ve never seen one of these things before, but they are quite space age tech for when you need to go. You push on a button, like to call an elevator, and a sliding door opens up. Inside, you press another button, which closes the door and turns on the lights. Then it plays music for you. The TP is dispensed at another push of a button. Then there is hand washing station, which automatically flushes the toilet for you, dispenses soap and water by motion activation, and then dries your hands. The whole thing cleans itself at regular intervals, and besides a stray piece of TP on the floor, was immaculate. Really, if you visit St. Helena, you must go to the bathroom there. It’s incredible.
On these roads, you are likely to see signs on the entrances to driveways and small roads stating: “Not A Winery.” I can imagine the scenes that might have taken place at someone’s home to prompt such signs.
We were then ready to head up the mountain to the very summit between the Napa and Sonoma valleys. We had private tour reservations at the Pride Winery, which Richard had secured months ago. Winery tours are the absolute best way to spend an afternoon. It’s like a guided treasure hunt, where a person takes you around, teaches you about fermenting and aging, and every so often leads you to a pouring station and puts something delightful in your glass. And you get happier as you go. By the end of the tour, they give you a list of the bottles they are selling and mention that they will comp you the tour if you so happen to want to purchase a couple of bottles. I mean. This is the most brilliant treasure hunt ever, where at the end of it, you have spent quite a lot of money and could not be more pleased.
Treasure hunts for grown ups.
This winery has not been making wine for that long, but has been producing grapes on the land for quite a while. They have had their wines featured on some very impressive dinner menus, including several White House state dinners. They also have an interesting fun fact in that they are the only winery that can boast being both Napa and Sonoma Valley wine makers at the same time. Their property straddles the two counties, and in order for them to sell and label legally, they are technically two separate wineries. They have two separate crushing and fermenting areas, located on either side of the county boundaries, demarcated by a long ribbon of bricks laid in the ground.
Two world famous wine valleys in one winery
They very nearly lost everything in 2020 during the Glass Fire, but were extremely lucky. Our tour guide pointed to the places on the property where everything was engulfed in flames. For whatever reason, the fires moved around and past their structures. They lost around 70% of their crop that year however, due to smoke. With that much smoke in the air, and grapes being highly porous and delicate fruit, anything coming out of any post fire grape tasted like cigarette ashes. Many wineries lost their entire crop, if they hadn’t harvested by September. There aren’t many wines from the Napa Valley with a 2020 vintage year. So sad.
Everything up to that row of trees was on fire.
I was lucky to have Richard as my designated driver after our delightful tour. We went back down the mountain to Dory and spent the rest of the evening cooking and almost finishing the last season of “Stranger Things.” That’s a tense show. Good thing I had wine to take the edge off.
As for the weather anxiety, though there was no need to worry about branches hitting Dory’s roof, it turns out adding onto your house in the winter is maybe not a good idea. Those wood floors do not take kindly to water seeping in from where they’ve removed parts of exterior stucco. Oh lordy. Where did I put that wine….
Total miles: 63.1, 16.0 mpg, 2 hours 26 min. Site 20. Some cell service for both, but finicky about where you are in the trailer. Would have been solar perhaps, if not for rain. No hookups. No dump. Paid to dump at Skyline Wilderness.
2 thoughts on “Bothe Napa (9)”
What a perfect weekend, from chocolates to no tree branches falling on you (I also feel this anxiety!). Makes me miss that area (again).
Next time you’re out this way, we should do a winery tour. 🙂