(8/29/07 continued) Suck in that gut, what about the double chin, I haven't shaved or gotten to freshin up! Act natural "what's my motivation?" I thought. I'm sure Steph thought the same thing (except the shaving part). They shot a couple of angles and did a small monologue. His monologue went a little something like this, " and to think in John Muir's day they only had dial up!" as he walked toward us and stuck his face about two inches from mine looking at the computer screen! After they finished they thanked us and drove off, I thought, hey he didn't even ask who we were, how or why we were camping or to even get our names! He my have gotten a Pulitzer prize writing about the couple who quit there jobs and decided to travel across country for four months and seeing all the sights they could possibly see will spending every waking minute in each others presence and not committing murder! I'm not bitter or anything. Oh well it's his loss, A-hole! Oh yah back to Somona. We decided on a couple of wineries we were told about and set off the next day to do some tasting. Because Steph blogged about it, all I am going to say is that after the third winery it was all fermented grapes to me! I couldn't tell the difference between a merlot and glass of welch's at that point! But because it was usually 5$ a shot it was all going down the hatch, Know what I mean! Yeah, cheap New Englander again. We bought a few bottles and I will enjoy them later I'm sure. The next day we drove away from the valleys without stopping at another winery, ever hear of too much of a good thing? We arrived at Yosemite National Park and set up camp. Steph found it a little unnerving to hear about the bears presence in the campgrounds and the fact that we had to empty the contents of our Jeep and put it in the bear box, or that is what it felt like. I must say Yosemite is beautiful, and we especially liked the view from Glacier Point. We were there for a sunset and the rising of the full moon. What a view it was! It was nice to be there at the end of August because all the kids have pretty much gone back to school and the crowds are cut in half! The hardest thing at these national parks is to try to take a picture without someone else you don't know in the frame! Everywhere you look there is a couple or family or Japanese tour bus unloading to gobble up the natural beauty! It is great that they fly half way around the world to spend their yen or rubles or what ever here in America. It is nice to know that some countries still don't hate us, but it is hard to enjoy some moments when there is a whining toddler or yakking somebody close by! It is still awe inspiring despite all these things! We left Yosemite with great memories and pictures on to another wonderful place called Sequoia National Park. The trees there are truly immense! We couldn't get far enough back to get the trees in the pictures. It is another wonderful park that we would love to explore more! I hope that this blog has been enough to tide you all over for a while, but just think we still need to travel back across the U.S. thanks for being faithful readers! Jay
8/25/07- Sonoma, California: the land of expensive wines. Jay and I spent today doing one of our favorite activities, wine tasting. On this trip we have a number of times to do some sampling of wines. Friends and family have been happy to share their finds and we are working on finds of our own. There are a number of things that differ from PA to CA. First, hello this is wine country and it is gorgeous. Second, there are literally 50 plus wineries to choose form ranging from large to small in a small distance. In PA you are lucky to find ten. Lastly, in CA there is no such thing as a free tasting. Every stop it is usually 5 for their average wines and 10 for the reserve list. I was just happy it wasn't five dollars a taste. Some of the smaller wineries will waive the fee if you buy a bottle. With the larger wineries the fee is waived if you buy 3 or more bottles. I had to laugh every time someone asked us where we are from. Every time we said PA there was a frown that emerged, for you see PA doesn't allow everyone to ship wine to PA. It felt like we were the red headed stepchildren. I always rushed to say, "But we are moving to New Hampshire." That seemed enough to get us back in their good graces. Our favorite winery by far was Benziger. (www.benziger.com) They are a bio-dynamic winery. The short explanation is that they take organic to the next level. We splurged for the reserve tasting on the recommendation of Jay's cousin Scott. It was worth every penny. Just about every glass was a sip of heaven. Then we went on the winery tour. Beautiful rolling hills of vines, Caves filled with barrels, and we even go to see the pressing of the Sauvignon grapes. They let us taste the juice. It amazing how different the juice tastes from the wine. I truly believe it is an art to make wine. Then again after many tastings I guess you could say that my judgement is a little blurred at the moment. My recommendation to other wine people…go, share tasting if you can and plan on spend a lot on really great wines. It will make you appreciate the wineries near you.
8/20/07 - Kirkland, Seattle - As we drove through the suburbs of Seattle I'm reminded of a little known fact that, Seattle is an old Indian word that means "Land of many Starbucks". We passed by a strip mall that had two just across the parking lot from each other and then we saw one on the other side of the street! We made a stop in Seattle to see my cousin Scott and his wife Mia. We spent the weekend getting acquainted and getting to see some of the sights with the help from them as locals. I know they will say it is blasphemy because they are both from California and both miss it dearly! We've been told it rains a little there and we did get to get a taste of it but we did have some nice weather and blue sky. We got to go to Microsoft campus, which is where Scott works. I'm sure you've read Steph's blog. We got to see a piece of the Berlin wall that was given to Bill Gates and is displayed in the conference center. We played in the visitors' center and went shopping at the company store!! Wow! It was cool to spend some time in the heart of Microsoft. Scott brought us to Fremont where the gnome got to see one of his distant cousins. It is a Troll that lives under the Fremont Bridge and has a taste for Volkswagen beetles. Check out the pics. We also had to go up in the space needle, because after all this is Seattle. There was also the science fiction museum that was exciting for us. It has lots of displays of costumes and props. We liked the original phasers from star trek and the Darth Vader costume worn in the movie! We also took the monorail to downtown to see Pikes Place fish market where they throw the fish. It is also the place where the first Starbucks is! Besides fish they also sell fresh flowers and arts and crafts. It was very nice to see but I would suggest going during the week and not on the weekend because it was very busy. Another day we went to Frye's. It is an electronics superstore! We need to have one of these back east, although I think I would go broke so maybe it is not such a good idea. All in all we think it was another recruiting weekend because the weather was nice (for Seattle), we saw some wonderful places and had a great time! It was sad to leave Scott and Mia's but it will give us an excuse to come back out and visit although I'm sure the next time we see them it will be in sunny California and we will get to meet the little one because Mia is Pregnant! Yea! No matter where it is we look forward to meeting again! Jay