Friday, May 1, 2009

A week in California

The last week has been great. It was nice to get out of Jackson for a while. I left for Tahoe last Thursday with Jacki, Sarah, and Lisa. After I finalized moving out of my apartment, we were on the road for the 12-hour haul in Lisa's 4Runner. He hit up Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, and finally California during our travels. It was extremely windy and we encountered several large dust storms going through Nevada. The total driving distance was right around 725 miles.

[ Our driving directions were on paper plates ]

[ Driving food - trail mix and pepperoni on crackers ]

[ Jacki and Lisa making gypsy braids ]

We reached Tim & Elizabeth’s place in Tahoe City at about 7:30 in the evening. I went to Karen and Mikaela’s to barbecue and hang out. I hadn’t seen either of them in a year so it was nice to catch up.

We woke up Friday to lots of snow. It had snowed 6-8 inches at Squaw Valley and a couple inches at lake level. The snow was heavy, but definitely fun. Tim showed me some pretty cool chutes off of KT-22. The clouds cleared up soon after our arrival and the sun started warming everything. There were a lot of shallow wet slides in the steep areas, but nothing to be too concerned about.

After a couple hours of skiing, we spent some time in the High Camp hot tub and then had a sushi break before heading home to make dinner. Friday night we went out to some of the local favorite spots, the BT and then Peter n’ Pete’s for some rounds of shuffleboard.

[ Gettin' ready to ski some pow ]

[ Afternoon heat - if you look closely, you can tell that the photo is looking in the exact same direction ]

[ Headed back to Tahoe City after some sushi ]

[ Tim & Elizabeth's place ]

[ Preparing some pre-dinner nachos ]

The weather on Saturday was incredible. We spent the day hanging out and playing games at Secret Beach on the East shore of the lake. It was a great day to be in the sun. For dinner, Tim and I made a meat heart-attack. A meatloaf roll wrapped in a bacon weave- grilled and served on a bun.

[ Exploring Secret Beach ]

[ Lisa - "The red dragon is back!" ]

[ Playing corn hole on the beach ]

[ Climbing on the rocks ]

[ Jacki and Lisa in the air ]

[ Meat heart-attack ]

On Sunday I hung out in town with the girls. We went to a few shops and then down to Emerald Bay for some good views. It was a relaxing day.

[ Scoutin' ]

[ Emerald Bay ]

[ The crew ]

We woke up early on Monday for a short ski before heading to San Francisco. It’s about a 3.5 hour drive to the coast. We stayed at the Old Heritage Marina, a sketchy motel with great views of the city. We met up with some of Tim's friends; Daryl and Kevin. After getting some pizza, went to a baseball game to watch the San Francisco Giants play the LA Dodgers. The Giants won 5-4. It was a fun night.

[ Arriving at our motel ]

[ We quickly learned that it was very secure ]

In the morning, we were all excited to visit the Buena Vista for breakfast. We had heard about their famous irish coffee. I had a great breakfast of eggs benedict made with sausage. After eating, we headed North to Sonoma; wine country.

[ Morning view ]

We spent our time in the Dry Creek Valley where there are over 50 wineries. Each winery had about half a dozen wines to taste. We stopped in at the Bella Wine Caves followed by Armida where we hung out in the sun and played bocce ball. All of the wineries in this area are fairly small. We pretty much had the valley to ourselves.

[ Bella Wine Caves ]

[ Wine tasting in the caves ]

[ Relaxing in the sun with some wine and cheese ]

[ The Two Patch zinfandel was incredible ]

[ Barrels ]

[ Tasting wine at Armida ]

[ Getting more sun ]

[ Playing bocce ]

We spent the evening exploring downtown Healdsberg, eating some dinner, and relaxing in the hot tub at the hotel.

[ Exploring downtown Healdsberg ]

[ Town square park ]

Wednesday was our last day in Sonoma. We spent the day checking out more vinyards and taking in the sunshine. We visited the Dry Creek Vinyard, Raymond Burr, Quivera, and Lambert Bridge.

[ Lunch at the Dry Creek General Store ]

[ Raymond Burr Vinyards ]

[ Chillin' ]

[ Tim & Elizabeth ]

[ Sarah posing with a corvette ]

[ Tim posing with the UPS truck ]

[ Exploring the vineyards ]

[ Up close ]

[ Are those Emmy awards? ]

I had never been too crazy about wine, but I enjoyed being able to taste so many varities and finding which ones I liked the most. Some of them were great. Every vineyard we visited offered it's own taste and feel. They were all great experiences.

On our way back to Tahoe, we stopped at Daryl's resturant Dream Farm in San Anselmo. The food was incredible and everything was made in-house. I had steak and fries topped with a really tasty blue-cheese butter. Daryl served us an abundance of appetizers with our meal followed by an ice cream dessert.

[ The girls all fell asleep ]

Thursday was spent back in the car. Lisa, Jacki, and I dropped Sarah off at the Reno airport and we continued the trip home to Jackson. We made pretty good time coming home, covering 250 miles in the first three hours. The total trip home was probably about 11 hours.

We were driving fast all the way through Nevada and Idaho and had no issues with cops. Leave it to the Jackson police to pull us over within minutes of crossing Teton Pass. We were probably within 5mph of the speed limit. Lisa talked her way out of it.

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