Road Trip Update: Napa Valley to Half Moon Bay

I'm currently on a 6,000 kilometre road trip from Vancouver, BC down the Pacific Coast, into California, sideways to Nevada, and then up again through Utah, Idaho, and Washington State. I'm joined by my dad as copilot, and we'll be gone for two weeks. The car we've chosen for the adventure is my Speed Yellow 2000 Porsche 911 GT3 Aerokit Cup.

Day 5: At this point in time, I had come to realize that I was trying to cram too much into too short of a timeframe. We were starting to feel like the typical "see Europe (read: "Eurp") in a week" American tourists as we attempted to see as much as possible of Napa Valley in one day and still make it to Morro Bay, on the Pacific Ocean shore, below San Francisco, by dinner time. But never mind the rushed trip to California's best and most celebrated wine growing region, the worst part of this timing conflict was that we couldn't fit in an opportunity to enjoy our wonderful resort called Silverado Resort & Spa. I cannot recommend it enough - even though I only enjoyed their late night dinner fare (fish tacos followed by spaghetti - we can talk about my sophisticated pallet later), and their breakfast buffet. Somewhere in between I had time to park the Porsche in front of the Colonial style main house, and find the pool, where I looked over the fence like a kid who had just dropped his ice cream on the sidewalk. There simply was no time. 
Napa Valley Late Arrival. 


Plan of Attack
Like a fighting squadron scrambling to attach the enemy before time ran out, we starred some interesting sounding wineries, highlighted a route, and jumped in the 911. My dad was in the driver's seat and I was navigating. We were on a mission. On a mission to taste lots of wine, see many wineries, and stay between the double yellow centre line and the solid white shoulder line. Our first stop was Clos du Val in the Stags Leap District. It came highly recommended by way of us having a two-for-one wine tasting coupon. I kid, it was also said to be one of the nicest in terms of estate and property. And it was! We grabbed a young Cabarnet Sauvignon and took a walk through the ranks. (Personal note for next time: rent a cabana for $30/hour and have your picnic with a chilled Chardonnay). We thought of buying some of their 2010 Cab but we then remembered the two-bottle import limit back into Canada and also figured the constant  heat cycling in the car wouldn't do the grapes any favours. We then headed for Mumm Napa who are descendants of the Mumm family in Reims, France, and could, if they wanted to upset the entire French nation, call their sparkling wine, Champagne. But they don't. And not because they can't, just because they are nice people. So we figured we'd pay these nice people a visit. It was a bit more touristy then Clos du Val, but a historic photography museum and a friendly Belgian woman from Antwerp pouring our champagne made it a worthwhile stop. (Personal note: Mumm Napa champagne is not too sweat, refreshing, and good value. Remember this next time you buy champagne). 



After all this tasting booze and refusing to spit it out (mind you, it was scorching hot out), we decided we ought to go grab a late lunch if we were to make it through Napa Valley in one piece. We stopped in Calistoga, a small town at the very top of the Valley, and sat down in an old hydro building for their "World Famous Burger." This is a great time to point out that perhaps no one in the World should be allowed the call their coffee, burger, cinnamon buns, or cheesecake "World Famous." It just isn't, ever. Our next stop, and as it was approaching 3 PM, turned into our last stop, was Beringer. It is the second oldest winery in Napa and was founded by two German brothers. We opted for the cellar tour, which took us through their caves that were carved in the mountains behind the estate, and not only as a result of all the surprise wine tastings inside the caves, we were impressed. As an aside, one of the brothers flew over from Germany about a hundred years ago and didn't like where the other brother had built his living quarters. So he instructed a team of labourers to move it, who took two months to roll the house down the hill  a bit, so the older brother could build on the previously unavailable 'best bit of real estate.' Germans, I tell you. 


Beringer Cellars
It was 5 PM and it dawned on us that we had a whole lot of driving ahead of us. It then further dawned on us that my dad forgot his jacket at the Silverado hotel. That much for catching a sunset over Pacific Coast Highway. Or so I thought. We turned up the music (Queen - You Don't Fool Me, if you must know) and crushed the valley roads to the hotel, and then back over to San Francisco, over Bay bridge, through some treacherous traffic, and up and underneath the city to the most Westerly route down the coast called Highway 1 (South). After a beautiful hour drive along the windy, snaky, PCH, we almost reached our destination. I say almost, because we got slightly lost. This usually isn't something worth writing about as it happens several times a day, but I happened to slam the front of the Porsche into the same dip in the road THREE times. Yes, three. It was very difficult to see I tell you. Luckily I had the foresight to pick up some yellow duck tape in Vancouver before I started this road trip. 


Seal Cove Inn, Half Moon Bay
We then eventually found our Bed & Breakfast, the Seal Cove Inn in Moss Beach. Or Half Moon Bay. Whichever one it is, our TomTom figured it out. The B&B was epic though. It was a large beach house, that looked inside as if it was selling Urban Barn furniture. French doors led to an English Garden, and breakfast was three courses and served to your table. Furthermore, parking was free, and there was this nice restaurant on the cliffs just a stones throw away where we celebrated catching the tail end of the sunset over some Stellas and Artichoke dip. Day 5 was a good day. Day 6 and 7 were too. I guess I'm a bit behind, but stay tuned for a lunch stop in Carmel and a really, really great visit to Hearst Castle. I've since travelled to Santa Monica and walked Venice Beach. Now I'm in Beverly Hills, but we'll be driving down to Long Beach to visit the Queen Mary. Thanks for reading and talk to you guys soon!