Here it is...The Napa/Sonoma Trip Report

May 2nd, 2002, 11:08 AM
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Nice Good Morn Amer from Napa.
I'm ready to buzz down to Napa for lunch. Durn job STILL getting in the way.
Sheli, 2 of our favorite wines are anything from Cakebread (we have a few bottles of '97 "3 Sisters" aging in the wine cellar, aka: "our closet" and their Chards.) and the Pinots from Carneros Creek. "Sir" Francis Mahoney at Carneros Creek makes a good 'un. If the guy who waived your fee was in his 70s, short and wore a sports car/golf hat, it was probably him. Very underrated wine.
Sad to hear about Nichelini's. They used to put out some good red years ago.

Good move flying into SMF. Easy airport to get around in...I'm sure they'll screw that up shortly!

As for biking in the Napa/Sonoma areas, we've been biking there for around 10yrs now and, knock on wood, haven't had a prob., other than a flat tire, with traffic. There have been a few almost close calls but we usually try and stay off the Hwys and the Silverado Trail, even tho the Hwys and Sil'Trail have large shoulders in most spots. Where they don't, you hug the side.

We plan "figure 8" routes and go back and forth thru the vineyards (Oak Knoll, Yountville Cross, Oakville Cross, Old Rutherford Crossing, etc from Hwy 29 over to Sil'Trail and back. That's why we like the central location of Yountville.
Then a nice pedal over on the Old Sonoma to Napa road onto Sonoma. Sometimes busy but most of the people on the roads mentioned are locals and know how to look out for us boneheaded riders.

And Howell Mtn Rd and Pope/Chiles Valley Roads are "Calf Busters", baby!
In August, the Napa Cycling Club puts on a good tour called Tour of Napa Valley. First class operation. Here's the site:
We'll be in Chicago the day of the ride so we'll miss our first one in years.
OK. Now I'm thirsty AND hunrgy.

AAA has a good "Napa Sonoma Valleys Winery" map. "MapEasy's Guide to Napa and Sonoma Valleys" is also a very useful map.
PS to lisa2...Sheli must have gotten some trip report pointers from reading some of your good 'uns!
May 3rd, 2002, 06:38 AM
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Don't know what to tell you about the job. Guess you'll just have to quit. Only sane thing you can do. When the vino is calling, you cannot ignore!

Carneros Creek was quite interesting for us. Francis Mahoney did not help us (it was a young guy, in his late 20s looked like) but the couple we went with to Napa, well, their last name is Mahoney. So, of course we had to go out to the Mahoney vineyards and get a pic in front of the sign. AND we had to get some extra bottle labels that had Mahoney Vineyards on the front. It was fun!

You are is Howell Mtn Road. (and it was killer on my stomach...I was in the backseat for this leg of the trip and kept on eating crackers!) We had quite a fun time with the twists and hills.

Glad you liked the report. I thought I might be getting to detailed, but then HEY! Its my report!

May 3rd, 2002, 09:32 PM
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Thanks, everyone, for the bicycling information. We're driving over to Napa this month from Phoenix and my husband has his heart set on bringing the bikes. Having traveled with them bouncing up and down behind our SUV on our Zion and Bryce Canyon trips last fall, I wasn't as enthusiastic, especially when a few of you pointed out that the Silverado Trail route was not recommendable (I pictured us, having a few too many "tastes," among vehicles driven by drivers with a few too many "tastes," in a weird kind of car-bike ballet). I'm happy to know there are other, safer routes that are well worthwhile.
May 4th, 2002, 06:27 AM
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There are backroads, yes. Also, you would probably like biking in the Dry Creek area of Sonoma Valley. There's a lot less traffic there. As I mentioned, stop by a bike shop (there's a good one in Calistoga on the main drag) and get a map of bike routes. Have fun!
May 4th, 2002, 07:57 AM
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Sheli: I agree with Lisa's review of your reviews! Thanks so much for posting. I'm printing out to save for futue reference!
May 4th, 2002, 08:03 AM
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Great report. I want to know what personal possession you had to sell in order to get the reservation at French Laundry? That is a tough ticket but worth every hour you have to spend least it was for us.
May 4th, 2002, 09:50 AM
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I can't imagine visiting 27 wineries in 3 days! After 5 (and only tasting one or two wines at each) I can no longer distinguish one wine from another and I'm totally wiped out! Whew. You amaze me.

Anyone interested in cycling amoung the vineyards, consider Alexander Valley, Dry Creek or the Russian River wineries. The roads are much more bike friendly and the wineries and restaurants and inns every bit as delightful as Napa.
May 4th, 2002, 06:02 PM
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I think you may be a candidate for our program...what do you think?
May 6th, 2002, 08:14 AM
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Mary: We had two people here at work speed dialing for a couple of hours. We ended up getting 2 reservations on the same day under different names(originally we had one at 9:00pm, but then there was a 5:30pm cancellation and they called us to see if it would work.) and called back to cancel the late one. The dinner was fabulous and I'm so glad we were fortunate enough to get in.

Grasshopper: Well, I didn't have as much wine as perhaps my report implies. Just because we visited so many places doesn't mean we all tasted. In most instances my husband and I shared a taste (we paid for one and used the same glass)...which comes out to about 1/2 of a glass per person per stop. Total about 4 glasses over the course of 7 hours. Even then, we had crackers, trail mix and water in the car to break up the flavors. And, you have to have a decent breakfast or you won't last until lunch!

AAA: So, I should go to a Triple-A meeting? For what, travel tips? I think you were suggesting AA, and if that is the case, you are sadly mistaken. Taking a vacation to taste wines is hardly a reason to label anyone as an abuser. Now, if I had just stayed at one place all day and kept drinking...then I would be concerned!
May 6th, 2002, 08:45 AM
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Hey Sheli!
Let's go to that "AAA" meeting!Sounds great to me- after all, I'm addicted to traveling, LOL!!!

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